Breaking

Video And Picture Scenes From Veterans Day Parade 2018 On St. Croix

USVI In Path Of New Weather System; Tropical Cyclone Development Possible By Midweek

A Response To The Bryan-Roach Campaign's Statement On Debate Pullout

Albert Bryan's Team Decides Against One-On-One Debate With Mapp

Spirit Airlines Starts Thrice Weekly Flights Between Orlando And St. Thomas

Torrential Rainfall Leads To Flooding Territory-Wide

These Are The New Senators Elected On Tuesday

Democrats Win Super Majority In Senate, With Women Leading The Charge

Bryan And Mapp Head To Runoff With Bryan In Lead

Watch Now: VI Consortium's Coverage Of Decision 2018

Watch Live Broadcast Election Coverage On VI Consortium Beginning At 6:30 P.M.

Watch: Crucian Mahkeal Parris, Under 17 World Billiards Champion, Given Royal Welcome Home

Limetree Bay Refining Reaches Agreement In Principle On Restart Of St. Croix Refinery

Federal Agents Raid Office Of Campbell Development; Owner Refuses To Show Up For Questioning

V.I.P.D. Investigators Descend On Peter's Rest Location Of Campbell Development As Crisis Snowballs

AECOM, Patriot, Cut Ties With Campbell Development; D.O.J. Launches Investigation Following Reports Of Abuse, Bounced Checks At Company

Watch: Group Of Stateside Workers Hired By Aptim Subcontractor Speak Of Abuse, Neglect, Bounce Checks, Disrespect And More

Police Benevolent Association, Calling For Step Increases, Issues Vote Of No Confidence Resolution In Mapp Administration

Nearly 12,000 Virgin Islanders Voted Early, Setting New Record

Watch: St. Croix Welcomes First Cruise Ship Of Fall Season With Performance Extravaganza

Op-Ed | USVI Legislature Turns A Blind Eye To Public Outcry For Accountability, Transparency And Integrity In Government

Opinion / Virgin Islands / July 2, 2018

The need for an independent Commission or Commissioner has never been greater. My suggestion of how government accountability can be promoted is by putting in place the Office of the Conflict of Interest & Ethics Commissioner.

Office of the Conflict of Interest & Ethics Commissioner (OCIE)

The Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner is an independent Officer of the Virgin Islands Department of Justice (DOJ) responsible for helping appointed and elected officials prevent and avoid conflicts between their public duties and private interests. With the support of the DOJ and Office of the Inspector General, the Commissioner applies the rules, regulations, and guidelines which govern issues of Conflict of Interest, Ethics, and Integrity for public office holders to include the Executive and Legislative branches of government.

The mission of the Office is to administer the conflict of interest, ethics, and integrity rules and regulations for Members of the Executive branch and the VI Legislature and public office holders in order to maintain and enhance the trust and confidence of the Virgin Islands public in the conduct of these elected and appointed officials.

The Office is also responsible for the prompt investigation of any claims or complaints of conflict of interest and ethics violations of government officials or employees. These claims or complaints can be made by government officials, agencies, employees, and/or Members of the general public but for action on claims or complaints to be valid it requires either documentary evidence and witness testimony or both.

The Commissioner should immediately refer for further investigation or prosecution any and all PROVEN (based on tangible, documented evidence, and/or testimony) claims or complaints of criminal actions related to conflict of interest and/or ethics violations of government officials and/or government employees to the appropriate agency to include the Virgin Islands Department of Justice (DOJ), Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) if such claims or complaints are deemed to be violations of Virgin Islands or Federal law.

The Legislature, on the recommendation of the Governor, pursuant to the Revised Organic Act of the Virgin Islands appoints the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner on an interim basis, to hold office during good behavior, for a term of six months, and fixes the salary at an amount to be equal to that of a sitting judge of the Superior Court, as amended from time to time, effective at time of appointment.

When there is sufficient evidence to support comprehensive investigations of valid claims of impropriety and or breaches made by government officials and/or government employees and/or the general public, the term of appointment of the Commissioner may be increased until said matters are concluded.

Crimes should be prosecuted strictly in accordance with the law and a Grand Jury must be empaneled to seek indictments instead of crimes being prosecuted at the discretion of the Attorney General or DOJ.

It is that simple; but it appears that no one in the current Legislature wants to open dialogue much less implement such a radical idea. All the while Wayne James faces prosecution while others have been given a slap on the wrist as others see fit by paying back money they illegally accessed or simply ignored until the statute of limitations has run its course.

With the emerging rhetoric from many gubernatorial and senatorial candidates as being that of accountability for Federal and FEMA funds that are seemingly in abundance in the USVI, it is incumbent that we have checks and balances regardless of who is in leadership positions.

We can do better in the USVI. We should do better.

 

Submitted by: Collister M. Fahie, legal administrative coordinator / public safety officer

Print Friendly, PDF & Email





Staff
Staff Consortium




Previous Post

July 3 Marks 170th Virgin Islands Emancipation

Next Post

AG Walker Files Brief In Support Of Voting Rights For Virgin Islands Residents



Leave a Reply


More Story

July 3 Marks 170th Virgin Islands Emancipation

The Virgin Islands will observe two very significant holidays on July 3 and 4 - the 170th anniversary of the Emancipation...

July 2, 2018