Former Premier Dr. Orlando Smith has fired back at comments that were made by Premier and Minister for Finance, Hon. Andrew Fahie claiming that files relating to BVI Airways were missing or deleted.
During the 17 May questions and answers segment of the House of Assembly Premier Fahie announced in response to a series of questions about BVI Airways that his staff were being stonewalled as they attempted to retrieve answers about the $7.2Million paid to the airline.
In reporting the disappearance of the information Hon. Fahie told the House of Assembly: “On the I drive is where they went, where the information is kept, but that has been deleted. So we are working feverishly to get that I drive retrieved and get it backed up so that we can get all of this information.”
However, in responding to the accusation the Former Premier Smith insisted that no information is missing. In fact, Dr. Smith in a statement issued to the media on 21 May stated that Hon. Fahie’s announcement was untrue. “I have seen reports in the media on what was said in relation to BVI Airways. I have answered many questions in the House of Assembly on BVI Airways, and I have made several statements on the matter. Suffice to say no information relative to BVI Airways has been removed from Government’s I drive, save for copies of answers to questions which were delivered in the House of Assembly and reported in the press, and are easily retrievable,” he announced.
Premier Fahie Questions AG Involvement
During the House of Assembly on 14 December, 2017 in response to BVI Airways questions, Dr. Smith announced “Whatever next steps happen will take place on the advice of the Attorney General.” However, newly appointed Premier Hon. Fahie says he questions the Attorney General’s involvement
In noting his disbelief that the Attorney General provided advice, Hon. Fahie told the House of Assembly last Friday: “I want to stand here and say in fairness to the Attorney General: I don’t think the Attorney General received any instructions to look into BVI Airways and if he did he didn’t tell me…I don’t know about him going to look into BVI Airways. What I do know is that a company was hired with a waiver for $200,000 to look into BVI Airways.”
The Premier further stated that he does not understand why an independent company was hired if the Attorney General was dealing with the matter. “Based on analysis I do not see that they will pay a company $200,000 to look into BVI Airways and still have the Attorney General looking into BVI Airways and if it is so and none of them can find it then that plane really gone quite high in the sky,” the Premier said.
However, Dr. Smith in his statement on Tuesday announced: “I did promise that I would seek to recover monies spent on BVI Airways, and after much deliberation with Cabinet and the AG’s office, a firm was selected in August of last year to do so. Long before an election date was even considered.”
Hon. Fahie Wants Audit
Premier Fahie announced that an internal audit, which commenced on 20 May was arranged as an effort to find out critical information: “I will be calling an internal audit on Monday morning to start to deal with some matters, so that we can get some accuracy and some clarity…because it seems like the powers that be that needs to look into this either gone to sleep…,” he told the House.
Hon. Fahie also indicated that he expects to get answers about BVI Airways as he announced that he will push to find the answers to the questions about matters relating to Government’s arrangement with the company. He told the House: “The buck stops with me as Premier, so trust me when I tell you that somebody will have to answer me with what has happened with the Territory’s $7.2M so give me until next week Thursday.”