The company became a concern because the public was only made aware of its existence days after former Premier Andrew Fahie and BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA) boss Oleanvine Maynard were arrested in Miami on drug and money laundering charges.
This left people to wonder whether there were any connections between the two situations but speaking at a press conference last Friday, Rymer said that based on his investigation, the physical location of the company was also used to host the BVI Tourist Board and the Shipping Registry.
“It was intended to be a multi-agency space for the purpose of marketing and promoting tourism, ship registration and perhaps in the future serve as a base in Miami for Virgin Islanders, residents and students requiring assistance while abroad,” Rymer said.
“In addition, it could potentially serve as a business hub for BVI entrepreneurs requiring office or meeting space during travel. The office is strategically situated near to the Miami airport,” he added.
Rymer, who is also Deputy Premier, said the company was registered not to engage in any revenue-generating business. And according to the information he said he’s received, the establishment of the company required a minimum of three directors.
“The Directors’ names are Roxane Sylvester, Deputy Chair of the BVIPA Board, Kenesha Sprauve; Member of the BVIPA Board of Directors and Chairman of the BVI Tourist Board; and Oleanvine Maynard the Managing Director of the BVIPA. These persons are holding the shares of the company in the interest of the BVI Ports Authority,” Rymer said.
Furthermore, Rymer stated he was advised the COVID-19 pandemic meant the office has not officially been opened but it was managed by the BVIPA.
“In 2022, the BVI Tourist Board positioned a Business Development Manager responsible for sales, marketing, and promotion of tourism in the Southeast Region of United States. The space has also since been utilised for government agency meetings whilst officials were on duty travel in the Miami area,” Rymer said.
“As Minister, I am conducting further inquiries, I have requested certain documents and information from the BVIPA, and when these are received and reviewed, I will be in a better position to determine whether any further action would be required and what that action should be”, the Deputy Premier said.
He admitted it would be too speculative to make further pronouncements on the matter without a more detailed investigation. However, Rymer reassured the resident the findings from the ongoing inquiries will be made public.
“I will, of course, advise the public on whatever further action – if any is necessary – is to be taken so that the public can be confident that its interests are secured,” Rymer said.
In the meantime, Rymer indicated that are steps are being taken to appoint to terminate the appointment of the current Managing Director (MD), Maynard, and appoint an interim MD “to secure the integrity of the BVIPA and that of the Virgin Islands ports”.
The government has been taking steps to ‘clean up’ the governance and management of the BVIPA. And last Wednesday, Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley announced the resignation of the Authority’s chairman. He said at the time that efforts will be made to compose a new board when the tenure of the current board expires in a few days.