By Nevispages.com Reporter
Charlestown Nevis (February 8, 2019) – The leader of the Nevis Reformation Party, Mr. Robelto Hector was in an angry mood when this media house caught up with him on Friday, February 08, 2019. Mr.Hector was reacting to a press release by the Nevis Island Administration dated Thursday February 7, 2019 which indicated that the NIA had entered into an agreement with a company, B & L Worldwide Ltd to “privatize” operations at the Vance Amory International Airport.
Due to the sketchy nature of the Government press release, no actual terms of the agreement were included. As such then, the scope investment and operations of B&L Worldwide Ltd involvement remains a mystery and is opened to speculation.
An angry Mr.Hector fired off:
“This is a clear acknowledgement by Brantley and his Cabinet that they have failed the people of Nevis miserably. They have failed to make the airport viable and their only response is to turn it over to a St.Kitts politician who is a political ally of Brantley.”
Hector further added, “The Integrity in Public Life Act and Ordinance requires all Government bids and contracts be open for a transparent tender process opened to all in the general public. Where is the transparency in this process? Here is what is known so far: the NIA has entered into an agreement with a company that is not registered in Nevis, whose Managing Director, Mr. Jonel Powell has no prior experience in managing airports. It appears that Mr. Powell’s only qualification to get this deal is that he, as a candidate for PAM, who is a member of Unity, is the political ally of Brantley, who is also a member of Unity”
Hector went on to say; “It is very strange that the Premier of Nevis, Federal Minister of both Foreign Affairs and Aviation, the local Minister for the Port authority was not at the signing ceremony. It is clear to me that he is distancing himself from the process until he hopes the public uproar dies down. He marched out the members of his Cabinet while he was off island. This is a classic ploy of avoidance.”
Hector stated further, “Neither the Chairman of NASPA nor any of the Board members were present at the ceremony. This is very, very strange and muddy.”
Hector continued,“Why would Brantley “sell out” Nevis’ Airport to a St.Kitts politician? Why did B&L Worldwide Ltd not seek to invest and take over the airport in St.Kitts? This is a direct and disturbing insult to all Nevisians. This continues a trend by Brantley and his Cabinet of running Nevis without any transparency. One only has to look at the pier at Oualie, the proposed land give away at Indian Castle and now this”
Hector added forcefully,“The NRP Party will be vigilante in protecting the interest of the people of Nevis. This is only the beginning. The Party will be launching a full investigation into this and all other deals that this Government had done with the resources of Nevis.A young man asked me this question in town today, who is the “B” in B and L Worldwide Ltd? to which I replied, NRP will find out.”
At his monthly press conference on Thursday January 31, 2019, Premier Brantley indicated that the Vance Amory International Airport will be leased to B&L World Wide Ltd. who will then have responsibly for construction, operations and development of the facility. However, one week later at the signing of the Concession Agreement, Mr. Jonel Powell, Managing Director and Legal Counsel of B&L World Wide Ltd. in direct contradicted the Premier when he “assured that the situation is not one in which the Investor would take over the airport. He noted that under the agreement the NASPA is expected to continue its operations at the facility with revenue collections flowing to the NIA.”
Further, Mr. Powell indicated, “my clients had preliminary discussions even in terms of a private jet facility.” He did not name his clients nor did the NIA report to the people of Nevis about the clients of Mr. Jonel Powell.
Mr. Hector noted that the leasing of the single airport on Nevis to an inexperienced Powell who represents unknown clients, who would be in charge of the facility, could lead to a plethora of problems for the island of Nevis. Hector hopes that in the absence of credible information surrounding this deal, that the island would not be blacklisted as a security risk with possible issues of money laundering, human trafficking and the importation of contraband.