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More lies from Premier Smith? Other companies had interest in direct flights

- Some three companies wanted to do direct flights from Miami to Beef Island, including a local company, costing less
Premier Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith inaccurately stated that not many airlines were interested in direct flights from Miami to Beef Island when in fact at least three other companies had expressed an interest, including local airline VI Airlink. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- It was at the Seventh Sitting of the Second Session of the Third House of Assembly (HoA) on May 11, 2017 under fire from the Opposition Leader Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1), that more information was unearthed about the controversial tax payers bailout of BVI Airways.

According to Premier Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith’s answer to the Opposition Leader’s question on May 11, 2017, Sixel Consulting Group conducted a study for $22,000 to determine the viability of the airline.

However, tax payers are not to know what is in the study. Premier Smith said that due to the commercial nature of the report it would be prejudicial to provide a copy of the document at this time. This is after Hon Fahie requested that it be made public.

Lies & More Lies

However, on a follow up question from the Opposition Leader Hon Fahie asked the Premier why not just have other airlines interested in direct flights from Miami to Beef Island do their own case study and then the Government just choose the best one, but Dr Smith responded that "at the time there were not many companies who were interested in looking at this kind of opportunity".

In other words, the Premier told the House of Assembly (HoA) and the public that not many other airline companies expressed an interest in doing direct flights from Miami, Florida to the Terrence B. Lettsome International Airport, on Beef Island.

After Dr Smith’s untruthful statement we had some three calls to our newsroom from other companies who had expressed an interest in this long before the bankrupt BVI Airways was seeking a bailout of over $7M to do the same thing.

We had calls from two Caribbean airline companies (one out of Barbados) who said they had long approached the National Democratic Party (NDP) Administration on such an opportunity, along with a local company VI Airlink.

VI Airlink was rejected

When pressed to produce evidence as our newsroom refused to accept that Premier Smith, an honourable man, will tell a blatant lie to the public and mislead the HoA, VI Airlink made available an email and the proposal sent to the NDP Administration since December 2011 for the attention of the Minister for Communications and Works, Hon Mark H. Vanterpool (R4).

In addition, local captain of VI Airlink Neville C. Braithwaite Jr told our newsroom in an exclusive interview that in 2012 he made a presentation to the NDP Caucus on his proposal for direct flights between Miami and Beef Island, a more cost effective proposal.

So it was wrong and misleading for Premier Smith to claim that not many other companies had expressed an interest in this matter.

Dr Smith History of Lies

This is not the first time that Premier Smith had made false statements to the HoA. Last year he was contradicted by the BVI Airports Authority when he claimed that BVI Airways had paid off their $100,000 debt to the authority.

In March of this year when Governor John S. Duncan OBE imposed direct rule, stripping Hon Smith under Sec 103 (b) of the VI Constitution of his ability as Minister of Finance to determine how monies are spent, the Premier went on national radio to say that many of the things Governor Duncan wanted for the police were already at the Treasury waiting to be picked up or were already addressed.

This turned out to be a lie. The Premier admitted that he was misled and the Financial Secretary Neil M. Smith took responsibly for the erroneous information.

See link to audio of Premier Dr The Hon D. Orlando Smith inaccurately stating in the House of Assembly that not many companies were interested in direct flights from Miami to Beef Island:

Click here to listen to audio.

See below the proposal sent to Government by VI Airlink for direct flights to Beef Island from Miami:

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35 Responses to “More lies from Premier Smith? Other companies had interest in direct flights”

  • voter (17/05/2017, 19:18) Like (22) Dislike (6) Reply
    Wow thank god for vino
  • facts! (17/05/2017, 19:24) Like (23) Dislike (4) Reply
    Transparency- what starts wrong will end wrong- regardless of how it's disguised.
  • VG Resident (17/05/2017, 19:42) Like (14) Dislike (15) Reply
    So what is stopping any of these airlines from starting service? Just do it!
  • Hmm (17/05/2017, 20:28) Like (10) Dislike (15) Reply

    I don't think VI Air Link want to get on the wrong side of this government. Which aircraft did they suggest and how will they have acquire it? Clearly this is missing a lot of information.

  • Hmmmm (17/05/2017, 20:52) Like (10) Dislike (2) Reply
    That is not a proposal WTF? ARE YOU SERIOUS?
    • Slim Jim (17/05/2017, 22:55) Like (15) Dislike (1) Reply
      Its called an Executive Summary, my friend... in other words, the short version
  • the story is a lie (17/05/2017, 20:57) Like (213) Dislike (49) Reply
    I LOVE DR SMITH NO MATTER WHAT products and faces of products u see walkin around here ......are here because of this great doctor here
  • pat (17/05/2017, 22:03) Like (15) Dislike (2) Reply
    the jets they would have used would have not required an extended runway. they are smaller efficient planes
    commonly used in small destinations. Why didn't they try and work with Link?
    • Yes (17/05/2017, 22:23) Like (2) Dislike (5) Reply
      Where did you read that? I hope that piece in the news story is not their complete proposal.
      • pat (18/05/2017, 22:29) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
        they will use the existing 4642 ft runway and appropriate jets that carry 70 people per trip. this would also give them a chance to see how efficient they can make the business and see if it is viable to Miami. Start small and work your way up, not big and not be able to sustain it.
    • grench (18/05/2017, 03:48) Like (14) Dislike (3) Reply
      It's easier to hide the flow of the 7mil if an outsider is chosen to do the direct flight.
      It's all about corruption that's why they did not use the other company.
  • Hmmm (17/05/2017, 22:43) Like (9) Dislike (4) Reply
    Let the truth be told finally we see the light
    Coming out of the crooks we elected
  • ok (18/05/2017, 01:39) Like (4) Dislike (9) Reply
    'not that many........' isn't that about two? Thank you for the info anyway.
  • Political Observer (PO) (18/05/2017, 04:52) Like (22) Dislike (2) Reply
    Nonsense! It is just a study on the viability on an airline viability to operate direct flights between Miami and Beef Island. What proprietary information needs to be protected? Is it that the Sixel Consulting Group report didn't support the government's desire? What national security issue, if any, is included the report that needs to be protected? The people have a right to know so be transparent and release the information. The people got $7.3M invested in BVI Airways so it a right to the information, do they not? Did the government issue a Request For Proposal to provide direct flight services between Miami and Beef Island and that government would subsidized the route?
  • wize up (18/05/2017, 04:58) Like (13) Dislike (18) Reply
    what is fascinating the same Andrew & Julian were in administration after administration but did nothing towards creating airlift for our people of BVI...I clearly recall the development of Noel Lloyd Park now that green space is a benefit to our people(I recall one gentleman actually laid down in front of the machine to prevent that project): those 2 chaps just like two little girls cry and cry about everything after being in power for 20 years.....the one fahie and fraser bitched about the pier park but look at the development now; some of our own people now have economic opportunity in Road Town(that area sat unproductive under fahie & fraser for many many years....but them have the most noise to make).. with the advent of flights from our territory to main land USA, the visitor, resident and citizens will now have an opinion(should I travel from the USVI or travel from BVI)...Let fahie and fraser put pen to paper and submit any findings of wrong doing/white collar crime to the governor or the foreign and commonwealth office and send all who need jail to the jail house(every sitting of the house same ole piss talk) crime growing and growing and nothing from the opposition members as to how we can fight the crime(just focus on who did this and who did that)....let me say this, after exposing all the wrong doing in public settings for the globe to hear( the U.K. Will simply take over) so no need for NDP or VIP
    • @ wize up (18/05/2017, 06:02) Like (10) Dislike (6) Reply
      Too long to read
      • wize up (18/05/2017, 07:23) Like (5) Dislike (10) Reply
        @@wize up: very true(you VIP cronies are something else!!!) however please do not blame your inabilities to read on me: the news item is by far longer than the blog(though I will point that fact out to you) and others like you keep fighting against what is good for the people!
  • Factual (18/05/2017, 05:56) Like (8) Dislike (5) Reply
    I would not say the Premier lied here. He merely noted that there were not many airlines interested not any airlines interested there is a clear difference between both statements. However I know they would argue that vi airlink and bvi airways could of both been categorised as local airlines because of the Romney connection in BVI airways and that they choose a local company however as the directors etc are revealed we see that perception is false. On the other hand had we given the opportunity to VI Airlink would we have been willing to freely use the tax payers money to help theur cause. I firmly believe all companies that showed an interest had the capability to make it a reality its just unfortunate that tax payers could have no part of such a decision yet they are suppose to wholeheartedly agree with the airport projects and support the cause. I dont like the way that our governments operate as intelligence has skipped the masses in this country. As a matter of fact the strongest minds in this country are sitting on the fence outside of politics that is the real travisty.
  • Street Reporter..Serious time. (18/05/2017, 06:27) Like (8) Dislike (2) Reply
    My people this country is dead slow at s stand still, sliding.. We in a lot of trouble. This 7 million dollars would have better us to reinvent music festival.. Which would have been next weekend.. Market it Better get people in the place ...the same for August festival.. My suggestion.. Create a swimming festival for for the first weekend in June.... If may so slow and dead. Imaging what June will be like. ..We are serious and critical times. Now leadership matters more than before.
  • Hmmm (18/05/2017, 06:30) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    "not many other companies" could in fact be 3, it could in fact be 5. What we know are truths are often twisted
  • voiceofthevoiceless (18/05/2017, 07:30) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply

    I was never in support of the idea that Government should invest in the start -up capital of a private company. Let the company establish itself first, prove their business is viable and that the route is essential to the tourism product. This was not done and that is why we are here now. At least VI Air Link is an established entity.

    However I am in support of transparency and this Government is a stranger to transparency and good governance. Why is it that a feasibility study paid with our money cannot be released? Commercially sensitive and prejudicial to the parties involved? In laymans terms it cannot be released as the findings would sjow that the service was not sustainable. Another reason why we need a FOI act but again the Government is not interested in this, just another campaign gimmick. Yet another decent idea seems to have been poorly executed and highly questionable due to the veil of secrecy surrounding it. I swear these guys will never learn.

    In regards to Dr. Smith lying that is not the case here as he did not say that they were no airlines but that they were not many airlines. 

  • okay (18/05/2017, 08:04) Like (9) Dislike (9) Reply
    Not many = 3/4. Where is the lie? I personally don't think it would matter WHO obtained this 7mil sanction from the govt. We would still find a reason to criticize the decision. I think the bigger problem here is the state of politics in the territory. Money is being spent on infrastructure, but our social fabric continues to break down. There is no trust because members of society who are in real need are not being heard... while those with business plans are earning top dollars.
    • @okay (19/05/2017, 06:08) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
      "Real need" of What?

      Are they in need of ambition,common sense, healthy life style,birth control,self respect... ..?.?...

      Health care, education,job opportunities in the BVI are available so what are they in need of from the Government.
  • long look me come from (18/05/2017, 09:27) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    They hate locals
  • hah (18/05/2017, 11:23) Like (15) Dislike (2) Reply
    Shame on Orlando. You have let your country down and will go down as the worst Premier in BVI history.
  • me (18/05/2017, 13:52) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Lie like a ole dutty rug. Shame on you sir!
  • Dulcina (19/05/2017, 05:58) Like (1) Dislike (3) Reply
    "breast fed " vi airliink since it's inception, with no signs of a desire or intent of wanting to be weaned , their evident immaturity,selfishness and self destructive behaviour, Ilack of business acumeny, thank heavens that they are not a part of this current endeavour by the Government. Rather than the self destruct path they have now chosen,they should be energetic in demonstrating success without the charity to which they have imposed on themselves as a birthright.
    Unfortunately,they are and will continue to be victims of their Karma as a result of ingratitude and this is certsin. The laws of divine nature is unforgiving.
    • jj (19/05/2017, 17:20) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Good comedy guys, keep it coming, distrscts us limey's from our own train crash politics.
  • 911 (19/05/2017, 19:29) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Welcome to Road Town... where we continue to practice the bandoolu code. "scrape off anything you can get away with, to hell with integrity and correctness". "Get it by any means necessary".
  • 111 (19/05/2017, 19:34) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    No body will go to prison. Nobody will lose their job. and in 9 days nobody will be talking about this.
  • ... (21/05/2017, 14:23) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The VIP must give the people a reason to vote FOR them... 2015 proved a campaign to vote against NDP (as awful as they are) simply isn't enough.
  • ABC (22/05/2017, 22:57) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    "bad company corrupts good character" 1 Cor 15:33.
  • time (26/05/2017, 23:10) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The last thing we should be doing is putting more pork barrel in the hands of politicians!

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