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Gov’t may have to fork out $1.7M for severing ties with TPP- Hon. Vanterpool

-NDP gov’t heading into a hole they can’t get out of – Hon. Fraser
According to a press release issued by Government on Friday September 27, 2013 the decision to discontinue negotiations for the Cruise Pier Project and land side development was communicated and accepted by Tortola Pier Partners as conditions precedent to the agreement were not concluded in a timely manner. Photo: File
Minister for Communications and Works, Honourable Mark H. Vanterpool is confident that the Cruise Pier Development Project will get off the ground by January 2014. Photo: VINO/file
Minister for Communications and Works, Honourable Mark H. Vanterpool is confident that the Cruise Pier Development Project will get off the ground by January 2014. Photo: VINO/file
Representative for the Third District Honourable Julian Fraser RA blast the NDP Government for treating the populace like juveniles who are incapable of comprehending what is real. Photo: VINO/file
Representative for the Third District Honourable Julian Fraser RA blast the NDP Government for treating the populace like juveniles who are incapable of comprehending what is real. Photo: VINO/file
Mr Julio Sam Henry said he is one to believe that the United Kingdom Government had some hands in the fall out with TPP. Photo: VINO/file
Mr Julio Sam Henry said he is one to believe that the United Kingdom Government had some hands in the fall out with TPP. Photo: VINO/file
Mr Natilo ‘Sowande’ Wheatly said that the decision by the NDP Government to pull out of the arrangements with Tortola Pier Partners came as a shock when in actual fact it should not have been surprising. Photo: VINO/file
Mr Natilo ‘Sowande’ Wheatly said that the decision by the NDP Government to pull out of the arrangements with Tortola Pier Partners came as a shock when in actual fact it should not have been surprising. Photo: VINO/file
Talk show host Mr Edmund Maduro alleged that the Government is being run by a bunch of incompetent politicians. Photo: VINO/file
Talk show host Mr Edmund Maduro alleged that the Government is being run by a bunch of incompetent politicians. Photo: VINO/file
Many are questioning the ability of the BVI Ports Authority's ability to spearhead the Cruise Pier Project. Photo: Provided
Many are questioning the ability of the BVI Ports Authority's ability to spearhead the Cruise Pier Project. Photo: Provided
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Minister for Communications and Works, Honourable Mark H. Vanterpool has indicated that the Virgin Islands Government may have to expend a maximum of $1.7M for severing ties with Tortola Pier Partners(TPP).

According to a press release issued by Government on Friday September 27, 2013 the decision to discontinue negotiations was communicated and accepted by Tortola Pier Partners as conditions precedent to the agreement were not concluded in a timely manner.

“We may not pay them $1.7 but that’s the maximum,” Hon. Vanterpool told Virgin Islands News Online.

He said over the next three months Government will be going through the process of planning and negotiations as it seeks to get the Cruise Pier Development Project and surrounding landside development off the ground.

Minister Vanterpool also stated that physical works are likely to begin by January 2014. “A project team is being put in place in order to look at all those aspects,” Hon Vanterpool stated.

This he said will allow for the negotiations and consultations with financial institutions and the UK Government. He, however, declined to say which banks they are currently eying and whether or not they are looking at banks in the Virgin Islands as opposed to those out of the territory. “I don’t want to comment on who they are as yet.”

UK Gov’t has nothing to do with it

As to suspicions that the United Kingdom (UK) played an integral part in the decision to let go TPP, Hon. Vanterpool said, “Absolutely not. The decision was made by the Premier and the Cabinet and the UK was informed. The UK government has nothing to do with it.”

NDP failing – clear as night follows day

It is the expressed view that despite the current economic circumstances facing the Virgin Islands, Government has been repeatedly making the mistake of bad deals and ultimately the loss of valuable financial and other resources.

According to Representative for the Third District Honourable Julian Fraser, RA, the demise Government finds itself in today as it relates to this project was “clear as night follows day”.

Others have already written off the Cruise Pier Project as another failed effort of the National Democratic Party (NDP) government.

“That’s the opinion of persons but that’s not a failing effort …... the failure could be if 12 to 18 months from now we don’t have a cruise pier and we don’t have the facilities to accommodate the cruise ships,” Hon. Vanterpool countered.

TPP was given extra time

The NDP government said it had a 90-day deal with TPP, which they (TPP) failed to meet. “After those 90 days, quite honestly, we give them another 30 days which ended September 19,” Minister Vanterpool revealed.

Hon. Vanterpool said in his justification, “We had made a deal with TPP that we would go ahead and pay for those things over the last couple of months and if the negotiations had broken off, which it has now, the Ports Authority could pay them for those items and they become their property (BVI Ports Authority).”

According to the Minister for Communications and Works, the BVI Ports Authority has forged ahead with the execution of the project with the support of government. He held on to the explanation given by Premier Smith that Tortola Pier Partners did not execute the project in a timely manner, which forced the government to sever ties.

“While we thought that we could have given them time we thought that time was becoming more critical in terms of meeting the deadlines that we have with the cruise lines to have the pier built by the 2014 season so we decided to take charge and make it happen,” said Hon. Vanterpool.

He said that in the process necessary to have the project executed under the Ports Authority, Government would be seeking out ‘capable’ persons to execute the project. “They obviously not going to do it themselves,” he said.

According to the minister, government didn’t consider doing the project under the Port Authority in the initial phases because they had an offer by TPP, which they thought was otherwise favourable. “Naturally we had a case where the private sector was willing to make investments into it, which would save the government going to borrow but this didn’t happen …”

Predictions come to past– Step back!!

The Representative for the Third District, Honourable Julian Fraser RA, in an exclusive interview with Virgin Islands News Online, said Government needs to step back if they are to get out of the ‘hole’ they are currently leading the territory in. He, however, stated empathically that he does not support the suggestion of an election at this time. 

“All they need to do is step back... I don’t think it’s too late but I don’t think that they are going to do it,” Hon. Fraser stated.

According to the former Minister for Communications and Works, from his own experience as a minister, he knows that projects of the magnitude of the Cruise Pier Project don't happen overnight, which was contrary to what he alleged the government tried to make people believe. “So for that reason, and because government continued to forge ahead despite the cries and pleas for commonsense, I was worried that something terrible was going to happen to the territory,” stated Hon. Fraser.

The Member of the Opposition added “You don't get a company to plop down $75 million on a sand dune, as was the case with this project, without a plan to recoup their investment and when pressed for an explanation, you are provided with contrived unrealistic explanations, which included a 20% investment opportunity for residents. The whole thing is such an insult to people's intelligence that the mere thought that people would be so prepared to go along, begs the question, what's going on?”

He said he is not one to be taken up with the endless spins and denials by the NDP Administration as it continues to treat the populace like juveniles incapable of comprehending what is real.

Hon. Fraser insisted that he did not know much about the Tortola Pier Park Project since Government has been consistent in its refusal to give him information on the project, either in its refusals to answer questions and other requests in the House of Assembly regarding the project, or request by other public means. And even in the cases where releases were made, he said it has proven to be either outright lies or half truths.

“This obvious fraud on our people’s resources, namely the alienation of Wickham’s  Cay land; the imposition of taxes as a means of premium payments; and most importantly, the alienation of the entire mercantile sector of Cruise Tourism, has served to give me tremendous skepticism about the Premier's unsolicited explanation as to what happened, why the so-called deal is off. There must have been an awakening,” said Hon. Fraser.

He said he does not believe the reason given by the Premier for severing ties with TPP as the truth. “I have my own thoughts as to what really happened. This Government is in as bad a spot as you can get. They can't pay vendors for work done; they can no longer borrow money; they can't enter into any agreements for major capital developments without the approval of the Secretary of State; and worst, they have recently learned that the territory has been declared an uncooperative tax haven and therefore blacklisted by the French, so who is the Premier trying to fool?” argued Hon. Fraser.

Citizens Speak out – Signs!

Among others, this news agency sought the views of Mr Natalio ‘Sowande Uhuru’ Wheatley, Mr Julio Sam Henry and Mr Edmund Maduro, all whom were very candid with their views.

Mr Wheatley said he was shocked at the news when in fact he should not have been because something that starts the wrong way rarely finishes the right way unless one changes course. He said there were many signs that the project was not being executed in the best interest of the people.

“Opposition from the community to various aspects of the project, the UK government demanding that it be properly tendered, a tendering process that Royal Caribbean believes was unfair and their subsequent letter to the governor and foreign and commonwealth office, and now the termination of the relationship with Tortola Port Partners.”

Mr Wheatley, like many others, is interested in knowing what the conditions were that TPP could not meet.

“Key figures in this group most likely were contracted to do work on port projects, but did this particular grouping ever initiate an entire project of this scale on its own? It would be interesting to know whether financing was a condition that was not met, considering a capable company such as Royal Caribbean tendered for the project. Losing the $1.7 mil is just more salt in the wound and reflects poorly on the judgment of the government.”

Secrecies

Mr Wheatley further questioned, “Why did we enter into a relationship with TPP in the first place.  There was an agreement on the table with Disney to build a welcome center and expand the pier among other things for just over $16 million. That was shelved, and now we are back to square one. We all knew that expanding the pier was the first priority, and the government could have taken its time and put together a proper development project for the landside development that would provide opportunities for locals as opposed to taking opportunities away from locals.”

Mr Wheatly described the government as displaying secretive behavior, which makes it impossible to know the UK's position.  

Mr Julio Sam Henry, on the other hand, said he was happy that the relationship between the NDP government and TPP has ended. “I think it’s great. I thought the mere fact that the government chose a third party to partner with, versus going directly to the cruise ships which the Minister himself made clear that they’d been in contact with ships in the past for how many years, 2-3 years now, I thought it was the wrong approach. I thought they should have gone directly to the cruise ships and try to negotiate the deal. If that didn’t work then the government should have looked at partnering with local partners to develop the dock.”

He expressed no confidence in the Port Authority’s ability to effectively execute the project noting that they would have to employ external expertise.

Back to basics – Port Authority can’t do it – Mr Henry

Contrary to Hon. Vanterpool’s claims that the UK government had no hand in the decision to sever ties with TPP, Mr Henry alleged, “Mark (Hon Vanterpool) said himself that the UK has been advised or has been influencing the project all along. The Premier has been keeping the UK involved. I’m not saying that the reason why this whole thing was [ended] was because of the UK. I don’t believe that the UK has not been involved I think that they have been involved all along through the Governor, through the FCO and whoever else is responsible for it. I’m not going to say they weren’t honest. I’m simply saying that I don’t believe that the UK was not involved. I don’t think that they were a decision maker. But I do think that they were involved in the final decision.”

He doubts the notion that the project could be completed in 2014 but rather 2015.

Incompetent politicians!

Popular talk show host Mr Edmund Maduro said that he did not know much details on the issues which led to the NDP government’s decision to part with TPP but said that he was sure of one thing; that the UK government had much "dabbling" in the matter and the decisions.

According to Mr Maduro in an exclusive interview with the Virgin Islands News Online, this recent development is more reason for his call for a fresh election to put in place a more competent body to govern the affairs of the VI.

"We are dealing with a bunch of incompetent politicians, if the UK Government rejected TPP, say so. No they are not going to come out and speak the truth."

Mr Maduro also reiterated is opinion on his talk show BVI Forum aired last Saturday September 28, 2013.

48 Responses to “Gov’t may have to fork out $1.7M for severing ties with TPP- Hon. Vanterpool”

  • ooooo (30/09/2013, 10:01) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    these men will be making 1.7 million dollars without lifting a straw...well sah!
  • Wh*te (30/09/2013, 10:03) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    If black was still at the bank everything would've been safe.
    • show (30/09/2013, 11:47) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      The statements uttered by Mr vanterpool indicates one who is more interested in POWER than the BVI
    • @white (30/09/2013, 21:44) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      The bank already under lawsuit whole damn country in shambles.
  • xxxxxxxx (30/09/2013, 10:07) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    what ah ting to tell teh king
  • Jamdown (30/09/2013, 10:07) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    "Wha gwon bad ah moring cant come good an evening"
  • hog city (30/09/2013, 10:08) Like (2) Dislike (17) Reply
    People!!!! just read the part that fraser said and tell me if this isn't the man to lead us.
    • pat (30/09/2013, 10:48) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
      there is a difference between what a man says and what a man does. the talk should match the walk, and unfortunately, even if Fraser is right on many points on this issue, his behavior in Sea Cows bay is deplorable and anti-democratic. It disrespected the process with town and country, Conservation and Fisheries, and most of all, the people who were crying for information and public input. He can not be a leader and push things that favour him without consulting and including the people. Can a leopard change his spots? wait and see.
      • OahKala (30/09/2013, 20:05) Like (0) Dislike (3) Reply
        @pat, you want to change the subject, but tell us what proof you have that any development to date on the Sea Cows Bay harbour was done by Fraser. Just tell us what he did that was to do with Town Planning. You paid NDP bloggers cant stand truth. I thought the issue here was the $1.7 that Cowboy Mark and Dont Know Orlando will be paying out to some people who no one knows. Stick to the topic pat.
        • pat (01/10/2013, 09:07) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply

          the comment was directed to the previous poster suggesting that Fraser is "the man to lead us". Everything done in SCB should be connected to Town and country and conservation and fisheries. Was there even an environmental impact assessment? the fact that he is the district minister means everything happens under his watch. 
          These are the kinds of mistakes that LEAD people like Mark and Orlando to pay out $1.7 mil because of procedure, deals, and gambling on signed contracts. Are they now going to take the plans and do it themselves? I hope not because neither has the experience or expertise to oversee a project like this.
          feel better OahKala??

          • OahKala (01/10/2013, 10:44) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
            @pat, the point I'm trying to make is that none of the work done (reclamation etc) in Sea Cows Bay Fraser did. It is all done by private individuals. Don't mind the crazy paid NDP bloggers / Fraser haters.
  • OneUp (30/09/2013, 10:09) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    we the people are still awaiting the true details of this matter.
  • Caramel (30/09/2013, 10:09) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Gov’t may have to fork out $1.7M for severing ties with TPP- stated Hon. Vanterpool. Why pay this company when a contract was not signed. Oh! maybe a contracted was already signed without approval from UK Government. The Question is why was this done...negotiations and contact signing is not the same.
    • vip (30/09/2013, 10:39) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      The airport bill is on the way also.
    • vince (30/09/2013, 11:04) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
      Caramel please read carefully. That money has nothing to do with the development construction, it has to do with the design, engineering etc. which will become Government's property to use for the development. You can't use people's designs etc. for free. It was agreed and the value of work done so far must be paid, with 1.7mil being the maximum. It doesn't mean they have to pay the 1.7mil, it means that's the max that can be paid, if there's that value in the works done so far.
      • LOL (30/09/2013, 13:19) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        @vince. as usual people don't read they see words and don't comprehend
      • Whatever.... (30/09/2013, 13:45) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
        Vince, I doubt we got anything substantial from TPP. Maybe those pretty watercolor conceptual drawings, a random order of magnitude cost estimate, and some tests, but I don't think there has been any real engineering or design work done yet.
  • Hasty (30/09/2013, 10:22) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Mark is too HASTY! Another multimillion dollar project to be added to the many that are unfinished. More and more borrowings and debt results in a bankrupt nation. To make up for all these blunders, we will continually be faced with more and more taxes!
  • What a ting to tell the king (30/09/2013, 10:27) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    Let's face a very basic reality, it would have been easy to hand over a couple of dollars on the side for this project as biz is usually done. However, it is not possible for any company to satisfy the greed and the amount of hands that are looking for side deals. At the end of the day a company gives away all it's profit and go in knowing that it's a complete failure. The rational tells then only one option exist, pull out of this deal you simple cannot win. In addition, a BIG red flag and question is if it's such a great deal why is this company pulling out? Why are the investors not biting? No company walks away from a winning deal.

    So who is expected to pay for this experiment? The Tax payers!
    What about all this talk about Brandy Wine bay development? Is this still going to happen and at what cost when this was suppose to be free from the TPP? Not in the budget

    So we now go back to if you guys can't pay a couple of musicians who performed for festival, how are you gong to find all this extra money that was not budgeted for because TPP was suppose to be financing it
  • Catastrophe (30/09/2013, 10:32) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is a keen example of why we should not elect people who cannot run their own two by four establishments. The track record of how these people have mismanaged their own personal affairs makes me nervous when they have to take the helm of projects of this magnitude. It's only prayers that can rescue the BVI from these self serving politicians.
  • polo (30/09/2013, 10:33) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    The negotiating team was a joke which now gives us a comedy of errors and 1.7 million in the hold what a shame
  • l (30/09/2013, 10:54) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Who are the actual partners in TPP? Something doesn't seem right here.
  • vi (30/09/2013, 11:03) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply

    It pains me inside to say it but you got to give jack his jacket. Fraser is 100% correct in his assertion. This is a big blunder, how could this happen. NDP, this is a big blow and I don't know how you will come back from it. WOW! How can you convince people that you are more effective than VIP or anybody else when every single project seems to be going downhill. Don't talk about the CDB projects, more mess than a sh!£ house!

  • jost (30/09/2013, 11:22) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    ITSNT IT SOMETHING HOW TORTOLA BVI JUST TROWS AROUND MILLIONS $$$$$$ LIKE ITS MARBLES
  • From a DISTANCE (30/09/2013, 11:28) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    I am not surprise at all but like the latest new cd from the DOG HIMSELF this is TING TO TALK.
  • weed (30/09/2013, 11:30) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Mark It's a day late and a dollar short..
  • Virgin Son (30/09/2013, 11:44) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Maybe this project is good for the bVI but Mark and the gang has failed miserably to prove it
  • Electric Shock! (30/09/2013, 11:50) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    NDP just need to Start pack up mi seh!
  • she the cat mother (30/09/2013, 11:52) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    I am in disbelief of us having to payout this kind of money because of incompetence and greed
  • Shara Parlin (30/09/2013, 11:58) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    People must be held accountable for what they do with other's money
  • think people (30/09/2013, 12:49) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    Do you people really think that on a project of this scale, that they wouldn't have to pay them for use of whatever equipment and designs/manpower that went into this so far?
  • VIP/NDP (30/09/2013, 13:16) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    Look at it this way Fraser and VIP signed a contract for water and the Island still don't have running water on a regular basis two years later. You don't hear a thing about that but Fraser ready to run he mouth.
    • yea right (30/09/2013, 15:34) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
      Tell your darling Mark and Orlando let the people do their work instead of blocking them. But you NDP paid bloggers cant come to grips with being honest to say that the reason biwater is not allowed to do their work is because you all want to continue sucking the treasury with Ocean Conversion running the Baughers Bay Plant at $1,500,000 that one million five hundred thousand dollars a year.
  • Hmm!! (30/09/2013, 14:22) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Before a dime is paid, we need to get a firm understanding of who is Tortola Pier Partners! Look how this government is blatantly going to pay themselves this money. Am I the only one who can see what is really going on here?
  • ccc (30/09/2013, 15:07) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I cry for my country
  • ABC (30/09/2013, 18:13) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Please! get real. What the Minister of finance has said thus far is simply incredible. And Mark's contribution to what was said must be viewed as irresponsible.
    One doesn't have to be an economist or a scientist to know that this whole plan was flawed from the start. That is why the UK intervened. It is crystal clear that we are heading down the same path that got us in the mess we are in. If Dr. Smith does nothing to prevent his Minister from creating yet another scandel, he would be placing himself in harm's way and could be viewed as an accomplice when justice is being sought after.
    The Cruise Pier Project needs to be retendered and only persons with a clean track record should be allowed to participate in the process.
  • mary j (30/09/2013, 18:14) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    Poor old Mark i feel it for you bro you are having to carry this whole burden on your back
  • man down (30/09/2013, 18:20) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Mack, could you please sit down and be quiet. No one cares what you think anymore
  • cnn (30/09/2013, 20:49) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    NDL, VIP have a vision for the BVI.
  • . (30/09/2013, 20:53) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Haste makes waste
  • my 2 cents (30/09/2013, 23:52) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    If you can't find a solution, at least find a way to make money off prolonging the problem.....Seems to be the rallying cry of the modern politician.
  • facts for ayo (30/09/2013, 23:55) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Let's call a spade a spade: there were a lot of real issues with this project from the start
  • vex (01/10/2013, 22:44) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    1.7 million???? This place really is full of lunatics.


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