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$7.2M to BVI Airways is 'not a big deal'- Hon Fraser

- but suggested that the NDP Administration had a bigger plan!
Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3), inset, is of the opinion that both Government and the investors of BVI Airways knew the current aircraft, with its four turbofan engines, was not sustainable but that the plan was always to upgrade. Photo: VINO/
Premier Dr The Hon D. Orlando Smith (AL) has fired back at BVI Airways, stating that Government had honoured its obligations to the airline and that the public was awaiting the commencement of flights. Photo: VINO/File
Premier Dr The Hon D. Orlando Smith (AL) has fired back at BVI Airways, stating that Government had honoured its obligations to the airline and that the public was awaiting the commencement of flights. Photo: VINO/File
The recent Facebook post by former Leader of the Opposition and former Minister for Communications and Works Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3). Photo: Facebook
The recent Facebook post by former Leader of the Opposition and former Minister for Communications and Works Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3). Photo: Facebook
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- While many critics of the National Democratic Party (NDP) and the decision to give BVI Airways $7.2M for direct flights from Miami International Airport in the United States of America to Terrance B. International Airport on Beef Island have been up in arms over the pay-out, former Leader of the Opposition and former Minister for Communications and Works Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3) is making no big deal about it.

Writing on his Facebook page recently, Hon Fraser said he has always had a theory about Government’s motive behind their $7.2 million grant towards the establishment of this airline, but withheld commenting or sharing it until after the airline was in operation.

He said that stance has now changed because of the new controversy surrounding the airline.

BVI Airways, in a press release to selected media houses on July 18, 2017, said it had laid off all staff due to financial and other challenges and blamed the Virgin Islands Government led by Dr The Hon D. Orlando Smith (AL) for its failure to honour its agreement.

Two days later, Premier Smith fired back, stating that Government had honoured its obligations and that the public was awaiting the commencement of flights.

Securing a National Carrier was the focus

“…I was never shocked nor concerned about the $7.2 million given to the folks at BVI Airways because every Caribbean country forks up $$ millions to Airlines just to fly to their destination each year as revenue guarantees. But that is not where this Government is heading,” Hon Fraser stated.

The veteran legislator suggested that the NDP Government was focused on having a national carrier that would be upgraded later when the runway was extended.

“When taken into context the reasons for setting up this airline, rivalries between OT’s must come into play, along with National pride, and of course the genuine need to. Don't be fooled, the BVI is in direct competition with Bermuda, Cayman Islands, and to a lesser extent Turks and Caicos. However, the main target is Cayman Islands. Why Cayman Islands? Because they are easiest to emulate, and they work best as a model.

“Cayman with an International Airport, a National Airline and an economy three times that of ours, it is not rocket science what's missing in the BVI. It is also common sense what we need to do. The NDP gets it, you the people don’t seem to.”

Plan was to upgrade

Hon Fraser was also of the opinion that both Government and the investors of BVI Airways knew the current aircraft, with its four turbofan engines, was not sustainable but that the plan was always to upgrade.

“Remember Cayman with its National Airline? Well here's the NDP’s chance to get one. They can have it without the public debate having to justify its feasibility, affordability or National benefit. This is the NDP Grand Plan. On the issue of efficiency, well it is their hope that before too long, the runway will be extended and a different aircraft type introduced to solve that problem. Plausible indeed.”

Further explaining his point, Hon Fraser said that in the fiscal year 2016-2017 the Cayman Government has given its National Airline $24.7 million, which is a reduction from the year before. And yet an additional $7.7 million to help pay off its debt.

“I'm making a point here, which is, in the scheme of things, $7.2 million on the part of the NDP to own their own National Airline is not a big deal. So much for the motives of this NDP Administration, and its methods for now. There are prose and cons about having a National Carrier; however, I will expound upon those in Part II of this series.”

43 Responses to “$7.2M to BVI Airways is 'not a big deal'- Hon Fraser”

  • Just saying (23/07/2017, 14:27) Like (25) Dislike (4) Reply
    Fraser needs to go join the NDP from here with this crap
  • Eyes Wide Open (23/07/2017, 14:34) Like (29) Dislike (2) Reply

    Mr. Fraser oh lawddy. Yuh almost send mih pressure up with that comment. When local vendors were yet to be paid, schools need fixing, roads need fixing, people hurting you talking ish. That is why u will never be Premier. Because the deal similar to the biwater deal...

  • vip (23/07/2017, 14:41) Like (11) Dislike (3) Reply
    Frazer are you for real? Them man need jailing
  • Mick Mars (23/07/2017, 14:49) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    Done see the play on the field. Switch sides, Mr Frazer. Ain't nobody stopping you. However be prepared to suffer if you on a squad that get such a crushing defeat if the people of the virgin Islands finally stop looking for favors from a few fife lords giving out crumbs much smaller than what they getting from aiding and abetting these see if foreign thevies.

    They ain't gonna share that fall out money with you, boss. Form yur own squad or make amends with ya old one.
  • See (23/07/2017, 14:50) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
    unbelieveable !!!
  • okay (23/07/2017, 15:05) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    Sooo what I am actually reading between the lines is that the D3 rep is aligning himself with the current administration. Hmmm politics at its best
    • wize up (23/07/2017, 16:41) Like (4) Dislike (7) Reply
      @ okay: the chap from 3 is a prudent man that other ship done sink and the blind can't lead the blind......the other chap working for the white house but let's all see how far he gets with that White House affliction:
    • how much (23/07/2017, 17:55) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      How much a similar Airline will cost? I'm thinking about if we did add another 3 million and buy our own..Pilot come Pilot go, investors come investors go, our own Airline will Park at Beef Island..
  • wize up (23/07/2017, 15:17) Like (5) Dislike (19) Reply
    I will follow Hon Fraser: because all the other chap doing is tell all of us what is wrong in this territory very minute of the day: however he does not bringing any solutions to the forefront: most of us clearly known; and clearly understand something is wrong so for the other chap to keep on harping on what is wrong yet he can't give one solution is old school politics: all of us fully well know about that 7.2 what can be done to correct the all the issues is the way forward: the 13 of them were elected by the people so fahie should try offering some solutions and not because you sit on the other side of the keep harping on the negatives.......
    • Street reporter (23/07/2017, 17:38) Like (11) Dislike (1) Reply
      This is more reason why VIP need to put a River between Frazer and themselves...I can just imaging hearing Ronnie, Mark, Kedrick and Myron "Frazer saw the wisdom for the 7 million" lol. VIP Run fast leave Frazer..
  • investor (23/07/2017, 15:41) Like (12) Dislike (11) Reply
    I have been monitoring this airline story and keep asking myself the same question. Do certain bloggers expect BVI Government to control the airline in question just because they made an investment ( as shareholders) of the company? A $7.2M investment into an aircraft company I cannot imagine could give that investor ( BVI government and not Dr. Smith as sometimes hinted) any CONTROLLING shares. Therefore if the government with its shares fully paid for does not want to make any further investments at this time why should we jump on the bandwagon and blame the government for its stance? As a shareholder we should first see the planes flying efficiently and effectively before we consider any further investment(s). It appears that the airline management is pulling a political stunt to force the hand of our treasury. I agree with the Premier - No more funds from BVI treasury. Fly the plane. Fraser, thanks for publically agreeing that the investment was made by our government with a good motive and should not be blamed for the political play seemingly being made by these businessmen. The electorate taking the side of the airline management is what they want but we VI people smarter than that.
    • @investor (23/07/2017, 17:22) Like (18) Dislike (2) Reply
      Speak for yourself. No we the electorate in this. This government wasting our taxes and can't pay for necessities at schools, clinics, hospital etc. Ain't no way we voting those bastards back in again.

      • wize up (23/07/2017, 18:16) Like (5) Dislike (13) Reply
        @ investor: speak for yourself: the next election I will without any doubt vote NDP and all the way...
  • zone 3 (23/07/2017, 16:24) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    If he going with the ndp crooks then tell us fast
  • L. blak (23/07/2017, 16:31) Like (13) Dislike (15) Reply
    Fraser is a honorable man
  • will (23/07/2017, 17:13) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
  • Still Sleeping (23/07/2017, 17:30) Like (12) Dislike (1) Reply
    Didn't Frazer when he was the minister did the same thing with American Eagle and soon after they laid off workers and close shop? Understand why he supporting this nonsense... He with the bad company
    • I See.. (23/07/2017, 21:52) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      Do tell. I was wondering whatever happened to American Eagle. That late flight from Puerto Rico was quite convenient..
  • SMH (23/07/2017, 17:44) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    why is Julian Fraser jumping on a sinking ship?
  • Informed (23/07/2017, 18:00) Like (5) Dislike (2) Reply
    or not, people will voice.
  • 1 (23/07/2017, 18:36) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Joe Frisier need to get his stories straight.
  • politricks (23/07/2017, 19:52) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    7.2 million "US dollars" is not a big deal? Frazer cannot be serious! Is he saying that the government has money to throw away? I guess he forget that it is taxpayers hard earn money.
  • the doc (23/07/2017, 19:59) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Let's face it. Why we the can't get any straight answers is because the airline is the NDP own. They ddon't want the public to know they buy an air plane out of our tax money. Point blank
  • Common (23/07/2017, 20:37) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    It appears as if we put loyalty before the truth. Boy values and principle is a ting of the pass.
  • voiceofthevoiceless (23/07/2017, 21:59) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    Well Fraser's stance on this project pretty much confirms his political intention which is to join the NDP. Why not just resign from the VIP then? VIP must immediately set Mr. Frazer and ultimatum to resign or be fired. Give him a month as time is of the essence and VIP will need to find an eligible candidate for the 3rd.

    If Fraser does join the NDP, a move like that would remind of the old adage that politics does make strange bedfellows. Could you imagine him joining the same party that attacked and derided his leadership credentials during the last campaign?Even the Thrushes will fly away if Fraser is elected Premier. A vote for X is a vote for Fraser. Leadership matters. Then what happens to OJ? Will he now run at large?

    Now to the argument that Caribbean Governments make these deals all the time. That is not true. Yes Caribbean Governments pay airlines to travel to their islands but those airlines are already established and have their own planes and infrastructure in place. That is a worthwhile investment, not this one where we investing in a start up company that never flied that route or did not have any planes or infrastructure in place or even other investors willing to invest start up capital. On top of that the company owed the government 100k which as far as we know is yet to be paid. Then they are given numerous frivolous benefits, some that the government would find it hard to make reality.

    Then he talks about the Government wanting a National Airline for national pride simply because Cayman Islands has one. Just like saying my Neighbor has a 2018 BMW so I should get one too never mind that I cannot afford it or that a 2018 Mazda could do the same job?? Caymans is a stones throw 1 hr from Miami(BVI 2.5 hrs away), boasts a population of 60,000 almost twice the BVI and 3 times our GDP. Really and truly that is not a good comparison to make. So if the Caymans Government just recently pumped 31 million into Cayman Airways, how much a year you think we will have to pump in yearly to BVI Airways if we assume ownership? Caribbean Governments should not be in the business of owning airlines as it is far too risky, let the private sector deal with that and just subsidize routes. Where is the feasibility study that was done about this EIS-mainland flight and why is it too sensitive to be made public?

    Fraser just jump please. You making yourself a RA(Royal ask me no questions). No wonder you could never be Premier.
  • Smokin Joe Fraser (23/07/2017, 23:00) Like (3) Dislike (3) Reply
    You are sounding interesting Fraser. I still think we should invest in VI Airlink instead of these con men. They are bringing nothing to the table.
  • justsayin (24/07/2017, 00:06) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Where's Lorenzo when we need him .
  • UK Observer (24/07/2017, 01:50) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Hello my People!! Did the new Governor and Auditor General arrived Saturday 22 July on the non stop flight?
    • wize up (24/07/2017, 06:28) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ UK Observer: are you saying both of them came across the Atlantic on the same flight and do you think the wall was discussed during.......
  • fraser (24/07/2017, 05:02) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    Fraser - we can no longer trust you- you never learned a thing with Bi Water
  • Freedom! (24/07/2017, 07:20) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Frazer with this you have killed your political career
  • Political Observer (PO) (24/07/2017, 07:40) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    The sight challenge can see that the $7.3M give away was poor financial stewardship of taxpayers scarce resources. It was given away without any due diligence. The ease with which money was dispersed makes the BVI look amateurish and bungling fools. It is a national embarrassment. Now the BVI has a losing hand. The choices are not in the national interest. It can throw good money after bad or it can cut its losses and walk away. The BVI should not be in this position; it put itself in this position with its eyes wide open. It is a good thing that its eyes were wide open; imagine if its eyes were closed. Did the caucus buy in to this awful deal. Everyone now seems as a quiet as a church mouse. We know that many in the caucus have diarrhea of the mouth.

    • voiceofthevoiceless (24/07/2017, 09:01) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
      Due diligence that is correct. Proper due diligence was not done as if it ws they would have discovered that some of the players in BVI Airways were involved instrumentally in Baltia Airways an airline that for 27 years is yet to operate one flight! I understand they are about to try again just under a different name lol. Secondly, most of our tourists come from the eastern seaboard of America ie. New York/Connecticut, Boston , Philadelphia etc so why are we focusing so much on Miami?

      That money would have been better and more securely invested in our ferry services having them operating late night and upgrading our ferry terminals. Money would have stayed right here too.
  • yes (24/07/2017, 08:19) Like (1) Dislike (7) Reply
    Why we are so brainless to see and under stand d what the man is trying to say I do t have a ba or maybe to realize what is wrong here I always believed the ndp was up to something they had a plan and we really don't get it when we truly do t like some one we will see or understand what they trying to say. We are I. A very competitive industry especially In tourism market .cruise .overnight guest.i ternational airport and we need to step up but the government need to stop playing games with us the people of the b
    Vi every one was happy when they heard about straight to Miami and thought it was a good thing.there is a motive behind all this and Fraser say we the people don't see it .all of sudden plane can't fly. Employees gone plane bond on ground people wake up their plot came through and I always say there is some thing wrong .stop hating on Fraser and go back and read his article you miss the point .Andrew say cow will jump over the moon before plane fly bont you think he why he say what said. He too see the picture no one .and. O one made fuss in him knowing what he knows
    It's a trick in how the goverment do things you don't needed a degree a to figure this out. In this way they now force our hand to build extend o. The airport faster than we think .people wake up wake up .stop hating o. Fraser.this the same reason the ndp is now in power gaving us sh
  • Hig city voters (24/07/2017, 08:51) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Time for oj, willock or roy barry to come forward to take out this man@
  • First d (24/07/2017, 09:09) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
  • Curious (24/07/2017, 09:24) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    They're saying they need money to fly.Does anybody know the amount?
  • Sacks (24/07/2017, 11:10) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Now i appreciate why mr fahie asked if jf in or out?
  • watcher (24/07/2017, 14:44) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Whiskers you really said that, I guess because its not your money.
  • rock city (27/07/2017, 23:24) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The arrogant language here tells it all.

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