BVI News

Stonewalled: BVI Airways files deleted from gov’t server, Premier launching audit

BVI Airways accepted money from government with an agreement to commence direct flights between the BVI and Miami, USA . However, later laid off its staff; claiming that it needed more money to fly.

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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51 Comments

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  1. Tru Dat! says:

    Honorable Fahie certainly puts it in perspective here “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,”

    Like 45
    Dislike 12
    • Not2Sure says:

      Two wrongs don’t make a right.

      Like 14
      Dislike 6
    • Forward Ever says:

      How many times people have spoken out about this matter and continue to speak about it. No one is pleased about this and it continues to come up, but the real issue is how does the BVI deal with it. I am sure this is one of the reasons why the previous administration was voted out. It is now for this administration to take up the mantle and see what can be done, if anything, about the matter.

      Like 14
    • Interesting says:

      When one person is fired from a job or resign, the new hire is expected to deal with whatever is to be dealt with on the job and do it effectively. The employer does not expect the new hire to dwell on the past and do nothing to get the job he is hired to do done.

      Like 9
      Dislike 2
    • Humble Bundle says:

      A crime has been committed. The files are missing. Our $7.2M is missing. Where are they Dr Smith?

      Like 3
      Dislike 2
      • Jack in the Box says:

        Why not offer the CEO immunity in exchange for his cooperation. If he refuses, extradite him and lock him
        up?

        Has this been referred to the Police? Do we need the UK to step in and sort this out?

    • Rubber Duck says:

      The whole airline money question should be examined by an independent , outside, disinterested inquisitor.

      A former senior UK judge or similar.

  2. Just my 2 cents says:

    Its very infortunate that these file were deleted (and there are many more to be discoveted). Someone or group of persons must be beld accountable a d prosecuted.

    I do not condoning theft or crime for that matter but when ministers can callously waste public funds without accountability, responsibility or prosecution, it leaves much to be desired.

    Compared to a poor ‘small man’ who may steal $1,000, he/she shall be drag to the courts and rightfully humiliated for their actions. Our politician on the other spectrum, hhhmmmm, they are immune.

    To them, its just a game to ne played with the people…igs all about being in power to further widen that pre-existing hole in the government purse. The NDP did it…the VIP demonstrating so far that the wont be different. When and how will this social ill ends? Be merciful oh Lord on the BVI.

    Like 6
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    • Fro em way says:

      Who was the deputy PM at the time? Buck stops at the top, if files we’re deleted then I’m sorry there really is only one answer. I hope the police are paying attention.

      Like 12
      Dislike 1
    • BuzzBvi says:

      Surely a criminal offence has been committed by deleting these files. Clearly something is being hidden and someone committed an offence hding it.

      Like 7
      Dislike 2
  3. Auditor says:

    Ok. So if it is a proven fact that files were deleted from the government’s server then it should be easy to learn who deleted them on whose instructions. I would imagine that persons with such administrative authority is a well documented person operating under well constructed guidelines. So please can the person authorizing the deletion be made to answer further questions regarding what may or may not have been deleted. Happy to know that the documents may be retrievable. Question, is there not a live court case on this in the US? If so, who is representing BVI (shareholder) interest? They too should have information.

    Like 18
  4. OZYMANDIAS says:

    AND THAT IS THE LEGACY OF NDP, ALL SMITH IN HIGH GOVERNMENT POSITION IN THE NDP. TO DELETE WHOLE FILE TO AID THE THEFT OF OUR MONEY TO BENEFIT CAUCASIANS EVEN OVER THEMSELVES IS UNFORGIVABLE. THIS IS THEIR LEGACY SHAME SHAME SHAME! HANDS DOWN THE MOST CORRUPT BVI GOVERNMENT OF ALLLLL TIME!

    Like 17
    Dislike 6
    • Voter says:

      This is just a smokescreen to get headlines. If files were indeed deleted, why wasn’t the police call to investigate and drag someone of to jail!! The more things change the more they remain the same..

  5. Backups! says:

    Surely there should be some sort backups done of the servers… Go check the tapes!

    Like 20
    Dislike 3
    • Image says:

      If they are the same servers, a forensic image can be obtained and using certain software, information can be restored and viewed. Not a hard task.

  6. Two Wrongs? says:

    This wrong by the NDP for the airline does not justify the wrong for the new jeep. Stop justifying wrong with wrong. You sound like Trump. Stop it man!

    Like 25
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    • To two wrongs says:

      Your post is ignorance. A Premier of country have a new jeep purchased because the old one is giving problems and you see that as a wrong can only be out of hatred or ignorance.

      Like 17
      Dislike 8
      • Really says:

        Are you a mechanic, and if so, have you inspected the jeep?

        Like 5
        Dislike 8
        • Haha says:

          @really, The pictures of the damage to the vehicle is real and can be googled since the accident was reported on most news site and were also circulated via social media. When a ride has been damaged in a major accident like this one not only does the value drop but the performance as well. It’s like ayo does lose a bit of common sense when you hate somebody.

      • It wasnt says:

        it wasn’t ignorance when fahie said it about Dr. Smith. How soon we forget fool!

        Like 6
        Dislike 1
    • Hello says:

      @ two wrongs. $115k ??‍♂️ $7.2m, a new jeep our premier can be seen driving about the island in or 2 invisible planes that are God knows where by God knows who doing God knows what and you on here trying to justify BS. You need to take your head out from up your a$$

      Like 13
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  7. @ just my 2 cents says:

    Please note that there is a huge difference between theft and making an investment that turns out unprofitable. The former is a crime and the latter is not. What prosecution you talking about???

    Like 12
    Dislike 4
  8. **** says:

    This is just a distraction from ALL the F VIP is doing.Do not be fooled people! It is very easy to find out who deleted files from a server! Just like it is very easy to track calls and messages from these so-called assassination threats! Yet no one was arrested, it was not breaking news, we just seeing this f**l up and down with 24/7 bodyguards yet his family have none!

    Like 23
    Dislike 14
  9. Father Time says:

    The previous government is petty. “Delete all that s**t.” I kind of stan.

    Like 7
    Dislike 1
  10. Help wanted says:

    Kerrick Pickering and Mark Vanterpool are interested, let them come in and help. Even Dr Smith, we can’t let them walk just like that.

    Like 3
    Dislike 3
  11. Albion says:

    Why not just have a public inquiry? Even if we cannot find the e-mails and electronic documents, we know who the parties are who did this deal on the BVI side.

    Just call them in to answer questions under oath. I am sure the truth will come out pretty quickly.

    Like 11
    Dislike 1
  12. Governor says:

    Get up and go do your work. Why haven’t you launched a full investigation on this matter is what most people are asking.

    Like 8
    Dislike 1
  13. Kingfish says:

    The Premier needs some coaching in the proper use of the English language.

    Like 16
    Dislike 10
    • @ Kingfish says:

      From what I read here the Premier is quite competent in the appropriate use of BOTH the English Language and the Virgin Islands vernacular. The “proper” use of the latter aptly articulates the absurdity of the situation being described. No shade, no shame in the Premier or anyone (including you) whatever his/her status ‘bussing off’ sometimes in his/her authentic native tongue.

      Like 5
      Dislike 4
  14. Hah says:

    What did anybody expect. The BVIAirways ordeal never appeared to be handled properly but now the legality is in question. We all knew that the conditions for payment were not met based on earlier information from the past years. We all knew that we got nothing in return for the $7.2 million. If the former education Ministry is under investigation for breaking protocol and making payments for work not done then this seem like a case that should also be investigated. Why is information being deleted?

    Like 13
  15. Cyber Space Codes says:

    Like they got those thumbs up and thumbs down buttons well set on this one boy, to suit the responses they desire to see or not see.

    It is doubt there is a computer malfunction on their end, but you can’t get a like or dislike on some of those comments if life depended on it. Weird!!

    Such will not represent authentic feelings of public sentiment however, it would it not.

    it would only satify the ego fo few twisted egos.

    Like 3
    Dislike 3
  16. sam the man says:

    Don’t waste time and money with an audit – you’ll never find out the truth, just manage government funds better in the future and learn lessons from this please….

    Like 4
    Dislike 2
  17. Ausar says:

    Honourable Fahie, its all about the “C, D, E, and the F drives”.

    Consult with national computer experts to retreive those files off of the hard drives!

    Its a very simple procedure mastered by the experts!!

    Good Luck!!

  18. Lilly says:

    If files were indeed deleted, people need to be made to speak up, so I do not see this as a problem at all. When people commit crimes, the justice system deals with them, and if files were deleted as they relate to this matter, that is a crime and the justice system should deal with it like any other matter before the law.

  19. Go right ahead says:

    I agree, nothing, no records nada will be found. Use the money that is going to be thrown away on a wild goose chase to start a school breakfast program.

  20. Curious says:

    What is all this foot stomping about? Isn’t it the job of the Public Accounts Committee to investigate matters of this nature? Sometimes I swear this government is for entertainment purposes only.

    Like 8
    Dislike 1
    • Haha says:

      Lol Public accounts committee will be made up of most of the opposition members which will be mostly people who had a hand in the same mess and never even apologized.

      Like 6
      Dislike 1
  21. vip heckler says:

    All fahie have to do is squeeze the PS and make her/him answer the questions

  22. yoooo says:

    money have to come out the bank so go to the bank find the information

  23. JK says:

    Have someone copy the original hard drive and install the copy in government system. Forward the original hard drive to a computer forensics lab for data retrieval. If the documents were simply deleted they should be able to retrieve the data. If it was malicious behavior – they may be able to identify that also. Be sure that you are ready to “see the facts.” And know what you are prepared to do with the information. Just a thought….

  24. Quiet Warrior says:

    The $7.2M give away to BVI Airways, a bankrupt, bruk, broke and grounded airline, has always been a boondoggle. Looking at the disbursements, it is clear that the taxpayers and the NDP government was swindled, out negotiated, bamboozled…….etc. It was like taking candy from a sleeping baby. The disbursements should have been performance-based, eg, after a year of nonstop flights some subsidies would be provided. The approach taken by government with taxpayers scarce resources was a lose-lose for taxpayers and a win-win for BVI Airways.

    Moreover, maliciously deleting official government documents is a crime; computer files are government documents. If indeed these computer files were maliciously deleted, an inquiry should have started yesterday. In the universe of computer technology, deleted files does not necessarily mean files are permanently deleted. Experts can retrieve deleted files; the investigation should entail hiring a forensic expert.

  25. Go Ask says:

    the Chairman of the Tourist Board for his files on this matter , go ask all those in the loop of this fiasco

  26. General says:

    Don’t worry Mr premier we got tools to retrieve old and deleted files it just take times Work with me the General

  27. Unfortunate says:

    The whole episode is unfortunate. Given they started fully staffing so early and having to get the permits while waiting for the inevitable problems in the US and with our government and other dragging their feet, it actually doesn’t take long to burn through 7m. It is unlikely that sizable sums were simply pocketed so also unlikely that material recoveries can be made.

    Lessons can be learned from the Governor and Auditor General’s procedural audit and the company should be independently wound up under court supervision. Then if there was negligence or simply mistakes made, appropriate action or new measures can be swiftly implemented to avoid it happening again. We BW lesson to learn, especially with Liat also in distress, is that governments getting in the way and dragging their heels and trying to favour their cronies destroy much needed airlift and some many jobs and so much good will. Once clients have done Caribbean air travel and airports, they often vow never to return. They don’t need to spend their business trip or vacation dealing with this rubbish when other parts of the world are efficient and welcoming.

  28. joseph says:

    The BVI was ripped off.

    Lesson: Stop Worshiping White People in Jacket and Tie.

    Do your due diligence.

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