Nevisians Praised For Willingness To Give Evidence

Mr. Thomas Sharpe - Commission of Inquiry Commissioner

Mr. Thomas Sharpe – Nevis COI Commissioner

Charlestown, Nevis
February 05, 2010

Commissioner to the Commission of Inquiry on Nevis Mr. Thomas Sharpe QC commended Nevisians for what he said was their willingness to provide evidence critical to the investigation.

His commendations came during an interview with the Department of Information on Tuesday, at the Commission of Inquiry Secretariat on Government Road.  He was at the time giving an update on the status of the Inquiry at which public hearings were curtailed due to an appeal filed at the Courts by witness and former Premier Mr. Vance Amory.

“Even though Mr. Amory is successful in his stay application that only stops the public hearings. It does not disable us from doing our homework and taking evidence from people, who I have to say, proved remarkably willing and helpful to the Commission and I pay tribute to that.

“Even people’s interest are not always you would think directly support, even people of opposing political persuasions have been very forthcoming and very helpful and I pay tribute to that,” he said.

Mr. Sharpe who described Nevisians as incredibly friendly said members of the public had come up to him and he had not received any bad complaints about the Commission of Inquiry.

“Nobody has said the Commission is a bad idea, not to me anyway, people are not saying that to my face, I see it in posters but everyone says isn’t it very expensive at this very difficult time and I cannot emphasise enough I sympathise with that completely and my personal position on that I have made well known,” he said.

The Commissioner also used the opportunity to explain what was expected of him and gave a brief insight into some of the matters that he continued to deal with.

“Looking at the paper work and analysing these things deeply, when we look at the Marion Heights acquisition for example, my job is to see whether the people of Nevis got value for money; whether there was a good deal in buying something that on its face, some say, was at a very significant over valuation and in any event was inappropriate for the University offices they were doing, that’s one thing.

“Then the airport tender was for EC$30million and it came out at over EC$20million and that’s serious money and I want to know where that money went and I am looking for people who were very responsible for the whole project who on behalf of the people of Nevis were engaged in that,” he said.

However, he disclosed that some witnesses continued to be resistant to give evidence and urged them to come forward of their own accord.

“I’m hoping they will volunteer as well I hope ex Premier Vance and Ms. Nichols in the Marion Heights matter and Mr. Perkins of the Airport they will come forward on a voluntary basis and give their evidence and explain their side, [and] what went on so we get all the jigsaw pieces on the table and we don’t get gaps.

“This is what I’m hoping and I don’t think I am going to be disappointed. So when I come back again in a few weeks time we get the hearings going and we look forward to more interesting developments,” he said.

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