MPs Expected to Approve SDO Today [Passed]

March 28, 2011

Bermuda 101[Updated - SDO passed] Marking the fourth time the bill has come up for debate, the revised Tucker’s Point Special Development Order [SDO] is back before MPs in the House of Assembly today [Mar.28], and is widely expected to pass.

The original SDO passed in the House of Assembly March 1st, with votes 2-1 in favour of the SDO. As in the Senate, the PLP members of the House all voted in favour of the bill, while the UBP voted against.

Approximately 4.5 hours into the first Senate debate on March 18, Senator David Burt [PLP] interrupted Senator Jeanne Atherden [UBP], and asked to “rise and report progress,” effectively ending the debate and delaying the vote.

Following the first Senate debate, the various parties worked together to make changes to the SDO.

On March 24th Government confirmed there were changes to the SDO. In the revised draft, the total donated land is around 41.12 acres, and the total development area removed was 18.421 acres. A copy of the sitemap here.

In the second Senate debate of the revised SDO on March 25th, it passed by a vote of 7-4. All three UBP Senators voted against the SDO, all five PLP Senators in favour, while the three Independent Senators split their votes 2-1 in favour.

The vote in the House today is expected to follow the same path of the previous vote in the House, as well as the two previous Senate debates – with all PLP MPs voting in favour of the SDO, which as they hold the clear majority in the House will likely see the bill pass.

Items on the Order Paper for today include The Morgan’s Point Resort Act 2011, The Bail Amendment Act 2011, Consideration of Supplementary Estimates No. 2 for Financial Year 2002/2003 to 2009/10, The Firearms Amendment Act 2011.

Updates posted as the day progresses. You can tune in live on FM105:

Update 7:30pm: Minister of Environment, Planning and Infrastructure Strategy Walter Roban said, “During proceedings in the Senate on March 18, the desire was expressed that the Government pause, reflect on the concerns raised, and return with a compromise that addressed those concerns and issues. We immediately set out to continue consultations, to listen to the voices of the people and to address the concerns raised before returning with a proposal that could be supported. From the outset, this Government has endeavoured to demonstrate by its very actions that it wishes to conduct itself with a degree of openness that is perhaps unprecedented in Bermuda.”

“I am pleased that the public took full advantage of the opportunity that this Government enabled for full and open public debate on the merits of the Order. We are thrilled that such a robust debate occurred, for it stands as a highpoint of our island home’s maturing democracy.”

“We are confident that all involved understand the importance of enhancing our Tourism product and re-building that most critical pillar of our economy,” said the Minister.

The House recently approved an amendment to the Development and Planning Act 1974 that dictates that all SDO’s will from this point forward be subject to Parliamentary and thereby public scrutiny. The Minister reminded the House of this today by saying, “ …as a result of that amendment public involvement, as it relates to these types of Orders, will become the norm and not the exception. It’s a new day for democracy in Bermuda.”

Update 2:30pm: As expected, the SDO has passed. MPs came back after lunch, and after Mr Swan finished, and Wayne Furbert [PLP] spoke, the vote was taken and the revised version of the SDO has passed. It was a roll call vote and passed 18-7. MPs have now moved on to the Morgan’s Point Resort Act 2011.

Update 12:31pm: Mr Bean finishes, Charles Swan [UBP] begins. They are now adjourning for lunch, to resume again at 2pm. So far, it has gone as expected, and this is seen by many as more of a formality with the SDO sure to pass.

Update 12:24pm: Mr Bean finishes, Tourism & Business Minister Patrice Minors begins. Minister Minors reads from a letter from Rosewood.

Update 12:21pm: Mr Bean says the Opposition is objecting just for the sake of objecting. Ms Gordon-Pamplin interrupts ask that he withdraw the comments, Mr Bean says there is no chance of that.

Update 12:12pm: Ms Pat Gordon-Pamplin finishes, Marc Bean [PLP] begins, talks about the 40 acres being given, says the SDO will benefit the country.

Update 12:02pm: Mr Richards finishes, Pat Gordon-Pamplin [UBP] begins, said they really did not have the opportunity to study some of the changes.

Update 12:00pm: Mr Richards quotes Malcolm X saying we have been hoodwinked and bamboozled, and said he is still not convinced of its viablity. Said Tuckers Point had the temerity to tell them they are making money, but the press reports they are losing a million a month. Says how can we trust someone with a forked tongue.

Update 11:55am: Mr Richards says building residences is not tourism. He said he is convinced this is a property development company masquerading as a hotel property. Compares it to NFL, says it a misdirection play, says Tuckers Point is really smart, and they made everyone think it was a tourism project, and the first thing they take off the table is the same lot they were going to add hotel units on.

Update 11:49am: Minister Scott finishes, Bob Richards [UBP] begins by saying be careful what you ask for, you may get it.

Update 11:38am: Minister Scott says it is important to send a message to investors that we are open for business, as if not they will continue to go to Jamaica, Bahamas and other islands. Mr Pettingill interrupts, says they get casino licences in other islands as well. Speaker Lowe asks to get back on track.

Update 11:28am: Mr Pettingill concludes, Minister Michael Scott begins

Update 11:22am: Mr Pettingill says he would like to see people out, protesting and honking horns to say stop the shootings.

Update 11:18am: Speaker Stanley Lowe asks Mr Pettingill to speak on the order. Mr Pettingill was absent in the last SDO debate in the House, and his present position on the SDO is not clear.

Update 11:13am: Mr Barritt finishes, Mark Pettingill [BDA] begins

Update 11:11am: Mr Barritt said it may not be long before Tuckers Point is back for another SDO, says he is not convinced the order is not to bail out the hotel. Says the House will not get a yes from him, and he is not sure that they will get any yes votes from members on his side. Finishes by saying “Shame, shame, shame.”

Update 11:03am: Mr Barritt said it has the “look and feel of a backroom deal” and it seems to be rushed through both in the House and Senate. Says he just got the papers a few minutes ago, and even with ones best effort one cannot read it all in only a few minutes. Says if it is so important, why can they not slow down.

Update 10:59am: Minister Roban concludes, John Barritt [UBP] begins. Mr Barritt said he will give a “shout out” and “props” for those who spoke out, and said the people who assisted in getting a better deal deserve to be commended, as they did what their Government did not do. Speaks of the 40 acres to be donated, saying it is a positive.

Update 10:52am: Minister Roban says this is not a bailout of a corporate entity, but an effort to assist tourism. He said òverseas investors are watching this development very closely, and a vote yes shows we are open for business, while a vote no shows the opposite.

Update 10:44am: Minister Roban is speaking to the specifics of the revised SDO, removal of Quarry Hill, units reduced from 54 to 45, approx. 40 acres donated to Bermuda etc. The full changes can be read here

Update 10:41am: Environment Minister Walter Roban is now speaking on the SDO. Stresses this is the first time Government has brought a SDO for public scrutiny.

Update 10:36am: The SDO has just been brought up, and there is some dispute whether it should be debated today. Speaker Stanley Lowe overules John Barritt’s [UBP] objection and says it can proceed.

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  1. BEST’s Concern Over Tucker’s Point Application | Bernews.com | August 28, 2012
  1. Sarah says:

    I just wish SOMEONE would do the right thing here.

    • Sigh says:

      Sarah,

      when you say the “right thing”, do you mean do what you want them to do?

      • Sarah says:

        The majority of Bermudians are united in disagreement with this SDO, for various reasons. I am among them, yes. It isn’t what’s right for me personally. The government’s job is to listen to and react to the needs of the people, something they are clearly not doing here.

        • Sigh says:

          But how do you know that the majority are against this?

          • Sarah says:

            Haven’t you heard them?

            • bermymon says:

              White people aren’t “real” Bermudians!

              • Sarah says:

                Oh my bad. I’ll shut my mouth now.

              • ???? says:

                Ummmm, what? Care to explain what you mean?

              • Kim Smith says:

                I certainly hope you are a white guy saying this… facetiously!

            • Sigh says:

              I have heard people…but they won’t hardly quantify as a majority. I have heard people speak in favor of it as well.

              Also many people have been silent. There is no way to in fact measure their level of support or opposition.

              • Sarah says:

                You are clearly determined to believe that the SDO is unsupported, so I won’t argue any further.
                Would you please direct your attention to ricky’s comment? I’d like to know your thoughts.

                • sigh says:

                  actually, sarah you are the one that believes the SDO is unsupported…

                  • Sarah says:

                    I was thinking about too many things at once, yes, you are the one determined to support it.

  2. Terry says:

    Don’t worry, they will do the right thing for “SOMEONE”.

  3. Triangle Drifter says:

    I’m lost…the tourism component of the development was dropped, saved for a later SDO probably. This is nothing but a bailout at the expense of the enviroment done by the PLP gang. They make themselves look very silly chirping away about tourism when no additional hotel beds will be seen…this time.

    • Sigh says:

      Triangle,

      Instead of looking at it from a purely “Tucker’s Point specific” issue, have you thought that it could be in the interest of Bermuda’s national tourism perspective? Whereas if this 5 star facility, which granted, may not have been managed correctly etc, was to fail that it could impact any future hotel plans in Bermuda and also impact negatively on the housing market?

      • ricky says:

        Explain this to us in detail, Sigh. First, this is not a 5 Star property. In fact, Bermuda does not have a 5 Star or 5 Diamond property. What do you know of the Rosewood Resorts that convinces you that they could turn this property around? Would you say that Rosewood is in the same bracket as say the Raphael Hotels or the Mandarin? One could make the argument that Rosewood fits somewhere in between. Note, Sigh, neither the Raphael nor Mandarin could make Elbow Beach profitable, Now that we have finished with the myth that putting this product in the hands of Rosewood is some form of panacea I would like for you Sigh to enlighten us on how the housing market would be negatively impacted

        • Sigh says:

          Ok, whether TCP is defined 5 star or not, it is the most luxurious resort in Bermuda. The point that was being made is that it will reflect negatively on Bermuda and could cause other potential hotel developments to think twice on investing in bermuda. Do we really want that?
          Rosewood is a internationally reknowned brand – all you have to do is visit their websites and read about their brand to see the level that they operate at.
          Of course the SDO is not a cure all, but it is something given to assist TCP and Rosewood on coming to an agreement to further promote our island as a whole. If TCP fails, then the island fails as well, and there will be a multitude of effects to our island, not just land being built on.

          • Rose says:

            Sigh I can’t believe you fell for that line – other developers have been welcomed people would love to see Sonnesta, Lantana and Club Med developed (hell they even knocked down the old building to help them develop it at our cost). I have no problem with development in the right places – just not on protected land.

          • My two cents says:

            So you actually believe that a hotel open LESS THAN TWO YEARS will cause 400 year old Bermuda to fail? Me thinks you have been duped as that isn’t even logical.

          • My two cents says:

            If Tuckers Point is NOT a five star hotel WHY ARE YOU AND OTHERS calling it one? Another lie wonder how many more are coming down the pipeline? Oh shucks “we had to deceive you” because you people only know what we want you to know..half the story… Oh Bermuda’s only five star resort blah, blah, blah, oh its not REALLY a five star resort. I truly wonder what star it would be if rated by an agency. Five star my ass.

          • ricky says:

            Nonsense, pure and utter nonsense. The GOB have provided the Tuckers Point Group with major concessions. In fact, the Tuckers Point(TP) Development Agreement kick started the Hotel Concessions Act. On top of millions of dollars of potential concessions, TP received the backing of the GOB on their need for a credit guaranty to ensure that the primary lender came on board. Additionally, land was rezoned and the agreement was changed and changed and changed. The original agreement called for a hotel to be built in lock-step with the residential components (free standing homes ad fractional units).Then it was amended to allow the residential (free standing houses) to be built first to generate revenue and give comfort to the primary lender. Then the number of hotel rooms was drastically cut in half and the fractional units where now categorized as traditional hotel units. I could go on and on and on but I think that even you will now get the point and that simply is that the GOB bent over backwards for TP. TP couldn’t ask for more, no stop, they came back for more and won’t stop. Potential new hotel investors would not fault the GOB if they declined the most recent request. However, I know that I join a growing group of PLP supporters in saying that I am done with the PLP and have finally moved on. This is just another sad episode in the last 13 years under a party that many of us had so much hope for. We have supported this party in the face of indefensible actions. We have used the now tired, “you accepted this stuff under the UBP” way to often for it to have any credibility. Actually it was never credible and most of us knew it but we couldn’t find a more logical response.

            • LOL (original) says:

              I’m with you ricky but we don’t seem to have an alternitive not saying that people from both sides aren’t smart and could run the contry but both have personallities that wouldn’t allow them to it seems. Maybe we should adopt the Canadian thing to do and every couple of elections vote for the different party. Might keep’em working for who they are suppose to be working for in the first place, the people.

              LOL

          • One Love says:

            You are placing a great deal of hope in the Rosewood Brand. Operating a fine hotel in parts of the Caribbean, the Far East, Mexico, the Middle East, right to work states in the US is far less difficulty then operating a profitable hotel in Bermuda. The cost of doing business in Bermuda is extremely high,largely as a result of the very high labour cost and I’m not knocking the right of the worker to be fairly paid–just stating a fact.Raphael Hotels and Resorts and the Mandarin Hotels & Resorts operate great hotel product as well. I would go as far as saying that the Mandarin brand is that much better than Rosewood. The Elbow Beach resort have been managed by both Raphael and Mandarin and neither provided profits to the owners.

      • Al says:

        Sigh, it wouldn’t fail as hotel. It would fail as a financial transaction.

        Tucker’s Point (and Newstead and The Reefs) used a flawed business model. They were residential real estate deals that will not be repeated no matter what happens.

  4. Hmmmmm says:

    Will no-one rid us of the Speaker of the House? He was simply awful on the procedure today. Unfortunately, I am forced again to agree with the Opposition. Mr. Barritt was right but got shut down. The tragedy is that the Government isn’t railroading the Order through, they just don’t know how to handle Parliamentary procedure. Stanley, 43 years is plenty good enough. thank you and goodbye.

  5. Terry says:

    Stanley is nothing more than a House Mother. Nothing personal but when you hands are tied by party. Otherwise, nice fella.

  6. Kim Smith says:

    It seems to me that both the lower and upper Houses are captive by the government since hearing an analyst say that the President of the Senate usually votes with the government. It seems therefore that we actually don’t have a democracy here in Bermuda.

    • Hmmmmm says:

      To be clear, that is not new. That is the Constitution.Alf Oughton voted with the Government as did Albert Jackson. To consider an elected Senate with Independent appointees requires a new Constitution.

    • Sigh says:

      Kim Smith, if this in fact truth, then you would also say that there wasn’t a democracy in Bermuda pre-1998 and that if another Party were to assume power then it would also be the same thing.

      • Kim Smith says:

        Fair comment. I do have to do my homework to see how the Senate was structured under the former Government. Perhaps it was the same… but in voting for the PLP government in 1998 I had the understanding that they were going to operate differently than those they criticised for so many years… and perhaps for good reason.

        • Sigh says:

          Kim,

          the government doesn’t structure the Senate. The Constitution speaks to how the Senate should be structured. 5 Government Senators, 3 Opposition, and 3 Independent. Regardless of who the government of the day is.

          You say you voted for PLP and hoped they would operate differently, but what does the structure of the senate and who supports who have to do with that?

          • Terry says:

            For the betterment of us all, which can be constued many ways.
            This SDO is not about Bermuda. Lord, you sound like a lawyer I went to school with but I am sure you will correct.

            As for Kims “operate differently” I can deal with that. And it does have a lot to do with it. It’s the structure as you penned. Reminds me of the 50′s…Party Lines.

          • Kim Smith says:

            Well… I was thinking that if the Government of the day chooses the Senators and they have influence on who the ‘independent’ Senators are, then they only need one of the ‘independent’ votes to win 6-5, no?

            • Sigh says:

              The Independent senators are selected/appointed by the Governor. Not the Government.

              • LOL (original) says:

                Who recommends them?

                LOL

                • In General says:

                  That is the key – based on our Constitution the senetors (including the independants) are recommended by the Premier.

                  • LOL (original) says:

                    So what your sayin is Sigh was misleading readers by not telling the whole story. What a suprise.

                    LOL

        • Hmmmmm says:

          And for the avoidance of doubt, the British have made it crystal clear to us that they will not entertain anymore tinkering with the Constitution. The next time we come and see them for change it has to be for independence. They gave us the platform with the 1968 Constitution and we refuse to take the plunge.

  7. Ridiculous says:

    It saddens me how all these people can protest a hotel being built…but have never taken to the streets for education, crime, violence, or anything that is affecting the wider majority.

    But cut down a tree, and here comes the protestors.

    • wow! says:

      Ridiculous: you are Ridiculous!! Seriously! What kind of comment is that!!!!???? There is so much to say against that failure of a comment of yours that I am actually speechless……….

      • Terry says:

        I agree 100% Wow. There is a differance between all of the above to agree and much of what “Ridiculous” states has been addressed. Hundreds turn out virgles of deceased recently by madmen. Many do the same for education, crime et al. Many work behind the scenes and many are on the front line day and night.

        It goes beyong a “Hotel”. Get with dude. Research the issue instead of relying on what you read and reaction. Damn…..

        Good thing all I got is some cheap beer…….I need one.

        (authors note:- No trees were injured in this process)

    • Spot on! says:

      Ridiculous – I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU!! And I have made that comment before and got trashed just like you are getting. You are right – have we ever had a “honk your horn” protest regarding gun violence? Drugs? Murderers getting off scott-free? Education for the next generation? No, no, no. Sure, there are vigils for those gunned down but isn’t that a little late at that point? It completely baffles me that when the wealthy white man’s club is about to go under, the PLP are there to help out. That makes no logical sense to me. Clearly there is MUCH more to this than any of us knows or may ever know. Someone is making out like a bandit on this one!

      I’m with you – HONK for the future generation! HONK for tougher gun laws! HONK for a whole lot of other things that affect the average Bermudian! SMDH!!!

      • bermymon says:

        Have you or ridiculous started your own movement against these issues? Or are you waiting for someone else to do it for you?

      • LOL (original) says:

        See below. Honk your horn for Government to spend wisely so as to keep some money for the average Bda BWTF. Deaf Dumb Blind just an a side dumb meaning unable to talk.

        LOL

      • Todd says:

        Well…. get off your heiny and start your campaign then… don’t wait for BEST to do it for you.

        • LOL (original) says:

          As it takes money to campaign I don’t think I would get to far and besides I’m a not part of the rich white crowd and I’m white double wammy whos going to listen to the ideas I have.Trust I’ve been to the UBP and the PLP. The BDA was hopeful but they turned out to be shy of real ideas to take the contry forward.

          LOL

      • My two cents says:

        The reason people find your comments utterly RIDICULOUS is because we are STILL WAITING to hear when you and your friend above are organizing this????? When are you going to do this????? What is the date???? We are ALL waiting to hear from you…..

    • Al says:

      Ridiculous: A hotel won’t be built. Period.

    • My two cents says:

      It TRULY saddens me the amount of people on this island that want other people to do the work for them. Why aren’t you organizing it if you are SO passionate about education, crime, violence? Why are you expecting others to do EVERYTHING for you?????? Wait, let me guess you vote for PLP and wouldn’t dare be caught protesting against them???? So in the end you want the people that don’t count to fight your battles????? Please clarify anything above that is not correct. I have assumed a lot, but still wondering when you and your friends are organizing a “taking to the streets”

  8. Stuart Hayward says:

    Ridiculous writes:
    “It saddens me how all these people can protest a hotel being built…but have never taken to the streets for education, crime, violence, or anything that is affecting the wider majority.
    But cut down a tree, and here comes the protestors.”

    You don’t know that! You don’t know who “these people” are or what they do.

    I DO know that many of the people who took part in the SDO campaign are also involved in other community issues, including education, crime, violence, families in crisis, tourism, youth issues, and more. Shame on you for trying to denigrate them in this way.

    • LOL (original) says:

      It’s what the supporters do when the choose to see only one type of person opposing them hence race will all ways be a factor in their judgment the irony is crystal clear. Oh and by the way there have been many ideas floated by All Bermudians the only ones that get heard are the supporters every one else is called neo-fascists. “They want to lock us all up” was that not at least one example. This statement even implies many things that is stated and if by others would get the cry of being racist but this is the mind frame Bermuda is dealing with. There have been numerous education reforms repeated over and over again but certain people are afraid to enact them due to possibly not making a popular decision and loss of votes. The ball lies squarly at the only body that can apparently pass any law they want to in the house the only power the people truly has is the vote before and after that we are at the mercy of the few that control the power.

      LOL

    • Dragging A Lure says:

      Stuart Hayward,
      I thought you did not respond to pseudonyms. Things must be slow.

      Drag

  9. Can you handle this says:

    No surprises here..Just watch “The End of Poverty” on Youtube.com it is an hour and 44 min Documentary…History repeating itself

  10. Honestly says:

    Let me get this straight….Our Government passed the SDO so we look “Open for business”?

    Okay so why aren’t we doing the same for international business? Stop the pressure on work permits/land licenses and the economy will stop falling even further into dispair.

    I’m Bermudian and can’t believe how arrogant, cocky and rude we’ve been to international business. No wonder our restaurants are empty, our retail is at all time lows, rents are falling daily and construction is at a stand still. Bermuda don’t be fooled by our Goverment – all of this is not completely because of the economic crash – the majority of it is from our own stupid Governments antics.

  11. Terry says:

    Spot on……bwhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaDamn Callhonealitz………

  12. Terry says:

    Well I just figured out whom the BDA rep is here……bite me…..

  13. Ring Master says:

    The ineptness and stupidity of Minister Roban and others of the PLP Government is staggering. Ed Trippe is probably still laughing on the ski slopes about the deal he got. Suggestion: when dealing with the big boys, send in the best and try and get 10% off the table. To say Bermuda has won because TP has given to Bermuda land which is polluted, marsh or has covenants on it shows the lack of business acumen (smarts). Just wait until the next SDO (from whover) is requested!

    • Amnesia revisited... says:

      My word , you just jogged my memory re: their ineptitude over the Morgan’s Point cleanup negotiations and the Longbird Bridge deal ..

      Back to sleep I go …..

  14. My two cents says:

    Just how unintelligent does an individual have to be to not understand why a group of environmentalists and conservationists aren’t protesting for crime and violence? I mean come on people, use your brain every once in awhile. Your comparisons are apples and oranges.

  15. Ray Charlton says:

    @ Ridiculous:
    I was at two of the marches against the gun violence right after the good friday murder. Were you there?
    I will lend my voice and efforts to marching aginst voilence but this is not something that the government can legislate against.

    The voilence together with education are the predominant problems that affect our island home today. I think about these problems often but I am at a loss, as I do not know what we can do to turn these out of control issues around.
    If you or anyone else can suggest a way to get us back on track and you need for someone to come out and rally people to get involved and show support, I will be there.