PLP ‘Strongly Oppose’ Airport Development Deal

March 2, 2015

The PLP “strongly opposes the manner” in which the Government” has approached the airport redevelopment and “find it hugely coincidental that the chairman of a prominent local construction firm sits on the Board of Aecon, the company set to receive a contract with revenues in excess of $1 billion without having to compete,” Shadow Finance Minister David Burt said.

In November 2014, the Government announced they had reached an agreement with the Canadian Commercial Corporation [CCC] to build a new airport terminal building, with Finance Minister Bob Richards saying it is expected to cost in the “range of $200 million”, and the “financing will rely entirely on the future revenue streams from the new airport itself.”

In delivering the PLP’s Reply to the Budget last Friday, Mr Burt noted what he called “the irony of the fact that the government which is currently facing a $90 million lawsuit filed against them by a developer who saw his contract voided by the government due to the ‘lack of a proper RFP process’, is now pressing full steam ahead on a $255 million project without any RFP process.”

“It is more amazing that after 5 months of trying to convince the country otherwise, the Minister of Finance now admits that the airport will be privatised to a private concessionaire by the name of Aecon,” added Mr. Burt.

“The Hansard will recall that members of the Opposition were chastised for ‘making it up’ when we brought up Aecon in this House in November 2014.

“The Minister of Finance stood up in this Parliament and told us that no company had been chosen, even after he had played his hand in the local media in November and indicated that Aecon will build our new airport.

“We are sure that Aecon has the expertise to build the airport, but we find it hugely coincidental that the chairman of a prominent local construction firm sits on the Board of Aecon, the company set to receive a contract with revenues in excess of $1 billion without having to compete.”

Finance Minister Bob Richards speaking on the airport deal and Aecon in the House on Friday

Mr Burt continued, “Whatever happened to good governance? Whatever happened to ensuring Bermuda gets the best deal by going out to tender? The fact the Minister has tried to say that this is the only organisation that can tick the boxes is an absolute fallacy!

“There are numerous companies around the world that enter into transactions like this all the time; some who have approached us indicating that they would participate if the airport deal was going out to tender.

“We find it interesting that the OBA seem intent to convince the people of this country that the airport won’t burden the taxpayer when in fact it will cost us a lot. The fact is that nobody is going to build us an airport for free; the Bermudian taxpayer will foot the bill.

“We can and we should take a step back to conduct a public RFP process, making sure that Bermuda gets not only the best deal possible but also gets a new bridge,” added the Shadow Finance Minister.

Mr. Burt did not name the “chairman of a prominent local construction firm that sits on the Board of Aecon” which he said he found “hugely coincidental,” however a look at Aecon’s website shows that Michael Butt sits on their Board, and Somers Construction website lists Mr Butt as their Chairman/CEO, and says he “presently on the Board of Aecon Enterprises Inc.”

Speaking in the House on Friday, Minister Richards said, “There is a statement by the honourable member who is responsible for the finance on that side. Some allusion to somebody from Bermuda who is on the board of Aecon.

“I asked him in the kitchen who this person is, and he told me the person was a company – and companies don’t sit on boards as we all know. Let me say, I don’t care who it is, because I know I haven’t met him. I don’t even know who he is,” added the Minister.

“The point is this, that the Bermuda Government didn’t chose Aecon — CCC chose Aecon — not the Bermuda Government. They chose Aecon because they are one of the biggest developers in Canada, and they’ve got experience in doing this kind of thing.”

Aecon’s website said they have “been involved in the building of some of Canada’s most important landmarks, including the CN Tower, St. Lawrence Seaway, Highway 407 Express Toll Route, Vancouver Sky Train, and the Montreal-Trudeau International Airport.”

In announcing the MOU with Bermuda, CCC — which the Minister said chose Aecon — 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.”

The relevant excerpt from Mr Burt’s Reply to the Budget is below, and the full Reply can be read here

Mr. Speaker, the PLP strongly opposes the manner in which this government has approached the redevelopment of the airport and we are confident that a majority of Bermudians do as well. This project is not the right project for the country right now as we need to be making investments in assets and activities that generate a return.

Mr. Speaker, let me start with the irony of the fact that the government which is currently facing a $90 million lawsuit filed against them by a developer who saw his contract voided by the government due to the “lack of a proper RFP process”, is now pressing full steam ahead on a $255 million project without any RFP process.

It is more amazing that after 5 months of trying to convince the country otherwise, the Minister of Finance now admits that the airport will be privatised to a private concessionaire by the name of Aecon.

Mr. Speaker, the Hansard will recall that members of the Opposition were chastised for “making it up” when we brought up Aecon in this House in November 2014. The Minister of Finance stood up in this Parliament and told us that no company had been chosen, even after he had played his hand in the local media in November and indicated that Aecon will build our new airport.

Mr. Speaker, we are sure that Aecon has the expertise to build the airport, but we find it hugely coincidental that the chairman of a prominent local construction firm sits on the Board of Aecon, the company set to receive a contract with revenues in excess of $1 billion without having to compete.

Mr. Speaker, whatever happened to good governance? Whatever happened to ensuring Bermuda gets the best deal by going out to tender? The fact the Minister has tried to say that this is the only organisation that can tick the boxes is an absolute fallacy! There are numerous companies around the world that enter into transactions like this all the time; some who have approached us indicating that they would participate if the airport deal was going out to tender.

What is the catch? Why is the Minister so stuck on Aecon? Why has the OBA turned their back on good governance? It is also interesting that the government continues to refer to the only other airport development done by CCC & Aecon as a model, without mentioning that the Government of Ecuador put their project out to tender.

We find it interesting that the OBA seem intent to convince the people of this country that the airport won’t burden the taxpayer when in fact it will cost us a lot. The fact is that nobody is going to build us an airport for free; the Bermudian taxpayer will foot the bill.

The constant refrain that this will not add to our debt is an empty argument, Mr. Speaker. Money will have to be borrowed for the airport, and revenues that normally accrue to the government of Bermuda will be used to repay those loans. Whether the money is borrowed by Aecon or the Government of Bermuda, it is our tax and fee revenue that will be used to pay that loan.

Mr. Speaker, fancy accounting can hide debt and make it not appear on your balance sheet, but there is one thing that the Minister of Finance cannot deny, and that is that this airport deal will increase the deficit! We hear the constant refrain from the OBA that this transaction will not affect our balance sheet.

Mr. Speaker, if you increase your deficit it is going to show up on your balance sheet eventually as you are going to have to borrow the money to fill the gap. That is the fallacy of the airport as it is being sold to the people of Bermuda; it is not wise.

This year, when the increase in the airport departure tax is included, the airport is expected to turn a profit of $11.5 million. Mr. Speaker, this is currently a profitable operation, but these profits are set to be turned over to Aecon. We know that $11.5 million a year isn’t enough to build a $255 million terminal, so that means that Aecon will get more revenue or will cut costs.

Costs are people, Mr. Speaker; the 43 Bermudians at the airport from the General Manager down to the baggage handler may all be cut by Aecon. We know that the airport is increasing fees and moving ahead with a renewable energy project that will secure additional revenue that will leave Bermuda and go to Aecon under the proposed redevelopment deal.

Mr. Speaker, our airport is not a hub, it is not a transit point, and it is not a facility that has passengers using its facilities for hours. We could build the prettiest airport lined with gold and it will not help our tourism product. Travellers do not visit countries for the airport, Mr. Speaker; they visit for the product, that is the land, activities, and people.

Our answer, Mr. Speaker, is not right now, not when we are strained in so many places. Eleven million dollars in profit is a lot to lose. Bermuda will eventually need a new airport; the physical plant of our current one is failing, but so is the causeway. The original intent was to finance both a new airport and a new causeway – but now the causeway is not a part of the plan.

Mr. Speaker, we can and we should take a step back to conduct a public RFP process, making sure that Bermuda gets not only the best deal possible but also gets a new bridge. Instead of diverting $11 million of surplus to a Canadian company, we can put that money into tourism. We can invest that $11 million in developing our product, marketing our product, putting heads in beds, providing jobs for our people and making investments in our on-island experiences.

It is our position that those steps, combined with minor works at the airport, will extend the useful life of the facility for 10 years while we focus on re-building our tourism product in the short term.

Mr. Speaker, it goes back to prioritising our spending to productive investments for the future. The airport project as structured by the OBA will not generate a return for the people of Bermuda. It will not make our economic situation better in the long run. The short-term boost in construction stimulus will quickly give way to long-term payments to a Canadian company.

Spending our limited resources on building a new airport will not increase air arrivals; investing those resources in tourism, however, will assist in turning around our tourism product.

We urge the people of this country to speak to the Minister of Finance, and ask him to put this project on hold and urge him to spend our resources on investments that will improve our economy in the long run.

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  1. sebring says:

    I agree with the fact that a new airport should not be a priority at this time ! I am sure many of us have travelled to many other airports that fall short from Bermuda’s and think nothing of it!
    Bermuda must first up it’s game before building Golden gates to a potential shack!!!!

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      So we should spend millions of tax dollars trying to keep our current one together, all the while trying to convince the world we are a first class country to invest in?? I have been through that airport, both as a traveller and as a contractor working around the back spaces and I can tell you, the only places that have worse airports are third world countries. Paint no longer sticks to walls, cement is being pushed out by expanding rebar. It is going to be years before the Government will be in a position to front such a development, and in the meantime we will be pointlessly spending valuable tax dollar to be continuously putting lipstick on a pig.

      • Ex-member says:

        That airport is now an embarrassment.

        Crumbling buildings, busted pipes and just a poor layout.

        A new airport is needed for sure, just not sure if now is the time.

        What i don’t understand is how the PLP would propose to fund it. In the above it appears they would follow the same route albeit with an RFP. So their approach will also require a third party financing structure funded by airport revenues. On top of that the PLP’s approach of requiring a new bridge will require even greater concessions by the chosen developer as the new causeway will not produce any profit.

      • sebring says:

        yes u r right ! third world countries in particular the airport of the city of puebla! mexico. full of execs from the Volkswagen, company and many others,. how ever updating the present airport for the time is still best when the alternatives a grim! the bridge leading to and from the airport is as sure sign of a first world destination. matute remus bridge see pics of third world bridge next to the rio hotel all built in less than 4 years.

        LINK

        • Concerned says:

          similar to ‘The Dig” in Boston – like it minus the lights

    • Kunta says:

      A new airport and the masses of tourist still flock to the Caribbean because its cheaper and much more fun NOT because of a plush airport which you only spend 4 hours max coming and going during your stay.

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        Partial right, which is why it is important to redevelop the airport to a much higher standard, since, as you pointed out, we are out of the market for the mass tourism, we have to present ourselves as the market for the higher bracket tourism. That isn’t to say we should try and get as many from the mass market tourism, but it does present us a great deal better to every market if the first thing visitor see isn’t paint peeling, concrete falling, pipe rusting, wiring cable tied to pipes, water stained ceiling tiles, poor climate control as the wait to processed through…

  2. BIGGADON says:

    Things that make me go HMMMMMMMMMMM!

    • Strike fund says:

      The OBA need this project more than Bermuda does.

      They are not fronting the cash, but it will create jobs. No negative impact on budget, but a positive on employment numbers is how it will be spun.

      • Kunta says:

        Will we still get wet coming off the plane.

        • C James says:

          If you do get wet you can always blame it on racism!

        • Build a Better Bermuda says:

          No, the new airport design call for jetways, like every other modern airport. Passengers will not be debarking down drive up stairs, but into the jetway off the terminal building.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      What’s the hmmmmmm… the government didn’t pick the contractor, CCC did, most likely because Aecon has two things, it is Canadian and it has a representation in construction in Bermuda.

      So let’s review the misrepresentation of facts from the PLP thus far:
      - Bermudians will not be out $1b as while that might be a potential revenue, we would never see it as there also expenditures
      - even if we were to get $11m in profit from the airport, in order to finance the required new airport we would need to take out a large loan and that $11m profit plus more would be required to pay for it, so we would never see it anyway
      - the government is not responsible for the contracting of Aecon, as it would be CCC making that choice
      - no amount of minor works will help our current airport, in order for it to be brought to any reasonable shape where by it could survive the passage of time till the government is financially viable to embark on such a project on its own, it would take more money than this country has for it now or in the near future and in and of itself the expense would only serve to postpone a new development further
      - while I agree that a new passage from the airport to the island is required, to try and lump it to the airport development at this time would virtually double the cost of the project and make a self financing option more difficult to sell. The one part of the bridge that needs to be truly replaced is the ‘temporary’ fix to the swing bridge and a more permanent fixture could replace the current rusting swing hulk, allowing a slightly higher passage below for small vessels at a fractional cost, with a long term plan to prioritize it for a more fitting replacement to be designed and hopefully funded by government. Personally, I find the drive across the causeway quite nice, it give us a strong attachment to our history and inspiration that anything we do, we should strive to do with the hopes that they survive history as well.

      Frankly, I suspect the vast majority of the PLP’s objection to this is that they will lose out the chance to name it. It is no secret they love to name things for themselves and a new airport will probably not carry over the name of L. F. Wade. Personally, I think it should be carry the name Sir Henry Tucker, after all, he played an integral part in getting us an airport to begin with.

  3. Shadow Finance Minister David Burt has the audacity to say things like this, “Whatever happened to good governance. Whatever happened to ensuring Bermuda gets the best deal by going out to tender?. Well Shadow Minister David Burt I’ll tell you a bit of what happen to “good Governance”. First, the Progressive Labour Party (under Dr. Ewart Brown) stated “we had to fool you”. Yet I’m sure you recall that right? May I further suggest to you sir, and the others of the Progressive Labour Party stop the B/S and unite for the betterment of all and cease “being a thorn in the side” of the Government of the day, (O.B.A.) Can’t you not see what you are doing or is it in the plan?

    • Sickofantz says:

      So Raymond. Do you really really think we need a new airport?

    • flikel says:

      Friend,

      Perhaps the PLP did not exhibit good governance, but this does not give the OBA a pass on this issue.

      Mr Burt is correct on this one, good governance was not adhered to. His comments and opinion are not invalidated due to his party’s past actions.

      Will this be your excuse going forward. Will you justify OBA misdeeds because the PLP did the same or worse?

      Two wrongs do not make a right.

  4. fred says:

    So Bob Richards and his gang are just saying things. “No we won’t privatize… we want to mutualize…” All politicians are professional talkers whose objective in life is to gain as much as possible for themselves while posing to good for the community they were elected to represent.

  5. swing voter says:

    let it go boys…17-14 means you loose every time

  6. Sandgrownan says:

    Of course they “strongly oppose it”, just like they “express concern”, or sometimes “outrage” or attempt to turn everything into a “scandal” with the idiotic addition of the word “gate” to everything.

    Let’s just hear something constructive. Could you imagine Bean, Burt and Co trying to get us out of the mess?

    • Danny says:

      Actually No, I don’t. But, I also don’t believe in coincidence and this smells.

  7. Impressive says:

    Taking into consideration all you have typed,, Do you want to address or discuss the points raised by Mr. Burt, or do you prefer going back to discuss comments (that I thought where shameful at the time fyi) made by Dr. Brown over a decade ago?? Nevermind, I know the answer. “Cease Being a thorn in the side” LOL..

    • Impressive says:

      this post was in reply to Mr. Raymond Ray, FYI,, Thanks

      • In quoting Minister Bob Richards:
        “CCC chose Aecon, not the Bermuda Government,” the Minister said. “They chose Aecon because they’re one of the biggest developers in Canada, and they’ve got experience in doing this kind of thing. Throwing some kind of mud to see what sticks is not the kind of behaviour that a group of people who say they support our project in principle would do. They don’t support the project and they’re trying to trash it wherever they can.”

        • Impressive says:

          in quoting Mr. Burt.

          “Spending our limited resources on building a new airport will not increase air arrivals; investing those resources in tourism, however, will assist in turning around our tourism product.

          We urge the people of this country to speak to the Minister of Finance, and ask him to put this project on hold and urge him to spend our resources on investments that will improve our economy in the long run.”

          Mr. Ray,, I am sure you have travelled a fair bit in your life.. Have you ever decided to travel to a particular destination because they have a nice airport? When you go through the airport and get to your hotel, do you find that the state of the infrastructure of a particular airport made your trip that much better? When you returned to Bermuda, did you ever think that you want to go back to that destination because their airport was so wonderful.???

          • Jus' Wonderin' says:

            It’s sort of like the bridge in St. Georges if you don’t understand it, which you dont. Do we fix it now and save a lot of money down the road or just keep patching it up then ultimately HAVING to fix it down the road because of safety reasons, etc and having to spend a lot more money then we would have too? Which would you pick?!

            • another day in ......... says:

              you must sleep in my mind nights, you certainly know what I do and don’t understand.. I guess its a case of me supporting the PLP so I lack intelligence,, lol.. Enjoy your assumptions.. Nevertheless, you have put an argument in favour of the new terminal, i simply quoted the shadow minister on why its not an ideal choice at the moment. To be fair I don’t know the exact structural issues at the airport, so it may be a case of it desperately being needed, but without that information, I can certainly say there are more important issues.. thank you

          • bob13 says:

            The question isn’t about whether we need a new airport from an ‘amenities’ standpoint…but rather do we need a new airport from an ‘economical’ one. We can keep the current airport and spend millions(?) of dollars attempting to fix the current infrastructure (which is apparently pretty bad, behind the scenes) or have a new one built that avoids these costs altogether. The new airport won’t increase air arrivals, correct; however, neither will spending the money on repairs. And if my understanding of how the deal works is correct, we won’t be spending any money out of pocket to get this new airport built. Sure, we give up future profits/losses for doing so but that’s the game we need to play due to our current debt-ridden existence.

            • @ Jus’ Wonderin” as well as bob 13 and yes you too Impressive:
              I agree with the logic taken by both in having the airport remodeled to improve presentation…As far as being impressed by an airport, my answer is yes, Why you may ask, because this has a lasting effect on visitors, especially them who’ve done as I, quite a bit of traveling an have encountered first grade / top-notched airports in so called third world destination.
              Though may I add this, that I would also love to see the Causeway and Longbird Bridge modified while there’s redevelopments taking place at the present airport.

          • Build a Better Bermuda says:

            As the entry to a destination, the airport play an important part of the first impression. I cannot say I have ever chosen to go somewhere because of its airport, but I can say it has played an important part in deciding if I ever wanted to go back. And plenty of times I have come home and stood in line wondering when we were going to do something about the appalling state of our airport, especially having just left ones that were so much more comfortable to wait in.

  8. Navin Johnson says:

    Not a fan of the PLP and never will be…there was no such thing OS good Governance during their reign of terror and certainly many many deals that were questionable and I need not recite the long list here…that said we certainly need a new airport to attract the people and investment we need but it should be done in an open and forthright manner with tenders available for the public…..we accept that everything takes an eternity to get done in Bermuda(think gaming) but OBA needs to do it right and avoid ANY conflicts of interest. We had 14 years of that …..

    • Impressive says:

      Not your biggest fan, but that was a well reasoned post.. bravo

    • Danny says:

      Actually there was a period of good governance under the PLP.! It just stopped after a certain leader assumed the reigns. Go back and have a look at their record in the first 3 to 4 years of power.

      Make an attempt to cease painting with such a broad brush.

  9. Rick Olson says:

    I travel frequently and left Bermuda yesterday for a few days and I really believe the airport is more then adequate . The. Airport wouldn’t be ready by AC and probably not even this decade IMO. Why don’t we wait till AFTER the AC is over so we can judge the direction of our tourism industry is going as our 20 plus years of decline has nothing to do with our airport.
    Our countries infrastructure is falling apart at an alarming rate besides the airport look at our docks, buses,trash trucks, goverment properties etc WHY ? We gave incompetent MP ‘s and senior Managent in the CS it is all about a CASH GRAB has anyone heard of a preventive maitance program ?

    • Ex-member says:

      I believe the lack of a comprehensive preventive maintenance program was an issue highlighted in the SAGE report.

  10. watching says:

    So because some think that the PLP didn’t govern well, they think that automatically gives the OBA a pass to do whatever they want? Well it doesn’t.
    Our airport is not that bad. There are more pressing concerns in Bermuda right now. The OBA government need to pump the brakes and rethink whether to go forward with this project at this time.

  11. Onion says:

    The PLP may actually have a point this time but they’ve so completely destroyed their credibility on every other subject that it’s hard to take them seriously.

    Hopefully Bernews can get the facts without lots of spin.

    • Danny says:

      No need the PLP to arrive at your own opinion on this.

  12. jt says:

    And yet ZD..an owner of a large construction firm awarded Port Royal contract AND an elected MP sitting on the board responsible for overseeing Port Royal project is peachy.

    • @ jt. One would think that doesn’t matter since it was in the past :-( Yeah, sure they’re right and the P.L.P. are right…If you believe that well, “pigs do fly.”

  13. Lawry says:

    PLP, the experts when it comes to good management and unimpeachable integrity when it comes to infrastructure projects: Dame Lois Browne-Evans building, Port Royal, Bermuda Housing Corporation, West End Cruise ship dock, to name but a few. Of,course, the PLP had the expert guidance of that paragon of virtuous government Dr. The Hon. Ewart Brown for guidance so we know for sure that every last penny was not just properly accounted for but wisely spent keeping the best interests of the taxpayers in mind every single second day and night.

    • Stopthemadness says:

      At least we KNOW where the money was spent! Oh, and don’t forget the new Berkeley institute and bus terminal in town.

      • Kangoocar says:

        No we DON’T???? We have $800 MILLION unaccounted for??? Being you said ” At least we KNOW were the money was spent” can you please share that with the rest of us???

  14. Stopthemadness says:

    1.) Bermuda does not need a new airport. Renovations, yes! But a new $200 million airport-I think not. Why do we need a fancy airport when the average traveller spends less than 3 hours in there from checking in to the departure. (Unless there are delays) Am I missing something? 2.) Bermuda does not have long layovers where people have leisure time to get a deluxe spa treatment while waiting to depart. I agree some areas are outdated and maybe even unfunctionable, just get new equipment. In these times, $200 million could go a long way in other areas on this island. 3.) The revenue that is generated at the airport goes to this company for the next 30 years?? Madness! The airport has one of the LARGEST revenues generated by government and now we are writing that off the books? 4.) Truth is, once they do spend this God forsaken money on the airport, bet your boots it WON’T be call L.F Wade international Airport. WATCH!

    • Onion says:

      You got 29 dislikes in less than 5 minutes.

      Looks like you made one person really mad.

    • Kangoocar says:

      What part of thanks to your plp did you miss, that we DON’T have the money to renovate it??? The building is COSTING us huge amounts of money every year with just putting band aids on it!!! The OBA government has found a way for us to have it built, which will result in 200 to 300 constructions workers put back to work ( which probably is what is needling you and your plp the most ) and all we are giving up is approx $300 million a year in NET revenue!!! It sounds to me that your biggest issue with this is the following, the OBA will put many back to work which the plp could not do and the name of the Airport being changed??? Which really makes your comments silly and irrelevant !!!!!!!

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      The airport is named Kindley Field, as it should stay. The old terminal is LF Wade. Why? I don’t know. Politicins should not have buildings named after them. LF Wade had little to do with aviation. The Terminal should be named after somebody who did play a major part in Bermuda aviation.

      What is with the “International” part of it anyway. Of course it is. There are no other domestic airfields to confuse it with. An excerise in “fluffation” to boost somebodys ego.

      Oh, & yes, we do need a new terminal. That one was old & outdated 35 years ago. It is an embarassment for a place that likes to think itself a cut above the rest.

      • PBanks says:

        I think it’s standard fare for airports like ours, which serve international arrivals/departures, to have that naming convention in place. No big deal.

        Many airports are named after government leaders of the past, although yes in this case it did seem like a bit of a political “We’re in charge” moment when the naming was done in that fashion.

    • reefs says:

      ” bet your boots it WON’T be call L.F Wade international Airport”

      Good, it shouldn’t have been called that in the first place.

  15. obasellouts says:

    lol,

    all is well when the OBA do it

  16. chip says:

    Sell outs more lost jobs

  17. Sky Pilot says:

    the plp are pissed because none of them will get any Airport Pie.

    • mixitup says:

      But you’ll be OK with foreign entities eating the whole pie? Got u..

      • Jus' Wonderin' says:

        locals will be eating too by working on the construction of the new airport go through…isn’t that what you people want?!

        • reefs says:

          They don’t want to work, they want handouts.

          • Impressive says:

            so I guess all the people who get up and drive to work everyday and give there all just want handouts,, got you..

  18. Accurate says:

    Everybody is missing the point – we need this to go forward – NOW – because it is one of only a few things that actually can go forward – NOW.
    Even with substantial concessions offered the significant number of foreign construction workers needed will all pay into our struggling economy in multiple ways – accommodation – health insurance – food & drink – to name a few. If we do not increase the foreign dollar inflow into these and other areas RIGHT NOW then we will ensure the total collapse of our economy.
    Don’t believe me? Read the budget statement and the various analyses (Larry Burchall) thereof and tell me how any of this ends well without some kind of miracle. It seems that we pinning our hopes on winning a lottery prize but are not even willing to purchase the requisite ticket.
    If we wait a few more years to start this process then the attractiveness of this project to potential PPP partners will have faded to zero. Believe that!

  19. Scotty says:

    An open and transparent OBA Capital project for the well being of Bermuda and the PLP, especially Mr. Burt, is disapproving… Now that is a surprise! I think you may have a good point Sky Pilot!

  20. Jus' Wonderin' says:

    It’s sort of like the bridge in St. Georges if you don’t understand it, which you dont. Do we fix it now and save a lot of money down the road or just keep patching it up then ultimately HAVING to fix it down the road because of safety reasons, etc and having to spend a lot more money then we would have too? Which would you pick?!

    THIS IS THE MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION!

  21. Straight up says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever been in the Aiport, whether it be for departure or Arrival, where I noticed that it was in a deplorable condition. Though I will agree some areas do need some TLC.
    However, what really gets under my skin is listening to the Pilot say “Welcome to Bermuda” and at the same time looking out my window at that desert brown grass upon landing… and then having to walk down rusty mobile stairs. OMG its ugly!
    Can we save a few dollars on major improvements and get some sprinkler systems, a few guys from Port Royal to spruce up the landscaping at the Airport and some new stairs please, pretty please??

  22. reefs says:

    “”Welcome to Bermuda” and at the same time looking out my window at that desert brown grass upon landing… and then having to walk down rusty mobile stairs. OMG its ugly!”

    ….and then being accosted by the most miserable and rude immigration and customs officers.

  23. Just a matter of time says:

    I don’t know about you but where ever I travel, unless you actually have to physcially haul your own luggage in a commercial airline cargo yourself, our airport is more than adequate. My entire years of travel experiences worldwide is not concentrated on whether the airport walls are painted or not etc as an overriding lasting affect to my trip. Everytime I land at LF Wade, I always note that our aiport is still considered attractive and once you exit outdoors the blue waters that greet you will take away any supposedly bad asthetics you may have noticed…emphasis on ‘may’. The tourists only want to get to their hotel in a hurry to enjoy the island. Are you kidding me with all of this? Has there been a survey by tourists expressing how super bad our aiport is? All this talk about making our airport like some backwoods landing strip is just a smokescreen imo to get on quickly with this seemingly strange business dealings which has already unveiled uncomfortable conflict of interests on the heels of waived Financial Instructions with no desire to have this mammoth capital expenditure go out to tender. Funny enough, these are the points that are rarely addressed and discussed when this topic comes up. Beating up policies made from the past administration as a comeback argument will not make this matter look any better.

    • James Rego says:

      In case you missed the most accurate posting on here, it’s not that difficult to understand the point the writer is trying to make. I will copy and paste it for you here.

      Accurate says:
      March 2, 2015
      Everybody is missing the point – we need this to go forward – NOW – because it is one of only a few things that actually can go forward – NOW.
      Even with substantial concessions offered the significant number of foreign construction workers needed will all pay into our struggling economy in multiple ways – accommodation – health insurance – food & drink – to name a few. If we do not increase the foreign dollar inflow into these and other areas RIGHT NOW then we will ensure the total collapse of our economy.
      Don’t believe me? Read the budget statement and the various analyses (Larry Burchall) thereof and tell me how any of this ends well without some kind of miracle. It seems that we pinning our hopes on winning a lottery prize but are not even willing to purchase the requisite ticket.
      If we wait a few more years to start this process then the attractiveness of this project to potential PPP partners will have faded to zero. Believe that!

      • Thanks James for restating the issue. It’s true that this project will without any doubt inject million of foreign dollars into our economy and it’s foreign dollars that will have to pay off Bermudas debts…

  24. Alvin Williams says:

    So the Canadians are going to give Bermuda foreign aid to built a new Airport to hear the OBA finance minister speak? But if that is the case we should evict the current British governor from government House and install a Canadian governor; at least we would than get our money’s worth.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Alvin, you would be much more credible if you could specifically show where this Canadian foreign aid is coming from. Maybe you don’t understand the difference between a hand out in the form of aid & a business arrangement where one gets paid one way or another for their services.

      Is it that you don’t understand how this terminal deal works or do you not WANT to understand? No matter how many times it is explained, in the very simplest of terms, you want to see something else.

      During the building boom how many Bermudians had homes built & imediatley rented them out long term to exempt companys giving them one heck of a head start on paying the mortgage if not paying it in full?

      Same concept. No foreign aid. It really is not that hard to understand.

  25. YoungBermy says:

    It’s a lot of butt hurt oba ponies on this article & I also find it funny how these ponies bring up the past about the plp but seem to also forget what there government used to do & why the plp had 14 long years in power & calling it terror lol cause everything they did was so bad you people make me laugh backwards as ever its time to move forward bermuda the new generation is taking over & they like how the plp is doing things they like how real mark bean is becoming they see it & you’ll see it to come next year elaction time good day ponies

  26. aceboy says:

    Bermuda almost “has to” hire overseas people these days. Nobody seems to be able to choose any contractor now without people yelling corruption and “friends and family”. Now it’s clear that there is such deep suspicion no overseas contractors can be hired now.

    I see a gert big excavation and mining project going on at the airport near the terminal. I don’t know what that is about but looks like hell. We used to be concerned about the dump giving a negative view of Bermuda. Add that to the the old runways left over from the base growing grass through them, which are plainly visible to anyone with a window seat, we are getting close to looking positively third world at the airport.

    Do we *need it*?

    Are we serious about tourism? Or should we resort to lugging bags ourselves from the plane holds as suggested in another thread?

    At the VERY LEAST the project will provide much needed jobs in the construction industry.

  27. Todd says:

    Ok, so I’m a little confused. This is a $250+ million development project that was not put out to tender. And for those that want to rush in and bring the PLP into the equation, I ask that you not, because it’s not relevant. If we agree that the PLP were voted out in search of a government that didn’t play lip service to the concept of transparency, than lets not look backward, we need to look forward and agree that we hoped that by voting in the OBA we were getting an above board government that did things by the book and in the open. Am I correct, if not naïve, to think that I / we are owed this? Yes, I think that right thinking people would agree that this was what we had expected.
    Putting aside some of the other missteps taken by the OBA and it’s hard , but I’m going to reluctantly give them a pass on Jet-Gate. I will also turn a blind eye to the lack of a referendum on Gambling , although it was a Platform promise. I cringed and sobbed lightly and said a few prayers and hoped that I a heard wrong when it was stated that the award of the America’s Cup Village development was provided to a firm without it being put out to tender. I’m weakening here. The body blows are taking a toll.
    So when I read that Bob was positive that he had never met Michael Butt, I said, ok, but when he says that he has never heard of the man, I cringed again. And I’m not suggesting that Bob is not telling the truth, buttttttt, no pun intended, let’s just say that I’m a little concerned, and here’s why:
    Somers Construction , a company led by Michael Butt (Chairman)is No Mom and Pop shop, in fact in this little island of ours, one could say that Somers is a pretty big fish and here’s why:
    Somers Construction(SC) was the Construction Manager of the $60.2 million Cedarbridge Academy School project…..SC assumed the Construction management of the Berkeley Institute project and with all of the press associated with this mess, one would think that a politician just might have a more than casual interest in which company assumed the reigns for this project. One would also not be faulted for thinking that the company would be vetted fully and the name of Michael Butt might just surface as a first class Construction Expert more than capable of getting the Berkeley project back on track. The fact that Somers Construction was also responsible for the $70.2 million Tucker’s Point Development, and also handled various multi-million dollar local projects such as the Palmetto Gardens, Ace Global Headquarters and others totaling over $100 million, than one could also assume that this was no small company and that their name might have been spoken at a few cocktail parties, if only to say that these fellas, Michael Butt and Co were first rate Construction fellas. You would think so at any rate.
    So when Bob says that he doesn’t know who this man is, well, let’s just say that I wonder.