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NDP mum on $7.2M giveaway to BVI Airways & runway expansion

- The current gov’t also spent some $6,228,358.14 on consultancy works associated with the runway expansion
Just like the BVI Airways deal, the public is still awaiting an update on the Airport Runway Extension Project. Photo: VINO/
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- The ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) Administration of Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) has gone into hiding over the tax payers' $7.2M give away.

It was around 2016 that Premier Smith announced he had committed tax payers money to restoring the bankrupt BVI Airways that left the Territory in 2014 after financial hardship, owing the BVI Airports Authority (BVIPA) close to $100,000 in fees.

$7.2 M down the drain?

However, Dr Smith told the people that his over $7 million giveaway was in exchange for direct flights from Miami, Florida to the Terrence B. Lettsome International Airport at Beef Island. The Premier also changed his tune, first saying it was an investment then later calling it a subsidy. Dr Smith also told the people the amount was $7M, to be given to the airline over a three year period, as per the agreement now a public document, but instead it turned out that all the funds were given in just six short months and it moved from $7.M to some $7.2M in the hands of the airline and its foreign investors.

The Government also told the people that flights will start in October 30, 2016, a date that never happened. Further, the public was told two other flight dates- that of November and December 30, 2016- but those never came to pass.

Miami International Airport had also announced that direct flights would commence in July of this year. However, BVI Airways announced in July 2017 that it had again been cash strapped and it had to lay off all workers, including pilots and flight attendants.

In an unusual twist, they also blamed the Dr Smith Administration for the situation; however the Premier fired back saying Government had kept its side of the deal. The impasse continues and to date there has been silence from the government on the status of the people’s money.

Another $6.2 M on airport runway, zero results 

Meanwhile, the much talked about urgent project of the airport runway extension has been pushed under the rug.

There was public fallout when rebel backbenchers spoke out against the project happening now, a first for the normally disciplined NDP. There has been internal public opposition before like when the controversial Minister for Education and Culture Hon Myron V. Walwyn (AL) opposed his boss, saying Dr Smith had given the public wrong information over the cost of his $1.2M high school wall, now the subject of an investigation.

But the backbenchers’ opposition to the runway project taking place at this time was a blow to some in the front bench, a project that was said to be a “done deal” and would be a “game changer” to airlift in the Virgin Islands.

However, Premier Smith had announced from last year that the Communist state-owned China Communications Construction Company had been the choice of his government over another company with local partners.

Answering a question in the House of Assembly in April of this year, Dr Smith promised an update on the airport extension project; however, to date- like BVI Airways- the public is left waiting. So far, the Administration has spent some $6.2M on consultancy over this airport expansion project.

29 Responses to “NDP mum on $7.2M giveaway to BVI Airways & runway expansion”

  • Windy (31/08/2017, 17:27) Like (1) Dislike (3) Reply
    yes another example alright of good governance
  • just asking... (31/08/2017, 17:30) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
    Where is the new governor?
    • justice (31/08/2017, 19:53) Like (6) Dislike (5) Reply
      Just asking leave the man alone of you all politics. He just come. Let the people decide at the next polls what to do with this corrupt NO DARN PRIORITY (NDP) regime.
  • Eagle Eye (31/08/2017, 18:09) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Need to hear the governor on this one
  • Political Observer ( PO) (31/08/2017, 18:12) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    The government give away $7.2M to BVI Airways, a bruk and bankrupt air line, and spent $6.2M on airport extension. The only people who didn't reap the sweet from this $13M was the owners, taxpayers. This is poor stewardship of taxpayers scarce resources..Taxpayers need some accountability for its $13M.. At least with Bi-water, we get likle water now and then.
  • thank you (31/08/2017, 19:21) Like (16) Dislike (0) Reply
    On behalf of the people of the BVI I say thank you to the Leader of the Opposition Hon. Fahie for looking out for we the people's best interest by getting this matter exposed to we the public or this corruption would have gone unnoticed.
  • Hmmm (31/08/2017, 19:23) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    And nobody ain't gone jail for this as yet? Only in the BVI.
    • @ hmmm (31/08/2017, 22:07) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
      Trickle down has never worked. How they will return money from them self
    • pat (31/08/2017, 22:18) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
      No wonder politicians are willing to be facety and say they are not hand to mouth! and go to Mathia's vin yard with the whole family outside children and all
  • Clearly (31/08/2017, 19:25) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    Clearly somebodies not only put their hand in the cookie jar but they gone with the whole jar. Too much unaddressed corruption in this ndp government.
  • Told ya (31/08/2017, 19:26) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    Ever since day 1 I have maintained that this airline will never fly a single trip and I was laughed at.
    Well who is laughing now? It sure aint the taxpaying public.
    This entire deal needs to go to a special prosecutor as it stinks and somebody made a LOT of money on this.
    we have been lied to for years and the record needs to be set straight on who got what!
    even I cant follow the paper trail on this one and I have a lot of contacts still in the airline industry.
  • my my my (31/08/2017, 19:29) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    By the time these corrupt NDP government & their cronies finish they would have robbed us blind & leave us broke.
  • Ah boy (31/08/2017, 19:32) Like (16) Dislike (0) Reply
    If it wasn't for Fahie this would have been swept under the rug while our people going jail for lesser crimes of all kinds this government gets away with stealing all the flipping time. I am tired of this NDP GANG!
  • GOVERNOR (31/08/2017, 19:34) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    Please do what only you have the constitutional powers to do and stop this ongoing NDP corruption.
  • See (31/08/2017, 20:41) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    ignorant thieves praying on sheep. Stand up people ...
  • wet (31/08/2017, 22:09) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    Good governance DOESN'T WORK!
  • FYI (31/08/2017, 22:11) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Nothing Mr. ZZZZZZZ has announced has actually happened,
  • Watchfulleye (31/08/2017, 22:12) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply

    Please continue reporting the deception practiced by this "administration" that benefits those who already have much and ignores those who have little.
  • disappointed (31/08/2017, 22:19) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Dr Smith you are letting us down.
  • Professor (31/08/2017, 22:23) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Persons unfamiliar with Modern Monetary Theory would to well to revisit their understanding of macroeconomics before prescribing fixes to the current system of bvi corruption
  • ... (31/08/2017, 22:33) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    I get that feeling everywhere I look. The Truth is a liquid not a solid. That's why its so easy to float anything and for this government to keep fooling the people.
    • Just Woke (01/09/2017, 05:41) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      Stanford.... Modorf in Jail for ripping off people. I say BVI Airways Reps should be in Jail for ripping us off...If this was America someone would be in Jail.
  • Mark (01/09/2017, 00:23) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    "this is an albatross around our neck"
  • CharleyRose (01/09/2017, 03:12) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    It is not surprising that these politicians are playing games with us because they play the same tune and dance to it. The Hon. Premier should take full responsibility for the debacle. From the inception there were signs and warning about the venture and several persons voiced their opinions. The travelling public including tourists knew of the cost savings while travelling through St. Thomas USVI, despite some inconveniences. However, the government has allowed greed to influence the decision to try to avoid the tourists from travelling through St.Thomas and eat the entire tourism bread.

    There is an old proverb that "if you eat a little you will live long rather than eat plenty and choke". We need the airport development. However, because of the economic situation, it is not feasible now. Also we do not have adequate medical facility to deal with massive emergencies as well as hotel rooms to accommodate an influx of visitors. These are factors that one should consider when thinking of expansion of the airport and direct flights from Miami.
  • Street reporter (01/09/2017, 05:33) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    I have to admire these 11 people sticking together, .inspite all thats going loyal.. Not even 2 people can stick together and this loyal to each other...Not one person breaking Say what uu want dishonest, lack of courage... This is admirable.. How often friends sell out friends... Not these, 11. They tight
  • musa (01/09/2017, 07:01) Like (0) Dislike (6) Reply
    npo boss will deal with ndp and vip soon
  • Yes (01/09/2017, 10:11) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Perhaps they are waiting for it to blow over? like our 7 mill
  • wize up (02/09/2017, 00:46) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    pure political gimmicks: pure talk: how long, have you been haring and reading about this matter and nothing

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