“Another Failed Attempt To Mislead The Public”

August 28, 2015

“The latest release from the OBA is another failed attempt to mislead the public while trying to build support for the privatisation of Bermuda’s airport to a Canadian company,” Shadow Minister of Finance David Burt said.

This follows after the OBA said, “The Government is progressing a plan to build a new air terminal through a public-private partnership, as the PLP Government did in building the new hospital wing.

“This is a fact ignored by the Opposition PLP in its campaign to undermine a positive initiative that will create hundreds of jobs for Bermudians and a strategic asset that will serve the Island for decades to come.

“Instead of acknowledging the PPP fact, the PLP say the government wants to privatize the airport – to hand over ownership of the terminal to a private company. That is factually wrong, and one more example of Opposition disinformation.”

PLP press conference on the airport deal earlier this week

In response, Mr Burt said, “The OBA must not have realised that the PLP, like most Bermudians, have no interest in theatrical tit for tat regarding the airport, but are focused on the facts.

“The latest release from the OBA is another failed attempt to mislead the public while trying to build support for the privatisation of Bermuda’s airport to a Canadian company. The OBA’s proposed airport project and the new hospital wing started by the PLP are different in two very clear ways.

“The first is the most obvious; the PLP conducted a rigorous public tender process which was hailed as having the highest standards of ethics and transparency. Bob Richards chose Aecon without a tender process in contravention of the Good Governance Act.

“The second difference is simple; there is no private company operating the new hospital wing. It is run by the Bermuda Hospitals Board, which is 100% owned by the people of Bermuda.

“The revenue and profits earned by the hospital are the property of the people of Bermuda, unlike the OBA’s plan for the airport which will see at least 30 years of revenue and profits go to a Canadian company that did not even have to compete for the contract.

“If the OBA would like to follow the PLP’s plan for building the new hospital wing to construct a new airport terminal, the OBA would have the PLP’s 100% support,” Mr Burt continued.

“But the OBA know that they cannot do that because it means that Aecon will have to compete with other companies who may be able to provide Bermuda a better deal – and that would go counter to the assurances that Bob Richards has given his Canadian friends that they will get the privatisation contract to operate the airport.

“The last line of the OBA’s spokesman’s release says it all, where he boldly declares that “the Government will sign a deal with the Canadian Commercial Corporation.” Despite the numerous warnings raised in the independent Deloitte report, the OBA Cabinet have already made up their mind to go along with Minister Richards’ personal political project to privatise the Bermuda airport.

“All Bermudians should be concerned that a project of this magnitude is being awarded without Aecon having to compete with anyone, without the Bermudian people knowing they are getting value for money, and without regard to the highest standards of ethics and transparency.

“There is a better way, and though the OBA will tell you the only way forward is to privatise the airport, we believe the profits from our airport should stay in Bermuda and not be exported to Minister Richards’ friends in Canada.”

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Comments (74)

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  1. Justin says:

    Can Minister Burt remind the people of Bermuda how much profit the hospital makes? The answer is zero! It actually loses money every year. Maybe the hospital should be privatized too so that the taxpayer can start saving money?

    • hmmm says:

      back out the donations and boom.

    • Trulytruly says:

      Please get it right, Shadow Minister Burt.

      • Navin johmson says:

        Is it the Honorable Shadow Minister. Sounds like a silly mid-on

    • Charlly X says:

      Wow Justin that’s the dumbest thing I’ve read today lol !!!!!

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      You are correct, Mr. Burt has erred on 2 details, first the new Hospital wing is in fact partially privatized in that the facilities management is a private company, contract to do so as part of the tendering by the PLP. BHB staff are not responsible for the maintenance and up keep of the new new wings systems. BHB only governs the staffing of the hospital, if they want to get anything done, changed or fixed to the physical or technological infrastructure, they need to go through the Facilities Management company.
      2nd, the Bermudian people do not have control over the hospitals profits, because the hospital has none, it has been running on government subsidies for decades. It is by default government financed, thus the reason our premiums went up so dramatically this year, the PLP had no vehicle to actually pay for the wing when it was finished.

      • TRUTH says:

        The “Delottie Report” and What MP Burt and Burchall has highlighted is very significant. It is important that folks read the report, and make their decision based upon what has been outlined. T

        The Government OBA must realize the at least 60 to 70% of the People in Bermuda indicated they were not in favour of the AIRPORT DEAL. This matter is a battle with the People of Bermuda and not the PLP.

        “All Bermudians should be concerned that a project of this magnitude is being awarded without Aecon having to compete with anyone, without the Bermudian people knowing they are getting value for money, and without regard to the highest standards of ethics and transparency.

        “There is a better way, and though the OBA will tell you the only way forward is to privatise the airport, we believe the profits from our airport should stay in Bermuda and not be exported to Minister Richards’ friends in Canada.”

        • Build a Better Bermuda says:

          I read the report, I also know it acknowledges the works done by government to create accountability and value. I also know it says that a number of the concerns they highlighted could only be addressed once they reached the stage of negotiations that we are now in. The only real concern that the government cannot fully address, and this is not considered by the report as a gap, is that the sole source does not guarantee VFM, but every Bermudian should know by now that even an open tendering process doesn’t guarantee VFM. In construction the only way to guarantee VFM is with a strong build-to contract, and that is where we are now, a contract that government has employed another independent reviewer to assess its VFM before it is finally signed, as well as that the UK will be vetting it too before it can be signed. In the end, any and all profits from the airport would ultimately be getting sent overseas to pay for a new airport, and the airport is already privatized and the PLP over saw it.
          Now, would you like to actually try and counter my statement above, or would you like to regurgitate some more PLP information.

        • Larry Burchall says:

          There is a fundamental and inescapable flaw in this proposed Airport scheme. Set out in the most basic terms, this is the fundamental flaw – the fault – the crazy fact.

          All the (*) figures are the rounded up figures from Government’s published accounts. All the (**) figures are calculations from Government’s accounts figures.

          IN FY 2015/16 and before AECON
          Gov Revenue +$ 931m(*)
          Gov Spend -$1,151m(*)
          So Gov Deficit -$ 220m(**)

          Airport Revenue in 2015/16 +$31m(*)
          Airport Expenses in 2015/16 -$20m(*)
          So Airport Gross Profit is +$11m(**)

          What happens after AECON builds a new Airport and gets all the Revenue?
          Gov Revenue in 2015/16 +$ 931m(*)
          But Gov will give away Airport Revenue -$ 31m(*)
          So new Gov Revenue will be +$ 900m(**)

          Gov Spend in 2015/16 -$1,151m(*)
          But Gov will no longer have this expense +$ 20m(*)
          So new Gov Spend will be -$1,131m(**)

          Put it together!
          New Gov Revenue after AECON +$ 900m(**)
          New Gov Spend after AECON -$1,131m(**)
          So Gov DEFICIT after AECON will be -$ 231m(**)

          The $231m deficit after the AECON deal will be HIGHER than the $220m that Government had before (and has now).

          So Bermuda – all of us taxpayers – will be worse off than before – and now. And this being worse off is going to be the fact in every post-AECON year. This worse situation will last for 10, 15, 25, 30, 35 or however many years are “pulled out of the hat”.

          In this Airport scheme, there are two only real arguments.

          Argument ONE ….. 1 + 1 = 2 (The ‘numbers’ argument)

          Argument TWO …. One + One equals Eleven (The rhetorical argument)

          Larry Burchall

          • Build a Better Bermuda says:

            Your entire premise is based on the assumption that government will be giving up the entirety of the revenue stream to AECON. As we are only getting into the economics of the contract now, once the actual airport design I’d finalized we will actually be able to model the cost for the new design, so the expenditures model for the current will most likely have a large percentage of error for estimation use. Only now can government actuall begin to negotiate exactly what revenues or percentages of revenues will be designated to AECON for the development and operations reimbursement. I could be wrong, but I can’t recall the government saying that they would be giving the airport revenue stream control over to AECOM… I know they said that the airport revenues would be used to finance the project and eventual operations, but I don’t recall them actually say they were going to give all the revenues over. That has been statements from the PLP and other opposing parties.

          • Justin says:


            The fact is that we need a new airport. Can you work out how much interest Bermuda would be paying over 30 or even 35 years if we were to borrow the money instead? My intuition says Bermuda would be in about the same position, but at least this way Bermuda is taking hardly any risk. You are also assuming that this larger airport is going to be able to be operated on the same budget ($20m) as our current smaller airport which I think is a stretch.

            Do I think someone else can build it for less? Possibly, but how much are you going to spend putting it out to tender? Does it make sense to spend $10 to save $3? I don’t think so.

            • Jadon says:

              No we don’t. When have you ever been to a country and said ” I’m not going back there! Their airport was trash ” said no one ever !! It’s for their friends and self benefits…. Most of us know what you your up to OBA/UBP.

              But hey…. The worldwide recession was PLPs fault…. Lol

          • Toughchit says:

            But won’t the expenses related to the airport operations also be removed off the books?

          • Huh says:

            You have not factored in the economic multipliers/Govt. Tax Revenue multipliers of the construction of a $200,000,000.00 airport, Morgans Point development, new East End Hotel, Ariel Sands, America’s Cup people/development, Town Cut widening/new St. Georges Cruise Ship, Old Sonesta hotel site development. So your Govt. Revenue figures are too low.

          • James Rego says:

            How much is it going to cost AECON in maintenance over 30 years?

            • Build a Better Bermuda says:

              That is the current unknown variable and why this next phase of negotiations will cover. Up until now, all projections have been based on the existing airport model that will become for the most part, irrelevant to the new airport’s cost

        • Onion says:

          Why should people be in favour of it when the OBA are terrible at communication and the PLP are on a mission to mislead.

          Presumably if people were given the choice between the PPP and the PLP’s implicit choice of public borrowing (since the PLP don’t oppose a new airport) then people would choose the PPP.

  2. Mj says:

    Str8 like that put it out tender that’s all!!!!!!!!!!! Let us bermudians reap off of our airport not no Canadians that give the regular bermudian citizen so much trouble jz to enter their country for a vacation even when we are bringing our money into their economy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • hmmm says:

      I’ve never had a problem at Canadian immigration and I’m Bermudian. Perhaps it is you and your attitude.

    • Lois Frederick says:

      You must have missed the memo that said, Bermuda cannot borrow any more money for capital projects of this magnitude. We are borrowing too much already, just to pay the bills and we are paying hundreds of thousands a day in interest alone, that we really can’t afford. So no, we can’t put it out to tender, like all those other projects built on borrowed money, by the former govt. This plan is the only way the airport can be built, with our financial straight jacket placed on us by the plp and it is the way it will be built.

      • TRUTH says:

        IN a recent poll, the People of Bermuda indicated that they were not in favour of this Airport Deal. The results of the Poll indicated that at least 60 to 75% of the People rejected it. The OBA fight is with the People of Bermuda who rejected this Deal, not the PLP. I as a citizen of Bermuda believe after reading the various reports, that this is not a good deal at present for Bermuda.

        • Lois Frederick says:

          Therefore I expect a crowd of at least 20,000 people objecting to the airport project along with organiser John Holdipp next week.

  3. Sad says:

    What Burt forgot to include is that while the BHB is 100% owned by the government so are all related expenses. Not just revenues that he constantly refers to as if expenses aren’t attached.

    You know the recent increase in healthcare expenses that everyone has complained about? Well those were due directly to the PLP’s overpriced hospital wing. Great job on making Bermuda and an essential service that much more expensive for everyone.

    I notice how he conveniently forgot to address his 2011 statements on his wish as junior finance minister to see a whole slew of government functions privatised to make them more efficient. Or the fact that the PLP privatised/outsourced a number of government services under their reign.

    Given the fact that the assets remain under Bermudian ownership with operational control of the terminal in 30 years this can’t be considered privatisation.

    Lastly, Burt as the PAC Chairman recently, along with his PLP colleagues, vehemently defended the sole sourcing of the Port Royal contract to another PLP colleague. One PLP representative even claimed that despite the non-tendering and of the contract to their PLP colleague they were more than happy they received value for monies spent despite no other bies sought.

    Hypocrisy at its finest.

    At least with this project it is being overseen by both the Canadian and UK governments with no chance of customary overruns being paid for by the public. Too bad the PLP didn’t week such assistance when giving contracts to their mates.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      Among the government’s supporting documentation cited in the Delpitte report was a report done for government about the privatization of the airport… wait for it… done under the PLP years

  4. aceboy says:

    You seem to have very serious issues with *facts* Mr. Burt. The OBA will be along shortly to point out that you lot are once again trying to mislead this island.

    And on and on it goes.

  5. NCM says:

    “Revenue and profits earned by the hospital are the property of the people of Bermuda” Ahhh… do you mean the crippling debt that we, the people of Bermuda, must pay back over the next 30 years? There is no profit from the hospital – just millions in loses and debt to pay back. More misleading the public.

  6. Triangle Drifter says:

    The PLP is not worth the time to respond to anymore than one should spend time arguing with a 3 year old.

  7. WOLF says:

    Its like watching children bicker.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      Which is EXACTLY what the people who are always starting it want you to feel without recognizing who the ‘children’ really are.

  8. Starting Point says:

    I was under the impression that the revenues from the Hospital were being directed to the running of the hospital and to pay down the the construction costs……

    I was also under the impression that the revenues from the Airport were going to be directed to the running of the airport and paying down the construction costs….

    Unlike sesame street, both of these things are JUST like the other lol.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      Difference is, that the airport at least generates a small profit margin… the hospital hasn’t. Was like that even before the tender for it was put out, so it was always known by the PLP that the construction bill was going to have to be paid for by the government, because BHB wasn’t going to be able to cover it.

  9. hmmm says:

    “The revenue and profits earned by the hospital are the property of the people of Bermuda”

    WHAT PROFITS ? once again misinformation. How much profit did the hospital make in it’s first operational year net of the fees to the private partners and excluding any charitable donations.

  10. Toleratate says:

    And he said, and she said….

  11. Trulytruly says:

    Such a lengthy response yet no mention of burt’s support for privatization as stated in his former role as junior finance minister.

  12. Family Man says:

    Aren’t these the same bozos that privatized White’s Island, kicking the youth sailing program off the island?

    These clowns sure attract a lot of ‘men of god’ don’t they; Trevor Woolridge, Pasta Bean, Santucci, Tweedle dee.

  13. Unbelievable says:

    It’s nice to see that David Burt didn’t even answer to the quote that he promoted privatisation when he was Junior Finance Minister. It’s all just an attack on the OBA.

  14. watchmen says:

    Mislead this way…mislead that way – it will not matter in the weeks and months ahead. Visitors by air (and then by sea) will plummet to unprecedented levels. Making this airport deal look mistimed at the very best. The OBA through the “learned” Bob Richards must surely know that the writing is on the wall for the economy as we know it and many companies on island are implementing the first phases of their “damage mitigation” because of the impending market implosion that will make 2008 (the crash we are still “recovering” from btw) look like a cakewalk.

    Without getting into too much detail when correctly priced the DOW should be priced nearer to 7000 pts not the 16,500 (or so) fallacy that the market is priced at today. When this unfolds over the next year woe to you and I.

    If is gut wrenching to see these fools argue over such petty things when we face a far greater threat to our existence as we know it.

    You had better learn to garden. Peoples of this island please understand that the dollar that we peg our currency to will be devalued by at least 30% in the next 18 mos. Can you imagine the cost of your pound of flesh then?

    I have no time for the naysayers who are no doubt going to dispute what I have to say. Those in the know, know. Others too bad for you – keep watching/listening to MSNBC or FOX or CNN (or BERNEWS for that matter) or whatever other drivel designed to appeal to your basest of needs – and that is the need to believe in something – to be part of this team or that team. This OBA/PLP tit for tat over an airport that will have HARDLY ANY TRAFFIC (other than Military – more on that later)is going to look real petty real soon.

  15. aceboy says:

    The new hospital we were promised somehow turned into a “Wing”. Even before construction finished a charity, headed by a certain relative of a former Premier, was set up with a goal to collect $40 million….which they came very close to achieving. All after the Minister of Health had claimed the hospital would not cost Bermudians anything.

    The PLP’s memory is extremely short and convenient.

  16. Lois Frederick says:

    Yet again David Burt is being extremely sparse with the truth. No surprise there. He is proving over and over again, that he will twist the truth to suit his and his party’s ends. I am pretty sure by now, level headed people can see right through the charade, that has been presented over and over again in countless outbursts. The purpose is the same and it has become very predictable. Time to change your approach, except it’s hard to complain too much about increasing employment and significantly higher consumer spending numbers, without sounding even more silly than you do already. Yes, of course the smearing will continue, as the clock keeps counting down, on that court room clock. It’s really all they have got.

  17. Mark says:

    “The OBA must not have realised that the PLP, like most Bermudians, have no interest in theatrical tit for tat regarding the airport, but are focused on the facts.”

    And then he continues to indulge in theatrical tit for tat!!!! And that is exactly what the OBA just said…after the PLP said that…and after the OBA said that….its like they are children! They are either too stupid or dishonest to realize the wild irony of what they are saying!

    I have shaken my head so many times with this nonsense. These people are honestly unbelievable…it would be funny if it wasn’t so sad that they actually represent real people. It’s just another example or sad commentary on the fact that our politicians are lifelong in Bermuda because they cant get any other job that would pay them as much. Pathetic.

    • Charlly X says:

      Let’s look and Read the facts of the matter !! Take your political preference out of the conversations !! Act like a rabbit n use your ears n eyes ! Don’t put on a hat that is too big ! As it will block your vision and ears !!
      If we the people are not being given the right to disseminate the information wholely how can we agree or disagree ? If they are hiding the facts in the shadows . We can only row the boat forward collectively !! As my good friend told me , bless his soul o God , ” time tells all “! Minister Bob doesn’t have a Cristal Ball lol

      • alsys says:

        Isn’t that what was said in the House when Minister Richards was trying to warn about the upcoming recession? The one which then happened and we were caught backfooted as we had failed to listen to him and save? THAT’s the insult you have?

        Oh lord, if it wasn’t so serious I would have to laugh.

  18. N / A says:

    This whole PLP vs OBA thing is so BORING sometimes. Can anything they do be bi-partisan?? I have zero interest in politics, but giving away the sums of money our current government seem just fine with doing when we are severely in debt, warrants a long and serious discussion. And I completely agree, if it does require the building of a new airport, it should go out to tender. Not simply offered to some Canadians. Nothing personal, just business!

    • hmmm says:

      We are giving away nothing….the airport is currently running at a loss.

      Nothing personal , just business.

      • Real talk (original) says:

        The airport currently generates a small revenue in the areas of $4m… with recent increases to departure tax that will increase to $16m/year? Over 30 years that is almost half a billion dollars.

        Politics aside there are questions that need to be asked.

        • hmmm says:

          REVENUE !!!!! That is before expenses !!!!!!!!

          Money comes at a cost….the existing airport terminal needs increasing repairs = increasing costs over time.

          any new terminal comes with a financing cost.

          To build a new airport loans need to occur, whether that be on the books of Canada or ours (well we can’t way to expensive to borrow and make this viable). the lower Canadian borrowing rates make it viable. We can’t get those rates.

          This past year the Airport ran at a loss !!!!!!

      • alsys says:

        Not only that but these “revenues” that keep being floated around that we are supposedly giving away? Those numbers are based on the projected profits which we will not have unless the airport is upgraded. Right now, as we are operating at a loss and have been for a while, there will be NO profits to give away.

      • N / A says:

        If what you are saying is true, then why would he Canadians be interested in getting the contract to build the airport? Are they fine working for free??

  19. Lala says:

    “The revenue and profits earned by the hospital are the property of the people of Bermuda”

    Ummm, you may have noticed that the hospital is one of the bigger holes in our budget.

  20. ally oop says:

    you always know…why?…their lips are movin….then…as proof …a video of a shadow and his lips are movin!….oh my God !…his lips are movin!….we know….yah lips are movin…dat’s alllll we need to know!….no substance ….just a deep breath and rattle prattle who jock!

  21. ally oop says:

    we know who….you did…..now we’re brooke because offit!

  22. aceboy says:

    They still have that tired old “Standing Strong” sign in the background?

    You aren’t standing strong, you are lying and bickering.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      Not just that, but is it just me or does it look like their back drop is sagging off the wall in places?

  23. Mark says:

    I think if the OBA said “the sky is blue” the PLP would be up in arms, insisting that “the sky is orange!!!” [Rabble Rabble Rabble]


  24. theObserver says:

    Well with both sides misleading the public what is the truth?

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      Somewhere in the middle, usually requires a strong stomach to wade through all the BS to get there though.

  25. Bermyman says:

    PLP business acumen assumes that a depreciating asset with significant cost increases expected in upkeep will continue to provide the same very slim profit margins without a huge amount of public money being invested.

    If the current airport incurs any significant maintenance requirements over the next 30 year, poof! Goodby that $10m a year profit margin, and we are talking something as simple as a new air traffic control radar, a major failure to plumbing or electrical equipment, resurfacing the runway etc. All of these and many more costs are coming down the pipeline, yet there is no mention of how to deal with these without adding to an already mountainous public debt!

    Sometimes we need to accept that things are best left in the hands of those that do know what they are doing, that being the development company and their financiers who are making a direct $250m investment in the Island by undertaking this project.

    The PLP Want to delay this as they know it will create jobs, they know it will improve Bermuda. They do not want that! They want failure !

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      You are actually off on one detail, the runway was recently resurfaced, so we should be good on that for a while.

  26. flikel says:

    I really need help understanding something.

    What is wrong with looking at other options for the airport project? What is wrong with soliciting other bids or proposals?

    If Aecon/CCC is chosen to be the best of all available options…then let’s crack on with it. But what is the harm with simply ‘shopping around’ first?

    • Mark says:

      the main issue in my mind is where else are we going to find a contract where the time and money is guaranteed by the Canadian Government so whats the problem with this deal?

  27. Charlly X says:

    If the Airport makes about $5mill per year ? Multiplying by 30-35 years = $150-$175 mill ya ? And the financial guru B.e.t.R claims it will cost $250- $200 mill to build ? And the Bank of NT Butterfield just gave us a loan for $200 mill ? Why can’t we just make the airport like a wedco or bedc quango ?
    The airport is self sufficient yes ? But then again I don’t have a Cristal ball !! Let’s debate the whole thing and come up with a solution collectively as a country . Let’s stop the verbal DIARRHEA shootings n deal with Progress !!!

    • Northshore says:

      and you get your numbers from??????

      • Lois Frederick says:

        Caution, it looks to be another one of those Number Bombers.

  28. Northshore says:

    Its an embarrassment listening to David Burt blab on about what he does not understand, or pretend not to. As for that other guy , well he`s all over the place I can`t make heads or tails out of what he said!! They are surely crying to the dumb vote!

    • aceboy says:

      All they need to do is “sound” smart. The masses will eat it up. Just look at the statements made by Paula Cox over the years she was Premier…lots of big words that meant nothing. To some though she really sounded like she was smart.

  29. Philip says:

    How can we trust the ppl with numbers and finance when they blew the bank in power now they seem to be experts …please

  30. Ruthless says:

    Come on PLP try something different cause if you don’t stop these projects from going ahead and Bermudian are put back to work, you don’t stand a chance in any election.

  31. Miss Lady says:

    If they have the money to spend on a new airport, why don’t they use that money and apply it to the islands debts. Bring our ratings back up and take some of the financial burden (that we shoulda have been feverishly trying to work off) away. Instead of using a company that they haven’t did a clear background check on.

  32. Hoolieh says:

    This is really scary!

    We’re doomed if the PLP every get back in!

    It’s NOW clear to me, they do NOT understand financial issues.

    Hence, there should now be NO surprise that their tenure as Government resulted in major deficits/debts.

    Can they not find more intelligent or financially savvy candidates?


  33. Triangle Drifter says:

    You really have to sit & smile sometimes. The PLP was all set to build a new terminal, at no less than double the current cost being estimated BTW, & there was not a single peep from the obedient followers.

    No question about a need. It was needed then. No question about the cost & how many decades it would take to pay it off. More than 30 years for sure.

    Silence. Absolute silence. The PLP could do no wrong.

    It is a good thing that the project was dropped after who knows how many millions were spent just getting to the stage of a pretty artists view of the new terminal, complete with marina.

    So now we listen to the rabble hoot & howl about a terminal at half the cost & years less to pay for.

    Oh yes, it DOES have to be paid for. CCC is not going to be able to build it for free then everything after that is profit. Believe that & you believe in fairytales.

  34. RBKing says:

    Aren’t these the people that privatized Stonington Beach?