BVI Airways never operated commercial flights between Beef Island and Miami as promised. A new report from the auditor general details how the deal came about and eventually fell apart. (Photo: BVI AIRWAYS FACEBOOK PAGE)

Premier Andrew Fahie told the House of Assembly on Friday that information on the botched BVI Airways deal is “missing” or on a “deleted” hard drive and that he is working on retrieving the information.

“I am utmostly surprised,” Mr. Fahie said. “This just disappeared into thin air.”

Former Premier Dr. Orlando Smith disputed the claims in a Facebook post on Tuesday and said that no information related to BVI Airways on the government drive was deleted aside from copies of answers to questions that were delivered in the HOA and reported in the media.

Mr. Fahie (R-D1) added that he is launching an internal audit to clarify the situation.

“Since taking office I have tried my best to get this information requested but have been stonewalled at every attempt,” Mr. Fahie said in response to questions from Julian Fraser (R-D3) about BVI Airways. “I do intend to be persistent with my attempts to get information as requested and will provide this honourable House with the information once received.”

He added that the previous administration had paid a company $200,000 on the eve of the election to search for the missing funds, but that so far it had come up with nothing.

Dr. Smith also disputed this claim in his Facebook post, stating that the firm was selected in August, “long before an election date was even considered.”

Mr. Fahie did provide a timeline of the government’s payments to BVI Airways: $500,000 on Jan. 22, 2016; $2.4 million on March 11, 2016; $2.1 million on May 5, 2016; $2,007,000 on July 15, 2016; and $200,000 on Aug. 26, 2016.