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‘By our Gov’t hands we suffer’- VI Airlink’s Neville C. Braithwaite Jr

Premier Dr The Hon D. Orlando Smith (AL), left, has written to the United States Department of Transportation (DoT) in Washington DC strongly criticising locally owned VI Airlink for filing an objection to the application of BVI Airways. Right: Captain Neville C. Braithwaite Jr of VI Airlink. Photo: VINO/Facebook
VI Airlink (below) is insisting that it would have been able to do exactly what Government has bypassed them to request of BVI Airways (above)- direct flights from Miami, USA to the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO/File
VI Airlink (below) is insisting that it would have been able to do exactly what Government has bypassed them to request of BVI Airways (above)- direct flights from Miami, USA to the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- If the Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) was a United States Senator he would have had to declare himself a lobbyist for a foreign company.

However, he is the Premier of the Virgin Islands (VI) and has become the biggest advocate (lobbyist) for a foreign company, BVI Airways, who once operated in the VI but pulled out in 2014 after they went belly up, owing the BVI Airports Authority close to $100,000, according to the same Premier Smith.

Not only is he lobbing for BVI Airways and blasting a local company, VI Airlink, to the United States Government, additionally Premier Smith has injected $7M of taxpayers’ money into the airline in exchange for direct flights from Miami, Florida to the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport on Beef Island.

According to the deal now public, and signed off by the National Democratic Party (NDP) Administration, if BVI Airways never takes off taxpayers, hence the government, will not get a dime back.

Premier against local company VI Airlink

In a strange move Premier Smith, who the public expected to be supporting local businesses, wrote to the United States Department of Transportation (DoT) in Washington DC, strongly criticising locally owned VI Airlink simply because it filed an objection to the application of BVI Airways, which many in the aviation industry told our newsroom is a routine part of all applications.

However, the captain of locally owned VI Airlink is speaking out. In an exclusive interview with our newsroom, Mr Neville C. Braithwaite Jr said he was called to a meeting with Premier Smith last Friday March 10, 2017 not to be asked how he can help his airline company, but instead to demand why they had filed the petition objecting to BVI Airways.

Mr Braithwaite told our newsroom that from 2011 when the NDP was elected he twice had meetings with the Minister for Communications and Works Hon Mark H. Vanterpool (R4) and had proposed to do the same thing they are now funding BVI Airways to do, get new planes and do a direct flight from Miami, USA to Beef Island.

In fact “they never even got back to us on our Miami plan,” the local captain said of the National Democratic Party Government.

Mr Braithwaite Jr added that prior to the 2011 elections, VI Airlink also met with former Minister for Communications and Works Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3) and there were discussions.

Captain Braithwaite Jr alleged that he told Dr Smith last Friday that they had a US 135 company like Fly BVI and Island Birds, but recently they were forced by the Air Safety Support International (ASSI) to “go BVI registered.”

He said the Government and ASSI have been unfair to VI Airlink after they have been in business for over ten years. Mr Braithwaite said “many small US carriers now operating from Beef Island were given permission to operate in the BVI, as if it is their home, and we cannot operate in the USA the same way.”

In the meeting, Mr Braithwaite told the Premier that it is “unfair for the BVI Government to finance a foreign company from scratch because, with the money BVI Airways was given, it will put them in a position to wipe out all BVI and OT carriers.”

Premier don’t care about locals; We are suffering- VI Airlink

Mr Braithwaite said this simply means “under my own government my company suffers.”

He said Premier Smith told him they were “crazy” to be working with InterCaribbean of the Turks and Caicos against BVI Airways, but never mentioned how his Government is working with BVI Airways, a US Company, against our people and local business.

Yesterday March 15, 2017 Premier Smith had a meeting with the owners of InterCaribbean Airways and also lashed out at them for their objections to BVI Airways, according to a senior government official who was in the meeting.

Captain Braithwaite said VI Airlink’s offer is still on the table to do the same thing that BVI Airways is doing but he does not expect that the Premier will get back to them. The Premier “had the gall to ask what type of aircraft we would use.”

In being upset over the VI Airlink objection letter against BVI Airways sent to the US Department of Transportation, Premier Smith reportedly said that it is the view of the government that the matter should not have been objected to by VI Airlink.

"We therefore strongly support the application by BVI Airways and solicit the U.S DoT to approve the application of BVI Airways as expeditiously as possible,” according to the letter Premier Smith wrote lobbying for BVI Airways against the local VI Airlink.

44 Responses to “‘By our Gov’t hands we suffer’- VI Airlink’s Neville C. Braithwaite Jr”

  • We all know (16/03/2017, 13:23) Like (64) Dislike (3) Reply
    NDP are a set of sellouts. They quick to sell us out for a few trinkets. They have proven themselves over and over again that they make some of the best type of house n**gas. They possess the strongest kind of slavery of the minds education.
    • Please, we beg! (16/03/2017, 18:15) Like (32) Dislike (3) Reply
      Can All Our Aspiring Leaders- Fahie, Fraser, Dancia, Willock, Dawson, Decastro, and all the others, Please Stand UP Against the NDP actions. We cannot continue going down this road; we are being placed further and further behind in our own country. Nowhere else in the world these type of actions by a government has been allowed to happened to their own people.

      No Disrespect to any other ethnic group, but self-preservation of their people comes first in every other country. Not Last!

  • dog (16/03/2017, 13:27) Like (14) Dislike (1) Reply
    This is it
    • In the Spirit of Noel Lloyd (16/03/2017, 16:01) Like (23) Dislike (5) Reply
      Rise Our People Rise! If they are not representing us, take them out! There is no reason for us to be left behind. We as a People will soon become extinct in our own land if we continue to just sit and talk without action! We need Action People! Action!
  • ... (16/03/2017, 13:36) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
  • Lilly (16/03/2017, 13:38) Like (3) Dislike (20) Reply
    Listen here. Take your proposal to the Bank as well. You may be success full there.
    • @ Lilly (16/03/2017, 14:10) Like (28) Dislike (1) Reply
      So how come bvi airways did not have to go bank?
      • Easy Answer (16/03/2017, 17:49) Like (10) Dislike (2) Reply
        Because BVI Airways went to the easy "wheel and deal" on approval NDP get ours behind the scene- no credit, no previously owed debts- taxpayers' bank.
  • I wonder (16/03/2017, 13:47) Like (39) Dislike (0) Reply
    "If the Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) was a United States Senator he would have had to declare himself a lobbyist for a foreign company" deep deep
  • Shark Island (16/03/2017, 13:58) Like (42) Dislike (3) Reply
    Premier- You act quiet and dumb on most issues, but you're turning out to be the most evil of all in this National Disaster Party. Lord help we! This government is practicing a heavy-handed form of Nazism on we.
  • Kick backd (16/03/2017, 14:11) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
    No surprise here locals might have talk
  • Well (16/03/2017, 14:11) Like (24) Dislike (1) Reply
    Well Fahie is correct...the NDP are a set of bullies.
  • Well (16/03/2017, 14:13) Like (26) Dislike (5) Reply
    we getting exactly what we voted for. NDP don't care about us. They never did- only that of their special interests.
  • hello (16/03/2017, 14:14) Like (13) Dislike (10) Reply
    Mr Braithwaite, I am looking forward to your new endeavours. For starters,you will need to don your big boy pants, and tie your shoe laces without big brother' s assistance. You forgot to thank Big Brother but never mind. No good deed goes unpunished.
    Your partner against your country,the foreign airline of Curacao will be there so cheer up.
    • @hello (16/03/2017, 15:51) Like (24) Dislike (0) Reply
      Let think back to 2004 when ndp was in the first time and the hospital was the hot topic....the same brathwaite brothers and other local pilots made a proposal to the then ndp gov to help them invest in having our own medivac air ambulance services and u know what dr smith did.....disappear the proposal in a bottom drawer some where.....aint now ndp trying to under mine the locals and thier businesses....but thats one of their hidden secrets....they are not for locals and have never been
      • hello (16/03/2017, 20:31) Like (2) Dislike (12) Reply
        Where else did they go with their idea? Entrepeneurs do not typically seek moneys from Gov for their business. But since 2004, there was VIP...He made the Miami proposal to Fraser butVIP ignored him and his proposal . VIP ,now whispering sweet nothings in his ears in attempt to further their agenda, will be the end of ViAirlink. VIP won't be in office any time soon,if ever. Shaking hands with the devil is another failed idea of Mr Braithwaite.
  • Trifling Party (16/03/2017, 14:53) Like (35) Dislike (0) Reply
    Brathwaite many are with you. Soon this will be a slap in doc face when BVI Airways turnaround and treat then like sh@t. We the voters see you. Fight on my brother.
  • Common Sense (16/03/2017, 14:55) Like (28) Dislike (0) Reply
    That is why the BVI small buisnesses are suffering,because they are being neglected by who can help them.
  • mvw (16/03/2017, 15:01) Like (8) Dislike (11) Reply
    "we can no longer create laws to protect locals"
    • @ mvw (16/03/2017, 23:55) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      To paraphrase the great philosopher Forest Gump stupid is as stupid votes.
  • help is on the way (16/03/2017, 15:02) Like (33) Dislike (8) Reply
  • kick in the butt (16/03/2017, 15:05) Like (35) Dislike (0) Reply
    outsiders given the red carpet and locals the red tape
    • wize up (16/03/2017, 15:36) Like (16) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ kick in the Butt: you say local get red tape but I saying locals get the hangman's noose
      • @ wize up (17/03/2017, 15:58) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
        The locals get the hangman's noose, because they ask for it. This is why we need to stop the B£@CK ON B£@CK KKK m€ntality here.
  • Hmmm (16/03/2017, 15:12) Like (8) Dislike (14) Reply
    Neville, VI Airlink is being treated poorly by the Government? Do they not pay your company to fly to Anegada every day, whether you have customers or not?
    • wize up (17/03/2017, 03:37) Like (4) Dislike (3) Reply
      @ Hmm: he also collecting for those down island trips but most of us will never know about that transaction:
    • Even so (17/03/2017, 05:11) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
      Thats business u have to pay me regardless i make a run or not so i can always be available for customers. At anytime u aint think the ferries that go to Anegada get the same treatment
  • GoodnEvil (16/03/2017, 15:17) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    I don't usually comment on political things, I try to stay away from things like that but this is so blatant and wrong I just have to say something. Mr. Braithwaite, put your trust in God, He will not disappoint as the government has (both sides of the aisle based on your experience), and remember always good will win over evil. May your business triumph albeit the setbacks.
  • sticky (16/03/2017, 15:32) Like (13) Dislike (18) Reply
    This is a sticky situation and I don't think Brathwaite thought this through before blasting the Premier. At the end of the day VI Airlink has all to lose here because Government currently subsidizes their ANU operations as far as I'm aware. No dog in this fight but I would say pick your battles carefully. Welcome to the REAL WORLD!
    • V.islander and proud (18/03/2017, 15:04) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      This comment is exactly what is wrong with the BVI. He should lie down like a coward and play dead while the people elected government is victimizing the citizens? I am glad that neville is no coward nor is anyone in that family. Making all of these issues public was the wisest move they could make. Maybe the question you should be asking is why our country has no oversight in place for government spending and in government members involved in profiting from government investments on the side. Because they are using proxy names for investment does not make it legal. Money always leave a trail.

      They all should be in the jail long ago if the police decide to do their job and look. Congrats Neville and continue to defend your rights even when your own countrymen have been bought and leashed.
  • Amelia Earhart (16/03/2017, 16:03) Like (21) Dislike (8) Reply
    Mr Braithwaite states that he first proposed the Miami run to VIP and subsequently to NDP when they took office. As we know,neither parties took him up on the proposal. Mr Braithwaite,I am suggesting you have some me time and reflect. Especially now that the opposition is now using you to advance it's own agenda. An aside,what is your goal? What do you expect to gain from this? No matter the outcome,you lose. If Amerikkka decides against the BVI ,the BVI' s taxpayers lose 7 million. The NDP Ministers will still continue to be self made affluent and wealthy. The BVI will continue to need this projecct as a means to further the economy.
  • routes (16/03/2017, 16:04) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    Does VI Airlink fly to SKB ANU SXM etc
  • jeff (16/03/2017, 16:07) Like (8) Dislike (2) Reply
    Doc needs to get the hell out we office. All ayo dem every last one wicked mother&)&ant. These mother@&$nt treating local business bad mehson. Wha mudda tax them mother@$&nt BVI airways pay. Hey look here mehson.
  • Dark Clouds (16/03/2017, 16:13) Like (12) Dislike (3) Reply
    NDP are a bunch of k@ssa$$ COONS.
  • These are sad times (16/03/2017, 17:02) Like (17) Dislike (0) Reply
    in our country story when we have a sitting government lobbying for the demise of our inherent rights of support to empower us to grow and succeed in our own country of birth. Just sad.
  • Thru the lines (16/03/2017, 17:06) Like (13) Dislike (4) Reply
    And reality is... they don't think us locals are ever good enough or capable of anything outside the small market status quo.
  • @Thru the lines (16/03/2017, 20:10) Like (3) Dislike (19) Reply
    Well,are " us locals good enough or capable of anything outside the small market status quo"?
    If " us " are good enough,prove it. As long as us see Gov as Santa Claus the answer is a resounding NO! You have a business idea...Get funding ..Seek investors..Seek loans from private sources not solely handouts from taxpayers. That type of thinking shouts loudly that you are not capable . This is why,inspite of the fact that VI AirLink exists due to Gov generosity,this man can,unashamedly and to the international community, show the world that he is typically, a fine example of laziness and dependency.
    • Tripple-R (17/03/2017, 06:27) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
      @ @Thru the lines; So let me try and understand this, a foreign airline company owes our BVIAA money for however long, yet the government took our tax money (7mil to be exact) and give to these people to start their disfunctional business and you here talking crap about getting private funding and seeking investors. That is what BVI airways should have done instead of our government investing 7 million of our money into their private company. I swear some people just talk to say they have a mouth to speak. If you don't talk anything with sense you should cease to speak because right about now, you are talking nothing but COW DUNG.
      • @,tripple_R (17/03/2017, 12:32) Like (1) Dislike (6) Reply
        Both Gov parties made a decision not to utilize Airlink for whatever reasons. Both parties operate with the intention of doing what is in the best interest of the BVI. Braithwaite's action in response to the rejection is demonstrative of his intent to place a burden on taxpayers along with the demise of his airline. The Members of both parties know the Braithwaite's very well and from his destructive tantrum it is evident that the decision not to involve his airline was wise. Disappointments are opportunities and lessons none of which he recognizes. Pilots and business eople do not have the luxury of making emotional and poor judgements. However,there are other local pilots in the wings who would be happy to seize the opportunities that will open with our US flights and BVI Airways could very well have the opportunity for regional flights left vacant by AirLink.
  • l (16/03/2017, 23:28) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    this government does not have a leg to stand on!
  • -------------------- (16/03/2017, 23:46) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Welcome to the life of local businesses
    One Love!
  • Curious (16/03/2017, 23:54) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Dr. Smith and Russell doesn't gamble anything. Those in the private sector who voted for NDP did so thinking they were pro our business and they lose.
  • Malcolm X (18/03/2017, 08:11) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Is the stupidity of the citizens why they moving like thugs without repercussions. We the people need to start holding them accountable. When they make us uncomfortable in our country, we need to make them uncomfortable. They are the white man puppet to enslave us again. Pickering, Smith etc...

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