Governor John Rankin chaired a Cabinet meeting held on March 3 at the Financial Services Commission’s Conference Room. All members were present. During the meeting, the Cabinet took the following actions, according to a summary provided by the Cabinet Office.

1. Reviewed and considered the following bills and decided that they be introduced for their first reading in the House of Assembly at the next convenient sitting:

a. a bill titled Contractor General Act, 2021, which seeks to monitor and, where necessary, investigate the award of contracts with a view to ensuring that they are awarded impartially and without impropriety or irregularity and are implemented as specified in the award, and report the findings of any such investigation to the House of Assembly;

b. a bill titled Whistleblower Act, 2021, which seeks to make provision for the manner in which individuals may in the public interest disclose information that relates to unlawful or other illegal conduct or corrupt practices of others; to provide for the protection against victimisation of people who make these disclosures; and to provide for a fund to reward them;

c. a bill titled Beneficial Ownership Secure Search System (Amendment) Act, 2021, which seeks to amend the Beneficial Ownership Secure Search System Act, 2017 (No. 15 of 2017);

d. a bill titled Economic Substance (Companies and Limited Partnerships) (Amendment) Act, 2021, which seeks to amend the Economic Substance (Companies and Limited Partnerships) Act, 2018;

e. a bill titled Register of Interests (Amendment) Act, 2021, which seeks to enable the registrar of interests to cooperate fully with criminal investigations, orders of a court and commissions of inquiry, while preserving the confidentiality of the register once its relevance for those purposes has been exhausted; and

f. a bill titled Stamp (Amendment) Act, 2021, which seeks to extend the economic stimulus in response to the effects of Covid19 virus and

i. approved the extension of Covid-19 economic stimulus waiver of stamp duty on the sale or transfer of property to belongers from June 1 to Oct. 31;

ii. decided that the Ministry of Finance instruct the Attorney General’s Chambers to vet the bill; and

iii. instructed the financial secretary to submit a report on the initial “special exemptions” on stamp duties that ends May 31, no later than June 30.

2. Reviewed and accepted the recommendation of the Central Tender Board to award Cable & Wireless (BVI) Limited the contract for the supply and installation of island-wide fibre network in the amount of $411,445.49.

3. Reviewed and accepted the recommendation of the Central Tenders Board to award Einstein Samuels/Dennis Ricketts dba D. E. Property Development the contract for construction of a new social home in Fresh Water Pond in the amount of $223,471.93.

4. Approved payment of a set monthly allowance to the eligible officers of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, Her Majesty’s Customs and the Immigration Department assigned to the Joint Task Force in the amount of $400, notwithstanding officers who are currently in receipt of any additional allowances.

5. Granted exceptional approval to waive the tender process to allow the government to re-engage John Black, QC, for additional legal services rendered to during the appeal of Kenyatta Boynes v. The Queen, BVIHCRAP 2017/001; and approved the payment in the sum of $15,000, which is in addition to the $96,900 approved by Cabinet in 2020 for legal services in relation to the Operation Lucan trial that resulted in the petty contract threshold of $100,000 being exceeded.

6. Decided that the following people be appointed to the Festivals and Fairs Committee in accordance to Section 6(2) of the Virgin Islands Festivals and Fairs Committee Act, 2005, with effect from Jan. 1:

a. Khalid Frett as chairman to replace the previous chairman for the unexpired period of his tenure, until March 26, 2022;

b. Violet de Castro as vice chairman until March 26, 2022;

c. April Glasgow as public relations officer from March 1 to Dec. 31, 2023;

d. Stuart Donovan, Ottley Hodge and Harella Georges as members with effect from Jan. 1, 2021 to Dec. 31, 2023;

e. Delia Jon Baptiste, Marieta Headley, Luce Hodge-Smith and Dion Kendall as members with effect from March 1 for a period of three years; and

f. revoked the appointment of Nicholas Bailey as treasurer with effect from Feb. 28 and decided that Ishelle Hodge be appointed as treasurer with effect from March 1 for a period of three years.

7. Approved two non-belongers land holding licence applications.

Information provided in a summary Gazetted on March 18.