BVI News

BVIEC refutes media reports that USVI power company illegally shipped items to BVI after Irma

The BVI Electricity Corporation (BVIEC) has refuted recent media reports alleging that the US Virgin Island’s Water & Power Authority (WAPA) illegally shipped FEMA-provided restoration materials and supplies to the British Virgin Islands after the 2017 hurricanes.

On March 5, the Virgin Islands Consortium published an article with details about a lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of the United States Virgin Islands regarding a dispute between WAPA and one of its employees.

According to the article, the employee who was named as Rupert Pelle alleged in his suit against WAPA that he had discovered that the aforementioned materials and supplies were shipped to Tortola despite not being approved for the BVI.

He claimed that the materials were hurricane recovery supplies paid for by US taxpayers.

BVIEC’s response

In a statement obtained by BVI News, General Manager of BVIEC Leroy Abraham defended the actions of WAPA, stating that the article misrepresented what took place between the two electricity companies.

He said: “The management of both BVIEC and WAPA witnessed first-hand the suffering of the people who resided within their respective jurisdictions at the time and made the best decisions given the circumstances for the sake of cooperation and collaboration in getting our electricity grids rebuilt as quickly as possible so as to provide relief to the people that we serve.”

“For one to now characterise such actions as being malicious or sinister is truly disappointing and a total misrepresentation of the facts. Further for the record, should a similar situation as what occurred in 2017 re-occur, BVIEC would not do anything differently by rendering its assistance,” Abraham added.

BVIEC endorses statement by WAPA’s CEO

Abraham further said he endorses a subsequent statement made by WAPA’s Chief Executive Officer, Lawrence Kupfer in a March 11 article by the Consortium.

Kupfer said: “This was a case where a sister utility reached out for assistance in the worst of times. The leadership of WAPA at the time thought it prudent to assist citizens in the BVI in their greatest time of need.”

“This is not the first time that WAPA has assisted a fellow utility or received assistance during its recovery. Power companies not only exchange materials, manpower is also frequently provided to assist restoration efforts,” the CEO added.

What happened

Abraham also sought to explain what transpired with the BVIEC after hurricanes Irma and Maria hit the territory.

“Following the historic devastating hurricanes of 2017 which significantly affected the electrical infrastructure of both the BVI and USVI, BVIEC requested WAPA’s assistance in supplying it with various materials which were in their possession and needed urgently by BVIEC for the purpose of rebuilding the national electrical infrastructure,” the BVIEC boss said.

“However, the situation was reciprocal as WAPA also requested certain materials to assist them with their recovery and they were supplied similarly without hesitation by BVIEC,” he added.

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  1. Sam the man says:

    The real question should be what happened to the emergency equipment that was paid for by the British tax payer that was supposed to be in store and was missing when it was needed after Irma. Also where is the money that was again given by the British Tax payer to upgrade and replace old equipment over many years that when the Canadians came to help restore power lines reported that none of the repairs, upgrades and replacements of old kit was Never done the the alleged equipment did not exist. The system was and still is dangerous.

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  2. St. Vecent White says:

    It is time for repplacement, I have not raffled the tit for the tie and you already think that part of the family inheritance, another needs the opportunty, it is good

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    • Sooo says:

      So FEMA gave materials to the USVI for free and WAPA and/or employees take those materials and s—- them to BVIEC . This whole thing smells of criminal activity on both ends of the deal. Sounds like the US taxpayers once again helping the Africans take it on the chin. Some things will never change.

  3. Sinfin says:

    Of course some money exchanged hands. It wasn’t WAPA’s to send. It belong to the USVI and FEMA

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