Chairman of the BVI Ports Authority Mr. Kelvin Hodge has indicated that he will be tendering his resignation as the National Unity Government announces plans to appoint a new board.

This was confirmed by Premier and Minister of Finance Dr. The Honourable Natalio Wheatley who made the disclosure on Wednesday, May 11 during a press conference.

He said his government has commenced the process of immediate reforms within the public sector.

“In regard to the Ports Authority, I have been in communication with the Chairman of the Board, and he has indicated that he will tender his resignation. The term of the remaining members will expire within days, and a new board of suitably qualified persons will be appointed,” he stated.

Security concerns prompted the decision

Premier Wheatley said the decision to appoint a new board stem from the security concerns that resulted after the recent arrest of the current Managing Director Oleanvine Maynard, who is presently detained in Florida, United States, on serious charges of conspiracy to import a controlled substance (cocaine), conspiracy to engage in money laundering and attempted money laundering.

“This decision was not taken lightly. However, given the remaining concerns about security at the ports after the arrest of Managing Director Ms. Oleanvine Maynard and the details of her activities described in the affidavit filed in the US courts, we must refresh the Board so its integrity is beyond reproach,” he stated.

He added, “The legal and practical issues involved in terminating the appointment of the current Managing Director are being examined, and updates in this regard will be forthcoming.”

The first task is to replace the MD

The Minister of Finance said the first task of the new board will be to appoint an interim Managing Director and to commence the recruitment process for someone to be confirmed in the position.

He said the other security concerns at the port will be addressed in a joint initiative involving Governor His Excellency John Rankin and Commissioner of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force Mark Collins.

“In terms of the security of the ports, I have scheduled an urgent meeting with the Governor and Commissioner of Police to discuss some of the security concerns and what measures can be taken to address them,” Dr. Wheatley stated.

Change coming to Statutory Boards

Premier Wheatley also informed the public to expect changes in the several Statutory Boards that exist in the BVI.

He said, “I want to remind everyone what I said before. Change will be hard. It will be painful. People we know and care about will be affected. However, in the end, it will be for the better.”

“I will be coming back to you soon to share the Government of National Unity’s approach to Statutory Boards, because in several cases, change is urgently needed in terms of their current composition and how we deal with appointments more generally. It is not good practice to have the same persons sitting on multiple Statutory Boards, and we will make the necessary changes in accordance with best practice,” Premier Wheatley further explained.

The premier said he will be making further announcements to present his government’s comprehensive approach to tackling this imminent issue.