Following the questions and answers section in the House of Assembly, on 19 December, Leader of the Opposition Hon. Julian Fraser took to social media to rhetorically ask whether or not the water company Biwater was sold.
The question stemmed from the fact that during the questions and answers section Premier, and Minister for Finance Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith said that the company was not sold. His response was also corroborated by Minister for Communications and Works Hon. Mark Vanterpool.
The statement that Biwater was not sold was surprising because last year the sale was publicly announced.
The conflicting response was the core for Hon. Fraser social media post: “Was Biwater BVI sold or was it not? At the 2nd sitting of the 2nd session in October, the Minister (for) Communications and works said Seven Seas bought the shares in Biwater BVI… Today Premier Smith said the shares were not sold.”
The confusion about the sale is also fueled by the fact that in August 2015 the company Seven Seas Water announced on its website that it acquired a water plant in the Territory. The website said: “Seven Seas Water, a division of AquaVenture Holdings, and a leader in the Caribbean desalination marketplace, is pleased to announce its acquisition of the recently commissioned 10,450 cubic meter per day (2.76 US million gallons per day) seawater reverse osmosis desalination facility on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.”
The company later in October announced that former Complaints Commissioner Mr. Elton Georges will be the Managing Director for its BVI operations.
However, in his response on Monday this week, Premier Smith stated that: “There has been no change of ownership to the company that owns the (Biwater) plant.” Even more interesting was the fact that a search on the Seven Seas Water website yielded no results for the terms “British Virgin Islands,” “Tortola”, or “Biwater.”