Commissioner Sir Gary Hickinbottom, Secretary Steven Chandler and and Senior Solicitor Andrew King (not pictured) returned from the United Kingdom on April 1 to continue their independent investigation into alleged corruption in the Virgin Islands. (File photo: DANA KAMPA)

The commission of inquiry’s commissioner, secretary and senior solicitor came back to the Virgin Islands on April 1, starting the countdown on their 14-day quarantine.

Their return marks the potential start to hearings this month concerning potential corruption, abuse of office or serious dishonesty by public officials in recent years.

“Following their return, the COI team will continue with the information-gathering and production-of-documents stage of the [inquiry],” Secretary Steven Chandler wrote in a press release on April 6.

Mr. Chandler, who is joined by Commissioner Sir Gary Hickinbottom and Senior Solicitor Andrew King, said more team members will arrive this month.

He also noted that the team will soon publish rules for how the hearings will be conducted and managed.

When the commission was announced in January, Premier Andrew Fahie stated that he believes the inquiry hearings should be broadcast live on the internet “given the international interest that exists in this matter.”

“It is common practice in many jurisdictions for hearings in commissions of inquiry to be broadcast live,” Mr. Fahie said shortly after the inquiry launch. “This aids the public in having accurate information and in seeing that the inquiry is conducted in a transparent manner with no secrets or hidden agendas.”

It is up to Commissioner Sir Gary to determine the hearing rules. He said on Jan. 22 during a press conference that he was still considering whether individuals would be permitted to give testimony privately.

At the time, Sir Gary also said he plans to write and deliver his report to the Governor’s Office by July.

Submitting info

While working in the United Kingdom, the team sent more than 100 letters to VI public officials requesting documents and other information, according to a March 22 press release. The team says it will continue gathering evidence before any hearings.