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Airport Project 10 times worse than Biwater- Radio show host

- Caller to show said Chinese will be here long after project is finished
The decision by the National Democratic Party to award the contract for the extension of the runway at Terrence B. Lettsome International Airport on Beef Island is not going down well with some persons. Photo: VINO/File
The Biwater plant at Paraquita Bay, Tortola. The deal by the Virgin Islands Party was demonised by the National Democratic Party (NDP), who is now facing similar criticisms with the airport runway extension project. Photo: VINO/File
The Biwater plant at Paraquita Bay, Tortola. The deal by the Virgin Islands Party was demonised by the National Democratic Party (NDP), who is now facing similar criticisms with the airport runway extension project. Photo: VINO/File
Talk show host Julio S. Henry has said giving the airport runway extension project to a Chinese company is ten times worse than the Biwater project that the National Democratic Party condemned prior to the 2011 general elections. Photo: VINO
Talk show host Julio S. Henry has said giving the airport runway extension project to a Chinese company is ten times worse than the Biwater project that the National Democratic Party condemned prior to the 2011 general elections. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – “All I have to say, this is another Biwater,” said a caller to the Open Mic live television programme hosted by Julio S. Henry, who responded, “Listen, this is ten times worse than Biwater.”

The show was in high gear last night January 11, 2017 on CBN Channel 51 with several residents managing to stick in their opinion regarding the NDP Government’s management of the territory’s finances. Most of the blows were directed to Premier Dr The Hon D. Orlando Smith (AL) as the Head of the country’s management team and who is accused of “not wearing the pants.”

Chinese coming for life!

The caller posited, “Let me think what might happen, the Chinese are going to come in, they going to get their money, and when they find out we own CDB (Caribbean Development Bank) they going ask us how much we owe, we going pay the bill and right there the Chinese going be in our country for life.”

Agreeing with the caller, Mr Henry looked at the matter from another angle, noting that the Chinese are in other Caribbean countries. “Their project right now in Bahamas is in some bankruptcy dispute.”

The caller asked if they are not also in problems with the World Bank and Mr Henry responded, “The World Bank or somebody put them on the blacklist, the same company what is coming to do business here, but it don’t matter because China financing themselves.

It was at that juncture that the caller said, “All I have to say [is] this is another Biwater.”

Mr Henry said Biwater was a disaster but CCCC’s proposal is worse.

Henry made it clear that he is not against the airport project but is against where the government, especially Premier Smith, is trying to take it. He alluded to the fact that preferred bidder China Communication Construction Company (CCCC) is proposing to set up their own asphalt plants, quarry for stones, build their own housing camp for workers, be exempted from paying Social Security, National Health Insurance, employee’s tax and tax breaks on items they would need to import.

Biwater a good or bad project?

The Biwater facility, located at Paraquita Bay, was commissioned in November 2014 after it was reported by Biwater of how the Government was allegedly frustrating their efforts to kick start the flow of water some three years after the original deadline to supply water. This sentiment was also echoed by now Leader of the Opposition Honourable Julian Fraser RA (R3), one of the architects of the Biwater project.

Part of the agreement negotiated by Hon Fraser was for Biwater to provide a sewage treatment plant to rid the capital city Road Town, on the main island of Tortola, and adjacent areas of sewage running in the streets. Biwater built the sewerage treatment plant at Paraquita Bay on Tortola at no cost to Government.

If Biwater was allowed to become fully functional, all of Tortola with connection to the government water network was expected to have a 24-hour supply of potable water.

However, the NDP Government has refused to make way for this by not only frustrating the project but not putting in the infrastructure after four years to facilitate the project. In addition, people on Tortola like the Sister Islands suffer severe daily water shortages to their homes, a basic necessity for development.

Protests against Biwater

With the signing of the water purchase agreement with Biwater in 2010, it was immediately met with hostility from the then opposition National Democratic Party (NDP) who labeled it as an albatross around the neck of the territory and generations to come.

The NDP also used its opposition to Biwater as a major campaign tool to spread fear in the minds of the electorate. NDP mouthpieces Bishop John I. Cline and Cromwell Smith, a strong supporter of BVI Investment Club and Ocean Conversion, even led public protests against the Biwater agreement.

It turned out to be an effective campaign tool as the NDP swept to power in November 2011.

20 Responses to “Airport Project 10 times worse than Biwater- Radio show host”

  • Done Deal (12/01/2017, 16:54) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    I'm out swimming with the Big Sharks! Stop disturbing my swim; I have to be careful before I get bite.
    • Lol! @Done Deal (12/01/2017, 18:15) Like (18) Dislike (0) Reply
      NDP don't give a Da#n what we have to say. They only concern about what the Big sharks have to say. Soo right!
  • rattie (12/01/2017, 17:04) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    So right
  • Wake up Politicians..Come together. (12/01/2017, 17:13) Like (25) Dislike (1) Reply
    6 cruise ship call to St Kitts, today they had to cancel one, so 5 ship in St Kitts today....These Politicians need to Stop Going at each other's throats, looking for every petty stuff to complain and bitch about,, time for them to put their heads together and come up with ways and means to get people coming to the BVI. Ships. Get economical activities in the place.. These 5 ships were entertained with a festival like parade... Come on BVI...I Envy St Kitts..Big up St Kitts.. Good thing going on for you.. I was there for Carnival I never see si much people... Seems like St Kitts is too small for all the economical activities in that place.
    • my, my (12/01/2017, 18:09) Like (19) Dislike (0) Reply
      VI once the envy of the Caribbean, and now...

      Look how all these islands flourishing, while we here spiraling downwards and into the dark abyss.

      NDP just got to go!
    • Hmm (12/01/2017, 20:55) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
      Thank You...tell where on Tortola can even begin to compare with Marriot...Neither Maria'a By The Sea or Treasure Isles...we don't have anywhere to put staycation visitors...they don't have nothing to do,,,b4 the government bck the local man who try put something in place for the locals, visitors and young people especially (Elton) they did not back him instead they let the man thing run down to dogs....Cruiseship tortola pier but yet the owners for the shop bawling...soon over there gona be GHOST Town
    • So true (12/01/2017, 23:38) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
      Just came back from a two week vacation to St.kitts, had a ball. So much to do on that Island. Things is booming in St.Kitts. I let a baby monkey sat on my head, he was so cute and friendly.
  • SK on Facebook.. (12/01/2017, 17:21) Like (20) Dislike (0) Reply
    Our leaders look at SK on Facebookt today, Get motivated.. 5 Cruise ships.. Marriott Hotel book to capacity..What the hell we doing wrong? Living like cats and Dogs while the birds flying down taking our food off our Table...
  • musa (12/01/2017, 17:47) Like (2) Dislike (15) Reply
    this man need to stick to taxi ;;;;;;;;no good he is a soup drinker
  • facts (12/01/2017, 18:28) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    It's the Chinese land BVI government using.
  • Oh Well (12/01/2017, 22:08) Like (3) Dislike (4) Reply
    I long to eat some authentic Chinese food in the VI anyway, so this could be good in at least one way...
  • Why the Hate? (12/01/2017, 22:15) Like (5) Dislike (10) Reply
    I have never seen so many radical and racial comments about a particular race base of one birth country. Virgin Islands, will be infested with Chinese. This is rediculous, talking about a Godly country and you have such Hate for a fellow man. Chinese are investing all over the world and Chinese have always migrate all over the world. They have the same money and breath the same air as you. How can you belittle a race of people that are highly advance in the world. We eat the food they cook, we go to the salon to do our nails and buy all product that are made in China. Govt see a great business and new marketing adventure with this nation and people here talking crap. The whole island need to act of Godly, you have a Bishop running a church and hardly preaching the gospel. You have lazy people that want govt to give them everything because they have family as ministers. You have local contractors tripling the price the steal money from Govt. You want to work certain jobs and don't have the education for it. You still filling work permits because the locals can't keep a job and don't like people telling them what to do. Sorry but the country was always migrants and racial, I remember that we are still called Island people. Just because we are black and white from the south and North America, that we are not accustom of seeing a different race in mans eye. This country is well worth the attention from Chinese investors!
    • voiceofthevoiceless (13/01/2017, 08:41) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
      I don't think that most of the detractors are xenophobic or racist but are just critical of the deal based on the mode of operation of the Chinese throughout the Caribbean. They are using historical precedents for their concerns which are warranted. The Chinese will finance the loan so the money stays in China, then if it is true that the workers will come here and build a camp on Beef, not pay taxes, SS or NHI then what does the BVI economy stand to gain from this deal? Remember that while they are here they will be using our water, electricity, roads and possibly our socials services so what do we get in return??''

      My real concern and maybe what Julio should focus on is whether or not we are in a proper financial position to take on the loan for this project at the moment. Until the government produces the outstanding financial audits we may never know but just look at the untimely payments to vendors, late payments to some civil servants, delayed increments, some businesses refusing to take Government Purchase orders, the lack of funding for statutory bodies etc. you know that we are in some serious problems. This loan will take us to the cap of our borrowing limits so that means that we cannot undertake any other capital projects anytime soon. It is a major impediment. We are talking about 153 million, possibly 200 million because I am sure that the Chinese underbid and based on our history on Capital projects it is reasonable to assume that they will be gigantic overruns. This is serious stuff that would saddle generations with uncomfortable debt. Where are the cost/benefit studies to show that this Airport can pay for itself?

      The BVI Government should delay this project and focus on their investment in BVI Airways and use that as a case study for a couple of years. They need to work on subsidizing the ferry services so to allow for more frequent services to St. Thomas for passengers to make connections. Consider concessions for Airlines to improve the servicing of the hubs: San Juan, Antigua, St. Maarten. Work on upgrading our crippling and inadequate infrastructure: Water, Electricity, roads, health, education so to be able to accommodate a possible expansion down the road.

      Why the rush? Fools rush in where wise men fear to trod.
    • History (13/01/2017, 11:22) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
      @Why the Hate. If you are a Being of melanin hue, you are clueless about you history, as well as theirs. Dig Deeper and learn before you comment. You have no clue. It has nothing to do about race nor xenophobia, and all to do about their idealogy and practices. Look at the proof of their practices in Africa in particular. They own all the resources of that country they do business in today, buy out their governments, because bribery in their culture is accepted. Just go and do your own research. You are the kind of character who would sell your own (as slaves) for a dollar.
  • musa (13/01/2017, 06:03) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    is this taxi man hit the post on water front
    • Taxi Man (13/01/2017, 10:05) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      No it is the one who stole the chest from government and still turned around and got a job from government
  • Vere Bird (13/01/2017, 09:35) Like (1) Dislike (6) Reply
    Let the Chinese come and build the airport. I hope they build a new terminal and make our airport big and beautiful. That would be a nice legacy of the NDP for generation to come. The Chinese can not take over what they don't own so why the fear? They can not pick up the airport or anything that they have built and take it back to China. So why the fear? Now is a time for business minded locals to look at forging business relations with them so they too could be ahead of the game.
    I am thinking about opening a supper market - I am selling Chinese food only!!
    • VG Resident (13/01/2017, 10:01) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
      The Chinese can and will foreclose on loans if they are not paid. (If the airport does not make money as i suspect it will not) The BVI government will have to satisfy them and give them some equity for the loans.
      It could be several islands or lots of government land. Look what happened in the Bahamas. The original local developer has been tossed out of the development (Losing 813M Dollars) and the Chinese have taken over and own the hotel at a big discount.
  • Tallfat (13/01/2017, 11:43) Like (0) Dislike (4) Reply
    While there's concern, I do not see the great hoopla being whipped up by these mouth pipes. Sorry for that bit of gib. Anyways what is their solution? Do any of them have any? I did not hear nor have I seen any contractor, company put forward that can handle this peculiar project at the cost the cccc is offering. Who are the reputable group that can complete this project in the timetable given, within the agreed budget and at a requisite standard? Well the talk about impact on our social services is a valid point that can be addressed but from experience there will not be a flood of them at Peebles. it is my hope that some locals will be on hand to learn some new and creative skills. That would be ideal except some of us have other agendas and being divisive and disruptive will cause more harm than good; hence the preference that they do it by themselves mentality is quite understandable.

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