PLP: ‘Airport Project Should Go Out To Tender’

November 23, 2014

After what he termed a “day of confusion that produced more questions than answers,” Shadow Minister of Finance David Burt said, “Bermuda deserves better than privatisation through the back door without a tender process.”

“The fact that the OBA Cabinet is willing to forgo over $1 billion of future revenues without a fair, open, and transparent tender process is a slap in the face to good governance,” added Mr. Burt.

Earlier this month, the Government announced they had reached an agreement with the Canadian Commercial Corporation [CCC] to build a new airport terminal building.

Finance Minister Bob Richards said the “financing will rely entirely on the future revenue streams from the new airport itself,” and it is expected to cost in the “range of $200 million”.

In a statement this evening, Mr. Burt said, “The Minister of Finance has introduced a proposition for the single most important asset in Bermuda, but he seems to be unaware of the critical details.

“The Minister’s performance in Parliament on Friday, where he struggled to answer basic questions on the airport project, will go down as a day of confusion that produced more questions than answers. With each interview, with each statement and with each additional answer, more is revealed and more questions arise.

Audio of part of the Q&A from the House of Minister Richards being questioned about the deal:

“Since the Minister’s announcement on November 10th, we have learned:

  • The OBA cabinet authorised, in advance, the Minister of Finance to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Canadian Commercial Corporation without an open and competitive tender process.
  • The OBA is considering a concessionary agreement for at least 30 years with a Canadian firm; this amounts to the privatisation of Bermuda’s Airport for at least 30 years.
  • The OBA will be handing over, at minimum, revenues from the Department of Airport Operations and Airport Departure Taxes to the privatised operator of the airport. These revenues today stand at $25.2 million annually and over 30 years with historical inflation would total over $1 billion.
  • That officials from the Bermuda government have been in “close consultation” with their counterparts in Quito, Ecuador for at least the last 5 months, studying the newly built and privatised Quito International Airport.
  • The Quito Airport was backed by the Canadian Commercial Corporation and is privatised and operated by a consortium led by the Canadian construction firm the OBA plans to bring to Bermuda. The concessionary agreement which led to the privatisation in Quito is for 35 years.
  • The Minister of Finance stated to Parliament that CCC was the “only option available” and the “best deal for Bermuda”, despite the fact that there was no public tender to receive any additional proposals.”

“The fact that the Dunkley Administration is looking to enter into a concessionary agreement, which will result in the privatisation of the L. F. Wade International Airport, should concern all Bermudians,” Mr Burt continued.

“The fact that the OBA Cabinet is willing to forgo over $1 billion of future revenues without a fair, open, and transparent tender process is a slap in the face to good governance.

“The Bermudian people deserve better than privatisation through the back door without a tender process; they deserve a tendering process that ensures the people of Bermuda know they are getting the best deal.

“That end can only be accomplished via an open and transparent tendering process that allows any interested party to submit proposals so that Bermuda can chart the best way forward for our people.

“We again urge the government to practice the principles of good governance and engage in a fair, open, and competitive tender process for any redevelopment of the L. F. Wade International Airport. A billion dollars of future revenue deserves no less,” concluded Mr. Burt.

The press statement from the Canadian company said, “The MOU aims to foster further collaboration around the development of an airport-related infrastructure project and allows CCC to assist the Government of Bermuda in contracting Canadian expertise.”

You can view all our coverage of the airport redevelopment project here.

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  1. Terry says:

    Oh be quiet David.
    That’s why your a shadow.

    • Quinte says:

      Didn’t the PLP sign contracts for Coco Reef for 99 years? Why so long? No money spent on redevelopment there?

      Why was it okay to give away Whites Island for free for 24 years for free? Was it because it was to a PLP member? There was no bidding process there!

      Or why was it okay for the PLP to strip the Bermuda Cement Company from a group that had done a great job and just hand it over to friends?

      They didn’t seem to have a problem when COH attempted to hand over the City of Hamilton waterfront to a fellow friend for 100 plus years?

      • Oh how soon the members/supporters of the former Govt.(the Progressive Labour Party)take to forget :-( “People living in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” Mr. Burt!
        The O.B.A. Govt. have got work coming along with many more promising projects and personally, I believe u’lot on the other side are “jealous” of the progress being made by the O.B.A Govt of the day…

        • ole Onion says:

          Whats the problem with asking for Basic Answers from legitimate QUESTIONS ? This anti PLP/OBA /UBP ! Bullstink has to stop ! All I wAnt tO sEe iS the TRANSPARENCY THEY ALL GOT VOTeD IN ON ???
          If the quality of the Question is valid does it mAke a diFFerEnce WHO asked ???????????

          • Creamy says:

            No, they’re plantation questions.

            • Ian says:

              nothin as usual to contribute from Creamy. It must suck being so limited in your capacity to formulate a valid opinion

          • Scoalsy says:

            When EVER have PLP had transparency ??????? NOT in all my 71+ years here :(

            • Encyclopedia says:

              Shouldn’t a transparent RFP be issued for the largest capital project, regardless of what PLP did in office? Doesn’t OBA want to provide a better administration or is it tit for tat, at the cost of BDA finances/taxpayers?

            • Ian says:

              Chance are if you were around to bear witness to the emergence of the PLP and didn’t approve then chances are you the type of sickness they were fighting at the time…

  2. James says:

    Please.

    The airport is already pretty much privately-operated. See Renaissance Aviation.

  3. Vote for Me says:

    We need to give credit to MP Burt. Without the typical political hysteria, he has asked some very systematic questions that need answers. The risk to MP Richards and the OBA is that the Auditor General will probably have lots to say (criticism) of the process.

  4. Coffee says:

    This UBP/OBA will have built two airports in one generation . The first one was signed over without bathrooms ! Do we really need a new airport ? Air arrivals have dropped consistently since the ‘new’ airport was built in the ’90s . Oh well stupid is as stupid does .

    • Nancy says:

      That’s funny the bathrooms are the worst I have seen in any airport new or old.

      • Kangoocar says:

        Nice try nancy, AKA betty and coffee??? More trolling from Alaska hall, please give it a rest!!! Just stay out of the way while the OBA show you all how it’s really done!!! The OBA are oporating with one hand tied behind their backs because of your parties ( plp) incompetence, and have still found a way to to put 100′s of Bermudians back to work and giving us a much needed new airport!!!! Must be driving Alaska hall crazy just about now??? Oh, and don’t forget, unlike your hospital deal that you have not mentioned we are ALL on the hook for if something goes wrong, the OBA have worked it out, that this is all on the Canadian company with ZERO concern liability to us if they can’t deliver!!!

        • Nancy says:

          I don’t know who is Betty or Coffe is and neither do I drink it.The problem with you oba trolls is you believe anyone who makes a comment about either party is for the other party. In reality I was one of the many swing voters that help the PLP win for years and now the OBA win in 2012.

          I’ll leave you with Kangoocar “Arguing on the internet is like running at the special olympics. Even if you win, you’re still retarded.”

          The bathrooms are bad at the airport.

          • Creamy says:

            So they need improvement. Hence the plan for a new airport.

          • Kangoocar says:

            Riiiiight???? You are not a swing voter, reading any of your previous posts proves that!! The real problem with the Internet is this, it has both truthful and NON truthful info on it, and you are the latter!!!!!!

          • Ian says:

            Could you imagine if Bermuda was under the control of Kangoocar and Creamy. The WHOLE island would be sold off to foreigners with weeks!

    • Unbelievable says:

      Once again, you don’t know what you are talking about.

    • Quinte says:

      At least at the end of the UBPs time the had spent money BUT we had a new Airport, Prison, Watford bridge, Cedarbridge, and roads that were in good conditions and many other things to show for it. And at the end of it, we were free of debt, and had a booming economy.

      When the PLPs 13 years were over, we had massive debt, $800,000,000 unaccounted for, a failing economy, failing education system and nothing to show for it but a school that went $60 million over budget, a small TCD building that never went to tender, and a ships pier that had to be reconstructed in part not that long after it was finished.

      • JustAskin2 says:

        So… with all this debt the OBA is carrying from the PLP, how come they have money to upgrade the airport?

        And what exactly is wrong with the airport now, wasn’t it upgraded not so long ago? I go through that airport regularly and it is nice, clean and functioning adequately.

        I hope the OBA is not just finding excuses to reward their cronies with fat lucrative contracts. And hopefully there are no kick backs in this deal.

        • hmmm says:

          We don’t that is the whole point…Try reading and finding out for yourself for a change.

          We will not be financing this out of Bermuda pockets.

      • hmm says:

        Just one correction, this failing education system was put in place by the UBP, but the PLP had 14 years to fix it, and didn’t

  5. Navin Johnson says:

    I think the PLP proved time and time again that they have little idea what is right and what is wrong…….

  6. Kangoocar says:

    I long for the day that the plp just stays out of the way of progress!!!! If it was not for the incompetence of the previous government (plp) we would not even have to be taking this road??? The OBA have found a way to give us a MUCH needed new airport and put 100′s of BERMUDIANS back to work, which obviously is the REAL problem the plp is having with this??? The plp are only concerned with regaining power at all costs and to heck with who starves to death in the meantime!!! Burt, you are a youngster that needs to watch and learn at this time, your previous ways obviously did not work!!! It is disengenious at best to say we are losing a $billion of income on this!!! In the real world there are a huge amount of oporating costs that you seem to convientley forget to mention to the public??? Nice try burt, but anyone that can think for themselves can see right thru your nonsense!!!!

  7. Creamy says:

    The PLP are scared to death of anything that will employ Bermudians. They would rather Bermudians stay unemployed, as long as they think it increases the chance of them being elected. They only care about “keeping their eyes on the prize”.

    • hmmm says:

      The more downtrodden the population is , the more their divisive politics gets traction. PLP don’t want us as a people to succeed.

  8. Christopher James says:

    PLP has to come to terms with the fact that they are no longer in charge. The reason they are no longer in charge is that they had no ideas, and did nothing – except spend our money.

    Come up with a plan PLP or shut up. I challenge you. If you can find a brain cell between you then do something – apart from moaning moaning moaning. You seriously remind me of an old girlfriend who I eventually dumped. She just moaned and complained about everything like a spoiled child. 30 years later I’m happy to say that she amounted to NOTHING. Cos she did NOTHING – except complain.

    Just like the PLP. The Pathetic Leach Party. Living everyone else since the 60s.

    • ole Onion says:

      Ouch !! Why so rude n Disrespectful ? Do you even know your countries history ?
      SMH ! GO READ A FEW BOOKS !!

      • Hmmm says:

        History is no excuse for being a crap govt. The PLP were crap, and people need to see stop pretending they were not.

      • Christopher James says:

        The time for being respectful to the PLP has long since passed. If you do not recognize this, then YOU need to read some books.

        The fact is: PLP was a awful Government, (the worst) and they made laods of mistakes – very nearly ruining our country.

        Worse still, they have NEVER EVER taken responsibility for it.

        And you think they deserve my respect? Dream on!

  9. Reginald says:

    All the PLP are interested in is the contracts…for themselves!! The PLP do not care about people getting back to work…they actually hope Bermudians don’t get back to work because if the OBA do the 30% who did not vote the last time will come out to vote OBA!!
    Keep in mind the OBA are doing all of this with one hand behind their backs as the country was left to them in dire debt. The Premier and Ministers need to be commended for this artistry in getting a project built, hundreds of jobs created and no cost to the govt balance sheet.
    PLP do you want jobs or not?

  10. swing voter says:

    anybody with half a brain can see what this ‘airport’ thing is all about

    (1) Build an airport using somebody else’s money will create jobs and contracts for local companies and labor.

    (2) Don’t build an airport and unemployment numbers don’t change a social assistance keeps cutting checks to guys that should be working, if only there were jobs

    • Precisely, the two sentences sums it up…What is it that the Progressive Labour Party want if not “power and control”?

    • Strike fund says:

      Was it also a feature of the America’s Cup bid?

      • Quinte says:

        I doubt it? I can’t see how a new airport would be completed until then.

  11. Sly says:

    Be quiet bie! I need work!!!

  12. Brotherhood says:

    Well, someone’s got to want to spend a year figuring it out.
    Anyone else interested?

    New construction is shiny when its new ….., but after a few years but its maintenance what costs.
    Will the Canadians have to pay to keep the airport buildings and run ways maintained?

    Bermuda has no money to build an airport and a lot of people could get work from this project.
    If it really means Government giving up $25m a year that’s less money coming in.
    How will be still be paying the bills.

    oh yeah… and these PLP’s just got religion.
    Show me the tender for the over run Vehicle Emissions Building, the Court house, the dock, Port Royal….
    Time and again they did their thing.
    Anyway if they’d practiced some of what they now preach we’d not be in the debt we are

  13. Triangle Drifter says:

    “The fact that the OBA Cabinet is willing to forgo over $1 billion of future revenues without a fair, open, and transparent tender process is a slap in the face to good governance,”

    As if Mr Burt, or anyone else in the PLP would recognise good governance if it slapped THEM in the face.

    Talk about “mispeaking” to the public & spinning the facts! Give us a break Burt & Co.

  14. Just Asking says:

    A $200+ million airport serving less than 10 flights a day?

    Do the math on the payback or the costs to Joe Public to use the airport…..

    As we learned under the PLP, nothing is free.

    The airlines are sure not going to accept the higher costs of operating into Bermuda and will quickly just stop flying here all together.

    • mixitup says:

      And don’t forget that Gov’t already subsidizes like 3 Airlines that fly here..

    • ole Onion says:

      We Can’t move forward trying to kill the messenger! Bad enough our youth are shooting bullets but you clowns are shooting the sword of the mouth like barbarians !
      Whose going to loose
      Whose going to Win

  15. Balanced Facts says:

    All these questions establish is that the PP and their unqualified Spin Doctor Burt don’t have a clue, The PLP/UBP would never have had the wit, the acumen or the ability to even get a deal like the Air Port to the MOU stage, never could have pulled off the Americas Cup and the only development they could muster involved dubious Government contracts with dubious made up companies paid for by THE TAX PAYERS after approval by a suspect Cabinet. The Court House, Heritage Wharf, Pro Active, Bazarian at Club Med, PORT ROYAL…it goes on and on so please stop projecting Opposition and look in your skeleton filled closet!!!

    • Kangoocar says:

      @balanced facts, you are being a little tough on the plp, they brought in Beyoncé at a costs to us of 2 $million plus with ZERO gain for us, and were totally behind the black Mayors conference that cost the COH tons of money with NO results??? Do we really have to listen to anything the plp say????

      • Kangoocar says:

        @balanced facts, I forgot to mention, FAITH BAISED TOURISM!!! Now that was a winner???

        • Triangle Drifter says:

          Don’t forget all of the efforts to start cultural tourism. Another surefire winner.

          • ….Surely you jest. says:

            Would that be the same cultural tourism mentioned in the Throne Speech and the stuff being pushed by the BTA to “tell our story”? Your amnesia is just hilarious.

            • Triangle Drifter says:

              Yes it is. Cultural tourism was a waste under the PLP & it is a waste under the OBA.

              My knowledge comes from 18 years in a frontline visitor service business, talking to visitors directly everyday & listening to what they want & don’t want.

              Happy now SYJ? I am not a blind OBA follower.

  16. Alvin Williams says:

    Bermuda’s national airport is a Bermudian national asset; no country gives away it’s national assets as this OBA government is on the road to do. Bermuda is not the only country that has sort international investments in it’s economy or even partner with for development projects. You take the oil producing countries; the oil lies under their soil; but they have commercial relationship with international oil companies to exploit that oil and these companies often use their expertise and technical;scientific skills to bring the oil to the surface. Some even own part of the oil fields; but that ownership does not out weigh the ownership of the countries under which the oil exists. This government is not even taking into consideration this fundamental principle which governs all commercial relationships between countries; unless you want to be a throw back to a part of a colonial relationship where a colony has it’s national resources and assets exploited for the benefit of outside interests and not their own.

    • Brotherhood says:

      No – any airport costs money.
      And an investor improves the place and brings more people and jobs.
      Here we have no oil or other such resources so your not seeing that right.
      In Bermuda we only get our money from the outside investor or business coming here.

      Nationalizing and being anti foreigner really was a terrible mistake in Jamaica, Cuba – the place was wrecked. And, our colonial relationship has long swung the other way – we got real rights.

  17. Triangle Drifter says:

    Get on Google Earth & take a look at Quito’s new airport. It has its similarities to Bermuda in that it is an 8 gate terminal, just like here. Take a look at the pictures of it. WOW! Beautiful inside.

    Maybe a little research can be done to find out who built it & at what cost just for general information.

  18. aceboy says:

    The OBA could just follow the Port Royal style of awarding contacts. Have an OBA MP’s construction company awarded the contract for 200 million and the final cost should come out at about 800 million. Then the OBA should go very quiet and let the auditor general try and figure out where the money went.

    All good.

  19. Watching from Abroad says:

    Has anyone even Googled “Canadian Commercial Corporation scandals”. The list is a mile long and growing. Bermuda is just another fry and the sharks are coming.

    “A fool and his money will soon be parted”

    This seems like the way Bermuda is going as it sells off all its assets. Shameful, Shameful … Politricks !!

    • A Better Bermuda says:

      Our biggest asset, Bermuda, was sold by the PLP in 2010 to foreign lenders. Thanks for them for selling into financial slavery, we are ALL going to have to get used to bending over. Where you jumping up and down in 2010 when all this was happening because I was? A little late in the game now that we’re broke. SMH at the cluelessness of the sheep

  20. Double Standards says:

    $25mn in revenues is great. But what Burt forgot to add is the expenses. So once those are deducted the actual contribution by airport operations is less than $3mn annually or $90mn over 30 years. However, as the SAGE report notes in totality the airport is actually a money losing venture for the taxpayer. That is a minuscule figure over that time period considering our annual budget is $1bn. On top of that no matter what company is contracted they’re going to have to be paid via airport revenue. We simply cannot afford this type of capital project nowadays for one reason or another.

    Me, personally, I am comfortable with the CCC as they are a Govt owned entity which are subject to the most stringent of laws and the fact that whatever the quoted price tag is must be adhered to with any overruns absorbed by the contractor. On top of that the PLP fails to acknowledge that under their tenure many aspects of the operations have been outsourced or privatized to BASerco, Renaissiance Aviation and other local businesses.

  21. JUNK YARD DOG says:

    Trojan Horse !
    30 years is totally ridiculous, bordering on pure stupidity.
    We do not need a new Airport, we have one .
    Paint the old one “Riviera Gold.” of” Mediterranean Blue”

    Moratorium sanction on all borrowing.
    We need to pay off our debt.
    Find another lender with a better rate .
    We are paying our far to much interest

  22. A Better Bermuda says:

    I fear that the lack on accurate information spewed as usual by the opposition could cause this issue to spiral out of control. Their usual get on the talk shows and bamboozle and baffle the masses with misinformation.

  23. Wow says:

    The problem with Bermuda politics is that most PLP supporters think OBA/supporters are 100% wrong 100% of the time and OBA supporters think the PLP/supporters are 100% wrong 100% of the time.

    A functioning democracy needs a strong government and a strong opposition to hold each other to task. The OBA has done a lot of good things, mainly fixing the economy which was hurt by the global recession and many years of terrible PLP policies. Now, however, the OBA are making a bad decision and the PLP needs to point it out and hold them accountable. Which David Burt has finally done.

    We’re all standing in the way of progress if we refuse to consider the others point of view as valid.

    • A Better Bermuda says:

      Great comment the Government needs to do a better job explaining the fact and the benefits to the public. And the opposition needs to do a better job getting their facts straight (i.e./ including the expenses not just the revenue) in challenging Government. I question the integrity of an opposition that has openly declared that they want to over throw our Government at what ever cost to Bermudians.

      • Encyclopedia says:

        How can an RFP/tender that portrays transparency be a bad thing?

        How can an RFP be waived on the basis of being “too expensive”, for the island’s largest capital project in recent times?

        How can anyone whether PLP or OBA justify not issuing an RFP?

        What is the basis of selecting CCC? If they were the only ones available, how was that determined? Isn’t going to the only one available not a good decision making process?

  24. A Better Bermuda says:

    I agree, the lack of an RPF doesn’t smell of good politics

  25. Watching from Abroad says:

    You are being had. You get a newly built airport and then have to refurbish it in possibly another 15-20 years, get no revenue until it turns back to your hands in 30 years. Realizing that your gateway to the city which is the Causeway is still NOT budgeted for or better still has not been REVAMPED, your visitors still have no benefit for the newly built building. I smell a RAT or this a very slimy deal here. Paint the airport – fix the bridge first.

    Doesn’t it sound like having a new arrival port at the end of the island separated by a failing old bridgeway and then instead of travelling by limosine … you have to resort to being transported by donkey because the access way has not been improved and is prone to failure in stormy weather.

    Wouldn’t you address the Causeway first if you want to make a good impression for new arrivals. Now … this seems like a much needed and logical improvement. Or are all your Government negotiators just following the donkey trail.