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NDP paid $500,000 of taxpayers $$ to defunct BVI Airways; another $2M on its way!

- while owing locals, including contractors, local bands & those awarded monies by the courts
From left are Scott A. Weisman of BVI Airways, Premier Dr The Hon D. Orlando Smith, Jerry D. Willoughby, the airline's President and CEO, Bruce F. Bradley of BVI Airways and Financial Secretary Neil M. Smith at the launch of the partnership between BVI Airways and the VI Government on January 12, 2016. Photo: VINO
In following up again to protect taxpayers Hon. Andrew A. Fahie asked why weren’t the monies owed part of the discussions of government investing $7M, and why didn't government deduct the $100,000 owed from the $500,000 they paid out. To this, Premier Smith said that this matter was not discussed during those meetings. Photo: VINO/File
In following up again to protect taxpayers Hon. Andrew A. Fahie asked why weren’t the monies owed part of the discussions of government investing $7M, and why didn't government deduct the $100,000 owed from the $500,000 they paid out. To this, Premier Smith said that this matter was not discussed during those meetings. Photo: VINO/File
While the taxpayers are burdened with this whopping $7 Million dollars subsidy for BVI Airways, before closing its doors in 2010 BVI Airways owed the same Government via the BVI Airports Authority some $112,000 in fees, to which the BVI Airport Authority (BVIAA) has taken legal action to recover. Photo: VINO/File/Provided
While the taxpayers are burdened with this whopping $7 Million dollars subsidy for BVI Airways, before closing its doors in 2010 BVI Airways owed the same Government via the BVI Airports Authority some $112,000 in fees, to which the BVI Airport Authority (BVIAA) has taken legal action to recover. Photo: VINO/File/Provided
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - While the National Democratic Party (NDP) Government has left the treasury empty, as confirmed by the Minister of Finance Dr The Hon D. Orlando Smith in an answer to a question posed by senior Opposition Member Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) on February 4, 2016 and with local vendors owed millions of dollars, the NDP Government has already paid $500,000.00 of taxpayers' money of the $7 Million promised to BVI Airways.

Gov’t bailing out Airline that owes them money

It was this news site that first and accurately broke the news on January 11, 2016 that the formerly defunct BVI Airways, which was operating at Beef Island Airport around 2010 and had closed its doors in 2014 because it was reported to have run out of money, was back, this time under new owners and with a bailout or subsidy package from the Government of $7 Million. 

While this is not the first time there have been direct flights between Miami and the Virgin Islands, Premier Smith claims that the driving force behind the Government's investment of $7 Million was to help with airlift.

While the taxpayers are burdened with this whopping $7 Million subsidy for BVI Airways, before closing its doors in 2010 BVI Airways owed the same Government via the BVI Airports Authority some $112,000 in fees, to which the BVI Airports Authority (BVIAA) has taken legal action to recover.

On February 4, 2016 during the House of Assembly’s sitting, in response to a question from Hon Fahie, Premier and Finance Minister Hon Smith said that in the interest of expediency of having the airline operational for the next tourist season $500,000.00 has already been advanced to BVI Airways. This was done via an Advance Warrant since January 2016.

In addition, another $2 Million plus will be paid by May 30, 2016. In fact the amount will be $2, 400,000.00 of taxpayers’ money.

In a follow up comment on the money owed to the taxpayers by BVI Airways and the legal issues to recover the same money by the Government, Hon Fahie told the Parliament, "so let me get this straight, we have entered into a business relationship with a company and give them money and we still have a legal matter that is unsettled?"

Who is looking out for taxpayers?

In following up again to protect taxpayers, Hon Fahie asked why weren’t the monies owed part of the discussions of government investing $7M, and why didn't government deduct the $100,000 owed from the $500,000 they paid out.
To this, Premier Smith responded, "No. That was not discussed during those meetings.”

Many of the ferry companies have long called on Government to subsidise their operations between the VI and the USVI and have said it is unfair for taxpayers to underwrite a foreign airline and not do the same for local ferry operations.

55 Responses to “NDP paid $500,000 of taxpayers $$ to defunct BVI Airways; another $2M on its way!”

  • ccc (06/02/2016, 13:31) Like (25) Dislike (0) Reply
    Yet local bands cant get paid
  • vex (06/02/2016, 14:25) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Thats a lot of grop
  • First discovered (06/02/2016, 15:32) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    OK now take that same money and pay the government what you owe them set of Jack assessment
    • Online Now (06/02/2016, 23:23) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
      Airline travel these days is a miserable experience. My solution (and I know it doesn't work for many people) is that I have simply stopped flying anywhere. It's not worth it to me, between the lousy conditions of the actual flight and the nonsense with the TSA beforehand.
  • Xxx (06/02/2016, 16:04) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    All i can do is say WOW
  • Political Observer (06/02/2016, 16:33) Like (22) Dislike (0) Reply
    Check out the pic for 3 of the 5 are happy, for they found some suckers who are willing to fund their defunct airline to get in the air again. Using $7M of taxpayers dollars to subsidized a start up airline is not taking sensible risk; it is a high risk investment. The ownership of BVI Airways threw a Hail Mary (to use US foitball lingo) and struck surprising and expected goal. The BVI Airways must have seen their success as taking candy from children. Sadly, the BVI negotiation team was outmatched and out witted. Anyone knowledgeable of airline economics knows that this is not a sound investment.

    This was not an emergency (no emergency was declared ) so this expenditure should have gone to HOA. The Opposition could not stop it but that is not the point. Transparency, accountability and good governance is the point. Government will not have resources to meet all customers needs. Thus, it must prioritized. It must make the best use of resources. Can anyone say this was the best use of resources. True, you got to spend money to grow the economy but this is not a sound investment. Any bets as to how long it will stay in the air, given that the airline business is capital intensive with razor thin profits. 12 months if we lucky.

    The government has $6M in the Treasury yet it found it wise to fling $7M at a start up airline. Walwyn say we must not be negative. But they are doing little for us to comment positively about. The governmrnt is like a derailed and runaway train. He should be hot about the reckless expenfiture of his pals. They have a false Messianic complex, ie, they so good that they could not at anything they did. False. They violated The Principle of Parsimony: it is pointless to do with more what is done with less. This is applicable to the port project.
  • Sufferer (06/02/2016, 18:01) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    When is musicians going to get pay?. You promised. Give your word honor. Don't think you can satisfy poor people with empty promises. There will be consequences. All those struggling vendors need to feed their families.. God is watching. First me. He is not please. There will be a consequence
  • Ning (06/02/2016, 18:56) Like (10) Dislike (4) Reply
    • R H (06/02/2016, 23:28) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      If the BVI Airways makes a profit and we know they will NOT, I hope they at least share some of the profits with employees if not tax payers.
  • Bernie Sanders (06/02/2016, 19:19) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    This Government have to be smoking something ,the country in death and they still taking risk like this ,they have money bury down cox seat...Hotels closing down so where the people will go to stay when they come and what will the airline fairs will be? Stay tune for the next bomb shell ,this Government on a roll doing F$$$$$K..
  • Jekyl n Hyde (06/02/2016, 19:20) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    Ok. When tax payers pay tax to the government. Who does that money belongs to?
    • What ? (08/02/2016, 08:49) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      First of all, it's the law to pay taxes, I guarantee you if it wasn't; nobody would give them a dime. #2, the money still belongs to us, the tax payers. The monies are only SUPPOSED to be used for things such as SMART investments with OUR best interest at heart, PUBLIC infrastructure, Education etc. IT IS OUR MONEY!
  • J's rules (06/02/2016, 19:42) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply

    The bvi is almost bankrupt and this @$$ government is taking our hard earn money and do what time for us to stand up and kick them out now before we are sold too

  • Discussion (06/02/2016, 20:23) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why won't the $112,000 be discussed????!???
    Come on! Makes no sense to pay out $7mil and
    go to court for $112,000. And they will say, don't be negative, be dumb and pretend it never happened.
    • Quiet Storm (06/02/2016, 20:46) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
      They will pay $112K owed from the $500K gotten from the central government. This needs to be on Ripley's Believe it or Not.
  • THE ACCOUNTANT (06/02/2016, 21:22) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    An industry as complicated as aviation one would have expected that Dr. Smith would have consulted with those who are knowledgeable in the industry. What is certain is, no one in their right mind would have supported such a reckless move. For this proposed airline to survive, the $7 million will be just a drop in the bucket. Buckle you seat belt, 2016 will be a roller coaster ride.
  • it stink (06/02/2016, 21:22) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Garbage contractors can't get pay either mmm
    • dem say (07/02/2016, 10:55) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Is that why the garbage bins have been overflowing for weeks now?
  • The watchman (06/02/2016, 21:50) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Has anyone mentioned they owe customs, immigration and other entities also!
  • mary j (06/02/2016, 22:11) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    the more I read about how Dr. Smith and his people are running this country the more I am sick to my stomack we need a re election yall
    • Real things that (07/02/2016, 13:38) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      I is called a recall election. Anyone knows how many votes needed for a recall election? The BVI had two so far in our history.
  • banner (06/02/2016, 22:34) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    "Let's keep this our little secret"!
  • BuzzBvi (06/02/2016, 23:12) Like (0) Dislike (5) Reply
    This is not complicated. Pay them $378,000. give $112,000 to BVI Aiports authority as settlement for their debt and save all those court fees for everybody.
    Lighter on us as Government and lighter on the company we just invested in.
    Why is this all so hard.
    Let's throw in an extra $10,000 to whoever thinks they now missed out on a bribe or a backhander just to get this sorted. $100,000 whatever.
    • duh (07/02/2016, 04:40) Like (25) Dislike (0) Reply
      It's hard because what you just said equals back government paying a government owned statutory entity. Pay them $500,000 and they keep $388,000 and pay the owed $112,000. Who GAVE them the $500,000 in the first place. They didn't earn it to begin. It's the same thing it government give them $388,000 and give BVIAA their $112,000. We lose either way. This was a bad move/deal. Pure craziness.
      • Buzz Bvi (07/02/2016, 17:41) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
        Like. It is a stupid thing to do!! But our Government do it!! What does that tell us all.
  • ndp (06/02/2016, 23:12) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I would like to know if for that $7 million they will offer meals and snacks even on short, 3 hours flights. I hope they have very nice polite staff.
  • Cookie Monster (06/02/2016, 23:23) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    Smith sleeping at the wheel again. smh

    Captain, this ship is sinking
    Captain, these seas are rough [oh yes]
    We gas tank almost empty
    No electricity, we oil pressure reading low
    Shall we abandon ship?
    Or shall we stay on it, and perish slow?
    We don't know, we don't know
    Captain you tell we what to do." [Woh woh]
  • Not surprised (07/02/2016, 01:40) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    It happens over and over and over again with no consequences . When we as a populace actually care enough then and only then will things change . Not enough pride at the moment . Everything is" what's in it for me ? " Not what is best for the BVI. Someone please step up and show true leadership .
  • CPA (07/02/2016, 07:52) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    What you all expect ,2 doctors,1 engineer,1 supermarket owner,where is the accountant...You all ain't see no audit was done since those Misleaders hit office..Clearly you can see when they pay this airline the coookie Jar will be empty and nothing in case of emergency..The next Premier must have a Accounting degree else we will continue to get what the duck got...
    • Yes (07/02/2016, 10:07) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      The next Premier needs to have backbone and love for this country. Not every degree accountant have common sense. Matter of fact most accountants are not too administratively inclined. We are human and human make mistakes but these kind now a days those are some unforgettable mistakes.
    • Political Observer (07/02/2016, 10:18) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
      What is needed is effective leadership and management whether they hold degrees in accounting, medicine, business, engineering, law, information technology.......etc. Social status does by itself make one an effective leader. To run the BVI effectively, requires skill, knowledgable, ability, and experience. Specifically, executive experience is needed. The range of services that government provides is too deep and wide for the Premier to know the nuts and bolts of each. Thus, the Premier must recruit skilled people, set expectations and hold them accountable and responsible. Though not an expert in all fields, the Premier must possess the skill to discern when he/she is getting a 6 for 9; he/she must know when being bambozzled. Doc has been ill-served by staff, ministers.......etc. But it is his fault. He must develop the courage to haul ministers, family or not up who are doing stupidness, unless he agrees with the stupidness.
      • Political Observer (07/02/2016, 12:46) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
        Continuation.... In Additiion to the listed attributes of skill, knowledge, ability and experience of being a good leader, I will also add effecive comunication skills, interpersonal skills, fairness, equality, problem solving skills....etc.
  • Necker (07/02/2016, 08:39) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    Happy Sunday People ,i know many of you are very dishearted for how this government is running the country and the slippery slope they have taken us as Minister R said bus Vip run us in the ditch but Bus NDP taking us to hell..IN the BVI we have to be very careful with what we say around election time because it come's back to bite us in the A$$..Vino i am inviting you to Necker to have and exclusive interview with your team of qualified reporters and please don't bring the labour Minister this time..Topic to me discuss is why i haven't brought my Airline business to BVI but To Antigua instead...In our meeting i will show you how the government committed a sin in this deal they made with a Airline that have no backbone..How can you take Tax payers money and give it to some one that owes you and have no ties to the BVI? It's a shame to see what these brilliant men done to the BVI,they put us back in poverty...SO SAD...
  • W*F (07/02/2016, 09:03) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
    They will not subsidize Braithwaite, but they subsidize BVI Airways a company that has no ties to BVI. This money that they are putting into BVI Airways are coming right back into their pockets, then the airline will file bankruptcy and leave the country with their stipend. Good move NDP. Every f****** thing you guys do is to benefit yourselves, while the country go to hell.
  • CPA (07/02/2016, 09:06) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    OH hell i forgot the BALL HEAD BUS BOY...SWEETIEEEEE!!!!!
  • Well meh boy (07/02/2016, 09:38) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    What a pack of @$$#$ we have as leaders!
  • sick and fed up (07/02/2016, 09:55) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    All the NDP doing is effing up our money.
  • Curious George (07/02/2016, 09:56) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    I actually took the time to read the agreement ( and this is simply not an investment. Its a gift!!! The government has promised to reimburse BVI Airways start up cost, along with any operating losses for first three years and also guarantee BVI Airways an annual return on investment of 20%. With a deal like that any three kids coming out of Elmore Stoutt could start an airline. And if that is not ridiculous enough the government is obligated to give BVI Airways $5 of the $7 million of the by Dec 31, 2016. Then to add insult to injury if BVI Airways is not able to start commercial operations by the end of the year they can cancel the agreement and walk away with all that money. Who is the idiot who negotiated this?
    • RealPol (07/02/2016, 16:59) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      @Curious George, I was sipping on a hot cup of Rock Bolsom bush and scanning thru the online sites when I came your comment and tea start spewing from my mouth. You sure you not making this up, for government can't be this less. This is a national embarassment. The owners of BVI Airways is eating carviar, sipping on well-aged cognac, smoking a cigar, having a toast and high giving each other on BVI taxpayers expense. Sweet. They earn $7M without breaking a sweat and carrying no risk. Wah school did these boys attend; for sure, it was not Manda School. Whatever school it was needs to loose its certification. I know no women was involved in this deal,for women are more circumspect and business savvy. By the way, is there a terminate for convenience clause in the contract.
    • Buzz Bvi (07/02/2016, 18:09) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      What a contract!!
      Who signed that.
      Everybody should go read it.
      No taxes no fees no rules no regulations no workpermits.
      Everything they ask for to be provided and paid for by us.
      Is there anything that was not given away along with the $7Million.
  • Get your own. (07/02/2016, 10:55) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    They don't need to subsidies anyone or anything. Use that money and build the 3 storage government building on the land next to qwomar. Use it to hold immigration. Labour, customs and the post office. 7 millions can build and furnished easily. Get some of that traffic out of congested road town. And save 1.5 million a year in rent.
    • scooby (09/02/2016, 06:40) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Your comment seems very wise, but I have a question..... If that is done which would make things a bit easier, what would happen to the real estate economy when the government does that? I can't help but smile at how the government will be blamed for taking away business from locals yet again by doing such.
  • Lord! (07/02/2016, 11:21) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Gloria was right. This country gone to hell!
  • Attnorney (07/02/2016, 12:35) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Did the Government had a lawyer read that agreement ?They are a set of Jacka$$$$es.5million to and Airline that even don't own a plane well Lawsuits should start flying now for the people they owe..What shame..People go on the Beacon site and read for yourselves and be the Judge..

  • Spending like Drunken Sailors (07/02/2016, 13:13) Like (16) Dislike (0) Reply
    We need another Lavity Stoutt......if it was their personal money they would be careful how they spent it....but then again...
    • then again wha? (07/02/2016, 15:29) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      It was a pack of @$$#$ who voted for this pack of @$$#$.
      • legal (08/02/2016, 01:13) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        I would like to know, who was the legal counsel on this and if there is any local involvement, other than our seven million? Something is fishy here!!
  • The Observer (07/02/2016, 21:19) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I am absolutely certain that the bald head man on the Tourist Board is the one who sold Dr. Smith this bill of goods. When he speaks Dr. Smith and that lady stand at attention. It is sad for he now claims that since the agreement was signed his office is flooded with proposals to develop two or more resorts including Prospect Reef. It is also true that since that deal was signed, the Commercial Court awarded Global Water Associates $22 million dollars in connection with the Paraquita Bay Sewage Plant. I wonder if anyone has informed the Premier about this development.
  • wondering (07/02/2016, 22:54) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Picko are they some of your rich white friends?
    • Total cost (08/02/2016, 01:30) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Do these people have any money or is GOVERNMENT footing the bill? I think, there are many more questions than answers to this.
  • wize up (08/02/2016, 17:48) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    thanks Dr Smith for the airline; now my family can fly directly to Miam for their summer vacation..... no more spending money to windwad passage: wake head beef Islands, jump on the plane when you wake up you reach....thanks NDP because VIP never thought about such an idea
  • the realest (09/02/2016, 13:54) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    at this point there is only one thing lift to do and thats for we the people to call election.. lets not wait until there term is up lets take them out now.. but before we take them out we got to know who we going to replace them with, cause i aint want frazer as my premier at all he just as bad.. how much signature we need to get them out cause i ready to sign.. lets stop talking and act....

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