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Another case of injustice suffered by locals doing business in homeland

- Wilfred M. Smith's court matter with Government still unresolved after 3 years; Continues to lose millions over stopped project
The incomplete building owned by Virgin Islands Mr Wilfred M. Smith. The business project in Slaney was started in 2014 and should have been completed by 2015; however, it was stopped by the National Democratic Party (NDP) Administration in 2015. Photo: VINO
Local businessman and Virgin Islander Mr Wilfred M. Smith continues to lose millions in potential returns due to his project being blackballed by Government. Photo: VINO
Local businessman and Virgin Islander Mr Wilfred M. Smith continues to lose millions in potential returns due to his project being blackballed by Government. Photo: VINO
The response to Mr Wilfred M. Smith by the Governor's Office. Photo: VINO
The response to Mr Wilfred M. Smith by the Governor's Office. Photo: VINO
Mr Wilfred M. Smith, left, is being represented by Dancia Penn & Co, a law firm of respected attorney and former legislator, Mrs R. Dancia Penn, right. Photo: Team of Reporters/VINO
Mr Wilfred M. Smith, left, is being represented by Dancia Penn & Co, a law firm of respected attorney and former legislator, Mrs R. Dancia Penn, right. Photo: Team of Reporters/VINO
Building materials lay idle at the site of the business project started by Mr Wilfred M. Smith but stopped by the National Democratic Party (NDP) Government back in 2015. Photo: VINO
Building materials lay idle at the site of the business project started by Mr Wilfred M. Smith but stopped by the National Democratic Party (NDP) Government back in 2015. Photo: VINO
SLANEY HILL, Tortola, VI- His father Wilfred W. Smith was at the forefront with the Positive Action Movement in the late 60s, fighting to save Wickham’s Cay I and Anegada lands for future generations. They were successful and today many Virgin Islanders are proud owners of businesses on Wickham’s Cay I and many Anegadians own the land.

Ironically, Mr Smith’s second son Wilfred M. Smith, who returned home 5 years ago after living abroad, is now ‘catching hell' in his own country and feels he is being victimised by both the National Democratic Party (NDP) Government and the court system over his project.

Young Smith's dream for his Slaney, Tortola project is to build a sports bar and restaurant with a bistro menu, among other items, that will be opened 24 hours with drive through and includes continental breakfast.

Stop Order issued in 2015 by Government

The project was started in 2014 and should have been completed by 2015; however, like the faith of most locals, he was stopped by the NDP Administration in 2015. Mr Smith told our newsroom that Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) is his “cousin and this makes the situation even more painful.”

He said he was stopped by the Town and Country Planning, a department under Premier Smith’s portfolio, from continuing his project in 2015. The department had requested that he provide an easement to a neighbour; however, he said he had no objections with the request, but wanted to be financially compensated.

Mr Smith took the Government to court over the Stop Order in 2016 and three years later there is no resolution to the matter while the young indigenous businessman continues to lose millions of dollars in potential earnings.

The Attorney General’s Chambers, the Government’s lawyers, acting by Counsel Mrs Giselle Jackman-Lumy, filed an application to strike out the claim put forward by Smith and his attorneys R. Dancia Penn & Co.

There was a victory for Mr Smith when on April 10, 2017 Master Agnes Actie handed down a ruling dismissing Government’s Application to strike out the claim from Mr Smith and ordered that a defense be filed by the Crown within 21 days for their Stop Order.

Background to Government’s disregard for court orders

This means the Government would have had to defend their Stop Order by May 2, 2017. On May 19, 2017 the matter came up for Case Management before Master Raulston Glasgow, who found that the matter no longer was the subject of Case Management. He made, according to court documents obtained by our newsroom, strong statements deprecating the fact that the Court Order of Master Actie had not been obeyed by Government.

On May 12, 2017 R. Dancia Penn & Co wrote the Government to propose that the matter be settled and invited an offer; however, the Administration rejected any settlement and moved on with a Leave to Appeal the court decision they lost to further reject the local businessman Mr Smith’s claim.

We all remember what happened, with the huge cost to tax payers, the last time the NDP Government and their Attorney General’s Chambers refused to settle with another plaintiff, Delta Petroleum BVI Ltd.

Furthermore, because the Government never met or even obeyed any of the deadlines set out, R. Danica Penn & Co on May 22, 2017 filed an Application for the entry of a judgement in Default. Mr Smith’s attorneys wrote the Registrar of the High Court Erica Smith-Penn requesting that the Judgment in Default be entered but, according to information from Mr Smith, no response was forthcoming.

Then came the hurricanes of September 2017.

At a Case Management conference on November 2, 2017 Mr Smith’s Attorneys raised the issue orally but were told that the files of Ms Jackman-Lumy, the Government Attorney representing the Attorney General in the matter, were “damaged by Hurricane Irma and that the files needed to be reconstructed.”

On January 4, 2018 the attorneys of the son of a fighter in the Positive Action Movement wrote the Registrar with a reminder and they were promised a response by January 12, 2018; however, according to Mr Smith, no response was received to date.

Help! Help! Please Governor; This is injustice

Mr Smith, frustrated with the courts, wrote His Excellency Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert aka ‘Gus’ on January 5, 2018 requesting that he intervene in the matter because of the hardship, road blocks and mounting legal fees he (Mr Smith) continues to face.

On January 16, 2018 the Governor’s Office responded and forwarded Mr Smith’s complaint to Smith-Penn, the High Court Registrar, with a request that a response be issued to him regarding the case, in a letter obtained by our newsroom.

As of today January 23, 2018, almost three years later, Mr Smith- a local resident- still cannot move forward with his investment while provisions are being made by the NDP regime to welcome in red carpet fashion foreign investors, as the post hurricanes recovery is ongoing, all while locals continue to experience red tapes.

More lies in the HoA

Leader of the Opposition Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) raised this matter in the House of Assembly (HoA) via a question to Dr Smith on August 1, 2017 where both Premier Smith and Attorney General Baba Aziz claimed that the matter was under appeal; however, Mr Smith’s Attorneys have not to date been served with an appeal’s notice, as many have said this is yet another example of the lies and misinformation being told to the people via HoA that is the character of this Government.

It is unclear what will be the next step and if they are now more likely to respond to Governor Jaspert’s request to bring closure to this matter.

53 Responses to “Another case of injustice suffered by locals doing business in homeland”

  • Boo (23/01/2018, 18:00) Like (29) Dislike (6) Reply
    Shameful how they treat their own!
  • The real Boo (23/01/2018, 18:51) Like (22) Dislike (3) Reply
    This is par for the course for Dr. Smith's vindictive government.
  • wize up (23/01/2018, 18:52) Like (11) Dislike (1) Reply
    listen, as a citizen of this place and you sit and ponder the current goings on you will spend time up the ghut: when it comes to we; we have to play by the book of rules and clauses and the chapters......if you can make it here where can you make(I regularly use the example of CTL: began in the 60s look at that enterprise now(opportunity).....keep the faith not all
  • True Gangsters (23/01/2018, 19:15) Like (21) Dislike (2) Reply
    This group are the VI true gangsters the Governor and all afraid of them. They are doing as they wish. The place is Governor yes...Governor less...
  • NDP Bandattes (23/01/2018, 19:21) Like (29) Dislike (9) Reply
    You are not alone... a lot of locals are catching hell to have their own business but the ones they give the belonger cards and residency to... those are the ones who have free access! All of this crap just for votes! When the locals speak the immigrants are plagued... they act as though they have a right to! Always talking about if it wasn’t for them this and that! Utter nonsense! If it wasn’t for our US dollar you would not have considered coming here! Locals forced out and all others welcomed is the new norm under this Government! Sickening! Stay strong....
    • NON BELONGER (24/01/2018, 01:17) Like (24) Dislike (13) Reply

      Let me tell you what is utter nonsense. you talking about your US$;; Tortola don't have no $$$. I have never seen a coin or a dollar note that says Bank of Tortola. yal don't have no damn money. and yes we came for the US$$$ BUT ITS NOT YOURS....IDIOT!!!! IT BELONGS TO AMERICA...We are here to earn it. Not to sit on our lazy a$$es and expect it to be given to us. A lot of locals are very hard working while some just sit and chat sh1t all day and who from here and who come for money. I wish Mr Wilfred Smith good luck on this case fighting for what his dad earned so that his kids can benefit from what he fought for back in the 60s. This is real sad and unfair issue. I pray justice is served.

      • Hush up (24/01/2018, 08:34) Like (5) Dislike (26) Reply
        Hush up, you are not from here. Let who from here talk and defend. Go where you are from and earn your own money. Stop going places to earn other peoples money. You who travel to peoples places and get involved in other peoples business is who causing problems. Stay out of peoples business
        • Classic (24/01/2018, 10:14) Like (11) Dislike (1) Reply
          Think about it: Money comes from financial services. Who does that work? Employment comes from tourism. Who does most of the construction of hotels, villas etc? Who does most of the work (service staff, maintenance etc.)? Ever wonder what the BVIs would be like without ex-pats? Most of these people pay more than their fair share of taxes, and you think they are not entitled to an opinion? Would you even be able to earn money at all? Would there in fact be much of an economy (storms or not) without expats? You don't have to like them, but there is no need for the kind of disrespect implied in your posting. Maybe you need to get off the island and go elsewhere to appreciate what God has given you.
      • Tim (24/01/2018, 15:56) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
        Your comment on the US dollar is very idiotic. Then go else where and earn it.
    • wize up (24/01/2018, 03:23) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
      @NDP Bandattes: yes that US Dollars we spend have a good much of them here: however before 911 some came because it was easier to skip from BVI to USVI then the Main Land USA: if you recall back in the 70s ID was hardly required from USVI to USA so once the boat man drop off USVI within 48 hours them Atlanta.....leadership matters: and I speak about leadership that motivates the citizens of any country(leadership not just to fatten your personal pockets)
    • Seer (24/01/2018, 05:59) Like (19) Dislike (0) Reply
      Silly rabbit, you can't blame immigrants for using the rules and regulations to their benefit. We BVIlanders are our own worst enemy – we plot all sorts of wickedness against each other while the outsiders help each other to reach their full potential. And we are also benefiting from using the US Dollars too so that argument need to stop, IT’S NOT OURS EITHER, and we’re not a US State. We are “Born here” need to put our petty issues aside and vote for leaders who will look out for all and not just themselves and close relatives and friends. We continue this ridiculous cycle of VIP, NDP, VIP, NDP, and we know eventually these people will continue the same evil they did before, but hey, “that’s my family”.
  • Tato (23/01/2018, 19:34) Like (35) Dislike (1) Reply
    Bastards they are.
  • wow (23/01/2018, 20:54) Like (2) Dislike (7) Reply
    All this ranting with no facts. What is govt to do if the case is before the court. Govt has no control over the judiciary system and I think most of us know this.
    • @ wow (24/01/2018, 06:44) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      Fool government can instruct the attorney general on withdrawal of case
      • Sam (24/01/2018, 13:04) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        obstruction of justice if government has invested interest.
      • perry mason (24/01/2018, 15:24) Like (0) Dislike (3) Reply
        Let the Courts do their job. He must suspect that he will losenow he trying to embarrass Doc but with the help of Fshie he is going to lose in court. Fshie is bad Karma. he will lose.
  • True (23/01/2018, 20:55) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Give the guy a chance it not just a new business, it also providing work for other people because he sure cannot so the job by himself and I though NDP is a party for business ( he forgot to pass money under the table)
  • youths for walwyn (23/01/2018, 21:25) Like (7) Dislike (2) Reply
    Here's a novel idea, and the best way to get the NDP out of office, defeat them at the ballot box, like normal people do. It's that easy.
    • @youth for walwyn..Change is steering at us.. (24/01/2018, 08:34) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
      Change is steering right at us. Not only at the ballot box. We have a Back benching team of 6.. We have an oposition of 2....with a parliament of 13. Easy.. We are one of the few countries that is blessed with the democracy of a crossing over law.. Most countris already out law this practice to remain in power.. If the people are so happy they need to call on their back benching representative to exercise that right to cross over. If the people really need change its as simple as that. In another country people will be demonstrating at parliam
  • Bias (23/01/2018, 21:31) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    Hope the Governor has empathy for the victims of what we the people face daily from TCP where the rules apply to some
  • True (23/01/2018, 21:32) Like (32) Dislike (5) Reply
    The guy had the chance to continue his project but wanted money for an easement to his neighbour as he was blocking their right of way with his building plans, all he had to do was give this easement and the place would be open and rocking for business and probably would of been destroyed by Irma. So to be clear if he just given a Right of Way to his neighbour through his commercial property that would have people passing through it daily he would be open, instead he wanted to get paid and has now been paying for his stubbornness, no the Government is right on this as there is no mention of him blocking in his neighbours property also a son of the soil. Two sides to every story
    • Hmmm (24/01/2018, 09:18) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
      correction, the right away for that neighbor building is actually on the top of the hill...............there is a difference between easement and right away.....
    • Well (24/01/2018, 09:34) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply can't be serious with your comment. It's his property and he has the right to ask for compensation for a Right of Way(easement) from the proprietor (person) requesting the right of way. There is indeed "two sides to every story" but remember the truth lies in the middle. Whether or not he requested payment is not the issue here, he has a right to request payment regardless how anyone feels about it. So because he ask for compensation he must suffer at the hands of the system.......please be real!!!
  • wow (23/01/2018, 21:33) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    smith vs Smith Two peas in a pod.
  • Pirates (23/01/2018, 21:36) Like (6) Dislike (5) Reply
    This is piracy on the high seas at the highest level. This man is trying to do a good business that locals and tourists alike can go to and enjoy, and has been stopped, mistreated and downright disrespected by the government aka family. Something needs to be done and allow this man to finish his project. Ridiculous!!! Why are they not letting him after all these years, finish???
  • i from here (23/01/2018, 21:36) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    A case study in why real blooded locals with parents and grandparents born here should be holding leadership roles is so crucial.
  • ------------------ (23/01/2018, 21:41) Like (7) Dislike (2) Reply
    this man father is a national treasure and this is what he gets?dread
  • Gene Poole (23/01/2018, 21:58) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    What madness!
  • Lily Ann (23/01/2018, 22:02) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    OMGVGGG I didn't know this is what the plans were ... I keep seeing the building at a stand still ... but I just thought that It was a "lack of funds" discontinued project .... but this gov need to go ... because we need this 24hr zone mann.... he will smash profits like craaaay .... cause I would be a regular ....

    24 hrs yuh say ... ok thennn !!!!
  • Let him finish (23/01/2018, 22:07) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    So many unfinished projects scattered about. Peoples building without the funds too bad Irma did not take them all.
  • Truth (23/01/2018, 22:12) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    daily economic genocide in the island nation of the BVI on local peoples.
  • Diplomat (23/01/2018, 23:51) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Land should not be divided or sold without an easement/access being in place. It is nuts to do otherwise. What is the other land owner doing to make Mr. Smith whole in granting the easement? Was Mr. Smith issued a permit to start construction of his building? If so what changed? Ms.Penn-Sallah services are not for free. The least that Mr. Smith is due is a timely answer. Should Mr. Smith be compensated for economic losses due to the lengthy delay? Documents related to the case got damaged in the storm; thia sounds like the excuse that the dog ate my homework. Mr. Smith has suffered and loss enough; it is time to bring closure to this issue.
  • liberal (23/01/2018, 23:58) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    A plan was submitted and approved. Now you telling me he was stopped by the Town and Country Planning, a department under Premier Smith’s portfolio, from continuing his project in 2015. And the department made a request that he provide an easement to a neighbor? I do think it's write that he has to give the neighbor an easement if they have a building already. SO what you telling me that Town and Country Planning, a department under Premier Smith’s portfolio approved the neighbor's plan and they built on all their right away to they own property and wants to get it now from Mr. Smith? IT"S DEAD WRONG and he shouldn't give no easement to upset his plans. Department your WRONG but if the neighbor wants an easement that bad then they need to pay for it..
    • The other side (24/01/2018, 06:16) Like (16) Dislike (0) Reply
      Mr Smith made a request to Government to give him ownership of the property that lies between his property and the sea. The property includes the old road, a portion of land currently registered to the Crown.
      If all will remember when the neighbour's property was built the road was moved out into the sea to ensure safety. The neighbour's entrance was set in the middle of the stretch some distance from the corner.
      The issue was if the crown was to agree to the request of Mr Smith and give him the land ( the old road and the portion of land between the old road and the new section of road; then the access exercised by the neighbour should continue. Mr Smith opted to go to court rather than agree to that condition.
      Note that the property in question is still Registered as the Property of the BVI Government. Mr Smith is asking that he be returned this property.
  • Ah boy (24/01/2018, 00:51) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    You see why the ndp want to destroy Fahie at all cost? Because he fights for the little man as hard as he fights for the Big man.
  • Wait (24/01/2018, 00:53) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    If what is in this article is true then that means that the powers to be lied to the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Assembly. What a crying shame!
  • Ashley (24/01/2018, 02:00) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    Mr. Smith do not worry yourself. Karma is real.
  • musa (24/01/2018, 06:22) Like (0) Dislike (8) Reply
    project stop is one thing but what stop him from cleaning up his place simple answer too cheap
  • musa (24/01/2018, 06:37) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    ashley well said this is mr smith karma
    • perry mason (25/01/2018, 10:08) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      Worse Karma now that he has Mr Bad Karma by his side making the usual effort of discrediting and embarrassing the current Gov. Lost case due to thebad intention. Grown man like you letting Mr F use you. Not smart, the real Smiths.
  • rubbish (24/01/2018, 06:48) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    The belonger/foreigner aspect here is a complete falsehood. There is no example of where foreign nationals have had an easy or even a straightforward ride with trade or planning or labour or any government department. There is a long list of otherwise viable business that has failed to launch or been chased away though due to corruption of the trade licence and work permit procedures. This business would creat jobs and revenue and a critical mass for belongers to compete with. If Road Town has a very small number of establishments for example it is not an attractive venue either for residents or for visitors. If there is a vibrant choice and diverse offerings, people would visit more, locally and from abroad. Crabs in buckets... what’s more is from the sound of the business plan, there is no reason to suppose it would make millions in profit for legitimate business.
    • Street Reporter. Endorse Frazer (24/01/2018, 08:21) Like (3) Dislike (7) Reply
      Frazer is the leader for these times..Frazer start gathering your troupes.. Locals and belongers as a matter a fact all people need strong leader ship that will ensure justice for all.. Strong can't be bought, Fair, fearless leader. Only Frazer I see
  • ta ta (24/01/2018, 06:48) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    At least give the man an answer
  • Pressure. (24/01/2018, 08:16) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    Pressure all over. Labour. Immigration. Trade. It ain got another place on earth where locals and belongers suffer so much while its a piece of cake for the different kind..
  • Frazer or Fahie (24/01/2018, 08:40) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    If people really need change, let them go to Parliament in numbers, go to the back benchers house in numbers insist they join force with VIP... Then let it be a Vote with back benchers and opposition who they want to lead them between Frazer and Fahie. Let them agree to obey and abide with the process.. The law give us that previlidge.
    • To Frazer or Fahie (24/01/2018, 09:36) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply

      Fahie has been fighting for this young man and many other persons who doesn't have a voice. Fahie is a true leader.

  • NewIslander (24/01/2018, 10:12) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    I am in the process of bringing my company to St. Croix, my new home. Stories like this make me wonder if I will have problems building my business, hiring my new neighbors and whether or not it's worth possibly losing capital expense investment $'s.

    • . (24/01/2018, 21:15) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      What St. Croix have to do with here? Before you move, get a map!
    • Wendy (25/01/2018, 14:05) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      St Croix, officially and legally a
      is USVi( United States Virgin Island) territories of the USA..
      This news site Virgin IslandsNews ,is about the Virgin Islands and they are territories of the UK. These Islands are,officially and legally The Virgin Islands as indicated on their Passport,Birth certificates and other Government documents. You will do well to
      be certain that documents pertaining to your business in St Croix are registered as USVI.

  • Ting to tell the King (24/01/2018, 18:16) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Let the VIP bring a serious group of BVI Landers and we are on board. Not trying to go from bad to wostara. Them clown last election season was a joke. Come good or go HOME
  • student (25/01/2018, 08:45) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    I'm a bit confused here.... I thought in order to get plans approved by TCP, applicants must have a right away to their property? It is my understanding Mrs. Decastro right away is to the top of the hill. IF so, how did her building get approved ? The fact that Mr. Smith never gave her easement and she has been using the property without his permission, is that even legal? Sounds like trespassing to me.......
  • Corruption (25/01/2018, 15:03) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    From what I recall, the decastros had a building on the hillside but wanted to build a new one next to the road below. Seems like they wanted to put two buildings on the same property but on different levels. The problem is that the new building was right smack on the old road and on a corner.

    So to correct the nonsense (with more nonsense), the VIP government of the day used tax payer money to build a new road in the sea. And they moved the decastro access further eastward to avoid the corner.

    In advanced countries, this problem would be solved by simply issuing an order to the decastro's to demolish their new building (at the decastros expense) and reclaim the old road as government property. This is what NDP should do now.

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