Despite stating that the evidence stage of the Commission of Inquiry has been completed, Commissioner Sir Gary Hickinbottom has said there are still a number of outstanding matters which need to be addressed before pressing forward.
Sir. Hickinbottom made the statement on Friday October 22, where he revealed that there are still several outstanding requests for disclosure which the COI made to the attorney general several weeks prior.
He also disclosed that the Attorney General Dawn Smith has requested to cross-examine former Governor Augustus Jaspert on behalf of the BVI government ministers.
He said, “I proposed directing that the attorney comply with each of those requests by 4:00 p.m on Friday, the 29th of October. The IRU has supplied us with a list and a full list will be included in the formal order. Second, the Attorney General on behalf of the elected ministers has indicated that she wishes to question His Excellent the Governor directly by way of cross examination and has reserved her position in relation to applying to question the former Governor Augustus Jaspert.”
“I’ve already indicated during the course of the hearings this week that I’m willing in principle to grant the application to question the governor and he has said that he is willing to be questioned, but I’ve yet to determine the topics to which the questions will be limited,” he added.
Hearing aimed for final week in November
Sir Hickinbottom said he will be aiming to have that hearing within the final week of November, and requested that the AG submit the necessary information to facilitate the hearing.
“In relation to those applications, I proposed to direct firstly that by 4 p.m. today the attorney notifies the COI the dates of availability for counsel of their choice. I think that is Sir Geoffrey for the period, the 15th to the 26th of November and whilst I can’t guarantee it, I’ll do what I can to accommodate counsel. Second by 4 p.m. on Tuesday, the 26th of October, the attorney, A, notifies the COI of the areas in respect of which he wishes to question the governor and B, notifies the COI if she wishes to question Mr. Jaspert, and if so the areas upon which she wishes to question him. And thirdly, by 4:00 p.m. On Wednesday, the 3rd of November she sends the COI in electronic form a properly paginating an indexed hearing bundle for that hearing,” the Commissioner stated.
Evidence can still be submitted – Radar Barges documents still outstanding!
Commissioner Hickinbottom also revealed that documents on the Radar Barges remain outstanding, which he said was pending an approval request from the National Security Council (NSC).
He said provisions are still in place to accommodate the submission of any further evidence despite the evidence stage being deemed complete.
“I understand other grounds in respect of the bundle of documents, which the COI prepared in connection with the government’s leasing of radar barges, remains outstanding. Earlier this week the IRU indicated that the NSC was still considering that request. In addition we were told yesterday evening that the NSC wish to consider whether any parts of the transcripts from Days 50 and 52 this week which concerned radar barges that might be subject to a PII application. That at the moment is holding up publication of those transcripts,” he stated.
The Commissioner provided dates for which the NSC should submit evidence to substantiate their request to have certain information redacted from the transcripts, warning that if the deadline for these dates have passed without submission, the documents will be published the COI’s website as is.