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Legal issues in Berthing deals can only be settled in the USA!

Many critics of the two Berthing Agreements view this as another sellout of the rights of the people of the Virgin Islands by the NDP Govt. as VI legal system shut out of any dispute
Persons in the Territory are of the view that the berthing agreements are a sellout of their rights now that it has been discovered that legal issues can only be settled in the State of Florida, USA. They feel that there is no way that a US judge will be sympathetic to a foreign company over a US-registered one in the settlements of disputes. Photo: VINO/File
Premier Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith speaking at the signing ceremony between the BVI Ports Authority, Norwegian Cruise Line and Disney Cruise Line at the Premier's Conference Room on January 17, 2014. Photo: VINO/File
Premier Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith speaking at the signing ceremony between the BVI Ports Authority, Norwegian Cruise Line and Disney Cruise Line at the Premier's Conference Room on January 17, 2014. Photo: VINO/File
Hon Mark H. Vanterpool speaking during the signing ceremony between the BVI Ports Authority, Norwegian Cruise Line and Disney Cruise Line at the Premier's Conference Room on January 17, 2014. Photo: VINO/File
Hon Mark H. Vanterpool speaking during the signing ceremony between the BVI Ports Authority, Norwegian Cruise Line and Disney Cruise Line at the Premier's Conference Room on January 17, 2014. Photo: VINO/File
Hon Ronnie W. Skelton, Minister for Health and Social Development, and Hon Myron V. Walwyn, Minister for Education and Culture in the audience during the signing ceremony between the BVI Ports Authority, Norwegian Cruise Line and Disney Cruise Line at the Premier's Conference Room on January 17, 2014. Photo: VINO/File
Hon Ronnie W. Skelton, Minister for Health and Social Development, and Hon Myron V. Walwyn, Minister for Education and Culture in the audience during the signing ceremony between the BVI Ports Authority, Norwegian Cruise Line and Disney Cruise Line at the Premier's Conference Room on January 17, 2014. Photo: VINO/File
Scene from the signing ceremony between the BVI Ports Authority, Norwegian Cruise Line and Disney Cruise Line at the Premier's Conference Room on January 17, 2014. Photo: VINO/File
Scene from the signing ceremony between the BVI Ports Authority, Norwegian Cruise Line and Disney Cruise Line at the Premier's Conference Room on January 17, 2014. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI: Yet another blow has been dealt to the people of the Virgin Islands by the National Democratic Party (NDP) Government of Premier and Minister of Finance Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith as citizens continue to review the recent controversial Berthing Agreements signed last month.

It is clear that both Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) and Disney Cruise Lines (DCL) had the BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA) and the Government ‘eating out of their hands’ over these Berthing agreements.

What is troubling to most local legal experts is that if there is a disagreement or dispute between the two cruise lines and the BVIPA over the Berthing agreements the Virgin Islands (VI) legal system has absolutely no legal jurisdiction.

In fact in the both agreements signed by the BVIPA and Government of the Virgin Islands released to the public after much media pressure and uncertainty, if disagreement arises it can only be settled in the United States legal system and not the VI.

Only in the USA

In the NCL agreement in section 29 it made clear the exclusive venue and choice of law. It states “The Agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of Florida, without regard to the conflict of laws provisions thereof which would have the effect of causing another state’s laws to be applicable. The parties hereby irrevocably consent and submit in any suit, action or proceeding arising out of or relating to this Agreement or any transactions contemplated hereby (whether during the term hereof after its termination or expiration or in connection with its negotiation), to the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida or if jurisdiction is not available therein, the jurisdiction of any court located in Miami Dade Country, Florida and waive any and all objections to such jurisdiction or venue that they may have under the laws of any state or country, including without limitation, any argument that jurisdiction, situs and/or venue are inconvenient or otherwise improper”.

The agreement went on to say, “each party further agrees that process may be served upon such Party in any manner authorized under the Laws of the United States or Florida, and waives any objections that such Party may otherwise have to such process.”

What is more of interest to the rights of the Virgin Islands’ Tax payers is that in the DCL section 17.7 the Agreement also gives exclusive rights for all legal disputes to be done in Florida USA, “and expressly waive all rights to trial by jury regarding any such matter.”

NDP & BVIPA sold us out!

One local Attorney who said he is an NDP supporter told our news site in a telephone interview he can only shake his head with this new revelation. “Now tell me what American judge will rule or be sympathetic to a foreign company or country over an American registered company in a dispute…this is a total sellout of the rights of the BVI…at least give a choice for both jurisdictions…we have an internationally recognized commercial court in the BVI…whoever negotiated this did not have the people’s interest in mind”, he said with much conviction.

Another person Jane who only wanted her first name to be used when told about what was in the agreement said “how can you waive a jury trial in a foreign country knowing what I know about the American legal system? Something is fishy about this whole deal…we need to go back to the drawing board as the BVI got screwed somewhere in this thing.”

It was this news site that first broke the news of the Berthing agreements that also shut out local taxi and tour operators and that the Cruise Lines will not be putting up a dime of their own money but instead the BVIPA is funding the project.

It is this news site’s understanding that the BVIPA Board has already approved a request for a loan from a local bank to fund the project.

49 Responses to “Legal issues in Berthing deals can only be settled in the USA!”

  • ... (17/02/2014, 08:08) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    shamefull I am sick with the NDP to my stomach
  • lodger (17/02/2014, 08:37) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    I cry for my country almost every day with the level of ignorance we have herenwith this NDP goverment poor we
  • wow (17/02/2014, 08:44) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    Looks like the cruise lines got the upper hand! NDP have no shame, first they have to pay a quarter mill a year to the cruise lines, now this.
  • NICK (17/02/2014, 08:52) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    do we need so many cruise ship?check the amount of smoke pollution downloaded over road town when these ships are in port.
  • Eh? (17/02/2014, 09:02) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    Trouble in paradise! We will see the tale of the tape next election but there is more to come. If this can only be battled in the US, it is meant to say that there were some additional deals that went down in US territory.

    Talking about corruption, tell me more about the Florida Bank Account.
  • Media power (17/02/2014, 09:06) Like (12) Dislike (1) Reply
    Thanks VINO. This is horrific. Between our leaders and legal counsel in the AG's office, you mean to tell me that not one of them took this piece of crap and threw it in the trash? This is unbelieveable. NDP, take notice and take warning that this is it for you guys. What's next? If it wasn't for VINO we wouldn't know the debt of the hypocrisy and political prostitution that youall undertaking. Enough is enough.
  • asura (17/02/2014, 09:21) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    MONEY AND POWER RULES NO SURPIRSE HERE
    • HAHA (17/02/2014, 16:59) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      And if you think this is unusual, just research the issues sorounding the laon and who move their loan to the same bank
  • Joy (17/02/2014, 09:22) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    See they have no creditability now to talk about biwater two bad deals this and that
  • ooooo (17/02/2014, 09:26) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    is stupid we stupid so buddy?
  • Fed Up (17/02/2014, 09:46) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Time to get these people out before they make us prisoners in our own land
  • Yah! (17/02/2014, 09:54) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    We are being lead by the BVI Mafia.
  • bay yute (17/02/2014, 10:15) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The usa run things
  • sad (17/02/2014, 10:23) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    The Governor of the BVI. needs to send this information to the Foreign and Commonwealth. Office in Britain. These fellows are taking us down a slippery slope. What company can do business in this territory And decide that only the law in the US can be used. We are British and we are the tax payers. This contract must be stopped immediately. If the minister was a Virginlander, he would know how the people feel. Why he wants to sell our birthright?
  • SHAME (17/02/2014, 10:51) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    The most shameful part it that they have a lawyer right in their midst, not even he could tell them this is vacabonish and stop it?
    • she the cat mother (17/02/2014, 15:13) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      The same boiling caldron of contempt for a corrupt and brutal dictatorship called NDP lurks underneath a veneer of stability.
    • Outspoken (17/02/2014, 19:39) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Three lawyers including the AG
    • @ SHAME (18/02/2014, 13:48) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      What Lawyer you talking about? Oh! the one who cannot decide which direction to go , everything any fool suggest to him he implement and make mandatory.
  • GOV. WORTH NOTHING (17/02/2014, 10:55) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    They need to go st thomas and see how west indian shipping co does business. The ships pay them for space to berth and the cruise lines dont own a thing. The Public has access to the dock and its shops and everything. The NDP is real disappointment!!!! I even shame to say i voted or campagin for them. They are all ridiculious.
  • Hmmmmm (17/02/2014, 11:31) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    Dr No Clue & the Grass Hopper have sold our birthright for a mess of pottage......................
    • Boo (17/02/2014, 15:24) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      pottage lol too funny

      like the reference to peasantry, which incidentally we all will become when they are finished with us!
  • incredible (17/02/2014, 11:44) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    First of all. When going into the agreement, such as this. I beleive that a lawyer must go over the details of the contract before person(s) signing the agreement. That is when it is with signed with an uderstanding that you are in an agreement has no doubt and no objections to the deatils and obligations of the contract.
  • Bluto (17/02/2014, 11:59) Like (17) Dislike (0) Reply
    This will always be a problem when you have 2 doctors in government but none are minister of health and pastors running the ports. Would you hire a plumber to fix your car or go to the mechanic?
  • cay (17/02/2014, 12:00) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    This seem so unfair
  • ndp soldier (17/02/2014, 12:25) Like (1) Dislike (7) Reply
    people can you remember the Bywater deal if we were waiting to buy water from bywater we will be dead already.
    • Rufstuf (17/02/2014, 14:18) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
      Blame the NDP for that, if they weren't so greedy and want the Ocean Conversion to have everything by puting them baughersbay and shutting down biwater, biwater would be selling water years ago. Set of NDP cowbirds
  • great (17/02/2014, 12:59) Like (4) Dislike (6) Reply
    VINO, hats off, great investigative reporting but one question, why is this the only agreement being scrutinized to this degree? Why didn't we have this zeal to dig deep into the Sea Cows Bay Marina Harbor? Hannah Bay Development? Biwater? Medical School Study? Greenhouse contract? UWI NHI contract? Andrew/Claude Education/Youth contract? I'm just curious. I think this level of investigation and digging should go for ALL contracts no matter who is involved so I have to wonder why we nit pick when it comes to what should be investigated and what should just blow in the wind.
    • @ great (17/02/2014, 14:52) Like (10) Dislike (1) Reply
      NDP paid bloggers want war, fighting, killing, and suffering, the youth of the BVI are sick and tired of it.It is time for the entire NDP to go...
    • @great & ndp soldier (17/02/2014, 17:08) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      You are not going to distract us from the issue at hand!! This agreement is wrong on too many levels no matter what you say!!!
    • pat (17/02/2014, 17:21) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      neither party is perfect or right, BUT I want to know what happened to the audit and how did that get resolved to public satisfaction. Or did they just shut the auditor up? people should sue the government for lack of due diligence. This has NEVER been accepted or publically agreed to-- and if some development was needed the issue is HOW. Always HOW!! Hugh Darley and Disney just patiently sat it out. Do we get any say over the first impressions of the BVI to outsiders? or is that to be manufactured as a fake adventure?

      Sorry to say-- this does NOT surprise me given the NDP's attitude and track record to big business, resorts, ignoring laws for friends, slight of hand and bullying. We all read the manifesto as being the gospel, but no one checked between the lines... Shame on us for being so naïve ourselves as to not hold ministers accountable-- and that includes the 1st and third for their parts-- SCB etc.-- YES they have their own violations - BUT-- it is these two who kept the heat on to ask questions-- something the public should be doing this. But we keep calling these activists crazy or alarmist. They got the last word. Ask to see if the government can be sued.
  • Birth rights (17/02/2014, 13:07) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    what a thing. dem want kill down island people while they selling them birth rights to others.
  • tola (17/02/2014, 13:44) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Cant believe what I am reading. God help us all.
  • A Fahie (17/02/2014, 13:58) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Wow!
  • mother hen (17/02/2014, 14:56) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    It is only a matter of time before the British takes over
  • Stop the train (17/02/2014, 15:32) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Captain the NDP fellow watch dogs is going to sink the ship that was coming to shore,thrown them over board let the shark have a fest before they sink the ship. Pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
    • General Public (18/02/2014, 16:17) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      you so right with that throw them over board for the shark because if the ship sink that means 10, 000 people will drown when 13 of them could throw over board......and save the 10, 000
      • @GP (18/02/2014, 18:02) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
        At this point we have the 9 NDP "Selected" members we would need to throw overboard cuz they have gone waaaay overboard this time! It's about time we take a stand and let them know we have had enough of this bullying
  • wondering (17/02/2014, 16:56) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Good grief! What a misguided agreement this is.
  • WHEN WILL IT END!!! (17/02/2014, 17:11) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    I agree with you but I want to submit another reason: political Corruption
  • Reader (17/02/2014, 19:54) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    VINO can you direct us to a copy of this agreement. I prefer to read this agreement line for line for myself. I cannot rely on someone taking a sentence here and there and present it as the truth. Others might enjoy being spoon fed, but others like to get into the break down of things. Let us be fair!
  • wise up (17/02/2014, 23:02) Like (0) Dislike (6) Reply
    what the big fuss is all about; people come the BVI to settle legal matters; so what if BVI have to go to the USA....big deal !!!!!!!
  • one eye roster (18/02/2014, 18:09) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I even noticed on the ndp blue site they turned against them over this deal
  • ABC (18/02/2014, 20:21) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    People, it is because of the disclosure of corruption such as this why they are moving to pass new legislation which would threaten the well being of those who would dear leak their corrupt dealings to the press. And to think that I voted for them. What a travesty.
  • Fine Print (19/02/2014, 08:24) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Looks like nobody read the fine print in the contract. Absurd when you think that this is a 15 year contract. Even crazier when you think of how many lawyers there are in the territory. Now, it is binding and disputes will need to be settled in a US venue using American legal principles. There are probably clauses for damages in the event of early termination too. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread...
  • Fifth Dimension (20/02/2014, 15:15) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Un F###cking believable. Why none of these hoodlums in jail? They need to be impeached. God help us and deliver us from this evil regime.


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