While stating government should have invested in a local airline, Junior Minister for Tourism Archibald Christian has said the National Democratic Party (NDP) administration has no inkling where the owners and operators of the reportedly defunct BVI Airways are located.
Christian told the House of Assembly government has been trying, without success, to contact BVI Airways, whose operators jetted off with $7.2 million of taxpayer funds.
“We are trying to locate them, trying to have a conversation with them — we are trying to get a report from them. We now have to consider legal action against them. That’s most unfortunate,” he said.
We should have picked the Brathwaites
The minister then counselled legislators to be more careful when doing business with foreign investors. He further expressed regret government did not invest in a local airline such as the Brathwaite family-owned, BVI Airlink.
BVI Airlink reportedly approached government years ago in hopes the NDP administration would invest in the airline. However, government reportedly denied the proposal.
“If I knew what I know now, I would have taken that money and given it to the Brathwaites because I know where I would find the Brathwaites. I don’t know where I could find the people that have BVI Airways anymore,” Christian said.
“We had Air BVI, our own airline and I think that was a mistake when the government didn’t step in to try and save that airline. And then in our wisdom, we decided to allow BVI Airways to be the flag carrier for the territory with direct flights to Miami,” added Christian as he decried the millions wasted on BVI Airways.
He said that wasted money could have been used to repair instrastruture such as roads throughout the BVI.
He then questioned what BVI Airways did with the money government invested.
“I would like to know how they spent the money, Premier. What did they do with it?”
“I suppose the Premier would continue to do his best. I know that he is not going to give up on it because at the end of the day he has to report back to the people of the BVI on exactly what has happened to the $7.2 million.”
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