BVI News

Wheatley proposing to redo Miami airline deal and favour local air carrier

Dr Natalio Wheatley

The British Virgin Islands might see another airline deal for direct flights to the United States if the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) is elected as the next government.

Dr Natalio ‘Sowande’ Wheatley — the VIP’s candidate for the Seventh Electoral District — is hoping to champion such a deal.

But, unlike the NDP government whose bargain with the internationally-owned BVI Airways cost the territory $7 million, Dr Wheatley is looking to engage a local air carrier this time around.

“I will advocate strongly for a partnership with Seventh District voters and residents — the Brathwaites and their company, VI Airlink — for direct flights to Miami which will offer additional connections to get persons here more quickly,” said Dr Wheatley while addressing residents at a VIP rally in The Stickett, East End on Wednesday night.

Based on statements last year from VI Airlink pilot Neville Brathwaite, Jr, the local airline might be open to the idea of the partnership. According to Brathwaite, their airline was the first to offer themselves up to an NDP government for the Miami flights. However, the aviator claimed that government rejected their offer.

Pitch for recreational centre with movie theatre in D7

Besides Dr Wheatley’s proposal of an airline deal with a local partner, the VIP candidate has other plans that are more targeted to the Seventh District. One of those plans involves constructing what he described as a recreation centre in the constituency.

He said the centre would be primarily for young persons, especially teens, and would be “a place where they can go bowling, play pool, air hockey, watch a movie, and hang out with their friends”.

But, Dr Wheatley’s ideas for the district aren’t limited to fun and games as he also proposes to implement an assistance programme for the district’s senior citizens, job fairs for young locals, and a credit union where locals can go to source funding to establish businesses.

Dr Wheatley said he plans to fund these initiatives with what he believes to be a sound financing strategy.

“In the VIP, we will implement a financing strategy that involves sourcing funding from local and international sources. Locally, we can form investment clubs to pool our resources; making it easier to access funding from private lending institutions,” he said.

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  1. hmm says:

    someone else looking for free money?

    Like 15
    Dislike 8
    • What Time Is It? says:

      @hmm The money was so Free during the NDP Family 8-years government that they give the Free-money aby the $7.2 millions at a time; even the 8 million for the 7th district sewage project, some 3-million given away for consultancy at the airport; 20+million given away for so-called Consultancy, 20+ millions for law-suits against our government; So free that the Festival & Fairs master-consultant, now At Large candidate also held a Consultancy position at the Tourist Board, and just b4 signing him up for more Free-money on their At Large team, they put him to head the Ports Board. Talk about a Family Affair. But you know what? God steered us through the survival of Irma and Maria and thank God, only days to go past this Horror Movie of the NDP

      Like 5
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    • Anonymous says:

      That dude was serious when he said “i am in it foe me.”

      Well sah! Our country going and probably done gone to h**l

  2. Jokes says:

    This is exactly what is wrong with this Territory. None of the things mentioned should be done by Government. Airline? Movie Theater? Really??? Government should be responsible for schools, clinics, community centers, infrastructure like roads, water etc. Not building marinas, restaurants, movie theaters, running airlines etc.

    Like 91
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  3. vip heckler says:

    First of all to do this, one have to win an election. Unfortunately this culprit cant beat kedric at all. Changing party every election cycle wont make him a winner

    Like 11
    Dislike 18
    • Another VG Guardian says:

      @VP Heckler, I lived in your district and often drove through the district of the second. That was up until 2011-12. I tried to take a picture of the Black-Pool as you turn to go down to RiteWay; but the sunlight shining on the Black Pool in the middle of the road, I couldn’t take it.
      Imagine this: Beaches in the BVI are Public; but yet your loving 7th-district has been giving away Water-Rights in more than 1 or 2 areas.. Does that make sense, especially from a man calling himself a Christian and a Preacher?. Do you know that the man head of the O– N– — D—————t, in addition to purchasing the 300-acres in N—- S—-, also got another 6-acres in North Sound along with Water-Rights? and that right now as I’m typing, Y— hands are tired because of the same so-called investor at O– N— — holding Water-Rights to the property and is preventing the company from repairing and reopening their marina?…and that Branson who owns 2 of our islands also has water-rights, preventing fishermen from fishing at and around Mosquito Island?. Thanks to the Nice Doctor from the 7th; who said just b4 elections”Thank God for my Rich White Friends”

      At the rate we have been going, the Chickens are home to roost; its not Coming home to roost anymore; the Chickens are in the roost.

  4. LOL says:

    he could run he mouth til he s*t still can get the cuban out

    Like 9
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  5. cuban fan club says:

    Is this a strategy to capture all the brathwaite votes or just airing your mouth?

    Like 12
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  6. Not2Sure says:

    Boy, some people never learn. We wasted $7 million with nothing to show for it on a white elephant project trying to get flights to Miami.

    Do we learn our lesson? No. We rush to go and get slapped in the face again and lose another $7 million.

    BVI Airways didn’t fail because anyone stole the money. It failed because it was a terrible idea and it was financially unrealistic. We did no due diligence last time, and it looks like nobody wants to do any before going into an identical arrangement.

    If this was a good idea, then some private airline would already have done it because it was profitable. It isn’t. It is doomed to fail.

    Like 26
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    • @Not2Sure says:

      Exactly! But the problem is we all just want drama and excitement when it comes to these things. How could $7 million dollars help start an airline off the ground? It was always pie in the sky from the get go and while it is a lot of money, I think the government had the right idea but went about it with the wrong people and in the wrong way. Just because VI Airlink are local doesn’t mean we fork out millions to them for a Miami flight. This will require proper management and oversight, it’s not like running charters in the Caribbean. I would love to give VI Airlink a chance if they have a viable, realistic plan for the direct flight. Share it with the public, get feedback and Government can support as necessary. Governments throughout the Region are required to pay seat guarantees to airlines so it’s nothing new. The benefit to the Territory will far outweigh the costs of subsidizing seats etc but it has to be done RIGHT!

  7. Hmm says:

    I could tell you.

  8. Reasonable Man says:

    I agree with Jokes. Focus on basic infrastructure which is deplorable. Make this an easier place to live and a nicer place to visit. Tourist will come and investors can provide the rest with their own money. You really can’t afford to do more than this anyway.

    More than ever before, we need to return to the basic services governments are elected to provide and get those put right first.
    Did anyone see how the Pockwood Pond was burning last night by the way?

    Like 21
  9. Well as I see it says:

    Considering that for several years the 7th has had a sitting Minister as it’s rep with no improvement in the district for all those years then might as well you seek an alternative rep or just keep quiet and continue to suffer for 20 more years.

    You see elections isn’t about the candidates but it’s about the people. The rep that is eventually elected is a reflection of the majority of the people. Know where the power lies my people and use your power wisely come Election Day.

    Like 14
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  10. A man says:

    Not a bad plan, but be more ambitious.

    What about plans for Anegada. Right now it is just a flat piece of land, but we could make this a massive regional hub airport, dredge all the ocean around to make a container shipping hub, and then we could build a grand prix circuit with Chinese sponsorship.

    Like 8
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  11. Seventh District Youth says:

    Excellnt speech last night. We the youth in the 7th are with you Dr. Wheatley.

    Like 13
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  12. Stupid says:

    We need to get over it….a Territory of 25K-30K people cannot support the passenger loading needed for direct flights EIS-MIA (leaving aside all other logistics such as fuel etc) to be economically viable. Best it could be would be a once or twice a week deal (just like many other islands), probably in season only, Instead of pushing a huge amount of $ into a single project with limited success the most likely outcome, why not make it more efficient to get here via STT? Ferry schedules to match airline arrival and departure times, process C&I on the way over. Stop it with the arrival, environmental and departure fees.

    And, don’t forget the proposed airport expansion project is Oil Nut Bay’s doing (one of the conditions of purchase if I’m not mistaken).

    Like 15
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    • Boi says:

      We don’t need to waste our tax dollars on this. If it makes sense commercially, then let a private airline take the risk and do it.

      We have lost too much money with airlines and money spent on our terminal – which is greatly underutilized.

      Like 11
    • Longshanks says:

      Oil Nut should not be a driving factor. Oil Nut and the like are owned by the rich and benefit the rich. Do they benefit the BVI? Marginal. It’s not like they have to pay tax, they fly food in, effectively they are a separate enclave and want the Caribbean climate / place without coming into contact with anyone outside the small enclave.

  13. Sowande is the Man says:

    After 8 years of do nothing – money wasting Cuban- Sowande is a breath of fresh air- give the young man a chance- it’s like we as a people never learn a thing from Irma and this useless government

    Like 11
    Dislike 7
    • Help is on the way says:

      thank you…. NDP screwed us over for the last 8 years . And that is a FACT ,…It is Well known but it seems like people ain’t learn a thing…. God please intervene with us….please God! help us

    • Anonymous says:

      Ha ha. Do not be fooled. That man said that he is “in it for himself, because all that came before him did the same.”

      If elected, will country be top of his agenda? Absolutely not!

    • Anonymous says:

      The man for himself. Wake up or you’ll regret when you do.

  14. Reply says:

    Just a comment on this ‘Miami Airline Deal’. During the time the NDP government was engaging with the now failed BVI Airways for direct flights to Miami, the VIP had issues with it.

    Much of their objection had to do with the proposed extension of the airport which they stated the country could not afford.

    They have even called for an investigation into to the 7 million dollars presumably lost in the deal.

    Fast forward to now. Here we are weeks away from the election, and Mr. Wheatley is now proposing resurrecting the idea of direct flights to the US mainland only this time, doing so with a local carrier.

    What has changed between now and then? I’m rather curious to know. Where their objections to the BVI Airways sincere? Were they objecting because BVI Airways was not a local airline or have local control? Did they truly believe the country could not afford to extend the airport?

    I find it curious that after all was said and done, and still being said, that Mr. Wheatly now is speaking about direct Miami flights again.

    Now, I do support direct flights to the U.S. and the U.S. mainland. I also support the airport extension for safety reasons.

    It’s a must that airport be extended if any airline local or otherwise U.S. bound can land, and take off safely.

    Is the VIP now saying they are in favor of extending the airport? Are they also saying that they country can now afford to do so after objecting to the prior deal on the grounds that the country could not afford to extend the airport?

    Mr. Wheatly, please clear the air, because the country’s financial picture has not changed significantly since the BVI Airways deal fell thru. One might argue it has gotten worse.

    So how does the VIP propose to pay for this “Miami Airline Deal”?

    Like 6
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    • herbsman says:

      He said redo the deal already made to get local involvement. A jr high school & a rec center for the youths (that is gov responsibility) he just proposed ideas in it like movies. Get back the funding for our sewerage project that was giving away because it needs to be fixed yrs ago.

      I like how he sounds, I think he will do more for the district than picko has. VIP got my D7 vote now.
      The at large are the only votes I haven’t decided yet but VIP getting at least 2 of those too.

      Like 5
      Dislike 2
    • Human with a Brain says:

      Let me clearly reply to you. He is saying to re engage in a deal to provide direct flight to Miami. Where did he speak about runway extension? The airport does not have to be extended to provide direct flights to and from Miami.

      Didn’t BVI airways jets land and take off from the Terrance B Lettsome Airport with out issue? You don’t need to answer i’ll answer for you; YES!

      Therefore it is clear the run way does not need to be extended to provide direct flights to Miami.

      So there I cleared the air for you.

      Your Welcome

      • Reply says:

        Nice to know you are a human with a brain. I’m relieved.

        Look, I do not know what air you cleared, because as far as I am concerned, the discussion centered around direct flights to Miami cannot be separated from the discussion around the extension of the airport. They are inextricable tied.

        As I indicated in my earlier post, any talk about direct flight to Miami has to include a discussion of extending the runway.

        The BVI Airways plane was unique in that it had limited capacity to land and take off at the current airport, but that may not be the case with other airlines which has more dated equipment.

        The issue is one of safety unless you are hoping for a disaster at TBL.

        Like 2
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    • @REPLY says:

      The political scenario, like the sun, is shining bright for all to see, if one is not to blinded by a cloud of personality and party politic.

      There are many who know for a fact that many in the VIP are in solely for self enrichment.

      And that is why they should not be elected. They will do the country and its people more harm than the NDP has ever done.

      When you tell one of your brethren citizens to go shout his mouth because “i am in it for me because all who came before did the same thing,” one must wonder whose interest will you serve if elected Fair question sir?

      It has become apparently clear, that neither you nor your party nor your individual candidates can be trusted to be transparent, corrupt free and genuine servants of the people in the greatest interest of country.

      Therefore, the people should think very carefully this cycle and not vote VIP. But, that is an individual choice. What was revealed i a bit of information that may be very important to that decision and the state and future of the nation down or up the future.

  15. Readable says:

    Writer you hit the nail on the head i find that part of his speech to be hypocrisy to the fullest his party is in agreement of the runway but he put it across in a smart way. We know fully well that the braithwaite will need to get a bigger plane or partnered with another airline to have such flights. The braithwaite will need some sort of capital from government to fund such airlift. They think that people stupid. Also in his speech he mentioned that he stood up for bi-water and rally against it but yet still he joined the said party that brought it. Really

    Like 6
    Dislike 1
  16. READ says:

    My dear the country is not broke that is a political stragtegy that the opponents used. If the country was broke why all of them giving up their jobs to run for office? I sure bet they looking for a pay check every month.

    It is about having power to your name.

    • @READ says:

      Well, if our country is broke, the first thing should be on their campaign list to do if elected is:

      1) if and when elected, i/we will reduce our salary by 60% or in line with inflation and average cost of living.

      2) I.we will reduce or cut out completely unnecessary perks, spending and other costs.

      3) I/we will pay our own travel and hotel and other expenses even when on official business.

      Did you say the government is broke? Well, there are some ways in which you can un-broke the government if elected.

  17. Time says:

    Redo which deal why could he not give some kind of information. It just shows that they are in agreement with such runway extension for larger planes to land. If such deal was bad why he did not stick with Andrew statement that no airport extension is needed let us utilise the ferries. It shows that he and his leader are not on the same page. Where he intent to put a junior highschool is he going to place such structure on the college campus? I know they cannot use the area where bi-water put the plant anymore that would have been a suitable area for such
    School to go there where will the high school go? I did agree with thim on the sewage funding but he fail to say that he has called down both governments for not completing such projects.

  18. Vaughn says:

    He talk too damn much strupes. All he next to tell the people he going going to fix the infrastructure and create more jobs. Long look people don’t want to hear about a god damn thing else. Then ain’t got no money to waste in movie theatre. Beside you only going be smelling weed in tha ghetto theatre.

  19. What about P.R. says:

    We don’t need to focus on direct flights to Miami at this time however, better and affordable flights/service to and from Puerto Rico would be a good option. This is something I think our local airline should focus on. That’s where the gold mine is… The same airlines that Fly to Miami/Ft. Lauderdale also fly to Puerto Rico. If we had 4 flights a day to and from P.R. around $150 round trip that would be good! Flights to and from the U.S. Mainland to P.R. are much less than St. Thomas, plus there are more flights and more airlines as well!

  20. NYC says:

    The wallpaper looks like the Statue of Liberty minus the Crown.

  21. Check Dis says:

    If you want to see through these waste of time mumu check dem head.

  22. //// says:

    How disappointing. I liked everything about him until this. We need the country fixed before any airport expansion.

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