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The British Virgin Islands’ (BVI) constitution should be suspended and Britain should take direct control of its overseas territory, according to a new report that found the governance in the self-autonomous islands was “appallingly bad,” BBC reported.

The report, led by retired British judge Sir Gary Hickinbottom, was commissioned in 2021 following claims of corruption and misuse of taxpayers’ money in the BVI.

The findings showed that elected officials have dismissed basic principles of good governance, creating an environment in which corruption can flourish. The report recommended that Britain should take direct control of its territory, suspend the constitution for two years and dissolve the BVI’s government.

The report’s release coincided with the detention by American authorities of BVI Premier Andrew Fahie and senior port official Oleanvine Maynard in Miami. The two officials have been charged with drug smuggling and money-laundering conspiracies.

While the report was not connected to Fahie’s arrest, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the premier’s detention showed the need for “urgent action.”

But the islands’ acting premier, Natalio Wheatley, said the governance problems could be resolved without suspending the constitution.

The BVI is part of Britain’s overseas territories, which include Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands. Although these have their own governments, Britain is responsible for the territories’ foreign policy and defense.

Leaked information from the “Panama Papers” and the “Paradise Papers” have shown that the 40-island archipelago is a popular tax haven.

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