A new seaplane service is slated to operate in the territory and Premier Andrew Fahie has made it clear that the Government of the Virgin Islands will not be an investor in the venture.
Premier Fahie said the new venture will improve the service offerings of the territory.
He said: “There are some other areas that we are working on with private entrepreneurs to help spread the passengers to the sister islands. For example, negotiations with one company that is going to be using a seaplane.
Fahie, who was speaking at a recent press conference, added: “Government is not putting in any money, we are not buying any planes, we are not involved with it at all.”
While the country’s leader did not provide a timeframe when the venture is expected to commence operations, he said the company is awaiting legal documents and permission from the BVI Ports Authority and the BVI Airports Authority.
In the meantime, Premier Fahie said the introduction of the seaplane operation would be adding value to the BVI product.
“It is not any use to us to have four ships in the harbour and overcrowding the areas and the experience of the guests is not good. What we need to make sure is the frequency of them where we can handle it to a certain level so we will have just enough tourists that would be able to enjoy what we have just enough come again when they leave,” he reasoned.
Bad plane deal
In the meantime, the Premier’s statement that government will not invest in the seaplane venture comes against the backdrop of the flopped BVI Airways deal under the previous NDP government.
That Dr D Orlando Smith-led administration invested some $7.2 million into the airline to commence direct flights between the BVI and Miami in the USA by 2017. However, the airline laid-off its staff and never operated a single flight as was agreed.
The funds have not been recouped. Recently, however, the Fahie-led VIP government filed a lawsuit against a former attorney for the Government of the Virgin Islands, Lester Hyman, who is or was a director of the defunct airline, BVI Airways.