Premier and Minister for Finance Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith announced that government intends to fight to ensure that in one form or the other there is satisfaction for the money that was invested in BVI Airways.
The announcement was made by the Premier during his statement to the Territory on 1st August. In that address the BVI Leader mentioned that there are two options on the table to deal with the BVI Airways debacle, which became a Territorial concern on 18th July, following the receipt of an open letter from the company.
The open letter announced that the anticipated Tortola/Miami flights that the Government injected $7M to secure might not happen because the company is broke. The letter also announced that the staff of the airline were sent home.
Weeks later and Premier Smith is even more determine to see this situation resolved in the interest of the BVI. He told the public on Tuesday: “This Government will fight with every ounce of strength to make sure that BVI Airways makes good on its commitments to this Territory and if it cannot or will not do so, that the people of this Territory are compensated for that loss.”
In its open letter issued last month BVI Airways heaped blame for its inability to fly on the government. The airline maintained that the blame for the present no-flight situation should not fall squarely on their shoulder because the company said that it has done its part. “We have the planes, the organization and have secured all the difficult regulatory approvals. However, improvements to the airport required under our contract to meet basic commercially acceptable standards for processing passenger volume of this size have not been completed.”
However, in a rebuttal on 19th July Premier Smith stated that Government did meet its obligations: “The Government of the Virgin Islands recognising the need to improve airlift into the Territory for our visitors and residents alike, entered into an agreement with BVI Airways to provide the company with $7 million to operate direct flights between Miami and the British Virgin Islands. The Government has provided all the financial support agreed between ourselves and BVI Airways, and furthermore, the Airport Authority has put in place most of what was agreed to enhance the arrivals and departure experience of BVI Airways passengers including an office, additional seating, air conditioning and two ticket counters.”
“The Airport Authority is awaiting definite word on the time of commencement of flight operations to complete any further arrangements specific to BVI Airways. Having provided the agreed support, this Government and people are awaiting the commencement of the much anticipated direct Miami/ BVI flights,” the Premier added.
- Source: BVIHotpress.com