Premier Says He Was Cautioned About Discussing BVI Airways Matter
Premier and Minister for Finance, Hon. Andrew Fahie said that he was cautioned to remain silent as it relates to the ongoing matter regarding BVI Airways.
Therefore, he declared that he could not provide answers to the questions about the matter when they were posed by members of the Opposition during the sitting of the House of Assembly on October 17.
The BVI Airways saga, which commenced in 2016 and has seen numerous shifts and turns, has been a matter of great discussion in the BVI. These conversations escalated days ago when it was discovered that the Attorney General filed an application in the US District Court of Columbia in an effort to take discovery from former BVI Government Attorney and BVI Airways Director, Lester Hyman, who is based in Washington DC.
Following this announcement of the court filing, there were speculations as to whether the Attorney General was instructed by this current or the former administration to do so. It is this question that Hon. Fraser took to the House of Assembly and posed to the Premier.
However, Premier Fahie noted that he could not say.
“Mr. Speaker, this entire matter regarding BVI Airways…is a matter before the court and is therefore prohibited from public comments and discussions. Meaning, I cannot tell you anything about it. I cannot talk about it at this time.”
The Premier was further prompted to give some information to which he responded, “It is in the court and it is in hot pursuit.”
During the previous administration, Hon. Fahie, who was at the time Leader of the Opposition, caused much to be revealed about the plane, its management, and the monies Government invested ($7.2M). In fact, during the election campaign, Hon. Fahie vowed to discover more about the BVI Airways matter. It is against this backdrop that Hon. Fraser followed up with a question about why Hon. Fahie was not saying much.
The Opposition member boldly questioned whether Hon. Fahie was guarding his response because he is now Premier.
“Mr. Speaker this is becoming a norm where one administration keeps covering for the other,” Hon. Fraser commented.
This comment caused the Premier to rise on a point of order, stating that he is seeking answers about the matter too.
“Mr. Speaker, the Member for the Third knows better. I was over there with him looking for the plane...I started to ring the bell...looking for the plane. Now I am over here looking for the plane. So, I don’t understand what cover up. I’m trying to get the $7.2M. I cannot say anything else, it’s in the court. The reason it’s in the court, they’re looking for the plane or the money.”
In noting how sensitive the matter is, Hon. Fahie mentioned that he was cautioned before arriving in the House of Assembly.
“Before coming today, I was advised to answer this way,” he said.
The Premier speaking further about the caution he received said, “Mr. Speaker, what they tell me is watch yuh mouth because the thing is in the court...The member knows that it’s in court. I have to leave this thing alone; let it take its course and then Barry say we will hear if we will get back the money or not. I cannot comment on the plane nor the court case, nor the files nor anything with BVI Airways. It’s in the courts.”
Meanwhile, Hon. Fahie said that he is eagerly awaiting the outcome of the matter to note what will happen next.
“When the time comes, whatever it is to be revealed will be revealed. If we can get back the money or not, I don’t know. I can’t say who innocent or who guilty, or if anything went wrong or it was just procedural errors, I don’t know. The Member for the Third could rest assured that when that time comes he would know and so would me and everyone else. So please member, don’t feel like anything is being covered up,” the Premier added.