Within minutes – on Tuesday 16 July – both the Government and the Opposition revealed alarming details about the management of the BVI Airports Authority (BVIAA). On the government’s end, Premier and Minister for Finance Hon. Andrew Fahie explained that mismanagement, and wastage of millions of tax payers dollars were revealed by the new BVIAA Board. While on the Opposition side, Fourth District Representative Hon. Mark Vanterpool accused the Government of appointing a Chairman for the BVIAA that was imprisoned for matters involving the BVIAA.
The Premier’s comments on the worrying findings about the BVIAA was made in a statement that was delivered in the House of Assembly on Tuesday. In that announcement Hon. Fahie told the House that the situation at the BVI Airports Authority is beyond catastrophic and will require critically urgent interventions to prevent the collapse of the Territory’s key economic drivers.
Hon. Fahie likened the situation to the rabbit hole from Alice in Wonderland. He told his colleagues: “In the one month that the new Board of the BVIAA has been in place, they have uncovered a rabbit hole of mismanagement, deception, profligacy and quite possibly misappropriation of millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money. I call it a rabbit hole, Mr Speaker, because it just keeps getting deeper and deeper, twisting and turning in unexpected and startling ways, as if it were some kind of Wonderland.”
The Premier said that there is even a lag in relations to the financial statements of the Authority. Hon. Fahie said: “Even more concerning is the fact that there have not been any audited financial statements from 2014 to present, even though it is required that financials be submitted to the Central Government six months after the end of the previous financial year.”
“The Authority’s financial condition is in shambles. There is a serious cash flow problem and close to $1 million is owed in outstanding bills. How a Board, management and a government could have allowed these things to happen with such a critical piece of our transportation network is beyond understanding. Were they in the dark? Did they know and bury their heads in the sand? Or did they know and were helpless,” Hon. Fahie declared.
Opposition Member Raises Questions
On the other hand, the Opposition’s contention about the present BVI Airport Authority Board was short and to the point. The concern was levelled by Fourth District Representative Hon. Vanterpool in a statement that was released to the media following a speech that was delivered by Hon. Vanterpool in the yard of the House of Assembly.
In that announcement the Legislator accused the Government of making an unethical appointment of the Chairmanship to the BVI Airports Authority. In the statement Hon. Vanterpool said that he intends to ask a question in the House of Assembly regarding that particular appointment.
Furthermore, Hon. Vanterpool while speaking in the yard of the House of Assembly stated that the current Chairman of the Airports Authority served time in prison. Hon. Vanterpool told the media: “I am going to be asking why this person is now being rewarded to be the Chairman of the Airport Authority? ” Hon. Vanterpool asked.