The Office of the Virgin Islands Inspector General had its beginning as the Audit Division of the Virgin Islands Department of Finance. It functioned under the direct supervision of a director, however, the director reported to the Commissioner of Finance.
In the early 1980’s the United States Inspectors General, as a part of a review of the financial management system of the Virgin Islands Government, recommended that, in order to maintain an independent territorial audit function, the Audit Division become a separate and independent agency. Thus, on May 29, 1982, Act 4703 became law without the signature of Governor Juan Luis. Act 4703 created the Virgin Islands Bureau of Audit and Control as an independent agency of the Virgin Islands Government. The Bureau of Audit was to be headed by an inspector general and a deputy inspector general. These two key positions remained vacant, however, as the Bureau of Audit was still headed by a director.
On January 27, 1989, Governor Alexander A. Farrelly nominated Steven van Beverhoudt and Roland Rigaud, as the first Inspector General and Deputy Inspector General respectively. Both nominations were approved by the Virgin Islands Legislature, and both men began their six-year term. Mr. Rigaud retired from government service in December 1994, and Mr. van Beverhoudt was re-nominated for a second term on March 2, 1995, by Governor Roy L. Schneider. Mrs. Susan Andrews served as Deputy Inspector General from September 1999 to March 2001. On February 28, 2002 Governor Charles W. Turnbull again nominated Mr. van Beverhoudt for a third term as Virgin Islands Inspector General, with the Legislature giving almost unanimous ( 14 – yeas, 1 – absent) support on June 22, 2002. Ms. Delia Thomas, a long-time auditor, was promoted to Deputy Virgin Islands Inspector General on June 24, 2002. Governor John P. de Jongh, Jr. re-nominated Mr. Van Beverhoudt for a fourth time as Virgin Islands Inspector General on June 10, 2009. The 28th Legislature unanimously approved the re-nomination on August 20, 2009. More recently, on September 21, 2016, Governor Kenneth E. Mapp re-nominated Mr. van Beverhoudt for a fifth term, with the 31st Legislature giving a 14 – yes, 1- absent approval on December 20, 2016. Ms. Delia Thomas continues to serve as Deputy Virgin Islands Inspector General.
Foreseeing significant challenges to the independence of the Bureau of Audit from his first appointment in 1989, Inspector General van Beverhoudt lobbied the Virgin Islands Legislature for over ten (10) years for investigative authority and improvements to the independence of the agency. Finally, on December 14, 1999, despite the Governor’s veto, the Virgin Islands Legislature passed Act 6333, abolishing the Bureau of Audit and Control and creating the Office of the Virgin Islands Inspector General.
As a separate, independent agency of the Virgin Islands Government, the Virgin Islands Inspector General’s Office functions as the major auditing arm of the Government with a more encompassing audit function extending to all three branches of the Government. Act 6333, in addition to providing for a more independent audit function, also gave the Virgin Islands Inspector General’s Office the authority to conduct investigations as part of its responsibilities in promoting economy, efficiency and effectiveness, and preventing and detecting fraud, waste and abuse.
The primary responsibilities of the Virgin Islands Inspector General’s Office are to conduct audits, inspections and investigations of any Government department, bureau, commission or instrumentality including the Legislative and Judicial branches. As a part of these functions, the Virgin Islands Inspector General’s Office: (i) keeps the Governor, Legislature, and the Territorial Court currently informed of problems and deficiencies relating to the administration of government programs and operations; (ii) recommends and tracks the progress of corrective actions; (iii) takes steps necessary and lawful to ensure full implementation of recommendations; and, (iv) gives advise and issues opinions when requested by other governmental instrumentalities. Finally, the Virgin Islands Inspector General’s Office is responsible for providing on-going training to develop a highly skilled audit and investigative staff.
The Virgin Islands Inspector General is appointed by the Governor and approved by the Legislature. The incumbent now serves a term of seven years and may be removed from office by the Governor, but only upon a finding of neglect of duty and/or malfeasance in office. The Deputy Virgin Islands Inspector General is appointed by the Virgin Islands Inspector General and serves a term concurrent to the term of the appointing Virgin Islands Inspector General.