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ST. THOMAS — Senator Janette Millin Young will introduce legislation to establish a commission on ethics and conflicts of interest on Friday,during a Committee on Rules and Judiciary hearing, Mrs. Millin Young’s office announced Wednesday.
“Too often in our government, we are faced with issues of corruption, collusion, indecency, dishonesty, and more. Many times these issues go unresolved until the damage has made a lasting negative impact,” she said. “The intent of establishing this commission is an effort to nip the problem of government corruption in the bud through an open and fair process.”
The legislation, Bill No. 32-0003, would establish the Virgin Islands Commission of Ethics and Conflicts of Interest. The commission would be responsible for investigating alleged ethical violations by public officials and government employees, enforcing rulings and undertaking appeals that are made.
“In the past few years, we’ve had a number of former government officials who have been charged and convicted of crimes and whose crimes had effects on all aspects of our community, particularly our finances,” Mrs. Millin Young said. “It is in the public interest that we not only protect the integrity of our government but protect our limited resources from further abuse.”
The veteran lawmaker’s legislation would also divest the attorney general of the sole jurisdiction to administer ethics and conflict of interest laws. Alternatively, the attorney general would have the power to enforce those laws in conjunction with the Commission on Ethics and Conflicts of Interest, Mrs. Millin Young said.
She encouraged the public to look at the bill and provide her office with feedback. “As this is a bill that is to protect the public, the public’s input is crucial,” Mrs. Millin Young concluded.
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