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We should’ve invested locally | Gov’t can’t reach BVI Airways

“If I knew what I know now, I would have taken that money and given it to the Brathwaites because I know where I would find the Brathwaites.” — Christian.

While stating government should have invested in a local airline, Junior Minister for Tourism Archibald Christian has said the National Democratic Party (NDP) administration has no inkling where the owners and operators of the reportedly defunct BVI Airways are located.

Christian told the House of Assembly government has been trying, without success, to contact BVI Airways, whose operators jetted off with $7.2 million of taxpayer funds.

“We are trying to locate them, trying to have a conversation with them —  we are trying to get a report from them. We now have to consider legal action against them. That’s most unfortunate,” he said.

We should have picked the Brathwaites

The minister then counselled legislators to be more careful when doing business with foreign investors. He further expressed regret government did not invest in a local airline such as the Brathwaite family-owned, BVI Airlink.

BVI Airlink reportedly approached government years ago in hopes the NDP administration would invest in the airline. However, government reportedly denied the proposal.

See BVI News article: ‘BVI-Miami route was our idea — VI Airlink pilot’

“If I knew what I know now, I would have taken that money and given it to the Brathwaites because I know where I would find the Brathwaites. I don’t know where I could find the people that have BVI Airways anymore,” Christian said.

“We had Air BVI, our own airline and I think that was a mistake when the government didn’t step in to try and save that airline. And then in our wisdom, we decided to allow BVI Airways to be the flag carrier for the territory with direct flights to Miami,” added Christian as he decried the millions wasted on BVI Airways.

He said that wasted money could have been used to repair instrastruture such as roads throughout the BVI.

He then questioned what BVI Airways did with the money government invested.

“I would like to know how they spent the money, Premier. What did they do with it?”

“I suppose the Premier would continue to do his best. I know that he is not going to give up on it because at the end of the day he has to report back to the people of the BVI on exactly what has happened to the $7.2 million.”

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35 Comments

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  1. Rubbish!!!! says:

    But still your leader say its was Fahie fault? You guys need to get you all story straight. When little ole me heard the parties involved I googled and found the info on the airline that never flew….why didn’t any in government? You want to know why…because someone somewhere attached to this Government made MONEY!!!!

  2. true says:

    This is a joke any PI in the US could find the owners for less than $50k

    • Brad Boynes says:

      Guy Hill could find them.

      • Luvz says:

        He sure can. If the government really want to find BVI Airways they sure can find them. It is really sad to see how 7 millions go just so and no repercussion. It really a sad state of affairs here in these British Virgin Islands.. No accountability; no transparency nothing!

        That 7million could have go to our schools, the West End port project, our roads, sewerage project and you can go on and on. Wow! Government in the sunshine; so sad to see what is taking place here. Everything is becoming crystal clear.

  3. No nonsense says:

    He just wake up!! You mean all this time he was sleeping and he’s in the party!!lmao!!

  4. Orlando Air says:

    All they have to do is google the name of the ceo.

    Maybe they don’t want to find him. Maybe the ceo will tell us what really happened to our 7 million big ones in exchange for not prosecuting him?

    https://firstofthefinest.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/jerry-willoughby/

  5. Political Observer (PO) says:

    This is pure nonsense! How the hell can $7.2M of taxpayer money be disbursed out the treasury and given to BVI Airways, a bankrupt and brut airline, and now the people cannot be located? Really! I need to get my eyes and hearing check. Is the BVI operating in an alternate universe? Hon Christian, no disrespect but Air BVI and VI Airlink are for another day; today is about the taxpayers $7.2M and BVI Airways.

    The taxpayers need a full accounting of its $7.2M given to BVI Airways. Why was the $7.2M front loaded in the first year and not disbursed over the 3-year period based on some performance metric? Should not the early draw of the $7.2M a sign that something was up? We so desperate for a legacy project that we failed to see that we were being robbed in broad daylight with our eyes open? Did politicians put their needs ahead of the taxpayer’s?

    Moreover, this is not the BVI finest hour. The taxpayers were not well-served; their government let them down. It didn’t exercise the required fiduciary responsibility; it exercised atrocious stewardship of resources. The taxapayers need to be made whole, it needs a full accounting. The public will be well-served with a commission of inquiry.

    • Not2Sure says:

      Agree 100%. We need to know what happened and why. I suspect that the real reason Government “cannot find” BVI Airways is because they don’t want to. And the reason they don’t want to is because the under the contract they signed, they know they have no chance of every claiming the money back. Government doesn’t want any further scrutiny of their stupidity and so they are hoping if they wait long enough everyone will forget.

      Jerry Willoughby is not a fugitive from justice. He is living up in the USA, and is not hard to find if you really want to find him. I bet he would probably even do an interview if one of our news websites called him up to ask for his version of events.

      But no one is going to sue BVI Airways. Because they just took the money that they were given, and they spent it, like they said they were going to. Government knows that, and so it will give lots of comments to the press, but it is never going to do anything else.

      • Auditor says:

        We need to see the agreement and the audit of the company’s financial records. If there were any kickbacks to our people then a whole lot of people be going to jail. Time for this nonsense to stop. Time for full disclosure of the facts. Please help us governor.

  6. Sherlock says:

    Just google the name of the ceo. Maybe they don’t want to FBF him???

  7. Sim Simma says:

    So AC why didn’t you say that when the debate was ongoing? Why now take this stance? Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me!! You’re not fooling anyone at this time. Your commander and chief said it was AF fault the banks didn’t loan the funds; yet here YOU are saying ayo can’t find these conmen – lmfao…this IS Banana Plantation Politics at it’s finest!!! The animals have been running the zoo and now you going public with this crap – I need to write a book about all these dumbfound deals & shenanigans. Would be a NY Times bestseller in no time!

    AC – so when will a criminal complaint be filed on behalf of he BVI taxpayers who’ve been fleeced by you and your Givetnment repeatedly it feels like we are being gang raped?

  8. Local Girl says:

    All I can say is I acknowledge the strength of character that Mr. Christian is showing right now by being honest and admitting to having made a mistake. As for the actual proceedings and history of this situation….no comment.

  9. Gov says:

    Why is this matter not a full blown criminal investigation? The justice in the BVI is one sided.

  10. Youth says:

    If you want to get away with going with millions of dollars of tax payers money then just join the NDP.

  11. Anonymous says:

    We were had, bamboozled and taken!!

    It appears and smells as though the country were/are victims of an international criminal syndicate/transaction. It got stung by a mafia bee!!!

    Did we really!?!

  12. Foolish says:

    Hon. Christian is not being real here at all. VI Airlink had put forward a plan to the government asking for $50 million dollars not $7 million. Where was this voice when the BVI Airways issue was being dealt with? This is a coward move, picking a number after the dices rolled and stopped. Hurry up and retire so we dont have to see your sorry a– on the next ballot. Complete f—-ng —– of time! 7yrs as an elected official, 3yrs as Jr Minister of Tourism and what does he show for it? P——— to be brave and bold because he is on his way out simply because his guy didnt win NDP leadership.

    • CCM says:

      THE NDP IS IN SHAMBLES SINCE SKELTON LOST

    • Neville Brathwaite Jr says:

      50 million was for brand new airplanes that could have lasted for average 25-30 years and used airplanes are way cheaper but might last 10 more years or less based on factory support maintenance availability and parts, further more 7 million cannot start an airline of that size from scratch, realistically with used planes it needed a minimum of 21 million.

      Brathwaites aviation legacy in the Virgin Islands is from the 1970’s, along with the other families involved in the Virgin Islands aviation studies, Brathwaites and others have attended the top schools in the world for aviation.

      Yes no secret it was 50 million but it was realistic, and the money would have stayed and build the economy.

      https://www.google.vg/search?q=aviation+building+economies&oq=aviation+building+economies&aqs=chrome..69i57.8592j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

  13. Where’s Jerry? says:

    Follow the money! Aren’t we, the principal shareholders in this broken company allowed to see a complete financial accounting? Why hasn’t the full agreement been publicly disclosed?
    Did anyone associated with the BVI receive a finder’s fee or any other payola? If they did, should they pay us back? We could use it to build a new school, or fix our roads, or fix the slow internet, or make our power more reliable…
    This was an an avoidable loss. Did someone make a stupid decision so they could gain from it? And what about the $500,000 additional expenditures by the airport? Who received that?

  14. Diana says:

    Well sah you could hear things. Really Archie, you have the nerve to stand there and say this out loud. In a time like this do you know what this amount of money can do for the country. Repair our schools, fix healthcare, our infrastructure and assist others in the country.
    All this because this gang was being vindictive against one of our own. If the money was given to the local firm, I can assure you that it will be found. This is a perfect example of lack of due diligence looks like. If this firm was properly scrutinize, I am sure you’ll would have known not to give them our hard earned tax dollars. Now the tax payers of this country left holding an empty can. Who should we hold responsible for this. Mark my words, you’ll will pay for this at the polls come 2019 or maybe 2018.

  15. Sam the man says:

    Further solid proof of why the NDP are known now as the “No Direction Party” as they haven’t a F….Ing clue….

  16. Honestly says:

    1st District minister should take a page from Trump and then he’ll have this election in the bag. Just get people to chant “Lock them up!” and the 1st district rep will be the premiere.

    I won’t even be mad because at this point someone seriously should be going jail over this.

  17. dude says:

    So only now you know you should invest in your own? But your gov believes in everything white is right. Slave minded…

  18. PTR says:

    Well, let’s all not forget —- —–, former F———- S——– say “he” could afford to loose 7 million dollars. I did not know it was his to loose

  19. Hah says:

    “If I knew what I know now” Say that line as many times as you need to today because We didn’t know that NDP would turn out to be the worst option back in 2011. Next election it is definitely clear that we need to make a change of government. Here we have a member of the ruling government letting all his constituents know that he was withheld vital information from the leader of his government. He made a blind vote as they do many times, following their party right over a cliff because that’s just the way things are done in their party. This isn’t an Archie problem because without the necessary votes the government could not have gone ahead with the BVI Airways debacle. All members including the new leader are guilty of losing our money. The NDP failed by voting blindly at our expense. One of the most popular excuses I’ve heard to justify why we should put up with NDP is “what is the other option?” but to quote a member of the NDP when talking about getting one of the most business unfriendly banks in terms of accessibility to funds to come to VG,Something is better than nothing.

  20. Remedy says:

    Let each and everyone of them in the party pay it back!

  21. bimjim says:

    I am aware of the details – and much of the background that is not public knowledge.

    The same c—men who owned a 747 and “Baltia Airlines” in eastern Europe for almost 25 years, yet did not operate a single flight while they suckered investors into their schemes.

    Right now they are still playing the same investment ——- game with a proposed “US Global Airways” supposed to start somewhere on the east coast of the USA. The DoT has become annoyed with their nonsense and cut them off.

    The governments biggest fault is falling victim to the —-men who went after the money and had — intention of completing their promised services. They did not follow basic business rules, which suggest that you have a formal, written agreement between the Parties stating who pays what and what is expected in return. I am told the gov’t apparently does not even have a receipt or record of the $7.2 million money transfer.

    As a result, once the “Baltia C—” had the money and the BVI AOC in their hands, they looked for richer pickings elsewhere. The two aircraft could not have cost even as much as $3/4 million – for the BOTH of them.

    The Baltia C–s operated charter services around the Caribbean – AS BVI AIRWAYS – without ever touching the BVI, yet when the crunch came they claimed they needed more money. In time the required aircraft major overhauls came due, and now BOTH aircraft sit grounded in “heavy-maintenance” facilities in Canada, untouchable until somebody pays the bills.

    I had contacted the Chief Pilot of BVI Airways, who had bought a home, wanted to stay in Tortola and was willing to ask all of his pilots to hang on until we could get something going, but all of our efforts to find a small investment and replace BVI Airways were to naught.

    Fact: Money gone.
    Fact: Aircraft gone.

    So if you want to take the gov’t to court for being foolish, go ahead and do that. But – so far as I know – foolishness is not a crime.

  22. About Time says:

    Is this the final answer? It’s about time that we had this question answered. The speaker should have given the premier a caution to answer the question. I can’t believe!

  23. Tellitall says:

    Follow the money you’ll find out who pocket got fat !!! Tired of people coming from allover and milking us!! With help from our ungreatful greedy politicians! Find out what they got since getting in office and seize it the name of the people of the BVI !¡

  24. Hmm... says:

    Could the reason this govt is extremely upset at the publicising of those secret offshore accts is because some familiar names will show up? Lol or you guys are already in the process of moving those accts to Switzerland? Raped us blind now pointing fingers…they can’t be trusted!

  25. Interested says:

    Archie must be retiring from political? Why all of this now ?

  26. Key says:

    ———— is part of our problem. As long as we have expat in elected office, we will always have problems. Because they will not legislate out their interest in favor of the BVI.

  27. Maria Louisa Varlack says:

    7.2 million loans to BVI Airways.

    Planned Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport expansion project.

    A perceived lack of details about the UK Government post-hurricane loan guarantee.

    The Cox Heath Dumpsite Fire.

    The 30 million-plus overspending for the construction of The Tortola Pier Park.

    And now you British Virgin Islanders want to start a war with the United Kingdom and declare independence of the United Kingdom.

    It is you the British Virgin Islanders political leaders are wrong. You are the ones that have caused Territory of The British Virgin Islands to be in the condition that it is in today.

    Do not blame the UK Government or anyone else for the problems of The Territory of The British Virgin Islands.

    What would our ancestors say about the political leadership of The British Virgin Islands. They would all be ashamed.

    Clean up your mess and stop blaming the UK Government and others for the mess in The British Virgin Islands.

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