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Was BVI Airways deal a Ponzi scheme?- Auditor General’s Report

- Operator parties had demanded that the Airport runway project not go forward; Old outdated planes leased
From left: Executives of BVI Airways, Scott A. Weisman; Bruce F. Bradley and Jerry D. Willoughby. The Operator parties, according to the Auditor General’s Report, had demanded that the Airport runway project not go forward. Photo: GIS/File
Chief lobbyist of the BVI Airways deal and former Premier Dr D. Orlando Smith, left, along with former Financial Secretary under the Dr Smith Administration, Neil M. Smith. Photo: VINO/File
Chief lobbyist of the BVI Airways deal and former Premier Dr D. Orlando Smith, left, along with former Financial Secretary under the Dr Smith Administration, Neil M. Smith. Photo: VINO/File
After reading through the Auditor General’s Report on Government’s Financing of the BVI Airways’ Direct Flights to Miami, many are asking if it was a Ponzi scheme. Photo: BVI Airways/File
After reading through the Auditor General’s Report on Government’s Financing of the BVI Airways’ Direct Flights to Miami, many are asking if it was a Ponzi scheme. Photo: BVI Airways/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- After reading through the Auditor General’s Report on Government’s Financing of the BVI Airways’ Direct Flights to Miami, many are asking if it was a Ponzi scheme.

Regarding the two aircraft to be purchased by BVI Airways, the Operator parties initially intended to use the Bae Avro RJ 85 aircraft configured for dual-class.

However, on page 18 No. 57 of the report, Auditor General Ms Sonia M. Webster noted that the Operator parties “opted to acquire two marginally larger Bae Avro RJ 100 jets (with the same seating configuration) from Tronosjet of Prince Edward Island, Canada. Both aircraft were slightly over two decades old and had recently been retired from Swiss Air’s fleet.”

Stop the runway expansion- Operator parties

When things were not going their way, including the Dr D. Orlando Smith Administration’s failure to produce a Letter of Credit, the Operator parties flooded Dr Smith with a stream of unsolicited proposals for additional public financial support and for “compensation for perceived losses”.

On page 27 No. 158 of the report, the Operator parties “alleged that the planned runway expansion served as a disincentive to their prospective investors and used this as a basis for seeking additional public financial assistance in February 2017 in the form of a loan guarantee for $10 million, and compensation for lost revenues. This was rejected by the Government.”

Email pressure from Operator parties

According to the report, pressure continued to be placed on former Premier Smith in the form of a plethora of emails.

The report shows on page 27 No. 163 who were the Operator parties that sought to pressure the Government into providing more public funding. They included:

“i.    25 April 2017 from Weisman – Providing that the Government covers our costs for the next 30 days we are prepared to work with you to find interim and long term solution.

ii.     8 May 2017 from Weisman – The Government should make a short term payment of $350,000 to us while loan (line of credit) details are being worked out;

iii.    15 May 2017 from Bradley – Now is a good time for the Government to buy a significant stake in the venture, offer belongers vouchers for the first year and postpone the airport expansion;

iv.    6 July 2017 from Bradley – We have a lender for $7.65 million and need the Government to guarantee.  In the next 7 – 10 days either we find acceptable terms together and reach an agreement or we will be forced to lay off local staff and purse other options on the table. The balance will then be determined by the US legal system.

v.     5 September 2017 from Weisman – We are in discussions with several potential investors to provide capital. They have all requested various levels of support from the Government.

vi.    23 October 2017 from Bradley – There is one last lender/investor who is willing to fund us but it will require some form of guarantee from the BVI Government in order to proceed.”

How dare you ask for information???

After public pressure and no flights, no plane and no way forward, the Financial Secretary on May 17, 2017, wrote to the Operator parties requesting information about their companies.

“This drew a response that was defiant and accusatory with flagrant refusals to provide much of the information and unsubstantiated claims that other such information had already been provided,” according to page 29, No. 170 of the report.

Another red flag for the taxpayers appeared on page 30 No. 179 of the report where it stated: “Despite signing the addendum and receiving the full $7.2 million from the Government, the operator parties continued to complain about the Letter of Credit breach in correspondence throughout the venture in a manner that suggested that the Government was still in default.”

Up to 2017; however, the Operator parties did not show any evidence of their promised $6.M investment.

Editor’s NoteThis is the fourth 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

Article 2: BVI Airways report: Was the VI Government scammed?

Article 3: Ex FS Neil M. Smith under fire; Conflict of interest role- BVI Airways Report

24 Responses to “Was BVI Airways deal a Ponzi scheme?- Auditor General’s Report”

  • WowWow (03/06/2020, 16:03) Like (21) Dislike (8) Reply
    It was a ponzi scheme orchestrated and facilitated by the National Democratic Party and now they have an opposition conman trying to fool the people again. You won’t be able to fool them all the time.
    • Understated! (03/06/2020, 19:28) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
      This was not a Ponzi scheme; this was straight up extortion. This sounds comical. Like someone calling granny over the phone trying to get her social security number and credit card or email phishing. Instead it was incompetence and professional ignorance on the FS. From the first email he should have notified the police and the attorney general. Real businesses don't do serious business of this mature via email they way they did.
      NEAL WHY DIDN'T YOU CALL THE POLICE. AND CALL YOUR AUDITOR AND INSPECTOR GENERALS? My young niece. Honestly, would have ran to her parents or me at the sign of the first email. Every red flag should have gone off Neal. I would not have given a damn if I lost my job as long as I knew I did the right thing and preserved my reputation and protected the country in the long run. This is like those hackers who take and hold your data hostage in exchange for
      ridiculous amount in bitcoins. But knew the criminals and trusted them and they held the country hostage. If this doesn't tell my people in the BVI how your.leaders are viewed bu expats among you and how you dont matter I dont know what else will. This is why the penalty for both sides must be strong enough to send a message.
  • Query (03/06/2020, 16:42) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    What are the full names of the Operator parties.
  • vex (03/06/2020, 17:03) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    No one in jail still
  • HAHA (03/06/2020, 17:39) Like (25) Dislike (1) Reply
    NDP and everyone involved should be jailed. How you gonna ask for information after you have already engaged in business. There were so many red flags including some the opposition brought to light but the idiot wanted to proceed at all cost. He would have sold his soul so that BVI airways would fly. Vote for people that got sense. Being a doctor doesn’t mean that you are smart. It means that you are skilled in medical science. Being a lawyer doesn’t mean that you are smart. It simply means that you are skilled in matters of law. Being nice is one of the worst traits for a politician and that’s what people here base their votes on. Now the not so nice people found a j@ck@$$ and rode it from East to West. J@ck@$$ gone sleep and left donkey to carry the load.
  • talk (03/06/2020, 18:10) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    where is Criminal justice system??????

    thank you
  • Ghost (03/06/2020, 18:45) Like (10) Dislike (2) Reply
    This whole plane situation just smell so stink.. I want to know when Will persons in that then Government will be charged and arrested for this wastage of the tax payers monies?:. 7.2 million dollars...again 7.2 million dollars.. that’s a lot of persons hard earned monies gone ..Premier Fahie you and your team need to NEVER let this go and make that government pay for this .. and then our only public hospital is named after the head of that then government..smh...everytime I hear that name I cringe..A forever reminder!..
  • rattie (03/06/2020, 20:49) Like (5) Dislike (2) Reply
    Sumf better go from here talking piss
  • W T F (03/06/2020, 20:50) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    if this type of transaction was done under a private company some-person or persons would be sited for embezzlement here we have well educated people doing dumbness and i think they all knew what going on
  • trrefdrfds (03/06/2020, 22:26) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply

    Dr. Smith. I am truly ashamed of u and how u ran the country. U will go down in history as the worst premeir. Marlon neef to put back the sewerage money too. 

  • Dumb dumbs (03/06/2020, 22:42) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    Sorry but this resembles those scenarios where you get a fake email from (I wont say what country) saying "congratulations you have won $50,000 but in order to receive it, you need to send $500 plus your full bank details to confirm it is you and to process the payment. Dumb dumbs, the 50,000 is valueless. There is more value in the letters of the email. The only value would be the money you end up GIVING AWAY thinking, oooh 500 is nothing to send if I'm getting 50,000 (aka a big fat ZERO) in return. You guys got played...and any moo moo could see the obviousness but a regular dumb dumb would not. Then you had the likes of mr RDA leading this pappy show of a deal. I mean seriously??? Have you heard how the man speaks? For goodness sake!!
  • intel (04/06/2020, 00:21) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    Neal is going to take the lick for this.
  • Rubber Duck (04/06/2020, 02:00) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    A Ponzi scheme is where you seek multiple investors who are paid large rates of interest , not from profits earned, but from the capital investments of new joiners. So no it was not a Ponzi scheme.
  • asking for a friend (04/06/2020, 06:54) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is crazy stuff where is the police on white collar crime?
  • BVI Greed (04/06/2020, 07:13) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    i assuming the mindset was to pay extra for the plane(s) allowing those involved some pocket money then something thing went wrong: this will make a good movies which can be shot on location in BVI and all of the actors should be those actual involved with the transaction(they can play themselves because non gone jail)
  • musa (04/06/2020, 07:39) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    what our leaders are teaching our youths?
  • Virgin Island (04/06/2020, 11:43) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    ayo here making noise not one jack man going to jail ,the justice system in the bvi does only goes for some peoples because i see poor peoples go to jail for a bag a weed i see people go to jail for stealing 200.00 dollars and i see all these big government ministers stealing millions of tax payer money for yrs now and how to now a jack man can't go jail but people like me and ayo them quick to jail us tell justice system is a mess ,the law goes for me so i think it should go for everyone once you break it am i correct here .
  • Deh Watcha (04/06/2020, 13:17) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    It sure sounds like an episode from the tv show "American Greed"
  • not a ponzi (04/06/2020, 15:05) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    Nope. It was outright theft AND the people that needed to know the names were told the names 3 years ago and NOBODY chose to listen!
  • no nonsense (04/06/2020, 19:17) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    The cottage hospital from today on is PEEBLES HOSPITAL!! PREIOD!!

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