BVI News

Former BVIAA board responds to accusations, cites financial difficulties, misunderstanding

Photo by Davion Smith/BVI News

The former board of the BVI Airports Authority Board (BVIAA) has fired back at Premier Andrew Fahie who publicly accused them of ‘deception’, ‘mismanagement’, and paying their salaries and operational costs with the $5 million sum that was intended to develop the runway at the TB Lettsome International Airport.

In an August 14 letter/report addressed to the Premier, former BVIAA board chairman, Glenn Harrigan, said the board thought the monies were a ‘grant’ from government.

“They (the former board) never had any discussion or received any correspondence from government indicating these funds should be treated as a loan. Accordingly, they were recorded and treated as a grant,” Harrigan said in the document to Premier Fahie.

Struggling financially

The former board chairman further said the BVIAA was also suffering from a shortage of funding.

He explained that the board did not have sufficient funds to pay operational costs or its staff because their aviation-related revenue suffered a significant decline. Harrigan further argued that the annual subvention the BVIAA receives from government was cut by more than 75 percent.

Harrigan said: “[Our financial difficulties stemmed from] the pullout of American Eagle from the BVI and substantial decline in aviation-related revenues, declining traffic due to high fares to and from Puerto Rico, a decline in the annual budget subvention from $4 million to under $1 million, the destruction caused by Hurricane Irma and the quest to retain all employees despite the above.”

“It is a testament to hard work, innovation, and commitment to the staff, management and board that the BVIAA was able to maintain operations in the face of such extreme challenges. Such diligence and dedication should be applauded instead of denigrated.” he then argued.

Our names did not have to be sullied

While explaining that his letter seeks to “correct some inaccuracies and provide clarity on certain matters raised”, the former BVIAA Chairman said the board members’ reputation never had to be sullied.

He further said the former board appreciates the reason behind the Premier’s statement, which they think is to “set the tone for the request for the $8.3 million in funding for repairs and upgrades” to the territory’s airport facilities.

“Whereas we understand the rationale, we are united in our contention that the same could have been achieved without maligning the names and reputation of the former board by implicating them in a statement where defamatory words such as mismanagement, deception, profligacy and misappropriation are used without merit,” Harrigan said.

He continued: “The former board of the BVIAA comprised several hardworking and enterprising business persons from various walks of life. It is their consensus that the July 16 statement and the ensuing dialogue that now abounds, if not addressed, threatens to defame and smear the good name, reputation and character they have spent their professional lives developing.”

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34 Comments

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  1. Michael Helm says:

    A very good response to the defamatory letter. More care and research should have been done before it was sent..

    Like 29
    Dislike 14
  2. Anonymous says:

    Without the records which the public is not preve to, none can be believed these days. They all in the same kitchen, sitting at the same table, eating out of the same pot.

    Like 23
  3. FACTS says:

    American airlines pulled out in 2012. Are you saying that you kept the same budget and staffing in place for 7 years although circumstances changed? That is pure ignorance….

    Like 40
    Dislike 2
  4. Hmmm says:

    It is about time you all came out and addressed the foolishness. The Premier needs to stop playing politics with people’s reputation. This is a small country and non substantiated words could act as a double edged sword.

    Further, i contine to say if they airport was doing so bad, then why all the high level unqualified appointments?

    1. Deputy Managing Director Operations
    2. Deputy Managing Director Administration
    3. Quality and Safety Manager

    All were former VIP candidates with no aviation experience.

    This place is just sick.

    Like 54
    Dislike 15
    • Hmmmmm says:

      Did the Chairman of the Board know about Aviation? But he Ran the Airport. So Management is coordination and guidance and the Airport needed to be treated like a business not a Pilots Club.

      Like 5
      Dislike 3
  5. @FACT says:

    Staff levels in Fire, ATC and Security have to be maintained to keep the airport at a certain category. Hiring of Administrative staff ceased and those who left wasn’t replaced.

    Maintenance and custodian were to be outsourced but wasn’t approved by the powers that be.

    Like 24
  6. yall says:

    Yall was doing nothing…

    Like 2
    Dislike 3
  7. Truth Sayer says:

    Thank you Mr. Harrigan for giving the public the other side. There was no need to malign persons in the manner the Premier did.

    Like 23
    Dislike 20
    • Haha says:

      What other side. Now that I know who the former chairman is I believe the Premier. Every time Dr. Smith get his close associates involved with any project we always lose a lot of money. Pier Park brother in law over $30 million overspent. BVI Airways the other Harrigan $7.2 million gone. Now this one. It aint hard to figure out whenever the DR Smith mixed business with pleasure we always lose.

      Like 27
      Dislike 12
      • Mark says:

        I totally agreed, its always his personal friends are put in these position and we always are caught holding the bag. How you are going to get money and not know if it was a grant or a loan? I always believe this man was more educated than than or they all feel the people of the BVI are slow?

        Like 13
        Dislike 4
      • @Haha says:

        How is it any different with this Premier? A known c******l is the current Chair who went to jail for that very same entity. The others are just public opinion, so please go have a seat.

        Like 9
        Dislike 5
  8. Anonymous says:

    It is well known that this guy is a huge NDP supporter. He may have thought it was a grant because of his friendship with Dr Smith.

    Like 27
    Dislike 4
  9. Hmmm says:

    Time will tell

  10. Everybody leaving says:

    Pile ah b**ls**t wait on the facts and see the premier know exactly what saying

    Like 11
    Dislike 2
  11. Faith says:

    Elections are finished Mr Premier. I voted for your team and you all won. No one can take that from you for the next 4 years. Unfortunately all of your speeches are written as if you are still on the campaign trail. I don’t know who is writing your speeches or telling you what to say, but all this bickering/campaigning needs to stop now or else you will lose the support of your people. Do what we elected you to do and forget all the melee. What happened in the past 8 years done gone already. Let us try to move on with a clean slate and do the people’s business for the benefit of our small country, please.

    Like 33
    Dislike 11
    • Smh says:

      Youre a real j@ck@$$. If you find out that money was stolen from your bank account in 2012 do you just switch banks and say it’s ok because it happened years ago ?

      Like 19
      Dislike 2
      • Good for the Goose but not for the Gander says:

        Fine. Well do your proper research and keep you Flushing mouth closed till you find out the truth of the matter!!!. Stop spreading gossips and ignorance just destroying the reputation of others. The irony of the whole situation is that the very next week the House was passing a cyber crime bill aimed at criminalizing people who spread rumors over the net…. hmmmm

        Like 1
        Dislike 4
    • #@@ says:

      The people still need to know what happened. This is also a part of him moving forward because he keep finding things that need fixing and this will take him some time..

      So bring it to the people or they will start saying nothing is being done. We have no clue what happened for the pass 8 years. NDP should have already told us. They don’t so the now Premier will have to.

      Like 7
      Dislike 3
    • #@@ says:

      The people still need to know what happened. This is also a part of him moving forward because he keep finding things that need fixing and this will take him some time..

      So bring it to the people or they will start saying nothing is being done. We have no clue what happened for the pass 8 years. NDP should have already told us. They don’t so the now Premier will have to it.

      Like 5
      Dislike 2
  12. Government worker says:

    I Would like to see a full copy of the response. I am sure that this reporting here puts it own spin on the topic and does not do it justice. I hope the news papers get a full print.

  13. E Scott says:

    Most stories this week are about getting rid of the RDA well BVI this storey is exactly why the RDA is needed..

    Like 19
    Dislike 5
    • Haha says:

      We don’t need the RDA. We need sensible and honest people in the positions. The guy “thought it was a grant” When money is involved the terms should be clearly defined. I think he is smarter than that so that means there is another reason why the money was mishandled. We were not supposed to know about this because NDP thought another term was guaranteed where they would have just swept this under the rug or do some “ spring cleaning”

      Like 15
      Dislike 4
      • Get it right says:

        NO actually, we do need the RDA. That way we know that the recover money will be used for RECOVERY.

        If the Airport Board thought the money was a grant you have to blame the Ministry of Finance. A loan comes with terms by which it should be repaid. Was this done? Was it discussed? Lack of clarity began with the Ministry.

        This government has to stop walking around maligning people and trying to make them look like criminals. That can’t be the right mind set for governing. Its as if they are judging others by their standards.

        Like 18
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      • indeed says:

        Sensible and honest people are indeed the way to go. Problem is that they are scarce hereabouts. Exactly why RDA is essential

        Like 7
        Dislike 5
  14. 123 says:

    But no one is talking about the minister who was in control of the airport. Is he blameless in this so called fiasco??

  15. worker says:

    they are wasting time hiring a bunch of unnecessary people to work, especially the securities, waste of time, half of them can barely move fast enough, as for the admin they are too, almost every week you seeing a new worker and yet nothing can not be done about it.

    this airport has been suffering because of their selves and the workers they hire

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