BVI News

‘Full criminal investigation’ launched into BVI Airways deal

After roughly three years, a criminal probe has been launched into the controversial BVI Airways deal between the airline and the previous National Democratic Party (NDP) government that was led by former Premier, Dr D Orlando Smith.

Incumbent Premier Andrew Fahie made that bombshell announcement in the House of Assembly moments ago.

Fahie made the statement as he presented the House with the long-awaited Auditor General’s report on the NDP government’s financing of BVI Airways’ direct flights to Miami.

“We usually would have allowed a preamble [before laying a document before the House]. But I cannot do any preamble on this one. I can only lay it on the table,” Premier Fahie said.

“I cannot say anything further on this matter as we have been informed by the Commissioner of Police that this is now under a full criminal investigation,” he added.

The controversy

BVI News has not yet received the Auditor General’s report. However, information already in the public domain is that the NDP government gave 7.2 million of taxpayer dollars for the airline to commence direct flights between the BVI and Miami, USA back in 2016.

However, operators of BVI Airways missed all its promised dates for the commencement of those flights. And by July of 2017, the airline laid off its staff; claiming that it needed more money to fly.

The two aircraft associated with the airline were then reported ‘missing’. But in February 2020 — exactly a year after the NDP government was voted out of office — leader of the new VIP government, Premier Fahie revealed that both aircraft have been found and are presently operating in Australia.

A lawsuit has also been filed in US District Court of Columbia against government’s former attorney Lester Hyman, who is alleged to have been a director in BVI Airways.

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32 Comments

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  1. Windy says:

    I guess they’ll be some NDP folks looking to self exile somewhere where there’s no extradition agreement.

    Like 18
    Dislike 12
    • Well now says:

      POP goes the damn weasel. This news has a lot of people running SCURDDD AKA SCARED. And you all thought the VIP Government was soft. Premier means business and he is not playing.Sorry but, a lot of people is in trouble, someone is going to take the fall and as hard as it may seem to believe, the Island man is going to take the fall.

      Like 9
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    • Lmao says:

      They don’t need to go far. The Dominican Republic and Cuba are safe havens

      Like 11
      Dislike 1
    • Soothsayer says:

      To be sure there are plenty more deals that require full criminal investigation – cave quid volunt

      Like 22
      • Kenney Morton says:

        @ soothsayer….after school programme by pastor grifter, contracts for HOA members, brandywine bay…the list can go on & on..

        Like 8
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    • Easy like Sunday Morning says:

      Follow the money! Who got the payola?

  2. Truth says:

    We just need the truth on this whole debacle with tax payers money! I’m appalled that it has taken this long to get to this point, we need answers! I look forward to them.

    Like 11
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  3. LOL. Not Surprise. Good Luck with that! says:

    Since when a deal that apparently fell apart rises to the level of a crime? Who are the alleged criminals here? This inquiring mind wishes to know.

    I highly doubt this investigation will lead to any meaningful criminal charges, and it appears this government is trying to turn a deal gone bad into a crime.

    If someone sees a crime here, please let me know because I cannot see one.

    Now, if the government wants to recoup the money spent on this deal that went array, then that’s another matter which the courts will sought out.

    However, whether the government recoups a dollar will all come down to what was agreed to in the contract between the airline and the previous government.

    Now, I am not surprised that this government would take this route relative to a criminal investigation, as the then Opposition under the leadership of Mr. Fahie was antagonistic about the deal from jump, and made it a campaign issue.

    IMO, they are anti-investment, anti-foreign investment in particular period so this comes as no surprise. This was foreseen.

    Therein lies a cautionary tale for future potential investors from outside the BVI.

    IMO, proceed with extreme caution when contemplating investing in anything BVI as an outsider. The environment is simply not investor friendly. Save yourself the headache and look to other investor friendlier shores.

    IMO, the previous government started off in good faith, but they fell prey and sensitive to the Oppositions’ objections at the time, began second guessing themselves to make it appear they were not being taken for a ride, and possibly failed to meet their end of their contractual obligations as per the airline.

    It’s a tangled mess rooted in distrust of outsiders and outside investors in particular. The courts will sort it out, but it is highly doubtful criminal charges will come about.

    The BVI governments’ best opportunity to recover any money lies in the court in Washington, D.C. but even that will be a long shot if they cannot prove the airline was in violation of contract signed.

    This entire matter is troubling overall in that you have this current government apparently investigating the previous one. This is a very very bad president being set here regardless of the outcome of this case that does not bode well for the BVI.

    To my knowledge, I have never heard of a previous BVI government being investigated by a current one. It’s bad for BVI politics and the country as a whole, and deepens the divide that currently exists in the country.

    But carry on, some people will stop at nothing to prove themselves right.

    Like 48
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    • Thank you says:

      Well said

      Like 20
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    • Local girl says:

      Oh please, it’s just another smokescreen, I trust nothing that Government say, ALL of them are political criminals one way or the other, that why I don’t vote, I fend for myself, don’t take handouts and I am not afraid to say “No Thank You”.

      Like 9
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    • GTFOH says:

      It’s like Covid19 has unleashed the stupidity upon the land. First of all neither Fahie nor VIP can launch a criminal investigation into anybody, he/they don’t have that type of power. Secondly the Governor is in charge of the police not the Premier not anyone in the HOA. Thirdly you can’t just investigate if there is no smoke to follow. Whatever was found in the report for BVI Airway similar to that of the High School Wall Project may have led to the Police to move towards a possible criminal investigation.

      It was the Governor that handed the commissioner of police the auditor’s report on the High School wall while NDP was in power so I assume the same thing happened with this as well. The governor is the head of prisons, public servants and police. Please stop spreading these false VIP vs NDP things unless the cap truly fits.

      Like 14
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    • FRAUD says:

      Not the first time this cast of characters has presented their play for a greedy audience. I am happy to see our Commissioner can FINALLY get into this investigation. His financial crimes background will be a great asset.

    • Father Linus says:

      It’s criminal if it involves payola. It’s criminal if it involved kickbacks or finders fees paid to BVI officials. Its criminal if there were payments in kind to BVI officials. Why would the former government push this through against the advice of their own auditors? Why did they accelerate the payments outlined in the agreement? Why did they even do this deal with an airline that could land on the existing runway while at the same time promoting the idea of a $500,000,000 new runway?

  4. none sense says:

    The government made a bad decision with this deal. The only ones that will be doing time and fine, are the ones that the directors of the Airline.

  5. hmmm says:

    So every deal that does bad the VIP will investigate. I don’t think there was any thief, it was more of poor judgement.

    Like 14
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    • @hmmm says:

      Read and speak accurately. The Police is doing their own criminal investigation and not the VIP.

      Like 12
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      • Hmmm says:

        Okay fool. So tell me there was a contract between the government and the potential investors are you telling me, the Police can launch an investigation without one of the contractual parties making a formal complaint? Some of you need to think before you criticize.

        Like 4
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  6. Father Time says:

    Anna oop!

    Can’t wait to see who about to pack up ship and move to Cuba.

    Like 3
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  7. Lmao says:

    Sorry to say the dominican republic and cuba bvi is the hiding place of the STOLE because they remember of the beef island bridge and the grandson boy of Salomon fron west end

  8. Lmaotoo says:

    Sorry to say the dominican republic and cuba bvi is the hiding place of the stole because they remember of the beef island bridge and the grandson boy of Salomon fron west end

  9. Truth Sayer says:

    I do agree with those who said this was a well intent project ruined sour somewhere along the way. It seems that the Premier is very hasty with this matter but he must be careful that he is not seen as doing a witch hunt. Governments go and come. And the question could be asked: What if the NDP government had lodged an investigation for the medical school contract where no goods were received for the monies given out?

    Like 24
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    • Deh Watcha says:

      That’s what they should have done. Except they swept it under the rug also.

      Who did they protect by not investigating it?

      Like 4
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  10. ndp fan club says:

    Mr offshorealert.com trying to get even but i hope he know that as soon as he lose the next election we will be investigating the bodyguard contract, consultancies and that medical school contract

    Like 13
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  11. E. Leonard says:

    The project to fund a non-stop flight from MIA to TBLIA was probably well-ntentioned to import airlift and to improve tourism ,1/2 of economic twin pillars, competitive posture. What a thrill and relief it would have been for both residents and visitors alike to embark on a flight in Miami and disembark at Beef Island. Elated about the non-stop flight prospect, the project was probably rushed with unfavorable terms and conditions, i.e., front loading subsidies. Instead, the subsidies should have been performance based.

    In retrospect, it seems like the agreement between BVI Airways and government turned out to be a Lose-Lose for BVI taxpayers and a Win-Win for others. This $7.2M agreement (subsidy, investment?) with BVI Airways appear to be a well-intentioned deal gone bad. However, a bad deal, coupled with perhaps poor judgment, and one being of the state of mind that the action was being taken for the right reason and for the public good and followed existing laws in my a non-legally trained view is not a crime. It was probably bad judgement. Taxpayers need a full accounting of its $7.2M and action taken to recoup as much of it as possible.

    Moreover, since the agreement between the former government and BVI Airways was referred for criminal investigation, the referral may suggest that there may be additional information that the public is not yet privy to. Conducting an investigation does not mean that anyone is guilty of any wrong doing.

    And even if the investigation concludes there was wrong doing and refers the case for prosecution, it does not yet mean that anyone is guilty of wrong doing. The VI is a rule of law locale with everyone having a constitutional guarantee of due process, i.e., every one is entitled to his/her day in court. The legal eagles can set me straight on this if were out a dry limb.

    Like 11
    • BuzzBvi says:

      And our new currency, How that going?

      Like 5
      Dislike 2
    • RealPol says:

      “ Elated about the non-stop flight prospect, the project was probably rushed with unfavorable terms and conditions, i.e., front loading subsidies. Instead, the subsidies should have been performance based.” Exactly, contract awarded(not saying I supported the contract), NDP should have stick to the terms of the contract. An obvious sign that something was wrong was when the company came asking for money upfront. NDP threw caution in the wind and taxpayers got ripped. You kept it real.

  12. Haha says:

    The biggest suspicion of foul play in this whole contract was there was a timeline for payments in BVI Airways contract which NDP blatantly ignored by paying out the full amount while services were not being rendered. It’s like NDP always pay in advance even when they dont have to for big contracts but the small timers have to be begging for their pay even after performing at festival. Painters paid in full according to the auditors report for the High School wall before one stroke of the paintbrush. Like what were they even thinking. A government full of lawyers and doctors but was making j@ck@$$ decisions.

    Like 10
  13. MPR says:

    With the sister in the AG seat not a thing will happen to the former FS who gave away the country money

  14. Theft says:

    It seems to me that the whole BVI Airways fiasco is simply a type of criminal theft known as obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception. Did the NDP ministers and the directors of BVI Airways conspire to obtain the 7.2 million dollars from the BVI Treasury by deceiving the taxpayers of the BVI?

    Like 1
    Dislike 2
  15. Crook says:

    BVI business a usual. Until some of theses crooked politicians go to jail nothing will happen. It will be the OLD norm, just fade away

  16. Ja says:

    This never would of happened if AW was the fs.

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