Hon Fahie wants to know price tag for Delta Petroleum court win!
It was the Government of the VI through the Attorney General’s Chambers who had moved to the Privy Council back in April 2014, seeking for the Law Lords to overrule the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Court of Appeal's decision, which Delta won.
However, in a big blow to the Government, hence the Customs Department, the UK Privy Council- the British Overseas Territory’s final court- ruled that they were satisfied that the OECS Court of Appeal arrived at the correct decision. It has not been shown, for the purposes of section 30 (1)(a) of the Customs Act, that goods “subject to duty on importation” had been “unloaded or removed without payment of such duty,” the judgement reads.
The VI final court concluded that Government’s appeal must fail. Delta Petroleum was represented by Sir Fenton Ramsahoye QC and the Government of the VI by James Guthrie QC.
Bevis A. Sylvester speaks
Speaking for the first time last month on the matter, Delta Petroleum Regional General Manager Bevis A. Sylvester said he does not view it as a victory for his company but rather he is “sorry for the tax payers of the Territory.”
He was at the time commenting on the case in which the Government of the VI will have to fork up millions to Delta Petroleum (Caribbean) Ltd, after the Customs Department received a big blow at the level of the Privy Council last year Monday, October 17, 2016.
The people need answers- Hon Fahie
In addition, Opposition Leader and Virgin Islands Party Chairman Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) will ask Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) about the price tag on this case.
The Questions will be posted on Tuesday April 18, 2017 at the Sixth Sitting of the Second Session of the Third House of Assembly. Hon Fahie wants to know the total legal, specialist and other professional fees/costs to Government for the case against Delta Petroleum for which the Government lost in the Privy Council, and a detailed breakdown of the costs Government is expected to pay for the services listed above.
Furthermore, the Opposition Leader is seeking answers of a detailed breakdown of the approximate costs Government is expected to pay to Delta Petroleum, and whether Cabinet approved the funding for the legal and other professional costs for this matter and if yes how much and at what stage(s) were these costs approved and incurred.
Hon Fahie also wants the public to know what Cabinet approved as it relates to this case and when discussions with Delta Petroleum and the Government of the VI, in reference to the Privy Council’s ruling on the mentioned case, is expected to commence.
I tried to settled but was ignored- Sylvester
Mr Sylvester said he tried his very best to settle this matter out of court, but no one was listening to him. The former Budget Coordinator at the Ministry of Finance with the Government of the VI said he met with government senior officers, “the Premier, the Financial Secretary and Ministers of Government on the matter when it just started but for some reason everyone ignored the case, now it will cost tax payers millions of dollars to settle the matter.”
He insisted that the huge lawsuit and millions to be paid to his company by Government could have been avoided and his heart goes out to the people of the Virgin Islands as it’s no victory for Delta, as he “pays taxes in the BVI too”.
Additionally, Mr Sylvester said Delta Petroleum was treated “very badly and cruel by the Government” as described by the Privy Council, and there was no reason for this.