BVI News

We dropped the ball by not tendering airport project — Neil Smith

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.

Former Financial Secretary (FS), Neil Smith, conceded that the previous National Democratic Party (NDP) government should have opened up the BVI Airways Project for bids/tenders. 

In an appearance before the Commission of Inquiry (COI) recently, Smith said the party dropped the proverbial ball in not tendering the project.

“Yes. And Commissioner, I actually agree. And in 20/20 hindsight, yes, we probably slipped up there — but, you know, I mean, it’s easy for us to Monday morning quarterback it and everything, which I accept there is — I could see it as a deficiency. But I guess we were so much in a rush to go and get the air access established, that we probably dropped the ball on that. I will take that on the nose,” Smith told the COI. 

Smith, however, claimed that this did not amount to a complete bypassing of the tender process.

full criminal investigation was launched after the previous National Democratic Party (NDP) administration dumped $7.2 million into the airline to facilitate direct flights between the BVI and Miami, USA back in 2016. The BVI Airways project, however, failed to ever get off the ground.

‘Technical challenges’ stymied project being tendered

The former Financial Secretary explained to the COI that the project was never tendered because there were several “technical challenges” that prevented this from happening. 

“The technical challenges I could think on: maybe only three aircraft that could do that … one of which was used, and another one which, I think, is the ERJ 170,” the former FS said. 

He said purchasing one of those models would have been too expensive at the time and the economics would not have worked out.

“There is a funny combination between new aircraft that could barely get it done, that none of the established airlines that would be interested in our route flew. Another issue of the aircraft that could do it were old and inefficient,” Smith explained further. 

He added: “And we also knew that the major airline, American Airline especially, wanted to be in the BVI but because it didn’t have the current aircraft and the fleet, and I guess for business reasons won’t be prepared to buy anything to do it. We knew that it was not a very — commercially, it wasn’t a very attractive venture.”

Smith also told the COI that the BVI Airways project was only ever meant to be a temporary solution.

 

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14 Comments

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  1. Dumb question says:

    Is it me? Or the more you listen to this fellow, the less things make sense? Seems to be a self proclaim everything expert.

    Like 16
    • Doh says:

      Oops

      He just incriminated himself. Adios mofo.

      Like 8
      Dislike 1
    • Jah says:

      The last sentence of this article is THE most telling part of this whole scandal.

      BVI airways was only a TEMPORARY PROJECT!!! Let that sink in.

      So not only was it a complete waste of time,energy, and money, it was also never meant to last. Wow. Just wow

    • Mmmmm says:

      Where is the voice of the opposition leader on this one? Instead he is too busy trying to take bread out of people mouth.

  2. Neil Neil Neil says:

    You shouldn’t need a report from BDO to know not to transfer millions to people with zero money backing them.

    “If that makes any sense”

    Like 21
  3. didn't drop says:

    You didn’t drop the ball you hid the ball which that’s the big difference. Thanks to the COI we are actually seeing what was being done with tax paying money.

    Like 21
    • Anonymous says:

      Man eff the COI these stuff were brought up in the HOA. Y’all didn’t care because it was all about politics. People preferred to be robbed by the NDP because that was their party. Fahie and Fraser brought all the wrong doing to light but we didn’t care enough at the time.

      Like 8
      Dislike 8
    • Sad day indeed says:

      That is so true. I put this squarely in Neil lap. And from the former premier testimony it seems to me like Neil hid alot of info from him. Neil was in over his head with this one but his ego kept pushing him. No wonder all of v*** cartoons had the premier sleeping at the helm.

  4. Resident says:

    I am struggling to follow what Neil is saying – incoherent and unintelligible.

  5. Hi says:

    When will the BVI hold the Directors accountable????

  6. Finally. No place to run or hide. says:

    Neil had these issues on his Chest for a long time, That bothered him, the incompetence of the NDP, the Premier and his deputy, who think they know it all and refused to take advice,, as aresult lead the country into a sink hole…Now he found an authority in the COI who willing to listen, he was willing to speak and set his heart free..You are an hon man Neil, let not your heart be troubled, the lord love a truthful teller.

    Like 3
    Dislike 5
  7. Smoke and Mirrors says:

    Just like a lot of these “big ideas”. A smoke and mirrors. Every time I drive pass Omar Hodge’s “wharf” I am saddened that the man’s name is on that weed infested site. All grand ideas fail.

    Where is the government’s certificate of good standing?

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