British Virgin Islands

Saturday, Dec 04, 2021

BVI saved hundreds of millions per day with barges — Premier

BVI saved hundreds of millions per day with barges — Premier

Barge operators hired last year to host the government’s radar equipment and assist in detecting smuggling activity have saved the government untold millions, Premier Andrew Fahie has claimed.

When asked at a press conference last week to disclose the total cost of the barges’ services to date, Premier Fahie was unable to.

However, he offered to provide the complete and accurate figure at a later time.

“As a matter of fact, it would have cost us in the hundreds of millions per day, had we had COVID-19 and persons [were] allowed to enter into our border. Or if not hundreds of millions; close to that per day,” Fahie stated.

To get an idea of the spending, a previously released post-Cabinet statement indicated the government paid a daily total of $11,600 for two barges between December 2020 and January 2021.

Questioned at the press conference as to whether the BVI could have employed its own platforms instead, Premier Fahie said, “the territory didn’t have any [radar platforms] to that extent.”

Great dividends

The Premier insisted the decision to use the barges was not made by his government, but was instead brought to his government to approve the payment.

“It was not a decision made by government but – in terms of the payment – when they brought it we agreed because of the procedures and all they went through,” he stated.

According to Premier Fahie, the decision to employ the use of the barges as part of the Joint Task Force (JTF) law enforcement activities “paid extremely great dividends”.

He added: “The JTF is a team that I respect and if they made the decision and brought it to government as a solution, I’m more than happy to support my law enforcement team.”

“A lot of things now have been done since then – that was just a filling gap time,” the Premier continued.

The Premier further disclosed that the barges are not being used at this time and the government is working on other solutions.

He added that government is working on a number of permanent fixtures for border security measures but couldn’t comment at this time because of national security reasons.


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