By Davion Smith, BVI News Online Journalist
Premier Dr D Orlando Smith has disclosed that the privately owned BVI Airways is negotiating with potential investors to get its planes off the ground.
He made the disclosure in the House of Assembly this morning – more than a week after BVI Airways confirmed that it does not have enough money to commence the already delayed direct service between the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and Miami in the United States.
The BVI government had pumped $7 million into the venture.
Up to this morning, there was no indication as to where the airline would have got the additional funds needed to start flying.
“The negotiations [between BVI Airways and potential investors] are working towards the expectation of the service which we (BVI government and BVI Airways) agreed to in the initial agreement,” Premier Smith revealed.
He, in response to questions posed by Leader of Opposition Andrew Fahie, stated that his government does not have any plan to provide BVI Airways with more of taxpayers’ money.
Premier Smith was elusive when Fahie asked a number of other questions, including whether the government plans to recoup its $7 million, considering that BVI Airways is yet to commence service.
Premier Smith claimed that it would be prejudicial to the current negotiations if he answered the opposition leader’s questions.
“I have to be very careful of how I respond to questions… BVI Airways is currently engaged with various entities in relation to investment of the project, and therefore it’s prejudicial to further discuss this arrangement at this time,” the premier said.
Fahie then asked: “If all these questions with BVI Airways were prejudicial before the contract, during the contract, and now; at least could you tell us what all the $7 million of the taxpayers money was spent for?”
Dr Smith however maintained his elusive posture.
“I can’t give you that [breakdown of the spending] accurately at this point in time. We’ll have to provide that on paper. However, as I said, there are negotiations right now going on with BVI Airways and other entities. Therefore, speaking about other things such as what you asked about recouping the $7million, is not pertinent at this time.”
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