May 31 marked the expiration of the original two-year deadline to implement the 48 agreed governance reforms recommended by the 2022 Commission of Inquiry report.

With Governor Daniel Pruce now authorising a three-month extension to complete the remaining reforms, it’s time to double down.

This means that legislators, the Governor’s Office and other policymakers all must step up their efforts in order to ensure that they don’t find themselves back in a similar situation at the end of August.

Delays in meeting the May 31 deadline are not terribly surprising. The deadline, after all, was somewhat arbitrary, and the reforms address complex systematic issues, many of which have festered unchecked for decades and require extensive legislative changes.

Still, it is worrying that officials have clearly dragged their feet in some instances. Worse, a few legislators have even begun to complain openly about the reforms, wrongly implying that they may not be needed after all.

Nevertheless, as Mr. Pruce noted in May in his first quarterly review of the reforms’ implementation, substantial progress has been made. A full 29 of the reforms have been implemented, and there has been a “significant intensification” of progress in recent months, Mr. Pruce stated.

The hiring of Kedrick Malone as delivery manager and the establishment of the Governance Reform Coordination Centre have helped the cause. So has closer coordination between Mr. Pruce and Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley — who rightly welcomed the governor’s review.

Also welcome is the news that a joint action plan approved by Mr. Pruce and Dr. Wheatley was submitted this month to David Rutley, the United Kingdom minister for the overseas territories.

Still, it will be a busy summer. As Mr. Pruce noted, the outstanding reforms involve some of the thorniest “fundamental” issues on the agenda.

These include curtailing VI legislators’ discretionary powers; properly reforming social assistance programmes; passing new legislation to regulate the actions of statutory boards; and establishing adequate rules for legislators to declare their interests.

The blame for the delays doesn’t fall solely on the government. The governor is also behind on his reform responsibilities. The Governor’s Group’s formidable to-do list includes four reforms set to be implemented later this summer concerning new legislation affecting the Register of Interests, future COIs, the public service, and the vetting of law enforcement officers.

Two other reforms spearheaded by the governor — a regional review of criminal procedure rules and constitutional changes to allow for judge-only trials — have been put on hold “pending external developments,” according to Mr. Pruce.

Given the governor’s own delays, the UK threat to push through reforms by giving additional powers to the governor or implementing direct rule rings hollow. As this newspaper has argued in the past, it is in the best interest of the VI and the UK alike for the reforms to come through collaborative local initiative, even if it takes a little longer.

The bottom line: Each of the COI reforms was placed on the list for good reason, and each is an important step toward better governance.

In fact, many have long been recommended by watchdogs such as government auditors, the media (including this newspaper), and other social commentators.

Doubtlessly, some segments of the public will experience hardships during the adjustment period.

For example, people who benefitted from loosely regulated no-bid contracts will likely have to work harder to demonstrate the value that they can provide in exchange for taxpayers’ dollars. But the old ways of doing things have resulted in substandard infrastructure and carelessly run programmes that waste public resources. This must not continue.

The public deserves a government that is accountable, transparent and effective. Swiftly implementing the rest of the COI reforms will go a long way toward achieving that goal.