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After $7M of taxpayers’ money would BVI Airways ever fly?

- Opposition Members to pepper Premier Smith with questions over the controversial airline bailout deal @ the September 22, 2016 sitting of Parliament
Opposition members Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1), left, and Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3) are to pepper Premier Dr The Hon D. Orlando Smith (centre) with questions about BVI Airways at the House of Assembly sitting on September 22, 2016. Photo: VINO/File
BVI Tourist Board Chairman Russell Harrigan (left) was part of the Government team that announced on January 12, 2016 that the NDP Administration would bailout BVI Airways with a $7M upfront investment in order to help with air access and direct flights from Miami to the VI. Photo: VINO/File
BVI Tourist Board Chairman Russell Harrigan (left) was part of the Government team that announced on January 12, 2016 that the NDP Administration would bailout BVI Airways with a $7M upfront investment in order to help with air access and direct flights from Miami to the VI. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Many persons were not convinced it was a good deal after the National Democratic Party (NDP) Administration, led by Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith and his Tourist Board Chairman Russell Harrigan, announced a US$7M bailout of the defunct BVI Airways.

Broke BVI Airways?

In 2010 BVI Airways began operations at the Terence B. Lettsome International Airport on Beef Island. In 2014 it abruptly ceased operations in the Virgin Islands (VI) and it was reported that the airline ran out of money, while leaving a few people surprised with the short lived operation.

It also left owing the BVI Airports Authority thousands of dollars. However, on January 12, 2016 the NDP Administration announced that it would bailout BVI Airways with a $7M upfront investment in order to help with air access and direct flights from Miami to the VI.

To date, after millions of taxpayers’ money and a deal that some say was poorly negotiated because if BVI Airways never flies we get zero money back, not one flight has taken place, notwithstanding that Dr Smith said the deal was a “game changer”.

Questions on BVI Airways from Opposition

Opposition Leader and Third District Representative Hon Julian Fraser RA is to ask Premier Smith at the First Sitting of the Second Session of the Third House of Assembly of the VI on September 22, 2016 if the defunct BVI Airways is still on target to make its maiden trip to the VI in November as announced.

Meanwhile, Senior Opposition Member Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) will ask about the status of the disbursement of the taxpayers' seven Million dollars. In addition, Hon Fahie will quiz Premier Smith about the monies owed to BVI Airports Authority and if BVI Airways has submitted the necessary application to the Air Safety Support International (ASSI) and the US Federal Regulators.

Hon Fahie also wants the Premier to tell the House of Assembly if BVI Airways has acquired the necessary aircrafts, be it through lease, purchase or otherwise, that are required to conduct its operations.

The former Minister for Education and Culture wants to know the name of the Company/Consultants(s) that undertook the feasibility study for the establishment of the agreement between BVI Airways and the Government for the service between the VI and Miami, USA.

Many of the ferry companies have long called on Government to subsidise their operations between the VI and the United States Virgin Islands, and are calling it unfair for taxpayers to underwrite a foreign airline and not do the same for local ferry operations.

33 Responses to “After $7M of taxpayers’ money would BVI Airways ever fly?”

  • Mr. Smith (21/09/2016, 14:42) Like (2) Dislike (22) Reply
    The tax payers did not pay for the $7M, this was the finance industry who contributed this to the BVI.

    Please note our dear politicians, the taxes raised would not even bring in enough funds to cover your salaries...

    Mr. Smith
  • only for expats (21/09/2016, 14:43) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
  • voter (21/09/2016, 15:04) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Answer: No, but the critical shareholders will have their invetment loss compensated
  • no doggone priority (NDP) (21/09/2016, 15:24) Like (24) Dislike (0) Reply
    no money for money for money for money for VG money for senior citizen money for money for bush cutting BUT MONEY FOR FOREIGN AIRLINE?
  • Topaz (21/09/2016, 15:27) Like (22) Dislike (0) Reply
    Fraser or Fahie, I want anyone of you to also ask the Premier who are the shareholders in BVI Airways, who is the CEO and the other executive members
  • VOTE UM OUT (21/09/2016, 15:27) Like (17) Dislike (1) Reply
    The NDP only help their rich friends with taxbreaks (who could afford to pay) while they have Customs killing we.
  • came to my senses (21/09/2016, 15:30) Like (17) Dislike (0) Reply
    Voting for the National Democratic Party was a big mistake.
  • Inquiring Minds (21/09/2016, 15:33) Like (24) Dislike (1) Reply
    By the way, did they ever really show any proof that the $7 Mil really went to BVI Airways and who was really the collector. Is Russel Harrigan a shareholder in BVI Airways. How can a government who called themselves responsible, open, honest and government in the sunshine took up $7 mil of the people's money and throw it into a bankrupt Airline
  • Schups (21/09/2016, 15:44) Like (4) Dislike (9) Reply
    Government gave the company about $1mil so far, not $7 mil.
  • we sah (21/09/2016, 15:57) Like (16) Dislike (1) Reply
    The bankrupt BVI AIRWAYS owners were made instant millionaires by a few assish bvislanders off the backs of the poor BVI taxpayers. SOMEBODY NEED GOING JAIL FOR THIS!
  • FLY BVI Airways, fly (21/09/2016, 16:00) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    BVI Airways Fly far away with the money. LOL!!!
    • @FLY BVI Airways, fly (21/09/2016, 20:54) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
      You mean they are flying HIGH on the money? Caviar and Champagne anyone? Lol!
  • ressel (21/09/2016, 16:14) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    More kick backs
  • voiceofthevoiceless (21/09/2016, 17:45) Like (18) Dislike (0) Reply
    The November deadline is beginning to look more and more unrealistic with every passing minute. Now if the objective was to be operational from the beginning of the busy Winter season that starts in November then in order to properly benefit from the season your flights should be available for booking at least 6 months in advance. Most Americans/Europeans book their vacations in advance so you would expect that by now BVI Airways should be on line or available in the various GDS for Travel Agents to book but no sight of them.

    The BVI Airways investment was not well thought out to begin with and here is why. If you are going to invest in an airline it must not be start up capital. The airline via its private investors must be able to come up with the start up capital and cover operational expenses for at least 2-3 years of operation. Then and only then should the Government consider investing based on the necessity of the service and the financial feasibility of it. They can do so by revenue guarantees which is norm in this business.

    The company was operating here and had to cease operations when they got new ownership, why? In addition they owed and as far as I know still owe money to BVIAA. That alone was a red flag to proceed with caution.

    Thirdly who are the airline's shareholders? Who other than the BVI Government stands to make a profit should ever a profit be realized?

    Finally, if this is the short term plan and the long term is the airport expansion then if the latter is achieved what happens to BVI Airways? How will they compete if ( big if) American or Delta or Spirit or Jetblue start operating here? Blurred vision if you ask me.

    Tomorrow will be an interesting day in the HOA. A lot of questions that need answers: BVI Airways/ NHI/Pier park/ Airport expansion pre-expenses etc. I just hope that they are not placed on the back burner as the people deserve answers.
  • wize up (21/09/2016, 18:09) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    is it true that people associated with the NDP have a stake in the airline because another airline was offering to come to BVI and did not require any financial support from government but somehow the government turned that airline away in favor of give up 10 million to BVI airline wanted no assistance while the other was subsidize(very fishy)....who or what is BVI Airways....big sign in Road Town reminding all of us to pay your tax if not off to jail you go; however BVI Airways owned the government 99,000.00 and the same government turned around and giving the 10 mil: when I can back to earth after death I want to be white...
    • LOL! wize up (21/09/2016, 21:04) Like (6) Dislike (2) Reply
      You can be white now. Just partake on a heavy dosage of Bleach on a regular basis and some strong chemical straighteners for your hair, and you on your way. If you need suggestions, just ask someone from JA. LOL!
    • @wize up (21/09/2016, 21:14) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
      White in its original assigned social human hierarchy,is not a color it is a class. The mother of all human was Black. You are human at its highest level.

      • On Point! (22/09/2016, 01:41) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply

        to wize up. That is an "Undisputed Truth." You are unquestionably wize up.

        Study out today, Sept. 21st, from ongoing Harvard Medical Research. They study us more than we study ourselves.

        View Link:

        • wize up (22/09/2016, 10:49) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
          @ on all honesty I can not imagine me living life as a white man(that will be no fun)....I don't travel much now but I recall great days on entering stores in the Europe & USA as a nigger and being watched suspiciously then walking up to the cash register taking out my Gold Amex Card along with my ID because back in the 80s when using credit cards or travelers checks you must present some for of ID(how sweet it is)...I frequented the best Hotels back then(as a black man)....shopped at the very best stores every where I went as a black man(for me it is uplifting to be black) people causes so excitement but some of us have good intentions while those among us water down the black race with their negative vibes( because of my pride; as a black man there are certain things that I will not do) keep the faith
      • On Point! (22/09/2016, 02:18) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply

        To wize up. You are indeed wize up.

        Ongoing Research- came out today. They study us more than we study ourselves.

        We urgently need to understand that learning the TRUTH about our-story and utilizing its Knowledge is Power to the uplifting and mental/spiritual/physical transformation of our people.

        View Link-

  • Outspoken (21/09/2016, 21:40) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    People all you sure that the money is not pay back campaign funds or glover park fees. Thing to ponder on
    • wize up (22/09/2016, 03:42) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ out spoken....I personally think there is a glover park connection because when you look long enough you will recognize who the players of glover park are....when you look long enough you will recognize a few years ago about 2 mil was systematically diverted to glover park: all you have to do is look!!!( the new word until 2019 is look because seek and yee will find who the players of glover park are) keep looking for this BVI Airways because you just might see it.....
      • @wize up (22/09/2016, 13:20) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
        rossie can quote every scripture in the bible for you; those type are the devils to look out for. Take me to the mountain top and offer me the world. Smile.
  • Boo (21/09/2016, 22:48) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is a case for the DPP. Who are those shareholders who needed a bailout on their loss? BVI Airways direct Miami route will materialize when pigs fly.
  • dog (21/09/2016, 22:57) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Set of thives
  • voter (22/09/2016, 06:37) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    We need leaders not stealer that's all I have to say on this debacle.
    The case file needs to be prepared and sent to the DPP along with the Pier Park Case file.
  • SMH (22/09/2016, 08:38) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    why are you guys complaining you voted them in
    • Oh Oh (22/09/2016, 09:25) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      I tried online to book a flight in december on the said airline but i cant seem to find it.
  • Socrates (22/09/2016, 11:45) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    Was investing $7M of taxpayer money on BVI Airways, bankrupt airline, either a good business decision or good political decision? Neither. Was this unilateral action by government a prudent use of taxpayer resources? Was the owners of BVI Airways presently surprise that someone actually coughed up $7M to bail it out? Was it actually bail out or it was a surprise for the owners? Was this one of dumbest action by a regional government? Does the government make itself look like a novice and a yahoo? Columbus came and fool the Caribs and Arawaks with worthless trinkets. Was the trick played by BVI Airways like taking candy from a baby? Is BVI Airways owners having big laugh at taxpayers expense? Yes, and embarrassing and sad. This action needs a commission of inquiry, does it not? But does Duncan have the courage to commission one?
  • WTF (23/09/2016, 09:23) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
  • wize up (23/09/2016, 10:48) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    If you followed House of Assembly yesterday you will discover BVI Airways still owes this territory some 99,000.00 and BVI Airways still got 5 million from government of the BVI: local businesses owners are taken before the court for owing BVI Government far less money(WTF).....that 7 million is going to affiliates and good friends

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