BVI News

Gov’t spends over $20M on consultancies in last 6 years, BVI Airways the single largest spend

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith

The government of the Virgin Islands, inclusive of its statutory bodies, expended more than $20 million on consultancy services alone in the last six years.

Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr D Orlando Smith, made that disclosure in the House of Assembly last month.

These monies were spent through four main state-owned agencies — the Ministry of Finance, the Office of the Premier, the BVI Financial Services Commission (FSC), and the National Bank of the Virgin Islands.

Throughout the course of that six-year period, the Smith-led Office of the Premier spent $2,108,014.02 for consultancy services while his Finance Ministry expended $14,336,549.98.

The BVI Financial Services Commission, in the meantime, dumped $3,833,845.66 into consultancies. The state-owned National Bank of the Virgin is Islands only expended $716,608.50, Dr Smith said.

BVI Airways the biggest spend

The single largest expenditure of the total amount spent on consultancies was the $7 million to BVI Airways and its affiliated companies back in 2015. This $7 million sum was for the aforesaid airline to commence direct, nonstop flights between BVI and Miami, USA. These services, however, were never received.

Over the six years, government also paid for consultancies in a number of areas inclusive of marketing and public relations, auditing services, technology services, legislative drafting services, examination services, public finance and financial services consultancy, among a list of other services.

While disclosing the figures to the House, Dr Smith noted that the hiring of consultants is part of the “normal course of business for any organisation”. He said consultancies are done when expert advice and/or skills may be required, or when services are needed that cannot be sourced from within an organisation.

“This government is no exception, and therefore is required to engage such services to ensure efficiency in its operations from time to time,” Dr Smith said.

He was, at the time, answering questions from former Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie who, in recent times, has criticised government for what he suggested was the wasting taxpayer dollars on unnecessary consultancies.

Extract detailing some of the consultancies government paid for in the last six years.

Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

30 Comments

Disclaimer: BVI News and its affiliated companies are not responsible for the content of comments posted or for anything arising out of use of the comments below or other interaction among the users.

  1. Hmmm says:

    All of that money in consultation fees and nothing to show. No results, no difference in customer service, no benefits or evidents any new development emerging from these professional consultation services and to add we still broke. Hmmmm!

    What can we do in a case like this. All of that money spent, with nothing to show. We are being charged additional taxes every year, to help in financing unethical behaviour and we struggling after slaving so hard on the job making just enough to keep lights on. All of this abuse because of poor judgement and greed!

    Like 20
    • Oneil says:

      We need a whistleblower law! Let’s get the candidates to comment on their support of this and then elect the ones who agree to enact it!

      Like 11
      • Say it ain’t so says:

        “BVI Airlines AND affiliated companies”? What does affiliated companies mean? Why is this classified as a consulantancy?
        Did we really spend more than $7 million on that airline?

        Where is the audit on this?

        Like 13
    • Everything must Change says:

      “Everything must change; nothing stays the same.The young becomes the old, and mysteries do unfold; cause that’s the way of time”.
      I attended a Caribbean Tourism Organization some years ago in Venezuela. The Dominica’s Minister of Tourism, in making his presentation, aware of, frustrated, and concerned about Consultancy in Caribbean, prefaced his talk: “A consultant is someone who borrows your watch to tell you the time”. Not that there aren’t situations when such services are necessary; (wish there were good examples in BVI to highlight). However, not having politicians skilled in subjects of political science (economics, Sociology, Psychology etc), makes it necessary to engage and pay the exorbitant fees we are burdened with. Its called: “The Square pegs in round holes effect”. Hopefully, in these days of enlightenment, our education department will see the need for or recommend graduating students to study Political Science.
      The 20-million spent on consultants is likely more that what it took in surplus to get us off UK’s “Grant in aid”

      Its been only a short couple years ago that the MCW alone had engaged something like 13 consultants. What that means or that can be described is akin to paying TWICE for performance of the same job.

  2. ndp heckler says:

    WE WANT BACK THAT 7.3 MILLION DOLLAR$ BEFORE APRIL 16TH

    Like 19
    Dislike 1
    • Will says:

      Premier has broken and plundered our country.

    • Judgement Day says:

      We need a wistleblower law.
      We need to criminalize bribery and kickbacks.
      Elected officials should not profit personally from decisions they are making on behalf of the people. Why are we still paying a former Chief Minister’s family for every cruise ship passenger that arrives? How did our current elected monsters become so wealthy? Have they really been serving us or are they serving themselves to our money?
      No more kickbacks!

  3. Not surprised says:

    $20 million dollars spent on consultancies in 6 years, that’s $3.? million a year. And they want to crucify Andrew Fahie For his $600 k consultation, give us a break now. What value have we gotten for all that money spent and then they want to know why they are labeled as the most corrupt party in BVI history. We need those audits for the years NDP been in power and we need back that plans money

    Like 15
    Dislike 2
  4. ndp heckler says:

    After all these consultants we still bankrupt….WOW!

    Like 15
  5. LOL says:

    So we had con men acting as CONsultants?

    Like 20
  6. BVI says:

    We survived hurricanes irma/maria/ndp

    Like 14
  7. HMMMMM says:

    How in the world could that BVI Airways fiasco be considered a consultancy? Wow

    Like 22
  8. wow says:

    millions stolen and nobody locked up? Leadership is missing

    Like 17
  9. VI says:

    Premier you should be locked to f… Up

    Like 14
  10. Lb says:

    This list is not all. Check ports, Tourism board, Electricity

    Like 15
    • Yes says:

      I agree. We want to see all including the St. Lucian at Tourist Board

      • LoL says:

        Dont forget the trini and T—-r and the set of UScompanies. — lady doing business with she own company. Signing big agreement with the accountant own company in New York. Just give the F— lady another three year contract extension just before election. Only hiring people from VG, even white people who just life VG. So much wrong going on in Tourism board.

  11. Sam the man says:

    proof yet again that the No Direction Party is clueless and inept

    Like 10
  12. IJA says:

    Remember a few weeks ago a post was made where the person stated that that most 7.2 million in question was paid for consultancy where even to number of locals. Reading the article there seems to be some truth to it. Seeing that state of the territory I wonder if the locals that received all this money will be willing to give it back so at least we can fix the roads.

  13. Political Observer (PO) says:

    Hiring consultants is outsourcing services that an agency may not have either the capacity or capability or both to do in-house. Consulting also allows in-house personnel to focus on core functions. Consultants can provide value. However, there must be some metrics in place to ensure promise outcome(s) are met. The cost of failure should be shared by both the consultant and client. Over $20M disbursed over 6 years; what did taxpayers get? We know it got nada for the $7.2M giveaway to BVI Airways, a defunct and bruk airline. Still puzzled by this deal; losing my hair scratching me hed.

    Moreover, the process for authorizing and appropriating taxpayer $$$$ needs to change. One elected member should not have the authority to expend $7.2M on his/her own. This sum should have been voted on by the full HOA. Procedures need to be put in place requiring HOA to approve expenditure(s) at or above a certain dollar value, ie, $100K. An emergency expenditure should also be set without full HOA approval, ie, $50K.

    • LOL says:

      If you limit it to 100.000 you just get more of the petty-contracts at 99.999 for emergency fees 49.999 each nothing will change same old story.

      • PO says:

        @Lol, if the procurement process is managed effectively, it will limit the deliberate splitting of contracts below $100,000 or $50,000 to circumvent the HOA. Policies should be put in place to prevent contract splitting. Audit of the procurement process should identify any undermining of the process. Moreover, the process should be self healing. Cannot see a fair and reasonable priced contract at say $110K being bidded below $100K to avoid going to the HOA. The $5OK figure limit allows the government to award contracts without competitive bids during a genuine emergency; bids over $50K would need to go the HOA. The $100K limit probably would have prevented $7.2M being disbursed without HOA approval.

        Moreover, some may argue that when the budget is approved, it gives government the authority to spend money as it sees fit without having to go back to the HOA. Well, no. Passing the budget is the first step; government is authorized to expend funds on projects at $100K or less. Projects over $100K will need to get HOA approval. This process will entail more HOA meetings; weekly or bi-weekly meetings may be needed.

      • PO says:

        @Lol, if the procurement process is managed effectively, it will limit the deliberate splitting of contracts below $100,000 or $50,000 to circumvent the HOA. Policies should be put in place to prevent contract splitting. Audit of the procurement process should identify any undermining of the process. Moreover, the process should be self healing. Cannot see a fair and reasonable priced contract at say $110K being bidded below $100K to avoid going to the HOA. The $5OK figure limit allows the government to award contracts without competitive bids during a genuine emergency; bids over $50K would need to go the HOA. The $100K limit probably would have prevented $7.2M being disbursed without HOA approval.

        Moreover, say may argue that when the budget is approved, it gives government the authority to spend money as it see fit without having to back to the HOA. Well, no. Passing the budget is the first step; government is authorized to expend funds on projects at $100K or less. Projects over $100K will need to get HOA approval. This process will entail more HOA meetings; weekly or bi-weekly meetings may be needed.

  14. Political Intelligence says:

    I am jubilus to know that Orlando will have to step aside. He has made too many senile mistakes.

    • The Ticking Clock says:

      @Political Intelligence, its not that the Premier made those decisions on his own. I am sure he sought advice from the First Lady, the guy behind the scenes and the real person heading up the tourist board; not to mention his fellow ministers. There must be agreement in the HOA regarding decision making. The last time I checked, BVI is a Democracy; where everyone has a vote. NDP 1 and 2 are together liable for the errors, blatant disrespect for following governments, constitution, policies laws and government in the Darkness.

  15. Flush says:

    Why they not winding up the airline in our court in the normal way for defunct companies ? Directors of the time should have done this.

  16. BuzzBvi says:

    Could always set an investment club and make sure they get first pick, inside information and the necessary assistance.

Leave a Comment

Shares