VI Gov’t was cruel to Delta Petroleum- Bevis A. Sylvester
He was at the time commenting on the case in which the Government of the Virgin Islands (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.
I tried to settled but was ignored- Sylvester
Mr Sylvester said he tried his very best to get 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 Virgin Islands 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”.
In addition, he 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.
The Privy Council upheld the decision by the Court of Appeal in January 2014, which had ruled in favour of Delta Petroleum in the case involving over 240,826.88 US gallons of petroleum which the Customs Department of the VI forfeited from Delta's Pockwood Pond, Tortola facility in September 2012.
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 Privy Council to overrule the OECS Court of Appeal's decision.
However, in a big blow to the Government and the Customs Department, the UK Privy Council- the British Overseas Territory’s final court- ruled that they were satisfied that the 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” have been unloaded or removed without payment of such duty,” the judgement reads.
The UK Law Lords therefore concluded that Government’s appeal must fail. Delta Petroleum was represented by Sir Fenton Ramsahoye SC and the Government of the VI by James Guthrie QC. It is unknown at this time the legal cost that Government racked up.
Let’s address court decision- RGM
In the original case, Delta Petroleum was accused of off-loading a shipment of fuel without the presence and knowledge of the Customs Department. However, in a statement issued to the media following Justice Vicki Ann Ellis' judgment, in 2012 Delta Petroleum pointed out that the company was advised by its lawyers that the presiding Judge erred in law.
Mr Sylvester said government needs to start negotiating on cost so as to move forward with the courts’ final decision, as he does not wish to return to court to rack up more legal fees again over this matter, as in the end only the tax payers will lose.
See link to Privy Council's Judgement: