OBA: “Trying To Turn A Lemon Into Lemonade”

August 15, 2014

[Updated w/PLP response] The Government is “trying to turn a lemon into lemonade” with the Grand Atlantic and “it’s time the PLP dialed back their politics-first approach to national issues and support actions that can help Bermuda,” the OBA said.

A statement from the party in response to recent comments by the Opposition said, “Mr. DeSilva, unfortunately, is playing fast and loose with a significant opportunity to make something work that the previous government failed to do, having spent some $45 million of taxpayer money on a housing project that was not needed, selling just one of its 78 units.

“Mr. DeSilva’s statement is an example of what we mean when we say the Opposition is putting Party before Country. It’s time the PLP dialed back their politics-first approach to national issues and support actions that can help Bermuda work better for Bermudians.

“At the Grand Atlantic, the Government is trying to turn a lemon into lemonade. We’re trying to make productive use of an asset that could generate jobs, careers and income for many Bermudians over time.

“Government’s discussions with the Marshall family are based on offering them the best possible arrangement in order to achieve this larger goal.”

Background

The Grand Atlantic property was originally planned as a housing development, however only one unit sold in the first six months, and late last year Government decided to solicit [PDF] requests for information from investors and potential buyers for the 78-unit property.

In April of this year, the Government announced that the property will be taken over by MacLellan & Associates who plan to turn it into a condo hotel named Bermudiana Beach Resort, assisted by local companies OBMI and Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty.

Earlier this week, the Government said the Bermudiana Beach Resort has been granted a 90-day extension to the MOU, and also noted that the remaining lone occupants of the Grand Atlantic development have “thus far refused all offers to relocate. ”

In response, the Opposition MP Zane DeSilva said that the “latest attempt to displace a Bermudian family is one that we condemn and pledge to oppose with every measure at our disposal.”

“This move is a monumental step backwards that Bermudians must oppose. Let’s broker a deal at Grand Atlantic that doesn’t deprive the Marshall family and move forward with this project for the benefit of Bermudians seeking work in the tourism sector and the revitalization of our tourism product,” said Mr. DeSilva.

The full statement from the OBA is below:

Shadow Tourism Minister Zane DeSilva is never one to let sensible thinking stand in the way of political point scoring.

His Thursday statement saw him trip over the Grand Atlantic development in his rush to attack the OBA Government.

Mr. DeSilva said the Opposition PLP would oppose any attempt to “displace” the sole homeowners at the Grand Atlantic development, the Marshall family, with “every measure at our disposal.”

And then a few sentences later, Mr. DeSilva said: “Let’s broker a deal at Grand Atlantic that doesn’t deprive the Marshall family and move forward with this project.”

So right off the bat, the PLP position on this situation is clear as mud. Are they for keeping the Marshalls in place, or are they for striking a deal with them – as the Government is trying to do – to “move forward with this project.”

The media should press Mr. DeSilva on exactly what he is trying to say.

We also have to question Mr. DeSilva’s statement that the Marshalls are being “ displaced… so that others could profit.”

Does that mean he is against the proposal to convert the 78-unit development into an all-suite condo hotel, which was welcomed by his colleague, Mr. Wayne Furbert, when it was first announced in April.

Government officials continue to work for an acceptable deal with the Marshall family that would have them vacate their condo unit to allow resort planning to proceed.

The Government has offered to:

  • Transfer the family to a choice of properties valued approximately $200,000 more than the price they purchased their Grand Atlantic unit
  • Purchase their unit at a 35% return on their investment, and
  • Independent appraisal of their condo unit and sale with all costs borne by the Government.

Mr. DeSilva, unfortunately, is playing fast and loose with a significant opportunity to make something work that the previous government failed to do, having spent some $45 million of taxpayer money on a housing project that was not needed, selling just one of its 78 units.

Mr. DeSilva’s statement is an example of what we mean when we say the Opposition is putting Party before Country. It’s time the PLP dialed back their politics-first approach to national issues and support actions that can help Bermuda work better for Bermudians.

At the Grand Atlantic, the Government is trying to turn a lemon into lemonade. We’re trying to make productive use of an asset that could generate jobs, careers and income for many Bermudians over time. Government’s discussions with the Marshall family are based on offering them the best possible arrangement in order to achieve this larger goal.

Update Aug 16, 4.58am: In response, Mr DeSilva said: “With the OBA’s record of deceit and broken promises, it is small wonder that more and more right thinking Bermudians not only question every word that emerges from their lips but refuses to believe what they say.

“The facts are that the OBA have once again placed money over Bermudians by trying to present a deal as a win win, when it is actually leaving a family out of pocket and out of a home.

“Bermudians see this OBA move and the accompanying smokescreen for what it is. A throwback to the old UBP days when Bermudians were displaced and deprived of their homes. We encourage Bermudians to look at the OBA record of broken promises, deceit and anti-Bermudian actions and ask yourself; can you believe anything the OBA says?”

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Comments (49)

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  1. James Herald says:

    There is a sound reason that Zane is called the ‘Minister of Stupidity’

    • Is He InZane? says:

      Did he just admit that the PLP made Lemons and the not so Grand Atlantic was another of his parties failures? LOL.

      Zane, the PLP spent $45 Million and sold exactly 1 unit. Yes, of course the OBA is trying to make the best of this mess. Really, this is where you have decided to make a point. Learn to pick your battles my friend.

      • frank says:

        there was never nothing wrong with grand atlantic but stupid people in best like the grey beard man said they were unsafe

        • Sofia says:

          @frank: “there was never nothing wrong”, which means there WAS something wrong. See what happens when you use a double negative? Back to school, frank!

        • Really says:

          Frank. You area right , there was nothing wrong with the Grand Atlantic. However, there were some questions about erosion and the safety of the units. The question for me was not about safety today, but after a hurricane, or two or three and what that cliff face would look like in 25 years.

          Would you buy a condo knowing that there is a possibility that after you finally paid your loan, your property may have zero resale value because it may be condemned in another 5, 10 or 25 year? The answer is No! Not one engineer, architect, real estate agent or the politicians that pushed for it ran out and snapped up these great deals!

        • Creamy says:

          There was something wrong with them. They were ugly, unnecessary, badly designed. That’s why nobody bought them.

        • If there was nothing wrong ... says:

          frank, if there was nothing wrong with them why did only one unit sell? Couldn’t have had anything to do with price, design, location, appearance, the fact that the real estate market was collapsing and these units weren’t needed (or wanted) by the public, or anything could it?

  2. somuchless says:

    Stupid people entertain stupid people so don’t entertain Zane otherwise you’re stupid too.

  3. Ian says:

    LOL!!! Wow. Word for word. The ole Lemons to lemonade mantra! Pretty sure we already covered this one today! LOL

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

    OBA…yah using my quotes from Bernews! “Lemons into Lemonade”

    • Hmmm says:

      It is a commonly used phrase, but you might have inspired it’s use.

      Go you!

    • George Brown?! says:

      Shoulda said turning crap into pudding maybe?

  5. It Sucks says:

    come on Mr Zane lets hear your lame a** response to this.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      He still insists on saying the OBA are “leaving a family out of pocket and out of a home”… with the offer that the Marshall’s have been given…????? It is clear he has no intent on representing facts in this case, just emotional drivel that is even more baseless than their usual.
      The only people right now putting people ‘out of pocket and out of home’ are the Marshall’s, as their refusal to move with the more than generous offer given, is preventing progress from being made toward creating short term jobs in construction industry and long term hospitality jobs at the residence… not to forget that as the property is still on the government books, it is draining taxpayer monies. Anyone of the jobs this project will create, might be the difference for someone keeping their own residence or losing it.
      When he can’t even represent his argument with the facts in this case, it leaves very little guessing about whether Mr. DeSilva is out to represent the Marshall’s or just trying to score some cheap political points for the PLP at their expense.

  6. Rhonda Neil says:

    BHC still has hundreds of families looking for housing, The government should not be selling of assets they where entrusted to maintain. The Bhc should be identifying family, suitable for a rent to buy scheme. we Bermudian are worthy of living on prime real estate in our own jurisdiction. OBA aren’t making lemonade, they are stealing the cherry of the top, to give to others.

    • Hmmm says:

      Really Rhonda. Every gimmie was given to try and sell those units. Only one person bought.

      • Black Soil says:

        Rhonda…the BHC never wanted to build GA. Directors of the BHC quit over it. The GA was built via direct executive order of Col. Burch. That is why it failed to do anything to help the community at large. No one wanted to buy those units EVEN AFTER the PLP govt gave the banks mortgage guarantees! (yes Rhonda…a mortgage is essentially a “rent to buy”). Is anything getting through to you? Despite loan guarantees, Bermudians were not interested in those units…interestingly for the same reasons why Bermudians were not interested in investing in the Bermuda Railway Co….they were confident that things wouldn’t end well…they saw the issues which the overseas investors could not see.

    • somuchless says:

      Ronda explain why the condos where not filled under the PLP administration than?

      • mixitup says:

        Read back a few years and look at the mess the then opposition OBA & BEST made of Grand Atlantic. They convinced many that these units were a disaster waiting to happen, now all of a sudden BEST is quiet and the OBA is selling this same ‘disaster’ to a foreign entity.

        • Edmund Wells says:

          Do you really believe this? Seriously?

          Affordable housing at $600K and up. Walkups. Ugly architecture. Small spaces.

          Yeah, those had nothing to do with the fiasco called Grand Atlantic. It was just people quaking in their boots about the cliff. That was the only thing holding back demand. Right.

          How dishonest can you be?

          EW

      • Sick n Tired says:

        I’ll explain . . .because naive Bermudians believed all the BULL**** that the OBA/UBP put out there about them being too close and collapsing!!!!! That’s exactly why!!!!

        I am sick of this ignorance . . .turning lemons in lemonade my A**!!!!! This was already lemonade . . .prime property overlooking the south shore. You all sat there and convinced people otherwise, just like you lied and deceived people in order to get the votes.

        Today is not the day for this foolishness and tomorrow doesn’t look good either!!!!!!

    • Elizabeth Trumparani says:

      Rhonda, please stop moaning at every issue. Your party lost – deal with it. In 1998 my party lost but I didn’t go on and on and on and on and on and on about it.

      Take a cleansing breath and a Midol. Give it a break or you’ll do yourself some damage.

      Even MY wife doesn’t moan this much to ME – EVER!

      Give it a break you sad sad sad sorry woman.

  7. The Government has offered to:

    Transfer the family to a choice of properties valued approximately $200,000 more than the price they purchased their Grand Atlantic unit
    Purchase their unit at a 35% return on their investment, and
    Independent appraisal of their condo unit and sale with all costs borne by the Government
    Isn’t there a Law whereby for the benefit of the Island future on a whole that the Marshalls must accept x amount of dollars and move out in x amount of weeks / months…Now I maybe wrong?

  8. Observer says:

    If the OBA is trying to make lemonade out of lemons, my question to you Mr. Desilva, WHO GAVE THEM THE LEMONS??????

    • Ian says:

      A looming recession affecting lending practices by local banks…

      A continuous campaign of fear and loathing from OBA members and supporters claiming the units would fall into the ocean…

      Continuous negative press tied to the sentiments of OBA members and supporters outcrys…

      Woresening recessionary conditions, increasingly conservative lending practices, continued negative publicized sentiments from the likes of OBA members and supporters…

      Do you have an explanation that even closely resembles reality?

      • Creamy says:

        Why don’t you explain your “Enron” reasons?
        Lmao.

      • aceboy says:

        The whole project was ill conceived Ian. Who in their right mind tries to put a 4 star hotel on a property surrounded by low cost (affordable) housing? That was the original idea, remember? Anyone I have spoken to just laughs when I tell them about that, yet the PLP thought this was a wonderful idea and killed two birds with one stone.

        Conservative lending practices??? LOL The banks offered 100% financing. Stop lying.

        Your reasons all focus on something OBA members and supporters have “said”. Really? People didn’t make up their own minds about it….they were sucked in to propaganda by the opposition? That is a sad commentary on the people, is that what you really think of “them”? Sheep that cannot make up their own minds?? You defend and insult at the same time.

        • Ian says:

          Nooo… thats what OBA supporters think of PLP supporters; sheep that cannot make up their own minds…

          As to your other points, no one [I REPEAT NO ONE] is shocked we are all witnessing an about face on the Grand Atlantic situation now that the OBA is in government.

  9. Huh says:

    Right arm around the wicket – PLINK – DeSilva’s was just clean bowled and sent back to the Clubhouse for a DUCK!!!

  10. Need Peace says:

    If the Marshall were happy with their options, there wouldn’t be a need for this controversy! More lies???

    • Options ... says:

      “If the Marshall were happy with their options, there wouldn’t be a need for this controversy!”
      =========================================

      So the Marshall’s want more than they’ve been offered. Understandable. Perhaps “greed is good” but there is a point beyond which demands become unreasonable and the government is only left with two options. Either expropriate the property or build the hotel around them.

      • I agree with you “Option”. “Either expropriate,(take the property from the owner for public use)or build around them” But I do believe this project can be considered beneficial to the general public…Hence,”public use”

  11. The Ridiculist says:

    We don’t believe that there will be jobs for Bermudians so cut the $***. In fact you have nothing for Bermudians. STOP iT with your lies.. The truth is you don’t give two $***s about us.

    • trulytruly says:

      The argument you use is flawed. The OBA can only be voted in by Bermudian voters. How can a political party in Bermuda win an election if they are not appealing to the majority of Bermudian voters? The fact is that the OBA appeal to many Bermudians, more than the PLP in the most recent election. To win again they will need to do the same. Unlike the previous Govt. the OBA as the current Govt. face a nearly impossible task of turning Bermuda around. They are doing what is required. We as Bermudians are having to swallow the nasty medicine and it will be like that for a while. The thing is, if the PLP had been re elected Bermuda would be in a similar position, in other word financially strapped. The question is, would you be any better off and would you still be moaning? Probably.

    • Anbu says:

      And the pee el pee does right? Get a friggin clue. They SHOULD NOT have been built in the first place. Affordable housing my @ss!! What affordable housing costs more than 400000?! Theres only one person smiling about these units being there and thats the man who built them.

  12. DeeBee says:

    The bye was woffless when I went to school with him some 40 years ago….some things don’t change!

  13. Hazel says:

    OK! So if lemonade don’t work; make a Tequila…(giggle)

    But seriously, something needs to be done PERIOD!! Make the best of what has happened and move forward. This is just negative energy dragging this situation on and on and on…

  14. ComeOnBermuda says:

    The gullibility of PLP supporters never ceases to amaze me. I would love to see a poll showing the education levels of PLP supporters vs OBA. Clearly the OBA is working for the utilitarian good in this instance and still the opposition is blinded by ignorance and a stubbornness preventing them to think outside of their own political/personal interests.

  15. Rasta says:

    The PLP invested over $40 million in a not so grand Atlantic. Sold 1 unit.
    You want more of that success?

  16. Thelma Foster says:

    the OBA don’t care about any Bermudians it doesnot matter what colour your skin is wake up BERMUDA they don’t want our CHILDREN to have anything their will be nothing for our GREAT GRAN or our great great GRAN cHILDREN

  17. Elizabeth Trumparani says:

    Ian is the perfect type of moronic voter PLP needs. Blind, deaf and dumb. Unfortunately they will need thousands of them to win the next election. Sorry but there just aren’t that many stupid people in Bermuda. Many formerly stupid people have learned that PLP was a failure as a Government and therefore won’t vote for them any more. All the new Bermudians who were PRCs will never vote for PLP either due to PLP’s own stupidity. Sad really.

  18. Need Peace says:

    Elizabeth Trumparani you have the nerve to be insulting someone when the most moronic thing you can do is to speak for someone else! You have to know that folks are not blind deaf and dumb to the corrupt OBA either!

  19. Navin Johnson says:

    Is the PLP asking the Marshall’s to hold out?

  20. Coffee says:

    I don’t know about turning lemons into anything . What they are in fact doing is putting more Bermuda land into foreign hands for one hundred years . The UBP was trying to sell that same strip from the new gas station all the way to GA . That would have happened in 1989 but for the collapse of the Japanese economy .
    Nothing new the UBP/OBA following a dusty script from another era . Say it ain’t so and I’ll call you a liar .

  21. Elizabeth Trumparani says:

    PLP has done so many dumb, stupid and embarrassing things lately, it would make sense for them to campaign for the Marshalls.

    I heard that they will be campaigning against the sun rising in the east soon. I’m sure they’ll be blame the OBA claiming that it is anti Bermudian.

  22. Pastor Syl says:

    All this talk about Bermudians being short changed. I have been led to understand that the Marshalls aren’t even Bermudian! He’s Bajan, maybe with status from his first marriage… Just the kind of person the PLP, in other circumstances, complain of taking jobs and space from “born” Bermudians, and she’s Jamaican. There are no children.

    If I was in any doubt before that the PLP are just trying to make political hay out of every opportunity, this one clinches it.
    The Marshalls have a couple of very fair offers on the table. Holding out (and being encouraged to hold out by those who profess to have the best interests of Bermuda and Bermudians at heart) for either a better offer or just to dig their heels in, causes problems for Bermuda and Bermudians either way.
    In the first instance, ANY money they are paid comes out of OUR TAX MONEY and negatively affects our ability to pay on that horrendous debt that looms over us, our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, ad infinitum.
    In the second instance, digging in their heels prevents even the possibility of selling this property to a developer. Hotel developers want vacant possession. There is no way any developer will “build around them.” In other words, digging in is obstructing the possibility of jobs and also forcing the Government to continue to pay out thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands in maintenance fees, money that again could be used to pay down our monstrous debt.