BVI News

Potter impressed with North West; not gov’t delay

Simon Potter

Simon Potter

Executive Chairman of Roadtown Wholesale Trading (RTT) Simon Potter said he does not think the North West Company will ‘make a quick profit and move out’ of the British Virgin Islands (BVI), adding that the government took too long to approve the sale of RTT to North West that is based in Canada.

According to him, the government’s delay in approving the sale caused much uncertainty and setback.

The National Democratic Party administration headed by Dr D Orlando Smith took more than a year to give the go-ahead for the transaction between the two private companies.

Now that the transaction was finalized this month, North West already sent a managing director into the BVI to help facilitate a smooth ownership transition.

Potter this week noted that the process would have been far advanced, had the government made a decision earlier.

“If we were certain it (the sale) would happen, we would work early. But we were very uncertain because Government put us in reiners and sometimes we were feeling it might not happen. So we had to put everything on hold. We couldn’t do anything until we hear a word from government… We were behind the eighth ball,” Potter said.

He added that North West and RTT are now left in a position where they will have to bring resources into the BVI to help ‘expedite things around here’.

Previously, founder of RTT Peter Haycraft also questioned the government’s protracted delay in giving the go-ahead for the sale of RTT.

“I mean, why did the government take so long to do something that they could have done so very quickly?” Haycraft asked during an interview with BVI News Online last month.

When that question was put to Premier Smith before his government finally approved the transaction, he declined to say what was holding up the process.

But, from all indications, not all members of the Cabinet – including education minister Myron Walwyn – were in agreement with the sale. Walwyn was concerned that North West would possibly force smaller local companies out of business.

Meanwhile, now that the issue regarding the sale of RTT is history, Potter said the new owner is aiming to “help improve on prices and so forth which we will definitely pass on to the consumer”.

He added: “We can’t wave a magic wand and change things overnight. I think it (cheaper prices) is going to happen. People be patient; it will come. Overall, we will see a better company.”

Potter further stated that he thinks North West is committed to the BVI.

“It (North West) is a great partner and, from all I have seen so far, I’ve been very impressed. I think, into the long haul, they are not the kind who come in and want to make a quick profit and move out… They are here for the long haul; that’s what I have seen, and so far that’s what we have been getting. We really want to build a strong company.”

Potter also indicated that he is upbeat about the prospect of North West expanding to other countries in the Caribbean from its location in the BVI.

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