BVI News

Premier, Customs boss grilled on origin of proposal for barge services

EZ Shipping’s Midnight Czar.

Questions continue to swirl over the circumstances which led to EZ Shipping’s first engagement with the BVI government to provide marine radar services for border security.

During recent hearings of the Commission of Inquiry (COI), Premier Andrew Fahie and Commissioner of Customs Wade Smith were asked about a reportedly unsolicited proposal the shipping company’s owner, Clyde Chalwell, to provide these services.

Chalwell reportedly offered his barge as a surveillance platform to assist with Joint Task Force (JTF) operations during the early stages of the pandemic last year.

Both men insisted that the proposal, while completely unsolicited, formed part of the government’s critical services at the time. However, the COI was reportedly told that radar services was a need which was only contained in a top-secret Comprehensive Border Security Plan at the time of the submission.

Unsolicited proposals common in BVI culture

Premier Fahie said Chalwell’s proposal to assist with border security was not something that he had discussed face-to-face with the EZ Shipping boss, nor was it even something he had ever solicited in advance.

Asked how Chalwell had decided to make the unsolicited proposal to him, Premier Fahie said: “I would say, in general, this is not uncommon at all in our culture. People meet you as elected official, as Premier, or otherwise, and tell you about businesses that they’re interested in and would the government be interested. And they will tell you that they’re going to write a letter, and they tell you this whether they meet you in the supermarket, in church, anywhere they do meet you, so it’s not uncommon at all.”

Fahie told the COI that once letters such as those from Chalwell are received, he would normally reroute them through the proper channels “so that they can get their affairs dealt with in the correct manner”. This instance with Chalwell was no different, he said.

Premier Fahie also told the COI he did not recall having any prior knowledge of being written to about any similar approaches by Chalwell or any other persons; adding that the issue did not fall within his remit.

He told the COI that either the Commissioner of Police or the Commissioner of Customs would have been informed of the proposal in the early stages of the establishment of the JTF.

Strange coincidence?

COI attorney Bilal Rawat, asked Customs boss Smith whether he felt it was strange that as government was internally and privately expressing an interest in marine radar platforms, a company should send in an unsolicited proposal to them.

Smith, who said he rejoined the Customs Department in August of 2020, related that he only first became aware of the proposal later that month as he was also a part of the JTF at the time.

According to Smith, the proposal was first submitted to the Commissioner of Police and the National Security Council in May 2020. He further declined to speculate on what may have prompted the proposal in the first instance.

He also told the COI that while he recalled that there was a public call from government for marine assets to assist with border patrols around that time, he could not recall any being made for a radar platform. 

No close friends

Back over to the hearing with Premier Fahie, the COI quizzed the leader of government’s business about the nature of his relationship with Chalwell.

Premier Fahie said although he had known Chalwell for many years, he did not count him as a close friend.

“I don’t keep close friends, but I keep friends,” Premier Fahie explained when asked whether Chalwell was a closer friend than others.

A previously released post-Cabinet statement indicated the government paid a daily total of $11,600 for two barges between December 2020 and January 2021.

Follow BVI New’s coverage of the 2021 Commission of Inquiry on Instagram @BVINewsOnline #TrackingTransparency at www.bvinews.com.

Copyright 2021 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

45 Comments

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  1. Rasta Eyes says:

    cronyism
    /ˈkrəʊnɪɪz(ə)m/

    Learn to pronounce

    nounDEROGATORY

    the appointment of friends and associates to positions of authority, without proper regard to their qualifications.

    Like 46
    Dislike 1
  2. ????????? says:

    THIS IS NOT UNCOMMON IN OUR CULTURE? I TOLD YOU ALL ABOUT THOSE BUSHMAN WANNA BE POLITICAL PEOPLE.

    Like 31
    Dislike 2
  3. Lord says:

    Lord have mercy upon us all.

    Like 30
  4. No close friends says:

    The entire island knows that B**** & Butthead (*****) have been sharing the proceeds of their looting over the last two decades..

    Like 34
  5. George Villiers says:

    Ay, now the Plot thickens very much upon us.”

    Like 29
  6. Reason says:

    A bunch of c***ks the rich is getting richer on we the poor taxpayers head.

    Like 37
  7. heckler says:

    All peas from the same pod

    Like 17
  8. My 5 cents says:

    Both of them l***g. Bunch of white collar criminals

    Like 18
  9. Yeah right says:

    Unsolicited my behind. Strruupes…the chap was handpicked and informed that is why he submitted it.

    Like 29
    Dislike 2
  10. SEEEEEE says:

    THAT IS WHAT THOSE GIRLS WAS TRYING TO TELL YOU FOOLISH PEOPLE OVER THE WEEKEND. BUT NOOOOO, YOU FOOLISH PEOPLE TURN IT INTO A PERSONAL VENDETTA AGAINST THE GIRLS.

    Like 40
    Dislike 2
  11. Rubber Duck says:

    And Fahie turned down the offer of a free British ship way better equipped to do the job.

    Like 55
    Dislike 1
  12. @Reason says:

    DON’T YOU KNOW THE RICH EATS OFF THE BACKS OF THE POOR LIKE VULTURES EATING ANOTHER DEAD ANIMAL DOWN TO THE CARCASS? IT IS NO LONGER RICH OR POOR, IT IS HAVES AND HAVE NOTS.

    Like 22
  13. PT9 says:

    The whole thing with the Barges smells bad, I think the Commission of Inquiry can smell it too,
    why spend $360,000.00 dollars when you could have had better protection for free by the UK Navy? Can you really explain that to the Commission of Inquiry.

    Like 46
    • I can says:

      If your friend is manning the radar then the drug boats can come and go as they please. Not so much with the British Navy.

      Like 33
      Dislike 1
  14. MK says:

    The Governor offered the ship and was turned down Fahie wanted to show the UK that he can take care of things, spending the taxpayer’s money on Barges while people had no money to buy food or pay rent this man is not a leader, UK please deliver us from this government.

    Like 36
    • Think again says:

      @MK Be careful what you wish for. Yes our politicians need to be exposed if they are corrupt. But to ask UK to deliver us is another story. Believe me when I say if they ever take control you will bawl…the rules and regulations they will put in place you will have it even harder to make a dollar. England is a very rules regulated place. Even up to TV licence you have to pay for. In COVID times it has gotten worse soon if you sneeze you will need permission from them. BVI will be no different if they take over.
      Please don’t ask for what you don’t know.

      Like 5
      Dislike 23
      • Rubber Duck says:

        We absolutely do not want the UK to take over.

        We absolutely do want a proper system of government that prevents crooks from pillaging the taxpayer.

      • Doh says:

        I want them back. We cannot rule ourselves so we must be treated like the children we are.

        Paying for TV?? That’s your excuse? We already pay rates through the roof for internet. What’s new? Get real.

        I can’t wait for UK rule. Tired of these banana republic ID10Ts

        Like 7
        Dislike 2
      • Huh? says:

        What in this written piece? The place need regulating.

  15. Teacher says:

    From my reading of these News Pieces and Blogs as well COI press releases and website these Guys is not hear to look into nothing that occur in the BVI for the last 20 years forward there are only here for this current admin. Because Fahie did not sign a document selling us out.
    So the Past Admin Got away with the C B Romney Pier Project/The wall Elmo Stoutt High School/The millions from the East Sawage/The airplanes and a number of other things.
    And fahie got a COI and being label the Worst and in every negtive way and light.

    While we need so much help in all the schools including a the technical/trade school and HLSCC. UK perferred to waste money to make us look bad internallionly to justify a take over of our tresury and local Govt.
    What a shame….
    To all the haters and negitive minded people keep your comments to yourself this is not about you and who wrong you its about We the people who needes to open our eyes and start fighting for our rights in these Islands that we call home.
    our one day we will awake and the uk will be in charged.

    Like 3
    Dislike 23
  16. Deh Watcha says:

    All of a sudden nobody is friends anymore or don’t keep close friends, in such a ‘close knit community’. They will soon turn on each other.

    Got to check yourself these days buddy.

    Like 21
  17. Biggs says:

    My problem with this is all the big and bad we pretend to be, we are so sloppy when getting things done. If the Governor/UK were trying to help one of their friends they would never be this stupid and sloppy. Do not blame the Governor/UK/COI, blame ourselves for always being bush people and not getting with the program. A bunch of stupid talk on the radio airwaves but when it comes down to it we seem to be dealing with pure Jokers in the deck of cards. Reading the transcripts make me s**t with shame that our people could be so careless.

    Like 12
  18. don't forget says:

    they should also be turned on – passed them many times when the radar isn’t even on… many conclusions could be drawn…

  19. Fools says:

    Fiction: On Sunday, while Pastor was preaching his sermon, “How to get Rich Fast,” Wellchal passed a handwritten letter to the Premier on how to make $348,000 in a month. Premier stated, “Do not worry about not having public schools for the masses because once you control the mind of the masses, you will always control the masses. Let us keep them uneducated and line our own pockets. Wellchal asked, “What happens if there is an investigation in the future.”
    Premier “I will deny that we are good friends, because the UK people cannot be smarter than us.”
    Wellchal, “Good idea. Write a government check now before the sermon is over, and we would not have to give the Pastor a cut.”
    Premier, “Yeah, Pastor is too full of himself. I did not have to come to church, dressed in my best fitting suit, to hear this speech. I walk with government checks to write at my disposal.”

    Like 12
    Dislike 1
  20. HEY TEACHER says:

    YOU READING THE WRONG BOOK /\\_ BUT THEN AGAIN MAYBE YOU ARE TEACHING HOW TO DISPOSE OF GABBAGE – SO YOU MAY CONTINUE

  21. BARGES ¿ says:

    Allegedly, they are just another channel for ( dem boys ) to channel D white lady through the channel / the navy boat was a thorn in their rear end ☝️🤭

  22. Belonger says:

    Stevie Wonder could see clearly that this is corruption especially in light of the fact that the UK had offered help with securing the border.
    Are we that rich that we can just be throwing away money like that while we can’t even get our high school up and running after so many years.
    This is a shame and should not be allowed to continue.
    We need accountability.

    Like 14
  23. Radar Detector says:

    My boat in Sea Cows Bay has a radar detector and it rarely picks up any signal except when the cruise ships used to come here. It appears the M/V Midnight Czar’s radar is allegedly defective or inoperative. The last time the radar detector showed a signal was a Sunday afternoon in mid-April when there was lots of US government vessels in the waters east of St. John.

  24. Big AL says:

    Cindy and Kishma have the guts that we all should have to come out publicly and speak about the atrocities that is being committed by this government against the people. It’s the same way they victimize Lloyd when he spoke out against the wrongs that were being committed. The only thing they haven’t done to those ladies is to take them to the hospital and pump psychotic drugs in to them. This little place is h**l on earth.

    Like 13
  25. Anonymous says:

    @Think again You shouldn’t talk about what you don’t know, You talk as if you know what will happen. This place needs some order and a message to the government that they can’t carry on the way things has been.

  26. MK says:

    @Think again You shouldn’t talk about what you don’t know, You talk as if you know what will happen. This place needs some order and a message to the government that they can’t carry on the way things has been.

  27. Big AL says:

    Cindy and Kishma have the guts that we all should have to come out publicly and speak about the atrocities that is being committed by this government against the people. It’s the same way they victimize Lloyd when he spoke out against the wrongs that were being committed. The only thing they haven’t done to those ladies is to take them to the hospital and pump psychotic drugs in to them. This little place is hell on earth.

  28. MK says:

    @Teacher, This is the kind of bull crap you guys who must be getting there shear from the government talk. We can see from the COI that this government is not on the up and up. The past government didn’t get away with anything their turn is coming. What got Andrew Fahie in trouble is he have no respect for the UK, he wants to change things so he can do what he wants, from the time he took office he started fighting with the UK and the governor he needs to be put in his place, he even went as far as to complain the UK to the Union. The BVI doesn’t have to pay for the COI the one who is wasting the money is Andrew Fahie with a ceiling of Five million dollars for his lawyer. So who you think you are with your comments?, You are so right this is about the people and not about the crap you wrote.

    Like 16
  29. Fools says:

    They are going to throw each other under the bus; until the COI gets all of them. LOL!

  30. BVI Future says:

    @ Teacher. Leadership under the UK cannot be worse than what they are now.
    Are you a certified teacher?

    Like 6
    Dislike 2
  31. love BVI says:

    The problem with a small community (population 35,000 approx) which is also very insular is there is not a big pool of people to call upon with suitable qualifications and who also have allegiances because of close family groups. This is not a dark intention but the natural way things evolve but the result is still a bad one.

    This effects all walks of life from policy to Government and business.
    this is also not helped by the poor quality of education on BVI (before you all get offended by that the schools are still not sorted after Irma) Education is the bedrock and foundation of any society.

    So over the years I have met may people on BVI from all walk of life and some are very very highly educated and qualified in all sorts but one factor stays the same, they traveled to get their education and work overseas, they only have homes here that they visit.

    We talk about the issues on BVI and we agree and I ask so why not come back here full time and get involved. the answer is always the same ” whats the point if your not the right family or click you got no chance” that makes me so sad and for them too.

    I understand the miss trust of the UK on BVI but its a lie to miss trust the UK that has been passed down for years and become the accepted norm. BUT the best option for BVI is to let the BVI have more oversize on local people governing them selves with open and free selection of who is in charge of what. this would open the gate for those educated abroad and on island who get locked out of the system get a fair chance to get involved and improve BVI with good intentions and may I add spread the wealth around the island to people who are excluded from the better jobs.

  32. KH11 says:

    All who are asking for, wishing for and advocating for the UK come take over and rule are very hateful, inconsiderate and racist people.

    You do not consider that a group of people who have lived here for centuries, should and must have some autonomous rule to their lives, well being and economic and poitical affairs.

    Whether you think they are doing an effective management job of them or not, that is their business. We don’t see any BVIslander sticking its nose in UK internal affairs, do we.

    You do not consider that they are human beings with rights just as you.

    You consider them inferior beings who are to be perpetually ruled by others.

    Where it is Black people who are openly advocating such misguided views clearly indicate a closed and uninformed mind.

    Where it is the white and or brit, it is clearly the evil, selfish, racist and wicked that would be advocating for such.

    Are Black Virgin Islanders people of a lesser god? Of course that is the view of the European man, and particularly the brit, but are you right? Nope, you are dead wrong.

    It is time for the UK and European man to leave/Black people be.

    • Left out says:

      Ras,
      What u leave out is that
      A. The world has been trying to end looking at people by their skin
      B. States and nations operate with structure or don’t work
      C. 99% of your population has been left out of an insiders regime that has ruled for 20+ yrs regardless of party or in spite of.
      D. 1000 towns in uk and planet earth understand that some centralized gov provides best practices and people from large populations vs 30,000
      E. (Especially) $4 billion has been collected by your gov the last 20yrs and WTF do you have to show for it ????????.

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