Caymans Post

A world within. A state apart.
Tuesday, Aug 03, 2021

Respect! Gary Hickinbottom decided to break the local law to ensure justice for the locals

Throughout centuries of history, the English Rule of Law legal system has been the most effective instrument in the hands of racist and corrupt elites to fight against the Rule of Justice.

Today, Mr. Gary Hickinbottom (a “Sir” in England, and a “Pirate” in the Caribbean) performed an important act of heroism. He decided - against the local laws - to make public a very embarrassing audit report that the BVI government tried to hide from the public through the standard obfuscation tactic built into the English legal system used on the island.

Today, for once, my opposition to the British act of White Supremacy of instigating the illegal Commission of Inquiry (COI) against the island's democratically-elected government reminded me of my embarrassing opposition to the acts of terror committed by Nelson Mandela in his war against Apartheid.

Mr. Gary Hickinbottom has ruled - against the law and without any legal authority to do so - that he will be placing a COVID-19 audit document on the COI’s website, thus making it publicly accessible, ignoring the government's decision and against the AG's objection.

The audit covers the government’s grants to farmers and fisherfolk as well as other government economic stimulus given to local religious institutions, private schools, and daycare centres.

Several aspects of the audit document have been cited at length during Auditor General Sonia Webster’s testimony before the COI this week.

Solicitor General, Jo-Ann Williams-Roberts, who acts on behalf of the Attorney General representing government ministers, urged Mr. Hickinbottom not to publish the audit document on the COI’s website at this stage. Admittedly, she did point out a few valid reasons for this, but made them alongside the regular bureaucratic nonsense as an excuse to hide this report from the public - which in fact owns it.

“If we publish the report, then we’d obviously exclude the personal data — that’s not an issue. The only issue [you then have] is that, although it’s a final report, it hasn’t been laid before the House of Assembly yet,” Sir Gary said.

Williams-Roberts agreed and said: “I am concerned that we may misstep if we do publish the information prior to it being laid on the House of Assembly’s table,” Williams-Roberts said.

COI attorney Bilal Rawat, in his response, argued that the process of placing the documents before the HOA was essentially a ‘procedural step’ before making the documents public.

He said the AG’s document was essentially final since it was submitted to the governor. And when it’s in the hands of the governor, no changes are usually made — unless in the form of an addendum.

According to Mr. Rawat, the documents had already been sent to all interested parties in a COI hearing bundle, so it should have been obvious that there was an intention to make the documents public via Inquiry proceedings.

With the public having read the transcripts of the hearing, Mr. Rawat said they will now be aware of the contents of the document, which goes towards the aim of helping the public to understand the work of the COI.

Mr Rawat said he was not arguing for the COI to publish every document it received. But, altogether, he felt these factors outweighed the arguments made by the Solicitor-General.

The Solicitor-General, in response, pointed out the fact that placing the documents before the HOA was not a procedural step but a statutory requirement as per Section 20 of the Audit Act. She argued that the COI would be in breach of the Act if it published the document summarily on its website.

But the Section 20 of the Audit Act is an illegal law, as it’s form of procedure to hide from the public an audit report which is done for the public and belongs to the public.

Section 20 of the Audit Act is an abuse of lawmakers' power, throwing BVI back into rule by bureaucracy instead of democracy; a well known trick of colonialism that corrupt officers to act against the public’s interest.

Section 20 of the Audit Act perverts the way publicity must be done:

The soul of democracy is “for the public”. (The soul of colonialism is “for the government”).

Giving audit reports first to the Governor is wrong. (Actually, the position and function of governor is racist, anti-democratic, and against the international law. It’s pure colonialism).

Giving the audit report next only to the government, is in fact not only delays the exposure for too long, which is wrong. When the information is so urgent, it must be made publicly available while mistakes can still be fixed.

In democracy, the Auditor General serves the public, not the government. It must report first to the boss (the public) and not to the people it investigates (the government).

The law that state that the report must be given first to the suspects (the government) instead of to the owners, bosses and victims (the public) is illegal and void.

And from theory to practice:

That’s exactly why BVI lost the millions in the BVI Airways bribery scandal: the corrupted Governor hid the report from the public and from the government, in order to protect his favourite Orlando against the Premier's opponents in government.

There cannot be any “ifs” and “buts” in fighting corruption. Either we agree that transparency is a key to prevent corruption, or we support corruption by superimposing above the platitudes of transparency a bureaucracy that kills the ability to maintain a corruption-free government. 

The corrupt practices the British established in their colonies have been repatriated and have now poisoned their own system back at home. The resulting corrupt outcomes are significant and embarrassing to the UK, and, to judge by current events, getting ever-more frequent.

The corruption in UK became the new norm, that makes the COI look like a big joke. UK can teach BVI nothing about good governance, not because BVI is perfect with zero faults, but because the corrupted government that Mr.  Hickinbottom is representing can only learn from BVI about morals, honesty, dignity, family values and democracy. Some of the things that UK never had anyway, and some UK totally lost.  


Public interest outweighs procedure

Mr. Hickinbottom said that before the Solicitor General’s invited objections, no one raised a concern knowing that the entire report could have been read out in hearings.

In his ruling, Mr. Hickinbottom further said he has to balance the public interest and that of others when considering whether to post the report on the COI’s website.

He said not posting the documents now would leave an incomplete picture in the minds of the public, especially since the report has now been referred to extensively.

He said he will direct that the documents be published on the COI website with the appropriate redactions.


And I say: Hats off!!

Auditor General Sonia Webster did a brave, professional and honest job for the public who finance her salary.

Her job is to expose the government’s corruption to the public, not to the government.

It is illegal to hide material such as this audit report from the public who own it, as soon as it has been released by the author in accordance with the law.

Under English Colonial Law, the Rule of Law provides the authority to deny justice, cover up crimes, and discriminate against minorities. But in a modern, free and democratic society, the Rule of Justice is supreme, and above any other law, procedure or judgment.

If there is justice, let it shine forth now!

Mr. Hickinbottom’s decision to break the British VI law in order to put the public interest first, is well supported by the U.S. Supreme Court as well as by China’s legendary leader:

1. “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman” (U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis).

2. "It doesn't matter whether a cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice." (Deng Xiaoping)

Although this decision is helping the COI to achieve its goal of delegitimising the local’s rights for democracy, it’s a great example that even a broken watch is right twice a day.


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