PLP: “Disregard For Employing Bermudians”

March 26, 2013

[Updated with video + Ministry's comments] 22 work permits for the Heritage Wharf Project were filled by foreign workers without being advertised to Bermudians first, Shadow Minister of Public Works Derrick Burgess said this morning [Mar 26].

“This is the first time I would venture to say, that 22 temporary work permits has been granted to a single employer. This is cause for much alarm,” continued Mr Burgess.

“It would have been good for the OBA to come clean with the public about the job categories of these work permits for which Bermudians were not even given the opportunity to apply,” Mr Burgess said.

Earlier this month, the Public Works Ministry said that while local employees will make up 75% or greater of the total workforce on the Heritage Wharf Project, 22 temporary work permits have been issued to foreign workers.

The $22.3 million contract was awarded to SunRise Construction Ltd who partnered under the contract with Crisson Construction  and Onsite Engineering. The work is scheduled for completion before the arrival of the Norwegian Breakaway on May 15th 2013.

In describing the work to be done, the Public Works Ministry said, “The increased length of the Norwegian Breakaway means that an addition mooring location will be required to the north of Heritage Wharf, extending the catwalk by eighty feet.

“In addition to this our structural investigations and analysis have revealed that the new Wharf is not strong enough to take the required ship design loadings in berthing maneuvers or in mooring scenarios to required design wind strengths for both the ships currently using the docks and those proposed for the future.

“We will need to construct a total of four mooring and berthing structures; two additional mooring structures, and two additional berthing structures before the arrival of cruise ships.”

Heritage Wharf was built back in 2009 at a final cost of around $60 million.

Mr Burgess’ full statement is below:

The Progressive Labour Party believes that Bermudians and Bermudian companies should come first in opportunities, first in jobs and first in prosperity in the country of our birth. That’s why we are very concerned at the OBA’s disregard for employing Bermudians on the Heritage Wharf project.

In the past, government was able to complete #5 and #8 Hamilton Docks, St. George’s Cruise Ship Dock and The Esso Oil Docks with 99% Bermudians filling all levels; from welders, pile drivers, carpenters, rebar workers to crane operators. At that time, trained and qualified Bermudians were given the opportunity and their job performance was first class.

On this project, under the OBA government, 22 work permits were allowed to be filled by foreign workers without being advertised to Bermudians first. This is the first time I would venture to say, that 22 temporary work permits has been granted to a single employer. This is cause for much alarm.

It would have been good for the OBA to come clean with the public about the job categories of these work permits for which Bermudians were not even given the opportunity to apply.

We were told that 75 percent of the workers at the site will be Bermudians. To the OBA we ask:

  • 1. When will the Bermudian workers be employed and for how long?
  • 2. What job category will they be employed in?
  • 3. How many Bermudians are presently employed on that site?
  • 4. How many work permit holders have failed the onsite welding test?

Under the PLP, Bermudian companies provided the cranes and other necessary machinery to complete the Heritage Wharf project. Under the OBA, Bermudian companies were left out in the cold while 2 cranes, 2 high lifts, 2 barges, and a tug boat used to bring the barges to Bermuda, which we understand to be costing the tax payer $100,000 per trip, were brought in from overseas.

All of this equipment is and has been available in Bermuda yet the OBA denied Bermudian companies the opportunity to provide their services and put the money that they would have earned, back into our economy.

The OBA has claimed that this project will cost $22.3 million, but an independent estimating company has costed this at $7 million, a difference of over $15 million. With the denial of opportunities for Bermudians and the lack of openness and transparency permeating this project, the OBA owes Bermudians an explanation.

Update 7.59pm: In response to Mr Burgess’ comments, the Ministry of Public Works issued the statement below.

Once again, the Ministry can confirm that local employees will take up 75 percent or greater of the total workforce to complete the project, scheduled to be ready for the arrival of the Norwegian Breakaway on May 15, 2013.

To date, the Department of Immigration has approved 22 temporary work permits at the request of the Ministry of Public Works to support this project. The barges, cranes and other equipment that are being brought in for these works are larger than what are found locally and require skilled handling.

The local consortia of Sunrise Construction Limited, Crisson Construction Limited and Onsite Engineering Limited are contracted for the works and they will continue to employ Bermudian staff. However they will also be employing staff from abroad to operate the barges and pile driving equipment in a safe manner without danger to local employees.

In order to undertake the works in the restricted timescale and to a high quality the Ministry has imported the piles in 120ft lengths. This reduces the amount of time needed for site welding considerably but unfortunately it requires that equipment be introduced that is capable of handling this size of pile.

All of the welds will be inspected in detail to ensure compliance. Those already completed have been inspected and any defects found have been repaired. All site welds will undergo the same rigorous scrutiny as is required to ensure a product that will stand the test of time.

Furthermore, the required number of welders was supplied from overseas because weld test failures leading to delays would have prevented the Ministry from having the dock ready for the Norwegian Breakaway.

The Ministry has been putting Bermudian welders through a testing regime and certifying them for use on the project. The fact is that the welds are specialized but the Ministry has been able to pass a number of Bermudians for the project.

The additional welding resources provides the Ministry with flexibility and will hopefully ensure some time is made up for the delays caused by the severe winds the Dockyard area has experienced.

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Articles that link to this one:

  1. Minister Moniz: ‘Wharf Project Remains On Track’ | | April 5, 2013
  1. Look in the mirror Burgess says:

    The PLP’s approach got us in this mess so keep quiet Burgess and watch it get fixed right!

    • Diasporta says:

      They were probably concerned the Correia might apply as qualifiied.

    • He can not see anything but $$$$$$ in front of him. Be damn if Derrick and the rest give a hoot about their ,’brothers & sisters” It was and always will be about, “self”

  2. Dockyard Lackey says:

    Strong stuff from the PLP. I guess Mr. Burgess has never taken a good look at the ‘completed’ structure built under the leadership of the PLP.
    I believe there are a lot of qualified Bermudians who could have stepped in, but urgency was the essence in this project. Maybe Mr. Burgess would have liked us to re-hire the previous contractor. I have seen many locals call themselves tradesmen, but do not have the necessary skills. Some guys think because they can nail pieces of wood together or mix cement in a whellbarrow that they are carpenters and masons. I wonder which independent company supplied the low estimate. Probably the same company who supplied the PLP with estimates for the original dock and the new Police Building.

  3. cba says:

    75 percent are bermudian and 22 permits are non bermudian. There may be specialized work required. Frankly after the plp’s mess of projects I dont think they have any room to act as they know what’s required. Smh. We have a competent government now that is getting things done properly.

  4. Please Leave Politics says:

    I fully agree with ensuring Bermudians are given proper opportunities. However, had the dock been completed properly back in 2009, then this wouldn’t even be an issue.

  5. Navin R. Johnson says:

    Burgess a man with ZERO credibility going off about his party’s concern for the Bermudian worker…..are you referring to the 4,000 that your party put out of work Mr. Burgess? at this stage you need to think of the catastrophic effect that a delay in the construstion would have on the tourism season? probably not a concern to you…..Burch, Burgess, Brown the 3 B’s that need to slink away…..

  6. Jim Jones says:

    An “independent estimating company”, huh? Care to elaborate on who that is exactly? Probably not, because it’s obviously complete BS.

  7. Argosy says:

    Hey, Mr. Burgess. You lost the election, remember. The majority of us don’t care what you think, so go change a light bulb!

  8. real Bermudian says:

    This is so true. I challenge any of you to take that drive out dockyard and see. And why did they hire a company that dont have the equipment to do the work? So that means to bring in overseas equipment. Okay regardles what happen when plp had this job. They have apologized but look at it for what it is now. Everybody wants to jump on the old bus and blame plp for mistakes but moving forward now do you think its fair that they are hiring outside of Bermuda? We need to stop fighting against each other and start supporting each other.

    • Jason Smith says:

      So you think Dennis Correia should be paid to fix his screw up?

    • Jason Smith says:

      When exactly did the PLP apologize for the Heritage Wharf project?

    • Bermyman says:

      The previous build ran over budget by around 30% and is falling apart. Correa is not going to get the contract again, so at such short notice what local contractor with the capabilities is going to step in and provide the equipment!!??? Get the dock built asap is the plan, if it is not built in time then we risk losing a large portion of the Island’s cruise business. There can be no dilly dallying, the PLP never got that. 75% of the workforce is Bermudian, had the dock been built properly then there would be no need for the job anyway. We pay for this, it is part of our taxes and our debt.

    • Building a better Bermuda says:

      I have been out there fairly regularly, and what I see is equipment you don’t find in Bermuda. I don’t know of a construction company on this island that has a barge/crane equipment that size, so where would they find one locally. And any company overseas willing to lease their equipment to us is going to send their people to operate it for safety and liability reasons. Well as making sure their equipment gets back them intact.
      The short time frame of this project demands that the operators know what they are doing off the bat, and learning. The size of the pillings they are driving in are larger in order to save time and thereby require the larger overseas equipment.
      The PLP have never apologized for the overspending and failing construction of the Heritage Wharf, all they said was they had made mistake while in power, not once have they taken ownership of what the mistakes were.
      You are right though, we should stop fight against each other, the PLP needs to stop critising OBA for taking decisive action to rectify the problems they created when they built a substandard dock and then booked ships that were too big for it.
      It sucks that they have had to go overseas for this equipment and manpower to get this work done in such a short timeframe, but I hope they are able to finish in schedule s that our reputation as a tourist destination doesn’t get further tarnished.
      I did notice that of the examples of work completed by Bermudian workers that Mr Burgess gave, not one has the high load requirements needed to be met or the very short timeframe they need to be met in. He also avoided citing the Heritage Wharf as an example too. Does he not think they did a first class job to begin with?

    • Peter says:

      When did they apologize? Why would they hire the same incompetent contractor to repair his terrible workmanship? We already are loosing cruise ship business due to the wharf having to be repaired! If Dennis Correia was hired again we wouldn’t have any cruise ships until next year! Burgess go for a long walk on a short pier.

  9. Joonya says:

    The PLP had disregard for ALL of us when pushing IB away with Term Limits. Stop whining.

    • Impressive says:

      Care to elaborate?? With some facts.

      • Joonya says:

        Well wasnt Term Limits enforced during Burch’s reign?? What other facts do you want? You want facts go talk to any restauranteur, or anyone relying on rental income to pay their mortgage, or the conicedental timing when we actually had more outgoing shipping than incoming.. the list can go forever. Major econimic impact! What else do you need to “get it”?

        • Impressive says:

          IB has been hit hard by changes in the global economy? As I have stated before, Bermuda’s 2 main industries in International Business are Investment Companies and Reinsurance Companies. Both of these industries rely on the performance of Global economies such as Wall Street etc. as these companies profits are directly related to the the performance of their investment portfolios.. Over the last 5 years, the global economy has been on a downward spiral for a host of reasons.

          So I ask again, please provide facts that these companies left Bermuda because of Term Limits, as no one is irreplaceable and as far as I know, people graduate from Harvard, Yale, MIT, Princeton etc every single year, and there is never a shortage of talented people..

          Bermuda has more outgoing Shipping then incoming Shipping?? Really?? Can you tell me what we where exporting that was more than all the clothes that we wear, more than all the food that we consume, more than all the cars that we drive, etc. And how did IB cause an increase in exports since out IB is built on a service industry and not manufacturing.

          Thanks in advance

          • Joonya says:

            Why do you think meetings were held with leading figures of Bermuda IB, and what do you think came out of those meetings by way of feedback from this individuals? I remember, but clearly you dont. We’ll just leave you to your vacation in LaLaLand shall we.

            • Impressive says:

              Cool, I will just enjoy my vacation. I tell you what, the people here are very nice, much like the kind of people Bermudians used to be known for.

          • Sandgrownan says:

            People leaving with their belongings. That’s the export, and intellectual capital.

          • Because of term limites IB has shipped many “positions” out of Bermuda in order to continue to employ the same key person in the same “position” in another country. Additionally the increase in payroll tax moved many executives from a 39% tax rate to a 53% tax so they moved out of Bermuda (still working for same co.) to jurisdiction that had lower taxes, Try doing a tour of the top floor (executive) of XL – it is a ghost town…they’ve all gone because of term limits and the increased payroll tax. People I speak with in IB when asked to quantify things, say that their information is 50% decline in IB is PLP policies and 50% global economy. Please wake up and face reality…

      • swing voter says:

        check the GDP lately? How many apartments are empty? What about the government payroll tax. What about less people buying goods and services? What about less people visiting BDA to see their expat friends and family? If you needed elaboration, you certainly are dumb deaf and blind aren’t you?

        • Impressive says:

          Firstly, I didn’t insult you, I simply asked a question to another poster and you answered in a very rude and childish manner.. Nevertheless, it has become common place around here. So I would like to know how you resorted to the dumb deaf and blind comment?

          If you see my reply to the original poster where I have described how the change in our local economy is entirely related to Term Limits. (All in my humble opinion ofcourse);


          • Impressive says:

            edit, is not entirely related to Term Limits.

      • Building a better Bermuda says:

        Sure, there may be around 4000 Bermudians unemployed or underemployed, but that number does not reflect the true number of jobs we have lost. And of those jobs that were held by foreigners that are no longer contributing to the government payroll tax revenues, many of them were not cut from the companies’ payroll, just moved to another jurisdiction.

        So yes the PLP had disregard to all of us when they failed to maintain a competitive stance for keeping jobs in Bermuda, so now there less money paying for rents, utilities, services, groceries, dining, government admin, charities and social programs. They would have rather looked like they were protecting our jobs, than actually taken the hard choices of making sure we would still have jobs and the term limits is a prime example.

  10. Worker says:

    The 22 work permits were required because they do specialized work which Bermudians can’t do or haven’t been trained for yet.

    • Wow Mr Burgess at it again??And how many permits was givem uder the previous government??hospital, Dame Evans building etc??look at the crept the last LOCAL contractor left up there??and the millions the tax payer must pay now out through there a__ again..

      • Jason Smith says:

        This is the same man that commissioned the sculpture of Dame Lois by a foreigner…

        Gotta love politics…

        • lol says:

          We all know Jason is not the name Mommy gave you — boy!

          • Bermuda Male says:

            Well your momma probably gave you the name lol because you seem to be nothing but a joke

    • Donna says:

      including the two crane operators when we have a couple of qualified Bermudian crane operators here, one of which is unemployed?

  11. realist says:

    mr burgess.

    when the oba first annonced that the new wharf project wad goin to begin. tgey alsi stated that they are going to be using much larger materials and equiptment then ever used in bermuda before. plus also the urgency to get the wharf completed on schedule or possibly before.
    but we all know what a fiasco it wad when u(plp) used ur buddies buisness to complete the job. remind me again how many millions and months over budget we were. also everyone keeps firgetting the natioanl stadium pool. hmmmmm “will not be used in carufta games due to no warm up lanes not deep enuff for regulation high dives etc. basically i say to u and all plp . STFU oba is trying to reverse the damage u caused and u fight them evet step of the way.

  12. LOL (original TM*) says:

    This is old news I think this was talked about on 89.9 the Everest Show weeks ago with the Minister answering questions. What this guy though if enough time passed people would forget. Some of us might have short memories but not all of us must be the SMOKE screen……..


  13. Self Serving People says:

    I am smiling but all will show its self in time dont be fooled by the OBA people

    • frank says:

      look out for those smiling faces you know they tell lies and lets see who has a smile in september hmmmm

    • swing voter says:

      LOL that’s funny @ self serving. How much attention is paid to the BIU Hotel Division and Construction Division? oooooh yeah their toothless dogs now that there are more expats working in those areas. go ahead blame the OBA as this happened within the last 4 months since Dec. 17…….idiot

  14. Bermudian says:

    Go away Mr. Burgess….noone cares what you think. If the PLP had done what they were suppose to do when they were in power we wouldn’t be in this mess right now. So stop trying to constantly find things to put the OBA in a bad light. You should be thanking them for even wanting to clean your mess up!

  15. Clive Spate says:

    75% Bermudian.
    22 work permits.

    It is quite a simple sum to work out the number of employed Bermudians.

    Mind you when it comes to making the numbers add up the PLP get an F (which apparently is a pass in the public school system).

    I think the OBA have been left with a lot of things that need fixing quickly (Heritage Wharf, ferrying cruise passengers). For this they might get cut a bit of slack for bringing in foreigners as a temporary measure (for this summer only).

    Long term plans need to have Bermudians in mind if they wish to secure a second term and, ultimately, for the island to prosper.

    ps I’m a foreigner

    • simple sum says:

      Let x = total number of workers
      then x – 22 = number of bermudian workers

      0.75x = x – 22
      .75x – x = -22
      -.25x = -22
      x = 88

      Total Workers: 88
      Bermudian Workers:66
      Guest Workers: 22

      There should be 66 Bermudian workers on this dock.

  16. bir says:

    It is getting repaired by skilled experienced engineers assisted by Bermudians…

    • Building a better Bermuda says:

      They are not all skilled engineers, several will be the crane drivers/operators/directors that have the experience with the equipment of that size. Gotta remember, these aren’t just large cranes, they are large cranes on barges and I know there are several Bermudians experienced in operating cranes on barges, I do not know of any the size of those up in Dockyard now.

  17. Sir George Somers says:

    If the job was done properly by the PLP in the first place, they wouldnt have to be hired!

  18. concerned local buisnessman says:

    Derek Burgess you idiot ! enough of this idiotic PLP retoric and wish wash, you sound like the president of North Korea !.How much money did you and Ewart and Dennis make from the Heritage wharf project ? And why was the construction 40-50 million over budget Mr Burgess .PLP has destroyed the infa struture of this country, and now its time to set PLP retoric aside, and lets get our beautiful island on track .

  19. Family Man says:

    I hear Burgess has a whole bunch of LED lights he’s trying to get rid of at a good price. Even has a Bermudian willing to install them for you.

  20. Victor says:

    Go away, poisinous, nasty little man.

  21. pebblebeach says:

    This from the same man Mr Burgess; who awarded 30% of the multimillion dollar contract plus millions in over runs to a Trust to build the Dame Lois Brown Evans building…As a taxpayer, I still would like to know who were the beneficiaries of the Trust….it amazes me how we let this man and his friends do this to us as a country. All under the PLP, while the Cog signed off…Mr Burgess…respectfully, please go away…You and your friends have done enough financial damage to our country..thank goodness for the mute button on my remote control…

  22. More Confused says:

    According to Mr. Burgess “The OBA has claimed that this project will cost $22.3 million, but an independent estimating company has costed this at $7 million, a difference of over $15 million.”
    Firstly, the neccessity and cost of the repairs and rebuild and cost was completed prior to December 17 2012, so how did the OBA have anything to do with it? Maybe Mr Burgess is suggesting the cost was based on PLP tendering processess.
    Secondly, who is the “indepenedent estimating company” and did they cost out the entire project from the tender? Provide the source and report to prove your point, if it can be proven.

  23. Building a better Bermuda says:

    Mr Burgess is once again flogging the dead horse behind the cart.

    The OBA have given the explanation for why they have done what they did, Mr Burgess is just trying to distract attention from anymore PLP mistakes that may come out.

  24. Really? says:

    Sit down and shut up mate… your voice is dragging the productivity down. for once why dont you come out and say something positive? you may actually receive a little bit of respect from me…

  25. turtle says:

    First: those emploiment are profesionals engineers and second you should remember that under your ministery You employed only correia (wish was the best men in Brown weadding) and with out contract to do the bridge and the warf!in Sandys!! and becouse of the lack of work!!! Now Bermuda have to spend more money!

  26. Winnie Dread says:

    For one all jobs should be advertised regardless of the category, it is the law, not saying it was or was not advertised. However if MP Burgess is talking about the previous company that did the initial work, no. If there are other local companies that have the equipment then thay should have been given the first choice, dat it.

    • Zombie Apocalypse says:

      Not for temp workers, it’s not the law to advertise.

  27. Former Union Member says:

    Mr. Burgess knows full well that Temporary Work permits, good for three months only, do not require advertisement. Old school politics.

  28. What a joke says:

    All this info comes from correia! Burgess ain’t got a clue!!! It was only select few that got the plp jobs, and ALL of them went over budget! If the bermudians done the job right the first time, we won’t be going back to fix there f ups! OBA doesn’t want as little as a paint brush from correia more less his equipment! He’s made enough money off of taxpayers!!

  29. nuffin but da truth says:

    SHUT UP burgess!


  30. shut them down says:

    Not suprised about this. The ubp/oba has always been about taking care of non Bermudians.

    Its only a matter of time till the sh.t hits the fan.

    All you big nasty internet ppl saying nasty things smh.

    • Jason Smith says:

      So why did the PLP issue more work permits than any previous Government?

      And you PLPers have alot of nerve complaining about people saying nasty things. You are the Party of Hate and demonstrate it everyday.

    • Mad Dawg says:

      It was Burgess and the PLP who led the country into permanent structural unemployment. They don’t care about Bermudians. They were justbin it to make money. Burgess has his mansion now.

  31. What a joke says:

    Without foreign workers, some bermudians won’t have jobs! As you can see the amount of unemployed! There not better than us, it’s just that they have the experience over us and take pride in what they do! You can’t run a buisness with workers not showing up to work or doing half a$$ jobs that the employer is responsible for.

  32. Pastor Syl says:

    No shame, no remorse, and clearly no real concern for Bermuda, despite the rhetoric. We are at the edge of a very steep precipice, Bermuda. We had a very tiny window in which to correct a humongous failure of a wharf, that cost us not only a lot of money to build, but is again costing us a lot of money to repair and replace. IF it is not done in time, we will not be able to service the cruise ships that are scheduled.
    What do you think they will do? Say, “Oh poor Bermuda! They need our custom and our dollars. We’ll just anchor off shore and get tendered in. Oh! that’s right, They don’t have enough working, safe ferries to tender our passengers. Oh well. Bye, bye Bermuda. Too bad. Bahamas/Antigua/St.Lucia/anywhere warmer, more friendly,more welcoming and more prepared awaits us.”
    We are fighting over temporary workers who are here to get a job done and go home. They are skilled, they are respected in their field, they are willing to work long hours to ensure the job is done within the time frame. And I will bet the job gets done under budget, which will make a very nice change.
    I ask, is it more important that we have Bermudians doing this job, even if they are not as skilled, even if they are not as experienced, even if a screw-up at this point could mean a major drop in cruise ship revenue, maybe even the end of cruise ships for this year, just for the sake of having Bermudians doing the work?

  33. OMG says:

    ASk Mr. Burgess about all the Bermudian workers that were supposed to be employed at the National Aquatics Centre – I understand somewhere between 11-22 N/B workers had work permits even though we were all told it would be built by Bermudians!!!

    Sorry Mr. Burgess you are barking up the wrong tree – Dennis screwed this up and it has to be fixed and updated in a short window so please sit down!!

  34. Balanced Facts says:

    Classic !
    The investigation is underway!
    Where did all that money go?

  35. Werner says:

    There where at least 30 non Bermudians working at the incinerator during the recent refurb.
    Nobody complained then.
    The work was carried out around the clock, YES they worked nights as well.
    The staff came from all over the world because they are VERY GOOD at what they are doing and therefore in demand around the globe.
    Take the welders for an example- The work in the furnace is hot, dirty and requires extreme precision and nothing short of ABSOLUTE PERFECTION since it can not be redone without shutting everything down again.
    Any Bermudian with skills like that will be more than welcome on any job site around the globe and will make very good money even by our high expectations.
    Same goes for the hospital job, if you know exoxpy floor installers, terrazzo installers, level 5 drywall finishers etc.. Tell them to get their resumes together and contact the contractors working down there since there is lots off work for the best in the game.

  36. Bermuda Boy says:

    Wacha walla doo, hire Dennis Correia and his crew to do it again….and again…..and again!!!!