BVI News

‘Not true!’ Former Premier says no BVI Airways information was deleted from govt’s server

Former Premier and NDP leader, Dr D Orlando Smith

Former Premier Dr D Orlando Smith is refuting recent claims by his successor, Premier Andrew Fahie, that files from BVI Airways were ‘deleted’ from government’s servers; seemingly before the VIP took office.

The former NDP government leader made that assertion on Tuesday in what is believed to be his first public statement since retiring from representational politics back in February.

Dr Smith said: “No information relative to BVI Airways has been removed from governments I drive, save for copies of answers to questions which were delivered in the House of Assembly and reported in the press, and are easily retrievable.”

He also hit back at claims by Premier Fahie suggesting that the Smith administration made arrangements with BVI Airways without the knowledge of the Ministry of Finance.

“It would also not be true to say that the Ministry of Finance was not kept in the loop, as this was the Ministry that was at the forefront of the discussions with BVI Airways,” Dr Smith added.

And while commenting on the firm his administration had hired to recover the $7.2 million lost to the controversial airline, Dr Smith said: “I did promise that I would seek to recover monies spent on BVI Airways, and after much deliberation with Cabinet and the Attorney General’s office, a firm was selected in August of last year to do so — long before an election date was even considered.”

While the suggestion was made during Premier Fahie’s statement to the House of Assembly last Friday, he did not explicitly state whether the files were deleted maliciously nor did he specify when they were removed.

About the airline scandal

BVI Airways received $7.2 million from the former NDP government 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. The monies have not been recouped.

The botched airline deal has been perceived to be the single greatest scandal to hit the Smith administration.

Below is Dr Smith’s full statement

Good afternoon I have seen reports in the Media on what was said in relation to BVI Airways. I have answered many questions in the House of Assembly on BVI Airways, and I have made several statements on the matter.

Suffice to say No information relative to BVI Airways has been removed from Governments I drive, save for copies of answers to Questions which were delivered in the House of Assembly and reported in the press, and are easily retrievable. It would also not be true to say that the Ministry of Finance was not kept in the loop, as this was the Ministry that was at the forefront of the discussions with BVI Airways.

I did promise that I would seek to recover monies spent on BVI Airways, and after much deliberation with cabinet and the AGs office a firm was selected in August of last year to do so. Long before an election date was even considered

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  1. We'll Then says:

    Go show him where it is. Simple cause we want to see.

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  2. No name says:

    I don’t believe you. All ayo leave with your pockets FULL!!!

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  3. hmmmmm too.... says:

    and how exactly did you know that the files were not deleted?
    You got me very curious now because you are no longer in Government or opposition!!!

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  4. Pat says:

    he should be in j**l long time he here talking p**s

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  5. Ungrateful says:

    You bloggers are some dirty minded people. Sometimes I wonder why people trying to get Belongers because if you all can do your own this way I can just imagine what you would do others. Get over the loss and move on , the way this new government that is so full of drama is acting the country is going to lose more. Let go of the past and move on , it’s so sick when some people making everything to be so drama let the country go on.

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    • @Ungrateful says:

      …if your officials in your county did not do you dirt in some way, you would not be in the BVI blogging about us so go sit down!

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  6. Weir D. Playne says:

    Dr. Smith with all due respect how can you be so sure that nothing was deleted. As Premier you would not have been handling the technical aspects of the job and wouldn’t be the one responsible for maintaining data. If Dr. Smith truly wants to be helpful he can mention the names of all those that should have the answers to the questions posed so that Fraser and the public can get the answers. Fahie was asking these same questions as member of the Opposition and didn’t get the answers so it’s not like he has a reason to mislead anyone knowing that he might be the one most eager to finally say I told you so.

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    • Lodger says:

      Someone authorised the very early payments of all the money, far ahead of the agreed dates. Who was it, and why, and why does nobody else seem to know about it. I heard from someone who knows the airline people that they have a different take on the matter. But since they have not said much in public, and with the fiasco of Baltiair behind them, it not surprising they get a bad press. If $7M was nowhere near enough to start up an airline then neither side should have entered into the contract, and it shows the naivety of our politicians in thinking that it would be enough.

  7. Dr. ZZZZZZZ Please says:

    Dr. ZZZZZZ was sleeping while he T*****t B***d C****man was Flying away with he belly full.

    Check the Bahamas for apartments and accounts related.

  8. Cherche La Femme says:

    The female of the species is more deadlier than the male

  9. @Weir D. Playne says:

    With all due respect how would Andrew be sure the files were deleted? You are of the opinion that Dr.Smith could not be sure the files were not deleted as he “did not handle the technical aspects”. Is Andrew doing so now? Come on, lets have healthy discussion on what makes sense. If Dr. Smith said the files were not deleted it should be understood that as the then Premier he would have been aware. Likewise when Andrew says they were he is speaking as per what was reported to him. Andrew is no IT expert as far as I am aware.

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    • Weir D. Playne says:

      Record keeping is a big part of every business including government. Obviously if certain information about the BVI Airways deal isn’t available that means that it was either deleted, deliberately not recorded or carelessly omitted. Fahie said that his staff at the Premier’s office who has been assisting him in getting the requested information could not find the information on the drive and they suggested that it was deleted. Dr. Smith can only make the claim that he did not delete any information but he cannot speak for anybody else as he was not the guardian of the drive.

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  10. Quiet Warrior says:

    It would have been earth shattering news if Dr. Hon Former Premier D. Orlando Smith had indicated that files relating to BVI Airways were deleted. The former Premier may be truly hoping that no files were maliciously deleted. However, how can he be so confident and so sure that no files were not deliberately deleted? As the Premier and MoF, Dr. Smith sits atop the pyramid; he is at a purely administrative level.

    Thus, it is highly unlikely that he would know everything going on at the base and middle levels, especially about technical information/details; organizations do not function that way. A leader’s success depends on the full-throated support and cooperation of folks at the middle and base level of the pyramid.

    Nevertheless, as any leader, I’m sure that he always hope that subordinates would do the right thing. Most subordinates do but on occasions so may go off the rails either on their own or as directed by others. In the interest of good governance, hopefully an investigation will show that no files were maliciously deleted.

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  11. Objective says:

    Guys to be fair, I think what Dr. Smith is responding to is the “insinuation” (and let’s not pretend that we are all oblivious to it.) that prior to leaving office the files were deleted in an attempt to hide evidence. Maybe for the sake of clarity he should have specified that, if Premier Fahie is suggesting that so and so was done maliciously then it is categorically false. However, even without that being stated, this is what “I” gathered from his statement. Now, if we are going to go by present trends, I am more inclined to believe Dr. Smith as Hon Fahie had also mentioned that there was no money, but based on his own spending habit we must agree together that this was in fact false or at best misleading. Yea, so I think his statement on the deleted files was at best misleading!

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  12. justice says:

    Maybe he is just incapable of remembering . The Mrs probably knows for sure .

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  13. ndp/vip heckler says:

    2 back to back l***g premiers—I wonder which one is willing to tell us the truth?

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  14. Made Amess says:

    Dr. Smith made such a mess. I think he should just take the fifth. Only thing you could do is, try to find the money.

    • Guest says:

      What is the fifth in Tortola.???
      That is USA policy
      Leave the man alone god clean the Island up but I think it need another one for all of your eyes to open.
      Compare 30+years to maybe 12 then talk.

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  15. Just Perhaps. says:

    Following all the above thoughts it could very well be that both leaders are telling the truth. Just perhaps the files were deleted but in March 2019 or some time after and not before as some readers may be understanding. We know how politicians can play with words. Hmmm.Food for thought.

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  16. My.views says:

    Let the investigation continue we will know who is lying and who is telling the true

  17. The 3 Eyed Raven says:

    Anybody that followed this debacle would know that the Premier has always been very secretive and withholding information about BVI Airways which suggest that he always had something that he did not want the public to know.

    The deal was never tendered and after investigations it was discovered that some of the officials were affiliated with an airline that never operated a flight despite being around since 1989 which led to questions about what kind of due diligence did we really do or was it rushed.

    The reporter from the Beacon got an invitation for the open house for BVI Airways in April 2017 only to be barred from entering when they showed up.

    When asked about BVI Airways in June 2018, Dr. Smith said “I do not wish to make any further statements as they would compromise the steps being taken. I will provide a full report at the appropriate time”

    Another one of his excuses not to provide answers in the HOA was that if he provided answers that it would be “prejudicial” since BVI Airways “was currently engaged with various entities in relation to investment in the project.”

    Archie himself a NDP government member complained about not being informed properly before voting for it. “I came to this House and I put my neck on the chopping block and supported that initiative (the BVI Airways agreement) only to find out that there was information that I was never privy to.”

    When media and opposition ask questions the answers were mainly negotiations are ongoing so they couldn’t provide answers. Now his former ministry cant find the information something sounds fishy.

  18. Just Perhaps says:

    I agree with your comment Premier Fahie and his cronies will say and do anything to make the former Government look bad .I always say the Lord is high but he looks low.

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  19. E Scott says:

    So your telling me the GOV has one server with no back up lol . Also you can not just delete a digital file, if you just click delete it’s still there until you over write it. All files get retrieved.

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  20. fowl foot says:

    some one needs to be held accountable for this money its a lot off money to let go down the drain

  21. sam the man says:

    As I said before don’t waste time with the dance for trying to gather info that isn’t easily available – I for one am tired at every excuse to spend more money on consultants to sort our inept government out! – move on and learn lessons the No Direction Party under Dr Smith have proved to be the most i***t in our history and must be forgotten – move on and become better….Dr Smith promised much and delivered little, sad really as I think he started out with good intentions but weakly got sucked into feathering his f******s nest…

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  22. Just Curious says:

    The question I would love to ask Dr. Smith is what does it profit the Premier in telling a lie about files being deleted and cannot be found? This issue was an issue that the then opposition wanted answers and got nowhere. Why would he now be in your seat and tell the people he cant find the files. This makes absolutely no sense to me. All I am saying is wherever the files are we need to see it so we can get back the 7.2 million dollars. That could help finish the ESHS and other capital projects in the territory.

  23. Reality says:

    Unfortunately I do not trust one word that he says after his tenure as one of the worst Premiers in our history – I still cannot believe the hospital is to be named after this failure of a Premier..

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    • Most I***t Premier ever says:

      I agree Peebles hospital will now forever be tarnished with the name of a d****ful premier who presided over a shambolic spell of government with no control or accountability – give us back our $7,000,000.00

  24. Anonymous says:

    Anybody that paid attention to this BVI Airways debacle know that this matter was always clouded in secrecy. The Premier didn’t provide direct or any answers to questions most times. Answers such as I cannot provide the answer as it will prejudice the investment and negotiations are ongoing were famous answers even after BVI Airways sold their planes and quit. A reporter was even barred from the BVI Airways open house even though they received and invitation. Even a member of the NDP, Archie complained about not being fully briefed after the project crashed and burned. Think about it, it is well documented that this thing was a big secret now information can’t be found it dont take a rocket scientist to figure this out.

  25. LOL says:

    Hmmm .. 7.2 million … best them had Invest some of that money in to me and other young bvi landers that want to become pilots and can’t Afford the School/License. … I know the people would be at more easy because they know where they money gone…

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