PHC Responds: Report Of Government Payments

May 18, 2012

The Pembroke Hamilton Club [PHC] released a statement today [May 18] following reports that Government committed millions of dollars to PHC for use of their facility for public school students.

PHC said they wanted to “address some inaccuracies and provide our financial members, stakeholders and community with some additional information.” The club said they planned to develop a multipurpose facility, which would feature a 2500 seat multipurpose room, health club and youth club.

“The business plan drafted drew wide spread support and the Ministry of Education saw an opportunity to use this facility for the TN Tatem family of schools [Paget Primary, Purvis, Heron Bay and Warwick Preschool]; without having to invest the total sum of capital in one or multiple venues,” PHC said.

The statement from the Club continued on to say that, “PHC have progressed this phase through the planning process, however, efforts to secure financing for this project have proven to be difficult as the world sunk into a global economic recession.”

Yesterday the newspaper reported that the Education Ministry agreed to pay PHC as much as $10 million, spread over a 20-year period, for schools in the area to use the club’s $4 million multi-dimensional complex.

Government then released a statement saying that they have 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.

Opposition MP Dr Grant Gibbons questioned why the matter was not disclosed by Government during Budget Debates, and said Parliament should have been informed when the agreement was signed in 20008.

The full statement from PHC is below:

Further to recent articles in the Royal Gazette, the Pembroke Hamilton Club [PHC] would like to address some inaccuracies and provide our financial members, stakeholders and community with some additional information.

The Pembroke Hamilton Club embarked on a development plan in 2000 to upgrade its sporting complex at #1 Stadium Lane, Warwick. The development was divided into three phases.

Phase One was the resurfacing of the playing surface and complete replacement of the lighting systems that had deteriorated beyond repair. To undertake this work, a loan was garnered from the Bermuda Industrial Union.

The debt was serviced through rental income from our property holding at 81 Reid Street. As documented, the occupier of the building went into receivership despite our efforts to assist the company.

Phase Two involved the erection of a multipurpose facility, which has been communicated to the public previously. The features of the facility were a 2500 seat multipurpose room, health club and youth club.

The business plan drafted drew wide spread support and The Government of Bermuda, in particular, the Ministry of Education saw an opportunity to use this facility for the TN Tatem family of schools (Paget Primary, Purvis, Heron bay and Warwick preschool); without having to invest the total sum of capital in one or multiple venues.

PHC have progressed this phase through the planning process, however, efforts to secure financing for this project have proven to be difficult as the world sunk into a global economic recession. Phase Three would see a second set of changing rooms and seating on the eastern side of the property.

Admittedly these plans were very ambitious. A fact we do not deny. However, we would not be the club we are today without the ambition of previous executives who had the vision to purchase property in Hamilton and Warwick or to continually look to grow and improve PHC.

Ambition is a part of what makes PHC what it is. Through the challenges of the last 10 years, PHC has grown from a club with a single successful program [football] to one which boasts the award winning Majorettes and Drum Corp; the championship bowling team, flourishing cricket program which includes a thriving youth program, netball, softball and of course, our signature football program that continues to produce some of Bermudas top student athletes and international players.

The PHC Zebra Scholarship, which has awarded over $85,000 over the last 3 years, run by the independent PHC Foundation, is unparalleled for a community club in Bermuda.

Our members have endorsed and approved these development plans and have been kept abreast of all developments through semi-annual and annual general meetings, as well as special meetings. PHC accounts are managed and prepared by a qualified CMA and are accessible to all financial members and stakeholders.

PHC has and will continue to consistently review its financial status and commercial operation and present the membership with options to ensure that it is sustainable. However, we will not contribute to the court of public opinion but we will continue to work for the betterment of the Pembroke Hamilton Club.

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  1. Truth is killin' me... says:

    If it looks like, smells like and feels like $h#t it usually is a LOAD of $h#t!

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    • terry says:

      Wow, strong words. You must be embeded with the owner of this site.

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  2. k says:

    the sad part of it all is that they have a field that could bring in their own revenue if they would have put a bit of money into it years ago. seems like their vision is way ahead of their reality !!!!!

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    • FrankTalk says:

      K,

      do people actually read/listen to material? They did put 1.2m worth of money into it and have (had plans) to spend some more.

      Their vision is/was way ahead of the bank's reality. But then again that's what we call ambition.

      Frank

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      • Family Man says:

        Actually, Mr. Furbert and his team blew through >$2.3 million. They got $1.2 million from the BIU and they got $1.1 million as a prepaid lease payment.

        So where did all that money go? A few lights?

        And neither the BIU nor PHC can produce audited accounts.

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  3. pepper says:

    The truth will come out...and those involved in this mess should be shaking in their boots .
    Hey ,did you all see our premier on TV tonight ? wow !!!!!!!!! her rooster hat !! girl you need some serious help !!!!!!

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    • Opressed says:

      We were eating dinner, we all had to cover our eyes so out dinner wouldn't be spoilt. Still feeling a tad ill at that nasty sight.

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  4. Mad Dawg says:

    In other words, by their own admission, the government plans waste $10m.

    Another scandalous waste of public money. And why wasn't it publicised or disclosed at the time? Because it was a stupid idea that never made any sense, that's why.

    It should be thoroughly investigated. It looks like a weak arrangement to funnel government funds. And that's putting it kindly.

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  5. Solidarity says:

    Looks like PHC president is using the Front Door Approach !

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  6. Little Black Boy says:

    And she thinks she looks sharp. LOL

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  7. Common Sense says:

    It is in everyone's best interest that PHC - one of our premier sports clubs over the years - succeeds, and I wish them well, However, it is not in our interest when a Government Ministry commits $10 million to this project, albeit once the project is complete, without having the courtesy of informing Parliament and the Public. What this does is to commit future funds with no debate and no oversight. It is this sort of action that gives a clear impression that our present Government is taking care of the personal interests of a select few at the expense of the country at large.

    I have a question. If no-one else had been informed of this decision made in 2008, and if we have a change of Government before the new PHC facility is completed, is that future Government still legally committed to a contract to spend $10 million despite Parliament never having had an opportunity to even discuss it?

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    • star man says:

      Ten million buck$ can feather a lot of bed$. That was the original $trategy, right? Redi$tributing the wealth, $o to $peak.

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  8. LaVerne Furbert says:

    I don't think you people ever read anything that is published on this website. I think that PHC needs to be commended for the work that they do in the community. How many other clubs, or organisations have handed out over $85,000 in scholarships during the past three years?

    Attack, attack, attack!! That's all you do. What does the Premier's hat have to do with what PHC is doing? "Oppressed" you were sick before you looked at the news.

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    • Family Man says:

      So, lets see; they got >$2,300,000 in cash and handed out scholarships for $85,000.

      Where did the rest of the money go LaVerne?

      Sure sounds like how the union runs its own accounts doesn't it. 99% for the executive and 1% for the members.

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    • pebblebeach says:

      Which makes it OK to commit $10million of taxpayer's money without public disclosure....sorry but that flies in the face of PLP being a transparent Government...their words not mine...

      Not drinking that Koolaid....but you continue to drink it Ms Furbert...

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      • The nitty gritty says:

        $10 million pledged, secretively, years ago for something that has not even been built yet?
        Gotta give them credit, you can't get to $2 billion National debt without planning.
        Now let's see, this week we deducted Kyril's $550,000 from the $1,300,000,000 now that that has been sourced but should we add this $10 million to the $1.3 now, just to be prepared?

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  9. Common Sense says:

    Attack, attack, attack seems to be what Laverne does best, but I notice she completely failed to answer my question.

    I fully agree with her that PHC does a great job and that Government should do whatever it can to assist both PHC and our other sports clubs wherever possible. What I don't agree with at all is that a $10 million contract can be signed by our Government without even the courstesy of letting we the public know about it. We should have been informed in 2008 when the deal was signed.

    This is not transparency in any way shape or form and only serves to enforce the belief that underhanded deals are being made to suit certain individuals and organizations without informing the people. I for one expect more from our Government and from our Premier, who was Minister of Finance when this contract was signed.

    Let me ask the question again in hopes of some kind of sensible reply. If our Government changes before the new facility is built will the new Government be legally committed to a contract to spend $10 million despite Parliament ever having had an opportunity to discuss it? This is not right

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    • Boo says:

      Did PLP drop anything UBP started

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  10. Triangle Drifter says:

    So, Chris, where has all d moneee gone? As president of the BIU you have overdseen huge falls in the fortunes of the BIU. PHC at one point not too long ago was the premier soccer club of Bermuda. Now look at it. Whats has been happening here?

    Who has been living large & who has been living low?

    A successful club needs the management of people who are otherwise successful in their private lives & businesses not the people who buy everyone a drink at the bar.

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  11. LaVerne Furbert says:

    Common Sense, tell me, does Parliament discuss every agreement/contract that is made with organisations? Did Parliament discuss that the Government would buy its vehicles from Bermuda Motors? Did Parliament discuss who would insure these same vehicles? Did Parliament discuss hiring Craig Cannonier's wife as a consultant? Did Parliament discuss hiring Bob Richards' company as a consultant? You answer my questions and then I'll answer yours.

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  12. Cleancut says:

    PHC better make sure the luxurious sports Bar is built first and then everything else can be worked around it. It's members will need some real comfort after a hard days work picketing outside KFC.

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  13. Common Sense says:

    @Laverne. That's really easy to answer. Government is perfectly entitled to purchase vehicles, hire consultants etc. and if you check closely you will find that there are some financial restrictions involved and that whatever is spent is subject to audit by the Accountant General. If you wish I will obtain the figures re limitations but I'm not attached to any politicians of political parties so that may take a little reasearch.

    I think even the most politically biased individual would see, with a little common sense, that the questions you asked are a far cry from a secret commitment for a future Government (whether it is the PLP or any other Government) to pay out $20 million - that is million - without any discussion, debate, or even a hint of openness and transparency.

    But now I have a further question that really needs to be answered. Would the Auditor General have been able to examine this contract back in 2008 or at any other time since then to see if our money was being properly handled. Or was even the Auditor General being kept in the dark.

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    • LaVerne Furbert says:

      Every financial transaction is subject to audit by the Auditor General. However, in this case there was no financial transaction. As was stated in the Government's Press Release, "The Ministry (Education) 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".

      To answer you last question, the Auditor General was and is able to examine the contract.

      As I said, have you heard a debate in Parliament about which company insures governmetn property and vechiles? Do we know which company is the insurer?

      Triangle Drifter, of course you didn't read the release from PHC because if you did you would not say what you said.

      It is most unfortunate that I have to frequently refer to comments made by the Hon. C. V. (Jim) Woolridge, a former Cabinet Minister with the United Bermuda Party - "those little white boys don't mind black people being in charge as long as they can tell them what to do." So true, so true. I make no apologies for playing the race card.

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      • star man says:

        You are a blatant RACIST. By your own admission, above. And I feel your attitude sucks. Further, you are living in the dark past so your opinion is meaningless in today's world. It's 2012 Vernie, get with the program.

        All the taxpayer wants is some simple honesty, transparency, and accountability from OUR Gov't.

        BTW, Jim did quite well by those "little white boys", no matter what he said years ago.

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      • LOL (original TM*) says:

        I know which insurer has the government portfolio and it has nothing to do with Dr.Grants companies at all so what's your point LV? Might I remind you that all the Toyotas that the PLP Government drive around was bought under the PLP. So again what’s your point about the past Government it doesn't even make sense? The PLP could have gone to HWP, Peugeot, Rayclan if they wanted but they when with Bermuda motors to get top of the line cars. I don’t blame them for having good taste in cars.

        LOL

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    • star man says:

      I would suspect that the AG was indeed "kept in the dark." In fact, I'd put money on it!

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  14. Common Sense says:

    @Laverne. So let me get this straight. Our Government signed a legally binding contract in 2008, committing whichever Party is in power when the PHC project is completed, to pay $10 million to PHC for rental of the facility over a 20 year period for schools in the neighbourhood. We the public were never advised of this $10 million contract because, in your words, "there was no financial transaction" so no need to let the public know that our tax dollars have been committed to rent this facility once it is "completed and public school students have access to it". Your words - not mine.

    I have to say that this is an astonishing argument, and I'm afraid you failed miserably to answer my very simple queastion which is, "Would the Auditor General have been able to examine this contract back in 2008, or at any time since then to see if our money was being properly handled. Or was the Auditor General being kept in the dark. "

    Perhaps I should re-word the question in really simple language and break it down into easy-to-answer sections that require nothing more than a yes or no response:-

    1. Was the Auditor General informed of this contract back in 2008?
    2. Was the Auditor General informed of the contract at any time prior to the recent publicity given to this matter (It's a little difficult to ask to examine a contract if you don't know of its very existence)?
    3. Is there any onus (either legal or ethical) on our Government to inform the Auditor General of a $10 million legally binding contract committing tax payers money to a project to be completed at some point in the future?

    There are, of course, a host of other questions arising from this contract such as is there a time limit on completion, minimum standards for the facility itself, a definition of actual use by the schools. If our Government had been open and transparent about this matter in the first place there would be no need to answer any of these questions.

    I do not expect Laverne to actually answer the questions, and to be honest, the person who needs to answer them publicly, is the Auditor General herself. Of course the present Auditor General is not one of those "little white boys" but I have no doubt that she will be castigated if she seeks to get to the root of this issue and does what Auditor General's are required to do.

    On one issue I would like to agree 100% with Laverne's sentiments. The derogatory statements on this blog by "pepper" and "Oppressed" about our Premier are grossly insulting and disgusting, and have nothing whatever to do with the issue at hand.

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  15. LaVerne Furbert says:

    Common Sense, I'm getting tired now. The contract is on record, and I see no reason why the Auditor General could not. cannot examine the contract. Remember, the Auditor General's role is to "add credibility to Government's financial reporting and to promote improvement in the financial administration of all Government departments and controlled entities for which the Government is accountable to Parliament".

    If, in the opinion of the Auditor General, there was a problem with the contract, s/he was responsible to assist the Government in its financial reporting.

    I cannot answer as to whether the Auditor General was informed of the contract at any time prior to the recent publicity" as I am not employed by either the Bermuda Government, the Auditor General or PHC.

    I, like you have stated my opinion on the matter. Further, it is public knowledge that I employed by the BIU and as I see it, the BIU and its President, Mr. Chris Furbert are above board in its dealings,whether it is with the Government or other employers.

    It seems to me that you, "Common Sense" know more than I do about this situation. I don't know if you work for the Auditor General, PHC, Bernews, or the Bermuda Government. I have given my opinion. Obviously you have information that the rest of us are not privy to.

    Good night!!

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  16. Eyeinthesky says:

    What bothers me is the length of time this agreement has been in place and is it open endedness? Meaning how long this agreement shall stay in place cause it's been many years and no complex is even close to be realized! I say this because the Education Ministry budget has decreased significantly several years in a row, so what was done to get the budget down? Do more with less!
    Each Union (BPSU, BIU and BUT) saw members made redundant! We had real people lose their jobs and a agreement which is truely secondary to education is still on the table! Could any one explain to me what real benefit our students will benefit from this facility above what they have at their current school? most if not all schools have gyms and fields! Weight room? Ahhhh I might be wrong but a 14 year old and younger student shouldn't be in the gym on weights! Now let's see ... A 2500 seat what gym.... Does any one know what the National Stadium Covered side holds? Ummm close to the same amount, it take a massive event to fill them and it is very infrequent that it happens!

    So you see I'm in favor of upgrading facilities though out Bermuda, however Something wrong when real people have been cut and this agreement never got affected! As a union member that got the axe the President knew of this deal, was told Education HAD to tighten it's belt and cuts were made but once ya club is built we'll buy into your facility! AS a member this doesn't sit well with me! And this is just my opinion! BOTH HANDS IN THE COOKIE JAR!

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  17. Common Sense says:

    Sadly, Laverne completely missed the point of my comments. Contrary to her assertions, I do not have any information that the rest of us are not privy to. And that is entirely my point.

    It appears from what has been published so far that no-one outside Government and PHC knew anything whatever about this $10 million contract when it was signed in 2008, or in the years since then, until now. It was certainly not debated in Parliament.

    In Laverne’s own words, “Every financial transaction is subject to audit by the Auditor General. However, in this case (the $10 millian contract) there was no financial transaction.” Now, as I understand it, Laverne is saying that because no money has yet changed hands this is not a financial transaction, and it may just be possible that our Government feels it does not need to disclose its contents to either the public or to the Auditor General for the same reason.

    What is now needed, in order to show both openness and transparency, is for the questions in my last post to be answered, preferably by the Auditor General. These are:-

    1. Was the Auditor General informed of this contract back in 2008?

    2. If not, was the Auditor General informed of the contract at any time prior to the recent publicity given to this matter (It’s a little difficult to ask to examine a contract if you don’t know of its very existence)?
    3. Is there any onus, either legal or ethical, on our Government to inform the public and the Auditor General of a $10 million legally binding contract committing tax payers money to a project to be completed at some point in the future?
    4. Can we the public be made aware of the conditions of this multi-million dollar contract?

    Could I also make an official request to Mr. Larry Burchall to look into this matter and help us to sort out the wheat from the chaff as he is one of the few people who seem to be able to explain financial issues in common sense language?

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