BVI News

Govt pays over $23 million in lawsuits, settlements in last 7 years

The Government of the Virgin Islands has paid in excess of $23 million in lawsuits and settlement claims in the last seven years, Premier and Minister of Finance Dr D Orlando Smith has said.

The Premier made the revelation at last week’s sitting on the House of Assembly.

“Based on our records, the total amount paid in settlement of claims by central government and statutory bodies from November 2011 to 2018 is $23,787,369.84,” Premier Smith said.

The premier said the final figures were not yet determined because some of the matters were still ongoing. He said public ‘comments or disclosures’ on these pending legal matters are “restricted to avoid any influence or prejudice”.

Premier Smith was, at the time, responding to questions from Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie.

Claims/Settlements

The premier, in the meantime, presented a detailed listing of all the concluded settlement claims made against government between November 2011 and 2018, so far.

In a copy obtained by BVI News, some of those claims and settlements included the following.

In 2018, government was made to pay $67,730 in legal costs, $46,000 in damages, and $105,982 in legal fees for Rod Scatliffe, who successfully brought a lawsuit against the state-owned Taxi & Livery Commission.

This year, Neil St Rose sued the police department $38,937.50 (inclusive of legal costs) for ‘false imprisonment’.

In a 2012 high court lawsuit, Ocean Conversion walked away with massive $7,115,205 in a matter against the Office of the Attorney General.

In 2015, EM Watts Development Company Limited, in its case against the government, won $3,304,324.

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13 Comments

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  1. ahhh boy says:

    They are fleecing our Treasury from every angle. Heaven help our little Territory.

    Like 14
    Dislike 2
    • Anonymous says:

      It’s not your Treasury. You put nothing in so you get nothing out. The politicians who are members of the investment club use the Treasury as their own bank account. Tax from offshore corporations and tourist tax is what goes into the Treasury. Then the money is taken out through various sources and end up in the private hands of the few in their offshore accounts. This is how finances work in the corrupt BVI

      Like 6
      Dislike 2
  2. Hmmm says:

    Investment Club did good off that deal!

    Like 11
  3. Resident says:

    i blame ndp

    Like 5
    Dislike 8
  4. pat says:

    how come they hiding the esteem big settlement

  5. Nature's little secrets says:

    Good work by the leader of the opposition to ask a question about this. It is clear that they would have continued to keep this a secret from the public. Don’t we have a right to know when the government is sued, and the outcome whether it is good or bad?

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  6. BVI lawyer says:

    A lot of the problems are self generated by the AG’s chambers. In civil claims they are forever missing filing deadlines, or issuing the wrong type of application.

    Maybe it is self-serving of me to say so, but the Government really should outsource litigation to private firms in big cases.

    The AG’s chambers are stretched far too thin to be able to defend all these cases as well as their normal workload.

    Like 7
    Dislike 1
  7. Diaspora says:

    Often governments are sued but due care and attention must be exerted to minimize/prevent taxpayers from shelling out $MM. Sometimes government is negligent but sometimes it is sued, for it is believe that it has deep pockets and is willing to settle to make nuisances go away. Nonetheless, government should take a hard line in regards to law suits; it should not be afraid of being sued and it must have a strong defence.

    Should not the AG office be reviewing most actions to protect the taxpayer and avoid these payout? The AG office must a strong line of defence against frivolous law suits. And those filing non frivolous law suits should be put on notice that government will not just roll over and melt like butter in the sun. They must reckon that they will be in a fierce fight.

  8. ndp heckler says:

    All under ndp’s watch

    Like 2
    Dislike 3

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