Members of the National Unity Government’s Cabinet, above, will be responsible for working with Governor John Rankin to ensure that reforms recommended by the Commission of Inquiry are carried out in accordance with a series of strict deadlines over the next two years. (File Photo: FREEMAN ROGERS)

Along with the broader governance reforms laid out in the proposal, the National Unity Government committed to an extensive list of deadlines for carrying out recommendations included in the Commission of Inquiry report.

Below are some of the commitments that are expected to have the widest impact, and the dates for implementation.

Constitutional review
  • Cabinet will propose a revised Constitutional Review Committee with the final membership to be jointly agreed by the governor and premier.

Deadline: June 30, 2022   

  •  The Constitutional Review Committee will present draft terms of reference to the premier and governor for joint sign-off.

Deadline: July 31, 2022

  • Constitutional Review Commission will present its final report to the premier and governor.

Deadline: June 30, 2023  

 Curtailing open-ended discretion
  • The governor will commission an independent review of discretionary powers held by government ministers and Cabinet, with a view to removing unnecessary powers and ensuring that necessary powers are exercised in accordance with clearly expressed and published guidelines.

Start date: July 1, 2022

Completion date: Oct. 1, 2022  

  •  The House of Assembly will legislate in accordance with review’s recommendations

Deadline: Dec. 31, 2022  

 Audits and investigations

There are more recommendations for this area of governance than any other in the proposal. They include audits into the Covid-19 Assistance Programmes, the Sea Cows Bay Harbour Development Project, and the Virgin Islands Neighbourhood Partnership Project, as well as related legislative changes, such as making it a criminall offence to fail to cooperate with the auditor general. The recommendations are to be implemented over the course of a year. Deadlines for some — such as the June 1 deadline for the auditor general to prepare a timetable for the required audits — have already passed. Meanwhile, others — like the recommendation that the auditor general or other independent person or body audit all applications for belongership and residency under the Fast Track Programme — are not due until next summer.

Welfare benefits and grants  
  • The governor, with the support of the minister of health and social development, will oversee a wholesale review of the territory’s welfare benefits and grants system, including HOA members’ assistance grants and government ministries’ assistance grants, with a view to moving towards an open, transparent and single (or, at least, coherent) system of benefits based on clearly expressed and published criteria without unnecessary discretionary powers. The report will be presented to the premier and governor.

Start date: June 30, 2022

Completion date: Nov. 30, 2022

  • The Cabinet will agree to allow publication of the Cabinet documents relating to memoranda proposing a tender waiver.

Deadline: June 30, 2022  

  •  The HOA will amend the Public Finance Management Act to require all government contracts under $100,000 to contain a provision that there are no associated contracts which together would trigger the open tender process for major contracts; and that all Cabinet memoranda which propose a tender waiver will be provided to the director of the Internal Audit Department in advance so that she can make observations to Cabinet as to the appropriateness of a waiver and compliance with the law — and instigate any audit of the project she considers fit.

Deadline: July 31, 2022  

 Disposal of Crown land

The governor, in consultation with the premier, will appoint a suitable reviewer to conduct a wholesale review of disposal of Crown land. The completed review will be presented to the governor and premier.

Start date: July 31, 2022

Completion date: Dec. 31, 2022  

  •  The HOA will pass legislation according to the review’s recommendations

Deadline: Feb. 23, 2023  

 Residency and belongership
  • Cabinet will propose a suitable individual to lead a review of the existing policy and processes for granting residency and belongership status. The appointment is subject to joint approval by the premier and governor, who will receive the completed report.

Start date: Sept. 1, 2022

Completion date: Nov. 30, 2022  

  • Cabinet will approve and enact the review’s recommendations.

Deadline: Jan. 31, 2023

  • Cabinet commits to follow the existing legislation on the residency threshold pending completion of the review.
Law enforcement and justice

The proposal includes several recommendations concerning the territory’s law enforcement and justice systems, including an overall review of these systems as part of the larger constitutional review; the creation of an independent agency to vet law enforcement officers; and a requirement for the HOA to consider revisions to the Jury Act, including increasing the size of the jury pool.

Governance and serious dishonesty in public office


  • Cabinet will approve a reporting structure for the complaints commissioner to report to the governor and deputy governor, as well as recommended response times to complaints, based on the recommendations of the commissioner.

Deadline: July 31, 2022  

  •  Cabinet will require the complaints commissioner to report annually to the HOA Standing Finance Committee to set out the extent to which there has been a response to her criticisms and recommendations.

Deadline: July 31, 2022

Electoral reform
  • The HOA will amend existing legislation inconsideration of the recommendations of the Supervisor of Elections’ General Elections Report 2019 and the recommendations made that year by the observer mission, including those on campaign finance reform.

Deadline: Sept. 30, 2022