The BVI Airways saga took another turn this week when it was disclosed that Premier and Minister for Finance Hon. Andrew Fahie wrote to the United Kingdom Minister for Overseas Territories to inform that His Excellency Governor August Jaspert had not released the long awaited report prepared by Auditor General Sonia Webster.
The Premier’s correspondence to the United Kingdom Minister was cited in a statement the Governor’s Office issued earlier this week. In that statement it was explained that the Governor did not receive the report in January as the Premier’s complaint apparently suggests. Instead, the Governor’s Office disclosed that the report was received a month later than was mentioned, “On 7 February, the Governor’s Office received the final special report by the Auditor General on the BVI Airways deal.”
While stating that nothing wrong or unusual took place the Governor’s Office further stated, “In the Audit Act 2003, the Governor is required to cause the report to be laid before the House of Assembly within three months, namely before 7 May.”
The fact that Hon. Fahie raised the matter with the UK Government was noted in the same statement from the Governor’s Office, “The Premier has written to the Minister for Overseas Territories. The letter includes factual inaccuracies and the Governor has written back to the Premier to ensure a correct understanding of the facts.”
In the meantime, it was disclosed that the Governor has since submitted the report to Cabinet for consideration. This was confirmed in the same statement which noted, “The report has been submitted to Cabinet and it now is a matter for the Premier to arrange for it to be laid in the House at the next available sitting. The report was submitted to Cabinet within timescales that allowed for that as per normal arrangements.”
Further, the Governor’s Office said that it wished to see the report dealt with as soon as possible. “The Governor thanks the Auditor for her work. It would be inappropriate to discuss the report until it is public when laid before the House of Assembly, but the Governor will ensure with respective agencies that any resulting action is taken forward as required,” the statement said.
During the House of Assembly sitting on 25 February it was disclosed that the Auditor General report on BVI Airways was finally ready. This disclosure was made in response to a question that was asked by Third District Representative and Senior Member of the House Hon. Julian Fraser.
At that time the Premier confirmed that he did receive the report, but noted that it was not up to him to make it public. “Yes, the Premier received his report but the Governor also has his and he has to be the one to bring it to Cabinet so that it be laid on the table of the honourable House not the Premier.”