Premier and Minister of Finance Andrew Fahie said certain government files pertaining to the controversial deal between the previous NDP administration and BVI Airways cannot be found.
Responding to questions on the $7.2 million airline deal on Friday, Fahie said the documents were deleted from the hard drive of the government’s server.
The Premier did not state whether the files were deleted maliciously but said plans are underway to have them retrieved.
“I thought that this would have been a piece of cake … Since taking office, I have tried my best to try to get this information, but I have been stonewalled at every attempt. But I do however intend to be persistent in my attempts to get the information requested and will provide this Honourable House with the information once received.”
“I had more information from being in the Opposition than I have sitting down in the Premier’s Office because the staff hasn’t been able to put their hands on certain files.”
Fahie further said the challenges he is experiencing in sourcing the government documents on the deal is partly because the previous administration made arrangements with BVI Airways without the knowledge of the staff of the Ministry of Finance.
Internal audit to be launched
The Premier, however, said he will be better positioned to give information on BVI Airways by Thursday following an internal audit.
“Somebody has to have the information on this plane somewhere, and someone has to answer to the new government and take the questions that have been asked by the House more seriously,” he said.
“I’m surprised nobody has no placards marching about … I get confused when I hear a big thing over Premier’s new jeep for a $115,000 and $7.2 million gone and nobody marching, nobody angry and everybody singing Hakuna Matata,” Premier Fahie said.
Company got big contract to seek $$
In the meantime, Fahie said a company was hired to search for the funds.
“I met a contract for $200,000 on the eve of election again by the past administration hiring a company to go look for the $7.2 million. But they sign away, and they sent a new company to go look for the money, and they pay new monies to the company. But to date, they ain’t find the money.”
He explained that he was able to access the payments made to BVI Airways in 2016.
Of the $7.2 million, Fahie said $500,000 was paid on January 22 that year and $2,400,000 on March 11. Some $2.1 million on May 5, 2016, $2.7 million on July 15, and another August 26 on $200,000.
“What I do know that the extra information to it that it was paid outside the payment schedule, so the question I have been asked is how come? Who authorized it and why? Because there were terms and conditions to be met before each payment was issued, and they did not meet any of them, and they gone with all the money.”
About the BVI Airways deal
Back in January this year, then-Premier Dr D Orlando Smith said part of the $7.2 million was used to clear the airline’s debts.
Dr Smiths said at the time: “The money was not put in anyone’s pockets. No one got rich off the project.”
The NDP gave the airline the funds to commence non-stop flights from the territory to Miami. However, all promised dates for the commencement of those promised flights were missed.
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