First District Representative, Public Accounts Committee Member, Hon. Andrew Fahie announced in the House of Assembly on 22 July during the debate of the Public Accounts Committee’s Report on the Cruise Pier Project that there are some questions that are lingering about the announced port investment scheme and he said that it is “dangerous” for residents to invest in the project without the answers given.
Hon. Fahie said that he has not heard an explanation about the shares being offered, and he said that the question has to be asked. The Opposition member said that it is his understanding that the investment scheme guarantees an investment return whether the company does good or bad based on the years of investment. Hon. Fahie said that he was also told that the investment has a better return than the bank.
However, the Opposition Member stated that some questions remain unanswered: “They have not told us what type of shares, for me the type of shares needs to be clarified, and if the legislation is in place or is fully being adhered to in this venture of these shares being offered. For example, are the shares the preferred shares that guarantee returns on your investment no matter what happens or are they common shares which is ownership of the company without any guaranteed return…but the largest question that we must ask is, is this investment program being developed and now implemented because of the obvious shortfall of financing the project from the loan and the ports,” Hon. Fahie asked.
“Madame Speaker asking persons to invest in these projects without answering these questions is dangerous. We see a lot of these schemes were done a lot of places before by some of the same persons, and a lot of those persons are in jail. Madame Speaker, I am not going to sit down here, whether I am popular after this or not and let this kind of things happen in my country without lending my voice to it. Analyze it, and the way I see it and to tell the people of this country how I see it based on the information available,” the First District Representative further stated.
Last month the BVI Ports Authority sent out a press release asking BVI Belongers to consider investing in the Cruise Pier Expansion Project, through a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV).
The document stated that while there are no caps on how much one can invest, there is however, a minimum of $5,000, and that Belongers are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity. It was also noted that the SPV offer is categorized by Class A, B and C Preference Shares with annual dividends or returns of 5.75-percent, 6.75-percent and 8.45-percent, respectively.
“Following the same order of the different classes of shares (A, B and C), preference shares will be automatically redeemed after seven, ten and fifteen years,” the release stated..