BVI News

Gov’t defeats BVI Airways in arbitration! Dr Smith ‘feels vindicated’

Photo by BVI Airways

The government has successfully defeated a claim of more than $10 million from those behind the controversial and failed BVI Airways project that sought to commence direct non-stop flights between the BVI and Miami in the United States.

In arbitration judgement handed down on Friday, May 14, the arbitrator reportedly rejected all claims BVI Airways Inc and Colchester Aviation LLC made against the Government of the Virgin Islands.

A government media release on Friday, listed the arbitrator’s conclusions as follows:

• The Government of the Virgin Islands properly performed all its obligations in relation to the Project.

• The Government of the Virgin Islands did not breach any of the terms of the Framework Agreement.

• The Government of the Virgin Islands was entitled to terminate the Framework Agreement in November 2017.

• There was no basis at all for the allegations of dishonesty or fraud made against the BVI Government.

• In addition, there was no basis for the allegation of defamation and no breach of any obligations of confidentiality by the Government of the Virgin Islands.

• The Government of the Virgin Islands has been awarded its costs of defending those very serious claims (fraud and defamation) – which were described as ‘frivolous’ following cross-examination of individuals connected with Colchester and BVIA at the March 2021 hearing.

Premier Andrew Fahie described the ruling as an “important victory … that ensures no further funds will have to be paid to these parties”.

Counterclaim and recouping the money

He further said the government will now work aggressively to recoup the funds paid over to BVI Airways and its operators.

Noting that the government has advanced a counterclaim based, in particular, on alleged dishonest conduct by Colchester and BVI Airways, Fahie said: “We are also seeking to recover the costs incurred in defending the wholly unjustified claims brought in this arbitration.”

“Anyone legally responsible for the BVI’s loss will be held to account to the extent that the law permits; we will now move to the next phase of our recovery strategy, having successfully defended this claim,” Premier Fahie added.

Former Premier “vindicated”

Facing heavy public criticism since the airline deal flopped, former Premier Dr D Orlando Smith — under whose leadership the BVI Airways deal happened — also commented on the victory.

“I am happy that the Arbitrator found that we upheld our end of the arrangements and I now feel vindicated. I am most grateful to Martin Kenney and Associates for their hard work in ensuring a win for this territory,” Dr Smitrh stated.

“I am pleased that after retaining Martin Kenney and Associates in 2018 under my administration to begin proceedings against BVI Airways that would lead to recovery of BVI Government funds, that the arbitration proceedings were successful … It has been a long hard fight with more legal battles to come very likely. In 2015 my administration acted in the best interest of the BVI in our efforts to introduce direct flights from the US to BVI,” he added.

Dr Smith’s former NDP administration had handed the airline 7.2 million of taxpayer dollars to commence direct flights between the BVI and Miami in the USA. However, the airline later laid off its staff; claiming that it needed more money to fly. 

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15 Comments

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  1. Spirit says:

    Now you need to work on getting the $7 Million back.

    Like 12
    Dislike 2
    • No shot says:

      The BVI has no shot of recovering any of the $7.2 mil and spending money on lawyers is throwing good money against bad. Much much more than $7 mil has been stolen out of the government coffers by your neighbors. You all know who they are. Their names are on buildings, streets and sit in your parliament.

      Like 13
      Dislike 4
      • Robinhood says:

        Our legal fees will be paid for by the owners of BVI Airlines if we win which there is no doubt that we will! Go and get ‘me!

        Like 6
        Dislike 1
  2. Yawn says:

    Dr Smith should be ashamed of himself trying to pat himself on the back. The deal was a terrible deal. There were other options including locally. He must feel like a fool for bad talking VI Airlink in his letter to the USA transportation authorities trying to ensure that BVI Airways application got approved in the US. This is only round 1,we now need to get back the $7.2 million BVI Airways got for doing nothing.

    Like 27
    Dislike 26
  3. Ban Dicks.. says:

    These BVI Airlines people are a set of Dishinest, greedy, think they smart set of no goods,,, Gone with our 7 millions by tricks and lies and now they are looking more…They need to bring our 7 millions back and repent….

    Like 12
  4. @ YAWN says:

    At least he didn’t allegedly pocket the money like your friends saw doing so YOU YOU canaries can continue singing or yawning

    Like 12
    Dislike 8
  5. BVI says:

    BRING BACK AIR BVI, where is elhui and edison?

    Like 3
    Dislike 2
  6. Not says:

    Vindication is not winning a weak counterclaim. Vindication is the return of the lost 7 million US dollars and payment of the legal expenses by the defendant/NDP/Dr. Smith.

    Like 11
    Dislike 4
  7. New Day coming soon says:

    RG must be even more worried by his actions. Wonder if Rotary locally taking any notice?
    They have moral positions in various matters unless it conflicts with thier personal position.

    Like 8
    Dislike 5
  8. ? says:

    What a fake. There is no victory in this. The taxpayers money is still missing, the pier project is still double over budget, and there is an expensive wall to be explained. This man was the captain of the ship during all of this chaos and needs to taken to court and exposed.

    Like 9
    Dislike 4
  9. Rubber Duck says:

    The BVI government was betrayed by its main lawyer in the BVI Airways saga. This individual while being paid by the BVI government and assuring them all was well, was secretly being paid close to $250,000 by the promoters of the airline. He was the original proposer of the deal and introduced the promoters of the airline to the BVI government who had previously trusted him. If any individual is to blame it is him. This lawyer is a BVI islander living in the USA called Lester Hyman.

  10. Ras says:

    This vindication comment by sleeping Smith just show what he is. His selfish, pompous and self centered comment has no call in the public domain. Sir the 7.2 mil still missing. Sir your judgment was poor. Sir please go back to sleep let the government do them people work. You had you turn and it was a disgrace.

    Like 5
    Dislike 6
  11. Me says:

    it aint over till its over. Remember ah me say so

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