Gibbons: ‘Parliament Should Have Been Informed’

May 18, 2012 | 12 Comments

Following reports that Government signed a multi million contract with PHC in 2008, Government moved to clarify the issue saying that the finances being distributed are solely dependent on the PHC facility being completed, while Opposition MP Dr Grant Gibbons said Parliament should have been informed at the time the agreement was signed.

Yesterday the RG reported that, “The Ministry of Education has agreed to pay PHC as much as $10 million, spread over a 20-year period, in usage fees for schools in the zone to use the club’s $4 million multi-dimensional complex.”

The statement in response from Government said, “This morning the Ministry of Education moved to ensure clarity regarding reports in yesterday’s and today’s Royal Gazette surrounding the Ministry’s financial commitment to Pembroke Hamilton Club (PHC).

“Regrettably the stories have caused some concern in the community. And the Ministry wishes to clarify that it is not committed to provide any funds to the PHC until such time that their facility is completed and public school students have access to it.

“The Ministry further advised that there was a contract signed in 2008 and the finances being distributed are solely dependent on a completed PHC facility.”

Opposition MP Dr Grant Gibbons questioned why the “significant commitment of taxpayer funds” was not disclosed by the Minister during Budget Debates in previous years, and said Parliament should have been informed when the agreement was signed.

Dr Gibbons said, “If as reported in the RG, the Ministry of Education signed a 20 year $10 million lease with PHC in 2008, then we have to ask why this significant commitment of taxpayer funds was not disclosed by the Minister during Budget Debates in the last few years?”

“A commitment of this magnitude would have a material impact on Ministry spending over a 20 year period and Parliament should have been informed, at the time the agreement was signed.

“The Minister needs to provide a full explanation, including details of the lease and any other commitments that Government may have given to PHC or related parties.

“How this matter has been handled and the apparent lack of disclosure to Parliament is yet another issue that the Public Accounts Committee may wish to review,” concluded Dr Gibbons.

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Comments (12)

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  1. Chart says:

    So how many other sweetheart insider deals of this magnitude are lurking in Government desk drawers?

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  2. Hmmmmm says:

    Hold on a second Doc. Not a penny has been paid out or spent. The agreement is to pay a fee for service once the thing is built. The last time I checked, ain't nothing but grass growing there at PHC so this "committment" cannot be accounted for because it doesn't exist until something else happens, which is clearly years away. There is nothing in this.And just because Dr. Gibbons doesn't know doesn't make it illegal or otherwise. There is NO requirement for the House or anyone else for that matter to be informed. "Move along folks, there's nothing to see here...". Next.

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    • Just the Facts says:

      Not so fast. We know you're anxious to sweep things under the rug, but Gibbons is right. Signing any contract obligates this government and any future government to its terms, and since this isn't the government's money, it's the people's money, the Minister in 2008 should have brought this to the attention of the people through either an announcement or the Budget statement. We're not quibbling about illegal here, just asking that this government do the right and proper thing. It's called good governance, something that the current PLP government has chosen to pretty much ignore since it's been in office. Besides, secrecy does make you wonder. If there's nothing to see here, then there's no reason it shouldn't have been disclosed originally.

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    • Pastor Syl says:

      @ Hmmmmm: Audited reports should contain some mention of contingency expenses - I don't know the correct term - but some way to acknowledge that there is a responsibility to pay out monies if and when certain conditions are met.

      Also, it isn't just Dr. Gibbons who needs to know, per se, it is all of us. That is OUR money that is being promised, and those in the House are, supposedly, trusted custodians of OUR money and therefore have a RIGHT to know everything that is happening with OUR money, and to ask those difficult questions that you apparently don't like to hear.

      A "transparent" government would have told us so the question wouldn't have had to be asked at all.

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      • pepper says:

        Pastor, we thought it was bad under the former premier... Cox will go down in bermuda history as the worst premier we have ever had...she has no clue as to what is going on !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I guess we will have another voice to say "we had to deceive you "in the next election....and my guess it will be a women....

        lost all respect from the party......

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  3. Somebody is making sense... says:

    I have never wanted to vote a party out of power as I do now.

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  4. Joonya says:

    They 'had to deceive you' Grant.

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  5. terry says:

    Build it, they will come.
    In the interum:-

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  6. Mountbatten says:

    Paula Has Cash . PHC

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    • Family Man says:

      Good one. But it might now be Paula Had Cash. After all that was 2008. We're now in 2012 and desperately trying to skim money out of the pension funds.

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