After countless delays, the government will finally be making the findings of the independent audit into the controversial $85M cruise pier and landside development public next week.
In an amended Order Paper for the House of Assembly, which was issued on Friday, January 11, it was stated that when the House meets on January 15, Premier and Finance Minister, Hon. Dr. D. Orlando Smith will lay on the table the Land and Pier Development Review, Tortola (August 2018) – Final Report by KPMG.
The audit was not on the Order Paper issued earlier in the week.
Interestingly, Hon. Mark Vanterpool, Minister for Communications and Works will immediately lay on the table, Review and Comments on the Cruise Pier Project Development – Audit Report submitted by KPMG & Charterland Property Surveyors.
This is said to be a response to the findings by the auditors.
After public pressure in January 2016, Premier Smith announced his decision to have an independent audit into the pier park project.
KPMG, an internationally-recognized firm, commenced the audit on the project in September 2016, and was expected to produce the findings within three months. KPMG was paid $194,000 to conduct the audit.
The project was executed under the BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA), which was at the time headed by former Managing Director, Claude Skelton Cline. The Ports Authority also falls under the Ministry of Communications and Works, which is led by Hon. Vanterpool.
The project, which has been at the centre of corruption allegations from its inception, had an initial budget of some $50M.
Former developer of the project, Mr. Hugh Darley, who had threatened to take the government to court over the project, had alleged that the government utilized cheap building materials and cut back on the number of buildings in the pier park, but ended up paying more than what was expected at the start of the project.
Darley had claimed that the project was to be built for $45-$50 million. He further alleged that some $10 million was overpaid to contractors and others on the marine works portion of the project.