The audit which was commissioned to, among other things, determine how the Cruise Pier project ballooned from $50M to $82.9M is allegedly behind schedule and Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Andrew Fahie explained that information scarcity might be the cause of the delay.
During a radio broadcast on 11 July, Hon. Fahie announced that the Government reported that the lack of information was the reason the audit was behind schedule. However, Hon. Fahie explained that there should not be an issue getting the crucial information required: “The government has launched an investigation into themselves, by themselves for themselves, and the company that is doing it, the deadline has passed long time ago. One of the things that was said in the House is because they had difficulty getting information, that’s the statement made in the House; but that is alarming because if you are investigating yourself and you have difficulty getting information from yourself, well as Lion King said nobody see anything wrong with this,” the Leader of the Opposition said.
In stressing the need for the audit/investigation to be completed Hon. Fahie announced: “Somebody has to answer for this because when you have $43.2M and we’re just going to stop at that, because there are others; and then you have a report that you are financially prudent, then one has to wonder if people gonna dispense with this formality and deal with the reality of what’s on the ground,” Hon. Fahie added.
The Audit Report
Last year Premier and Minister for Finance, Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith admitted that $82M were expended on the cruise pier project and at that time indicated that the international firm KPMG was commissioned to carry out a full audit of the expenditure. However, in an update on 12 May Premier Smith did not say when the process, which was expected to be completed in three months, will be completed.
During the questions and answers segment of the 12 May sitting of the House of Assembly Leader of the Opposition Hon. Andrew Fahie asked the Premier to tell the House of Assembly if the audit was completed and if not the reasons for the on-going delays and the expected completion date.
In response, Premier Smith announced that the audit continues with no fixed date of completion because the process is largely dependent on the time required to thoroughly review and analyze the large volume of documents that KPMG has to filter through before they can produce a report of their findings.
In further explaining the delay, the Minister for Finance said: “Madam Speaker, there have been some challenges in identifying all of the relevant documents requested, just given the sheer volume of the exercise, but the Government and the BVI Ports Authority have been and continue to work with KPMG to ensure that all of the requested information is being provided.” Nonetheless, Hon. Smith assured that once the audit has been completed the information will be provided to the House of Assembly.