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‘I want my $7M back’- Shaina M. Smith

- said $7.2M given to BVI Airways could come in handy right now
Former political candidate and commentator, Shaina M. Smith (inset) is not only asking what happened with the money ($7.2M) given to BVI Airways for direct flights from the mainland USA to Beef Island, Virgin Islands, that have never materialised but is adamant about getting it back. Photo:
Opposition Leader Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) has been constantly presenting questions in the House of Assembly (HoA) on the issue of BVI Airways and the $7.2M investment into it by the National Democratic Party Government. Photo: VINO/File
Opposition Leader Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) has been constantly presenting questions in the House of Assembly (HoA) on the issue of BVI Airways and the $7.2M investment into it by the National Democratic Party Government. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- With the National Democratic Party Government allotting a third of the total hurricane recovery funds, approximately 250 million, to the airport expansion project, many are again wondering what happened to the $7.2M of tax payers’ money already invested in BVI Airways for direct flights from Miami in the United States of America (US) to the Virgin Islands (VI).

In an interview with Mr Cromwell Smith aka Edju En Ka on the Umoja show aired Thursday January 11, 2018, former political candidate and commentator, Shaina M. Smith is not only asking what happened with the money but is adamant about getting it back.

“We have to be careful who we get into business with and I really want my 7 million dollars back with interest,” she vehemently stated. Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) had confirmed in early February of 2016, that the Government will be making its investment of $7 million into BVI Airways from the Government coffers.

BVI Airways was expected to fly some nine months after that but to date no flights have been made. By early July of 2017 it was evident that BVI Airways was not going to take off as they issued a press release stating that they are experiencing difficulties and will be laying off all crew. But what happened to the 7 million that was invested?

“I am a tax payer,” Ms Smith said, “and this 7 million dollars wasn’t anybody else’s, it is our money. We need to be on this until we get some kind of resolution. I don’t like when it is we make noise for a couple of days and talk and that’s it. That 7 million dollars could come in handy right now.”

These seem to be the sentiments of most residents, including the Opposition Leader Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1), who has been constantly presenting questions on the issue in the House of Assembly.

Expanding Runway could become another busted investment

While on the issue of air access to the Virgin Islands, Ms Smith also spoke on the airport expansion project. Though she agrees that improvements need to be made for air access to the territory, she is not convinced that extending the runway would solve the problem.

“There are multiple ways that we can look at air access but we keep somehow honing in on one way. When you build a new runway and extend it out, we still are dependent on airlines to decide that they are going to add flights that coming to the BVI, she said. Further explaining that it would not be realistic to think that the US will be able to full two planes heading in the close proximity of each other (USVI and VI), she thinks we need to look again at having a national airline.

She asked, “Does it then make sense for us to have a national airline and connect into the hubs whether its St Marteen or Antigua, that already have those international flights coming in to the region? To me that’s more viable than going and putting 250 million dollars, cause the idea is air access and air access is not necessarily solved by just extending the runway."

39 Responses to “‘I want my $7M back’- Shaina M. Smith”

  • Strange (15/01/2018, 11:11) Like (14) Dislike (44) Reply
    Didn't know she had invested 7 million personally.
  • joke (15/01/2018, 11:13) Like (6) Dislike (55) Reply

    You don’t speak for me, let gov’t do their job. I will wait on them, they too put their money in it is not just your $7mil it is OURS. If they get this fixed and dealt with, all tongue will change.
    Have patience, please.
  • Me Too (15/01/2018, 11:16) Like (27) Dislike (0) Reply
    Me too!
  • wow (15/01/2018, 11:18) Like (32) Dislike (9) Reply
    it was her party that made the deal, she should be the last to talk
  • OF (15/01/2018, 11:26) Like (12) Dislike (4) Reply
    h ha she fighting to run for the vacant seat that Dr is expected to give up heha
  • robber man (15/01/2018, 11:30) Like (34) Dislike (0) Reply
    well if you want it back you have a lot of local pockets to go shake down and you will by know have the names
    • To robber man (15/01/2018, 11:49) Like (7) Dislike (3) Reply
      Start with the one for Mr. zzz who wears the pants
      • Reply (16/01/2018, 05:55) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Then come around to the one from the big board then the 2 tall ones ball head and tall roatry
  • gone (15/01/2018, 11:45) Like (20) Dislike (3) Reply
    That money has already flown away in the wind. They know exactly what happened to that money. I trust none of them.
  • Diaspora (15/01/2018, 11:57) Like (36) Dislike (1) Reply
    Government accounting needs to carry this $7M as a loss. It was gross negligence to partner with a bruk and dead beat airline that left owing the BVIAA over a $100K. If it were not bad enough, the payments were to paid out over 3 years but for some unknown reason the $7M was front loaded months into the 1st year. This should have been a sign. We got to pay attention to the signs. Whoever negotiated this awful deal needs a cut ass. Too much self hatred. If a local group had come forward with a similar plan, they would probably have been told to scatter their ass, especially if they were not part of the elite.

    Given the huge capital project needs of the VI, spending $250M extending TBLIA at this time is not the best use of scarce resources. Focus now should be on public safety ( police, fire, DDM), schools, roads, ports (marine), electricity, water, telecommunications, sewage, prison, drainage, government buildings, tourist attractions......etc. As Anguilla does with St. Margin, BVI needs to collaborate with St. Thomas. It could be a win-win. Modernize the ferry system, link ferry-airline schedule.......etc.
  • ............................. (15/01/2018, 12:05) Like (4) Dislike (4) Reply
    More ndp civil war but no body gone to jail over this as this new governor is a joke
  • Patient... (15/01/2018, 12:18) Like (7) Dislike (12) Reply
    Changes need to be made with Xpats Nurses and Doctors Status.. I will suggest after two contract renewals and performance is satisfactory they should be granted permanent residence. Not have to to immigration every year waiting for hours to get a stamp... Need Ronnie to Fix this..
    • @patient (15/01/2018, 21:34) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      You are talking out of your head. Are you sure you are on the right topic? Please check in at PEEBLES!!!.....FAST!!!
  • Agree Shaina (15/01/2018, 12:33) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    We need our Aeroplane and our Rite way Back..
  • way behind me (15/01/2018, 13:00) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    LOL...she wants it back now?????
    why did you not listen when I told you not to give them the money back in 2017?
    This money is long gone and the ones that signed the cheque should also be long gone. Now you want to be even more sneaky and use repair money to build the airport? Are you all crazy?
    We need new government now!
  • Since we asking back.. (15/01/2018, 13:33) Like (26) Dislike (2) Reply
    ....Let's get back our $500K from the med school study and the $900K from the youth program initiative that swallowed up money and never saw anything come out of it. Also, let's ask back for our money from LOCAL contractors that have collected deposits and been paid for jobs and have never done anything but because they're local we let it slide. Come on Shaina, stop trying to score points with the easy stuff, if we are going to be real let's be real! It's easy to jump on BVI Airways, let's jump on ALL OF IT!
    • bvi stron (15/01/2018, 14:20) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
      Yes I agree, is this the best you can come up with? Please dig a little further into all the misconduct which has taken place over all the years and been forgotten due to the privilege of being a belonger or related to one while obtaining a government contract... local schools have no toilet paper yet our politicians are driving new government cars and setting their own salary. We could go on and on, back and forth.
  • Sawda (15/01/2018, 14:51) Like (15) Dislike (5) Reply

    she need to go sit down and stop being a Messenger for the corrupt Pastor ,Friends,and Family.They all turn on NDP because of power and greed..She also needs to go to her district and be a politian and stop waiting on election to talk to her neighbor's..#Educated #Dummy..

  • Yes (15/01/2018, 15:34) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply

    We can't run a f@#%#ng bus service here but you're talking national airline? The news lately has been pure comedy, these people cannot be serious!

  • Boo (15/01/2018, 15:45) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Looks like bench and bottom soon fall out. Teeth will bite tongue. Look how ndp dem bailing on the ship. What we have here is an implosion of the party due to Dr Smith absent leadership. Poor guy sjould have quit while he was ahead instead of the piss poor legacy he has created.
  • 123 (15/01/2018, 16:07) Like (5) Dislike (3) Reply
    I agree with sharna
  • wize up (15/01/2018, 16:38) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Will the NDP have a full slate of candidates next election(just a question) because looks like they affiliates those in the house of assembly; those who were unscessful at the poles, those whose contracts were not renewed or those who lost their NDP apointments ganging up !!!!!!
  • Tafari Zharr (15/01/2018, 17:33) Like (7) Dislike (4) Reply
    While we beat up on ourselves, whilst we compare our lack of air TP access to that of our neighbors, and as we seek to recover from losses- having lost a prior local carrier (Air BVI, least we forget was cultivated at a time when the BVI had less of everything including infrastructure, wealth, investments, successful and/or highly educated/decorated Br Virgin Islanders).

    I know when we were once respectful even if we disagreed. They were those who felt MLK should take several seats- but he kept on going- so attempting to shutdown Shaina’s Service and her free speech is duly noted - Shaina: Stay Woke, Please! The ignorance and concerted efforts by those conceited persons to shame one of our own irequires it’s own Neologism AbsoShameful.

    You can criticize but you should also embrace. I empathize that whilst some of you are judging, you are not capable to walk a day in her shoes because if you could, you would be focused on trying to get up or put yourselves on the line. I am sure she too could choose not to serve because it’s so easy to become cynical and/or carefree instead of becoming just civic minded.

    BVI needs Shaina. Her work and perspectives are relevant to the BVI in terms of what Angela Rye’s Standing Up means for many Americans. Perhaps she is an unapologetic , unrealized “movement” ahead of her time (no different than the likes of the dearly recently departed beloved Hon. Omar Hodge (RIP) among others) but because women have a harder road in Politics due to gender injustice - it isn’t right and it’s not fair that “She Too” be disrespected, disparaged, and condemned for her, genuine, efforts to help make BVI better! Mark my words: There is going to come a time when “She Too” will have earned the respect of the BVIslanders: women are shaking things up politically.

    On another tip, you fringe-politicians might just be gracing her with “Thick Skin” required by all sexes - something she’d need if she is indeed designated for bigger things in future BVI politics - Continue to be engaging - responsibly! BVI unforgivable tough love!
    • @Tafari (16/01/2018, 09:26) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      The truth is Shaina is a confused talk shop that goes wherever the wind blows.
  • Windy (15/01/2018, 17:47) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    I want to know when is someone going to jail
  • wize up (15/01/2018, 18:27) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    @tafari: 3-things that have affronted this place(1) no more respect for God: (2) Money and Greed.......
  • Tawdow (15/01/2018, 21:54) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Your Excellency before you we come for representation and you should no where we are coming from. We are seeking a commission of inury in this matter of taxpayer monies and BVINAIRWAYS
  • Yes (15/01/2018, 22:45) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    She's siding with the bishop
  • wize up (15/01/2018, 22:45) Like (0) Dislike (13) Reply
    Claude, John, Shana, mitch, Oj, Ronnie 2019
  • Peeling peeling (15/01/2018, 23:11) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    ...and expats pay the MOST tax! So whose money are we really talking about here? Y'all want us gone, take advantage of us, but we pay taxes AND work permits. Things to ponder...
    • wize up (16/01/2018, 07:22) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ peeling peeling: especially if you happen to be from the “west indies”
    • joy ride (17/01/2018, 11:02) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
      So you want to be here use our infrastructure send your children to school use our hospital, occupy our prisons en masse, degrade our way of life utilise our legal system our police for free? Take your two cents and head for the wind, please.You missed the evacuation flight.
  • tash (16/01/2018, 03:13) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    They seem to have added another $50M to the airport expansion project. Well, if the airport expansion cost $250M, how is it that an airline only cost $7M? A good used aircraft cost upwards of $40M. Why waste recovery money, money that can be used to help people get back on their feet, on an expansion project? We cannot afford it.
    • @tash (16/01/2018, 14:20) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Just so you know a good used aircraft of that type can be purchased for about 3 million these days. A used 747 can be bought for less than 40 million.
  • Shaina (16/01/2018, 05:34) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I like you you know. But this one, let the ones that messed up clean up their own mess. Besides u got other things to worry about. Like getting ready for your campaign for the next election. Being more people friendly. Learning how to talk a bit better( even when your professional it sounds awful) and learning how to raise funds. These are honestly what you need to Start working on. let the ones in office clean up that stupidness they did. Giving away 7 million dollars like we had 7 million dollars to give away. Smh
  • civil servant (16/01/2018, 06:00) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    The former governor said the bvi airways deal was the biggest scam yet but he walked away with no one in jail!!!!!
  • Observet (16/01/2018, 06:56) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    No disrespect meant to this young lady but this is another noise in the forest of fallen trees. Why is it that some aspiring politicians ran and lose then disappear until the eve of the next election? They talk with you, visit your home, smile and wave but when they fail to be elected , or even when they are elected nto office they pass you like you never existed ?
  • As before (16/01/2018, 07:35) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The deal was only made so that the airport expansion could get off the ground. Bigger planes would have the same requirements Bri airways had.. No one wants to be standing in the sun with a hundred plus passengers in front or behind of them
  • Reader (17/01/2018, 06:07) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The directors of BVI Airways should be held to account. Will be interesting to see if they sue the directors personally

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