(Photo Credit: Melissa Edwards/BVI Platinum News)
Former Premier of the Territory, Dr. D. Orlando Smith has rebutted some recent statements in the House of Assembly in relation to missing files tied to the BVI Airways saga.
On Friday, May 17, Premier, Hon. Andrew Fahie announced that he has ordered that an internal audit commence on May 20, to find details of the BVI Airways deal, which are reportedly missing. He was at the time responding to a series of questions about BVI Airways and the missing $7.2M from Opposition Member and Third District Representative, Hon. Julian Fraser.
Hon. explained to the House of Assembly that the files containing the information were deleted from the I drive.
However, in a statement to the media today, May 21, Dr. Smith insisted that no information was removed from the Government's I drive.
According to Dr. Smith, "Suffice to say no information relative to BVI Airways has been removed from Governments 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."
Dr. Smith also pointed out, "It would also not be true to say that the Ministry of Finance was not kept in the loop, as this was the Ministry that was at the forefront of the discussions with BVI Airways."
Hon. Fahie in address the House had stated, "My staff in the Premier’s Office work head in heels to help me as Premier, but the answers would make it seem as if they are not cooperating, but they are. A lot of things were done without most of their knowledge, so it is difficult for some of them to find some of this information. On the idrive is where they went, where the information is kept, but that has been deleted. So we are working feverishly to get that idrive retrieved and get it backed up so that we can get all of this information."
Dr. Smith also sought to point out that after deliberations with Cabinet and the AG office, a firm was selected last year to seek to recover monies spent on BVI Airways, "long before an election date was even considered."
His statement came in response to updates provided by Premier Fahie, which suggest that to date, the firm has not been able to recoup the monies, and further that he has noted some red flags.
According to Premier Fahie, "I want to tell this Honourable House I’ve had enough and the Governor's in charge of his section, but I have met a contract for $200,000 on the eve of election again, by the past administration, hiring a company to go look after for the $7.2M that they signed away. A new company to go look for the money that they sent away and pay new money to the company.”
"I didn’t want to blacklist any company, but I’ll just say it raised a red flag. But to date they aint find the money, but I’ve been made to understand they have more access to the idrive. I’ve been made to understand because this is what I’ve been told. I hope it isn’t so, but at the Premier’s Office it's deleted,” he added.
Dr. Orlando Smith's Statement:
Good afternoon 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.
It would also not be true to say that the Ministry of Finance was not kept in the loop, as this was the Ministry that was at the forefront of the discussions with BVI Airways.
I did promise that I would seek to recover monies spent on BVI Airways, and after much deliberation with Cabinet and the AGs office, a firm was selected in August of last year to do so. Long before an election date was even considered.