It has been alleged that BVI Airways owes money in Dominica and according to Leader of the Opposition, Hon, Andrew Fahie the company has been reportedly using the Government sponsored airplanes to negotiate in that country.
The serious allegations were made in the House of Assembly on 28 February as Hon. Fahie debated the budget estimates. The Opposition Leader in laying the allegation told the House: “My intelligence tells me that these same characters [BVI Airways management] are down in Dominica trying to negotiate with Dominica with our planes. That’s one of the privileges as Leader of the Opposition, you get calls from the Caribbean now. With our planes! But of course this is going to be denied, because I am speaking it now to hopefully stop it. I asked [the person who called), ‘what are they (BVI Airways management) doing down there’? They (caller) said, ‘they owe us money too’.”
“So they owe the Dominican government where they used to fly and they ain’t pay them neither; and them still owe us (BVI government). They owe us and we give them $7 million,” Hon. Fahie stated.
He further noted that a local company would not have been favored with a contract from Government if they owed money: “What contractor could owe the government and don’t pay money in to help us with this budget and get a next contract? Forget the contract. How they going to get the good certificate? They can’t get it. This is what I am talking about. When we bending the rules to help outside investors over our people, this is a clear indication of it.”
In his scathing statements about the airline company, Hon. Fahie also declared that there are ten alleged shareholders, and he declared that the names should be made known: “Ten shares have been sold out of this company up in the American market. I could say it with confidence, but I can’t tell who in some of these companies — because five of them are companies and five of them are individuals.”
In further noting that shares from the company were already sold, Hon. Fahie explained that the shareholder situation can have some negative inferences: “Why would you sell shares in something like that, that hasn’t even taken off? In America, that’s called insider trading. And we know what has happened with insider trading… We need to know who all of the shareholders involved in the plane that we are investing in. It is the people’s money. I could put my life on the line that it has 10 shareholders, and I won’t take my life lightly,” he pointed out.
The Leader of the Opposition also alleged that the airline will not be incurring certain operational cost: “In the document for BVI Airways, it is clear that they are not paying anything – landing fees, office fees, or no kind of fees. If anybody could read where they are paying and tell me that it is not so, stop me now. I will pause and give you a chance on a point of order or a point of information,” he touted.
“So they are not paying anything in to the government; even the office fees they aren’t paying…. What we getting out of this deal? And, if we are going to get something out of it, why are we cutting it short to build an airport longer. It has to be one or the other.”
Hon. Fahie added: “We could have improved that (airlift) many ways; we could have worked with the local VI Airlink; we could have worked with some other airlines.”