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BVI Airways report: Was the VI Government scammed?

-Deal was one sided at every step; no value for taxpayers' money
Operator parties comprising of Lester S. Hyman (right), Jerry D. Willoughby (left) and others demanded from Government a ‘letter of credit’ according to the AG report. Photo: Twitter/VINO/File
Chief lobbyist of the BVI Airways deal and former Premier Dr D. Orlando Smith along with former Financial Secretary under the Dr. Smith Administration, Neil M. Smith. Photo: VINO/File/GIS
Chief lobbyist of the BVI Airways deal and former Premier Dr D. Orlando Smith along with former Financial Secretary under the Dr. Smith Administration, Neil M. Smith. Photo: VINO/File/GIS
 Government’s only return in the BVI Airway investment would be repayment of the guaranteed amount which was contingent on available funds after other provisions were satisfied. Photo: BVI Airways
Government’s only return in the BVI Airway investment would be repayment of the guaranteed amount which was contingent on available funds after other provisions were satisfied. Photo: BVI Airways
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - The Auditor General report on the Government’s Financing of BVI Airways’ Direct Flights to Miami from the Terrence B. Lettsome International Airport laid on the table of the House of Assembly (HoA) on Thursday, May 28, 2020, making it a public document, is still turning heads.

The question asked by many is, was the Virgin Islands (VI) Government scammed out of $7.2M in taxpayers' money?

Demand for a letter of credit

What was surprising to note, is that besides the taxpayers' cash investment of over $7M upfront, the Operator parties; Jerry D. Willoughby, Lester S. Hyman and the gang, demanded from Government a ‘letter of credit’.  

In other words, taxpayers must put up the security for a 'letter of credit' from a bank so the Operator parties would have access to additional funds.

The Operator parties promised in the initial agreement with the then Dr D. Orlando Smith regime, to invest some $6M of their own funds into the BVI Airways deal, however, throughout the report, it does not show that they had invested a dime in the project.

Instead, the parties demanded of the Virgin Islands (VI) Government not only $7.2M, but a letter of credit secured by the Government for additional funds.

No letter of credit no deal- Operator parties

On page 9, Sec (iii), of the Auditor General Report, it stated: “the Operator parties may terminate immediately without prior notice, if the Government fails to provide a letter of credit… Where termination occurs, the Government will be responsible for and indemnify and hold the operator parties harmless for all reasonable cost and expenses in connection with the termination.”

The report further stated on page 9, Sec (ix) in the implementation provisions that, “BVI Airways to have sole discretion to determine flights schedules, airfares, aircraft selection, staffing and airport services including  (without limitation) counter space, office space and check-in support.”

BVI Airways run things; Government second class

The agreement was so one-sided against the people of the VI, that on page 9, Sec (xiv), it stated: “the government to guarantee to BVI Airways an annual return on investment of at least 20%”.  

That section went on to say in addition as per (xv), the VI Government was to, “abate Airport Authority fees charges or levies including landing fees, navigation charges, storages fees, fuel taxes and surcharges and make improvements to airport facilities and services.”

Nothing in it for taxpayers

What was another scam for VI taxpayers over the BVI Airways deal in the final Financing Provisions according to the Auditor General on page 10 No. 41 of the report, was that “the initial proposal for the Government to share in the profits was not included."

"Instead, the Government’s only return on the investment would be repayment of the guaranteed amount which was contingent on available funds after other provisions were satisfied,” the report noted.  

Editor’s NoteThis is the second of 5 articles breaking down the Auditor General’s Report on the Government‘s Financing of BVI Airways’ Direct Flights to Miami.

Article 1: A tale of corruption, deception, no regard for Cabinet decisions: BVI Airways Report


37 Responses to “BVI Airways report: Was the VI Government scammed? ”

  • Hmmmmmmm (30/05/2020, 13:01) Like (15) Dislike (1) Reply
    What ---- is this? Did these BVI people went to school?
    • Oh Boy.. (30/05/2020, 13:28) Like (23) Dislike (42) Reply
      Nothing Criminal abouy this.. Our government went into negotiation with professionals who were prepared and had an agenda...Our Government were neither prepared or professional. . They got out negotiated.. thats our lost...Here is the problem,, its been happening to often to us...So, the world see us as easy target for scamming..Hope we now learn
      • tretretrete (30/05/2020, 20:37) Like (9) Dislike (5) Reply
        Even Champie could have told them not to sign that contract. That’s what happens when they look up to the white man. If a black man had brought that proposal to them, they would have never agreed to it. We quicker tear down our own than support them
    • Where the report is at (30/05/2020, 13:58) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
      I want to read it online for myself
      • FREEDOM FIGHTER (01/06/2020, 03:19) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Trust me you won’t. I read it and it made me so ashamed to even be associated with the BVI
    • lol (30/05/2020, 16:10) Like (7) Dislike (12) Reply
      Yall want locals in big positions LOL.
  • Really (30/05/2020, 13:16) Like (14) Dislike (1) Reply
    Here we go again, like is a bunch of dunces we have in power?
  • We in trouble (30/05/2020, 13:22) Like (17) Dislike (0) Reply
    These men werr educated fools... Everything about this shows Scam,...Yet no strong push back from the government...
  • asking for a friend (30/05/2020, 13:23) Like (20) Dislike (0) Reply
    But the ndp was the bright boys how they got fooled? What a thing!
    • @ asking for a friend (30/05/2020, 13:39) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
      as you noted the bright boys; so you know there is con plan or conspiracy with ALL of them to embezzle tax money
  • Fahir (30/05/2020, 13:30) Like (20) Dislike (0) Reply
    Andrew call it out over and over. In the opposition he did his research and brought facts about this company but no. Tings still have to go on. He say no plane ain't going fly. Now look here nah. Lock up all a dem.
    • Strong Rum (30/05/2020, 21:42) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      Fahir, Andrew had done see what was taking place but the bright boys were to caught up and ready to receive their part of the loot so they did not care. Andrew was bold enough to state that if those planes fly, he will pay for everyone taking the trip, that should tell you something. No wonder the good old Doc was ducking every question put to him in the HOA about those planes and tax payers money, yet on his way our he made a statement saying it’s an investment gone bad. What ah ting.
  • one love (30/05/2020, 13:31) Like (18) Dislike (3) Reply
    What is smuf and his speech writers saying about this they must be ashamed with 8 years of ndp incompetence, not looking out for the people and down right corruption
  • Mash One (30/05/2020, 13:51) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    I am here trying to figure out who made this statement. ( It is easier for the cow to jump over the moon than BVI Airways to fly.)
  • hmmmmmm (30/05/2020, 13:52) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Undertable deal dont run good in de end with official business....
  • the people (30/05/2020, 14:12) Like (19) Dislike (0) Reply
    The people of the Virgin Islands were robbed!! There was not any scam here, in their private business they will never sign a deal like this. But they signed one on behalf of the people because the monies did not belong to them. Follow the money and see who benefitted that alone tells the story.
  • THEY (30/05/2020, 14:31) Like (12) Dislike (3) Reply
    The BVI simply got scammed.
  • Ghut Man (30/05/2020, 14:59) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    Still no one is in jail over this smh
  • ? (30/05/2020, 15:21) Like (1) Dislike (5) Reply
  • Reader (30/05/2020, 15:42) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
    The directors of the company should be individually investigated. Highway robbery.
    • @ reader (30/05/2020, 21:52) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
  • Diaspora (30/05/2020, 15:46) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    The VI taxpayers got highjacked at high noon and robbed of at least $7.2M by some gangsters. Manda School graduates would have sighted and sniffed out this scam from a country mile away. However, the VI intelligencia got schooled by some thugs and scammers. The intelligencia boys was out of their league and out in the deep ocean way over their heads, threading water and being speared by hungry and thirsty sharks who sensed blood in the water. It is painful and embarrassing to read what these fellows agreed to. Ray Charles or Stevie Wonder would have clearly seen that this agreement was a lose-lose for taxpayers; the only winners were the thugs. But can we blame the thugs? No. This is on the NDP government. The only question is if the intelligencia boys were just scammed or if there were also criminal activity. The RVIPF is on the case. The BVI needs an independent investigative agency.

    The VI governing structure is flawed. Supposedly there are three separate branches, ie, Legislative, Executive and Judicial. However, in all practicality, there are only two. The the Executive and Legislative branches are one; there is little to no daylight between both branches. Further, due to the flawed West Minister system some elected members lacking in experience are given responsibility for function(s) that they don’t know their a..s from a hole in the ground or pulled from fowl about, ie, finance, tourism, public works.........etc. Nonetheless, the flawed West Minister system needs
    tweaking. Did the full Cabinet vote on this award? Or was a unilateral action taken by the MoF? Another flaw on appropriation pops to mind.

    O&M budget authorized, the HOA should be engaged with any expenditures over a minimum dollar value, ie, $100K. This will require the HOA to meet more than an infrequently, ie, at least once a week. This will bring clarity, transparency, fiduciary responsibility, public engagement........etc.
  • BVI will never learn (30/05/2020, 15:49) Like (17) Dislike (0) Reply
    This guy was an engineer at BVIEC, who went on to do an MBA. Hardly any real financial experience but they made him financial secretary anyway. Why?
  • scammed (30/05/2020, 15:56) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    Scammed, duped yes. On must look at who made the deal. Where the “smart” politicians that stupid ? I can’t believe that. They sold the fellow HOA members and the people a bunch of BS. $7.2 million worth. I believe they were rewarded nicely with taxpayer monies
  • hold on (30/05/2020, 16:58) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    Dont the attorney general of the territory review contracts or obligations which government enters into
  • Concerned (30/05/2020, 20:52) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    Did the Government of the time (Dr D Orlando Smith NDP) take independent legal advice before signing this deal? If so, which law firm advised them and explained what they were signing up to. An independent firm might have sounded the alarm about the onerous terms - though it is still the government’s call whether to sign.
  • See (30/05/2020, 20:57) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
    And we wonder why the UK wants oversight. These govt officials are just incompetent rookies in over their heads in the real world. But they get suits , fancy cars , and travel the world first class .
  • Curiosity (30/05/2020, 21:52) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    a school child said the police recently got information and with this information executed a warrant; here we have an official audited report which implies questionable transactions associated with money belonging to the government's treasury but police depatment have not made any press release. let your neighbours call road town police informing them you smoking marijuana and see how fast the police all over your residence and your name all over breaking news or a police bulletin: millions and millions of government money gone and gone under questionable circumstances and somehow the judicial system fast asleep or someone within the justice system trying to protect someone..what really going on where is the balance in scales of justice, justice is really blind especially when is comes to political crimes in this territory how can you have a private investigation with public funds
  • one eye (30/05/2020, 23:32) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    Nothing will come out of his smh
  • Stupidity (31/05/2020, 02:15) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    I am not blaming the premier. Any gov attorney that handles contract law who worked on the deal..if they are still employed should be FIRED.
  • Investigate Governor (31/05/2020, 06:24) Like (1) Dislike (3) Reply

    G###### is a fraud. Needs investigated. Why no concerns for George Lloyd? Doesn’t care about us blacks. Only for self promotion on Twitter. Disgraceful. And his puppet Mick.

  • Well Sir (31/05/2020, 15:58) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    Some one leave their glasses home it have on old saying what hurts eyes makes nose run
  • Outsider (01/06/2020, 07:55) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Dismantle the name Off the hospital, make him reimburse the government for that cost. Sew ALL OF THEM for All the airline monies THEN put their azzes in UK jail
  • Right Sed Fred (02/06/2020, 07:12) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Do not think for a minute that Team NDP were not benefitting. They knew exactly what they signed, and their share of the funds came back to them. Lester Hyman was a known quantity. Remember, too, that the govt never turns on itself. Anyone who thinks Team VIP gonna chase the money is dreaming. They busy figuring other their pwn scams now. Remember, it's not "our government" it's "our turn"
  • facts (02/06/2020, 08:20) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is both sad and unfortunate. They are locals that could have been offered the opportunity to start up this airline but we still in this slavery mentality offering prime business opportunities to persons of other color and leaving our people to suffer under employment but this outsiders. This will always happen cause stupid Caribbean leaders always get in bed with white people thinking that their smile and interest dont come at a cost. We pay taxes and they abuse it by helping rich whites to get richer meanwhile black remains poor. Our potentials will never be know as black people in position to make change only looking out for their interests and not the country.
  • not even close (04/06/2020, 15:06) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    No the Government was NOT scammed. They were in on it, Pockets were lined big time!

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