BVI News

Maduro-Caines fires back at ferry operators

Alvera Maduro-Caines

Amid pushback from existing operators against the introduction of a new ferry operator, government legislator Alvera Maduro-Caines has fired back; saying the introduction of a new operator will give travellers more options.

Maduro-Caines voiced her opinion in a series of Facebook posts while the disgruntled ferry operators were being interviewed live on 284 Media recently.

Maduro-Caines said a new ferry service will help to solve the problem where people are constantly stranded on islands because of the shortage of ferries.

“Years now people getting stranded in St Thomas or Tola, especially during festival, carnival, and Christmas. Help is on the way and we still have a problem,” Maduro-Caines stated in one post.

Our Carib’n neighbours have up to half dozen

She mentioned some neighbouring Caribbean countries that have as many as a half-dozen competing ferry companies plying routes in their respective markets.

“St Kitts, Anguilla, Nevis, St Marten all have at least five to six ferry companies. People will travel with who they want,” Maduro-Caines pointed out.

During the interview, Majorie Smith — the owner of Smith’s Ferry — suggested that the government conduct a feasibility study to determine whether the market can handle any additional ferry operators.

However, Maduro-Caines questioned this suggestion in disbelief. She said: “So if I want to open a shoe store, you telling me a readable study will have to be done to see if I can sell shoes?”

Surprised by the legislator

In response, Smith said she was disappointed with Maduro-Caines’ statement; especially since ferry operators provide a much-needed public service.

“I’m really surprised that the minister would not understand what our plight is. This has nothing to do with personal feelings. It has to do with how the politicians that we’ve elected find that balance between keeping existing businesses and growing our economy; seeing where existing needs are and not stifling our economy by allowing an excess of certain things,” Smith explained during the interview.

The three existing ferry companies that ply the route between the BVI and the USVI — Native Son, Road Town Fast Ferry, and Smith’s Ferry — are calling on the BVI Port Authority to rescind the decision to allow a new ferry company to operate as of April 15.

They say there won’t be enough business to sustain an additional operator when the BVI reopens its seaports on April 15.

In the meantime, BVI News understands that the newly approved ferry operator is Derek Maduro, a businessman who is well-known within the community.

Local operators resist new ferry approved by BVIPA

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  1. nick says:

    is she related to dereck maduro?

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  2. 🤔 says:

    Please…when Smith was coming in they didn’t see it that way. Their boats are old and always down. Competition is good! Step up your game!

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  3. bull says:

    She is looking out for her cousin…this personal…conflict of interest?

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  4. ndp says:


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  5. Kingfish says:

    I wonder if the BVI government will grant me a permit to operate a ferry service based in the USVI which will provide first class service with a fleet of modern fast ferries.

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  6. Rubber Duck says:

    Maduro-Caines – Maduro? Any relation?

    If we want an efficient growing economy we need freedom for anyone to start a business.

    We do not need a government of people who have never run a coffee stall between them sticking their noses in.

    The current ferry companies are a cartel of gougers running filthy noisy smoking unreliable rust buckets.

    Any competition is welcome.

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    • Hmmmmmm says:

      M. Smith and The Minister (+ the new ferry operator) grandfathers are brothers! That’s right – these 3 are the grandchildren of 2 Maduro brothers.

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    • @ Rubber Duck says:

      Everything is a problem when it’s BVIslanders involved. Is Mr. Maduro a qualified captain? YES! Does he have a PROPER vessel to provide services? YES! Is he a BVIslander businessman worthy of an opportunity to serve his country? YES! Go hold a f**king seat, we will not be ashamed to uplift and support each other.

      When we help each other it’s corruption but when ‘others’ do it it’s called networking and conducting business. We are wise and up to the little tricks so move up. I hope he is able to provide services with his nice ferry.

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      • Rubber Duck says:

        Me too, I hope his service is good and he does well.

        Would his cousin allow someone else to start up a ferry service?

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        • @Rubber says:

          Go look some real work to do. BVIslanders will continue to look out for eachother whether we are elected officials, family or just sitting under a tree together being ‘lazy’ as we all do according to people like you. While others who drink beer on the beach all day are called investors and business people.

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      • there is a difference says:

        If you don’t know the difference between corruption and networking, you have a big problem.
        Please read more.

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  7. Bold says:

    Bold move by this lady. Guess you made sure they were not voters in your district else you could kiss your hopes of getting back in goodbye. Make sure you have shares/interests if you family to the new operators.

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  8. Jokes says:

    Why would she understand? She is fighting for her family member to get in the door so this is not shocking.

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  9. nonsense says:

    I am happy that a new ferry company is on the way. The increased prices the old ones are introducing are ridiculous and creates an additional burden for large families. I am hoping the same will be done for the telecommunications network too.

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    • Shorty says:

      And what makes you think an additional ferry company will reduce their fees? I have no fight in the game but the reality is there is not enough passenger traffic for 4 -6 ferry companies running. Alvera sounds like a f**l. Anyone with an inclination of sense could see this isn’t about having a new ferry operator but simply a district rep looking out… Ferries cannot run late due to the same BVIPA rules and fees if they run beyond the set schedule. The same is the case for USVI ports. For a legislator, she has been showing how d***e she is lately.

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      • Jah says:


        When and if we reopen, the demand will be there. The value given by a new service will cause existing operators to step up. Customer service, lower prices, update equipment will all have to be addressed. If not, get out of the way for the new kid on the block.

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  10. Tola says:

    Ain’t nothing buh family is just simple it needed next ferry to operate. I agree with hon caines.

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  11. Lia says:

    Apply. You should also wonder if the USVI will grant you a licence because they must grant one as well.

  12. Mad Max says:

    This woman only comments on issues she has a vested interest in. Should be nowhere near a position of importance.

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  13. Depressing says:

    This quote tells you everything you need to know about this shambles of a government:

    “So if I want to open a shoe store, you telling me a readable study will have to be done to see if I can sell shoes?”

    YES YES YES that’s EXACTLY what you should do. The alternative is to spend a load of time and money opening the store without even understanding if it is needed or wanted. Any givernment should be carrying out feasbility and impact studies BEFORE making decisions. Unless you’re in the BVI obviously, where tax payers money is apparently free…

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    • Jah says:

      Again. BS.

      Government has no place in business. It should only collect revenue from the taxes generated from it.

      Determining what, where, how, and why a business should operate is restricting growth, freedom, and economic viability. Sorry, but that’s on par with a dictatorship.

      Think about that first before you ever want to start your own business

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  14. 6th District Citizen says:

    While we are talking about ferries… I wish you would do something about those speed boat trailers and speed boats that are taking over the roadways in Baugher’s Bay! Insist those people find place to park boats and their trailers, they are literally parked on the side walks!! Where are persons supposed to walk?? Please and thanks..

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    • X says:


    • SMH says:

      Why haven’t the Owners been issued Citations and why has Government not ordered their removal at Owners expense? Enough is Enough! We have to start within Our Communities in essence of making Our Territory Safe and Healthy. Not withholding ‘BEAUTIFUL’

  15. District 3 says:

    Alvera Caine go sit down and hide like you always been doing
    Derek is one of owns big up to him
    But shut your _ _ _
    When the shoe on the other foot and they pressing down others in your own district is all good nobody hears your cry and much less there’s
    We welcome you Derek regardless with your new ferry
    Just how you feeling is enough in the ferry industry for you remember there is other industries that needs to not only you

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  16. West says:

    @Bull, it is because of her past government why dem two ferrera here. Greed is a bxxx! To small ah place for that level of competition and the present government setting up WAR. WE STARTED OUT WITH THE EMPRESS AND GRADUALLY IMPROVED. I WILL SUPPORT THE OLD AND RELIABLE. WE ARE TOO UNGRATEFUL AND GOD FEARING! BS, BVI LOVE!

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  17. Age limit says:

    Time for an age limit on these old ferry hulls. 20 to 25 year lifespan. Old airplanes get retired so should old ferries.

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    • ooohhh booiii says:

      Bomba Charger came to BVI in 1971
      if you want to talk about OLD hulls

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      • You got it! says:

        My step dad was one of the first group of
        Captains that sailed Bomba Charger along with Bingley. Knocked out the Baughers bay old Hydrofoil that my uncle sailed.
        I spent many easters and summers traveling to st thomas with my great grandma to visit my mother. I always sat up front in the captain’s pits/deck behind my stepfather with his captain hat on my head. Made me feel like a little girl who could fly or do and be anything I wanted to. What memories mean! I am now in my mid 50. That ferry is really old and should be put in a museum now.

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  18. Tim says:

    I have no concern with having a new operator regardless of the motivation.

    I just find it lame to use the claim “more public option” …

    what are you talking about? one Ferry a day for 50 people for crazy fixed price … more options? more competition?

  19. Boat Owners Contact the COI says:

    It is things like this the COI Comssion of Inquiry wants to hear about file your complaints on their website. Was a market study done before this other company came? Boat Owners file your complaint before it is too late

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    • @COI says:

      The problem is that you think a COI is here to save you but if you know your history, you will understand a bit better. There are things that need addressing in the Territory which is understandable, but to think that you will see some night and day change because of a COI, give me a break. Everywhere in the world has corruption and persons on the inside looking out for eachother. The UK can send persons to fill all the Government positions now and the only thing that will change is who will be on the receiving end of the ‘benefits’ i.e. their own people. We have been conditioned to be ‘offended’ when we use our positions of power to help our people but ‘understanding’ when others do the same for theirs.

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  20. I agree with her says:

    she is correct.

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  21. WEW says:

    a morning ferry around 8am to STT then a return around 6:30 or 7 would be nice. Time to shop and convenient for tourist arriving & leaving flying in/out of STT

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    • Yep says:

      For the most part I agree; only thing is that visitors should be brought over on a different boat. Those who go down should come back together – better control of mixing people for now.

  22. The Nation says:

    Sorrry Hon Maduro-Caines but what you are saying doesn’t make any sense given the schedule from PORTS for the 3 ferry operations…they are given allotted days now…and yall only give them 1 trip down and 1 trip up correct me if I am wrong…so how people going to get stranded if yall is the one calling the shots on the ferry operators schedule??? Huh?>! they right to kick up,.,..because of yall dem man ain’t work for over a year…I feel it for them.

  23. PG14 says:

    “you telling me a readable study”. What is a readable study??
    Hope isn’t mixing it up with feasibility study

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  24. Looker on says:

    I think it’s well needed so the bvi business people learn to treat and respect there customers. And remember the bvi market is not like before……….

  25. Blackie high 5 says:

    Congrats Dereck! Julien “Blackie” would be so so so proud to see you and what you have accomplished now. Makes me cry to know he is not around to celebrate with you. He and Baba Gene are somewhere in the universe toasting you.

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  26. Tongue Fu says:

    I have no problem with competition as it is good for the consumer but the real issue here is the timing. Clearly the time is not right now for a new player as the volume is not there and probably won’t be for a while now. Why not wait until next holiday season? Why couldn’t Mr. Maduro not run private water taxi services in the mean time? Fill in a gap if one ferry breaks down? Cargo anyone?

    It is placing all the companies including Mr. Maduro’s at a great disadvantage that can lead to losses and possible bankruptcy and loss of jobs.

    Also this is the most vocally enthusiastic I have seen Mrs. Maduro Caines on any issue. Even one guy in the live was saying Ms. Maduro Caines is that you? Clearly some personal and political interest there.

    Feasibility studies on ferry travel cannot be compared to a feasibility study on retail shoe store. Apples and oranges.

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  27. Lodger says:

    I am surprised nobody has mentioned crabs in a barrel!

  28. Be innovative says:

    Rather than complaining why doesn’t Mrs. Smith beach the old girl and repurpose it. Some ideas; a living museum, a destination wedding chapel on water or land, a restaurant on water, a tiny home on land (I would love to have it for my visits to the BVI), rental office space, lease to the high school or college for boat mechanic training. So many options other than fussing with each other. Slide out gracefully and let the new generation do their thing. Otherwise if you don’t make room they will turn to the illegal trades that are destroying my beautiful BVIs.

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  29. Fluffy says:


  30. This not work says:

    How much fuel does it take to go from Roadtown to St Thomas? Divide that by 50 and the have to hire full time workers 7 days a week. These ferry operators are going to loose money. Divide that by another ferry company and the government is going to have to bailout all these guys.
    This whole plan is a mess. Made up by people that are not in the marine industry.

  31. Belonger abroad for 40 plus years says:

    Alvera aside; the Smith’s are good people. My is family related to the Smith’s but I dont know them well, just captain Skinny primarily through other family. I am also friends with one of Dereck’s siblings and have known Dereck and his mom teacher Dorethea all my life from primary school. Scatliffe, Smith, Maduro all good people from what I can remember, who deeply deeply love & care about the BVI. Smith’s always willing to make a special funeral run at no extra charge just the regular fare or take a package to family and friends for free back in the day when the BVI didn’t have much. That GOODWILL HAVE TO COUNT FOR SOMETHING. Maduro’s the ones I knew forth hill always willing to lend a hand. That was Dereck’s dad. Scatliffe, his mother’s side, always willing to accept what we had in change for food from the returante as kids from up the hill/country side attending summer library reading programs. All families that helped us as small islanders and a community. Don’t leave any of them out, make room for both of them to prosper. They helped to build the country in phenomenal ways. Let’s lift each other up and not tear down.

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