ABIR On Bermuda Airport Redevelopment Project

September 7, 2016

“ABIR members recognize that Bermuda’s lifeline to the rest of the world – the 70-year-old Bermuda LF Wade Airport Terminal – is decrepit, subject to extraordinary maintenance costs, and at enormous risk from sea level rise and hurricanes,” the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers [ABIR] said today.

“The sewage system is antiquated and subject to malfunction due to tide and wind conditions thus creating a potential public health hazard to workers and visitors.

“A consensus is emerging that the airport terminal is beyond repair and that a new facility is needed. We are not experts on Bermuda’s infrastructure priorities, but we believe that the current airport facility needs to be replaced and that such replacement will benefit Bermuda.

ABIR Bermuda TC September 7 2016

“We don’t take a position, pro or con, on the Government’s proposed rebuilding plan,” ABIR continued.

“It is not for us to opine on what the financial structure or management should be of the airport project, but we do recognize the Government has come forward with a financing plan that avoids additional debt, has protections against troubling cost overruns and follows a model that has been used elsewhere on infrastructure projects.

“After six years of a devastating recession, Bermuda’s debt is a serious concern; it seems clear the Government cannot take on much additional debt without imperiling essential services and receiving another sovereign debt rating downgrade.

“Before a decision is made, we understand that the Government will make the required public disclosures as called for under the entrustment agreement with the UK so that Bermuda’s voters are afforded a full airing of the financial details.

“With that information in the public domain it should be possible for an informed decision to be made about the airport project and its impact on the Government’s finances.

“ABIR represents Bermuda’s largest insurance company employers, employing at yearend 2015 more than 1,500 people in Bermuda. We are a significant contributor to the Bermuda economy.

“We are proud that two-thirds of our employees are Bermudian, spouses of Bermudians or PRC holders. Both of Bermuda’s political parties have come together to strengthen the regulatory infrastructure and international tax standards that allow us to do business from Bermuda.

“This bipartisan action has put Bermuda on the global map and has created unsurpassed job opportunities for those Bermudians interested in insurance careers. We are hoping the same bipartisan action can be achieved regarding the airport.”

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Comments (30)

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  1. San George says:

    Given they are unable to acquire the financing, ABIR members should also lend them the money (in an off-balance sheet vehicle) – 5% anyone. That would be putting your money where your mouth is. This government would be more than happy to give you a government guarantee, that you will get your money back; they are giving them to everyone else. You should have no fear given ABIR is also our largest tax payer.

    • inna says:

      And take the risk that the PLP would take over payment of that loan?? Ya right!!!!

    • Yea ok says:

      “We are proud that two-thirds of our employees are Bermudian, spouses of Bermudians or PRC holders.

      It’s always fun listening to someone’s lie when you already know the truth. :)

    • 4ner says:

      And when the project runs 2x or 3x cost, as things tend to do in Bermuda… where does the extra money come from?

    • Cotty O says:

      When the whole damn project has the Canadian Government’s backing?
      Really! Where is Bermuda anyway?
      We have higher opinions of ourselves than we deserve……and that is an understatement!

  2. Vote for Me says:

    “but we do recognize the Government has come forward with a financing plan that avoids additional debt”

    I think you are doing yourselves a disservice by issuing this statement.

    Ask a Chief Financial Officer of any of your companies to comment on whether the provision of a guarantee related to a $250m project adds to your debt. Whether the debt is on or off balance sheet is not relevant. The substance of the transaction is that you are responsible for any non payment of debt.

    Whilst I appreciate the intent of the article, it is clearly self serving.

    • Bermy says:

      How is it self-serving? What does ABIR get out of it?

      • Vote for Me says:

        Self serving because they have clearly not thought through the efficacy of their statement about the airport not adding to Bermuda’s National debt. ABIR are clearly trying to earn ‘brownie points’ with this statement.

        What they are getting out of it is an attempt to show support for a government position that the majority of the public have already indicated their opposition.

    • On lookers says:

      Don’t they all work together. Smh

    • Gabriel says:

      Well said. The agreement guarantees payment – just like a debt instrument. On the book or off the book – it still represents a financial commitment.

    • Cotty Outerbridge says:

      I understand that the Canadian Government guarantees the project cost/overruns……doesn’t this mean any debt?

  3. Simple says:

    “Government has come forward with a financing plan that avoids additional debt” -HAHAHA I think the head or Enron said the same thing.

  4. Smh says:

    Wow… These organisations’ true allegiances are coming out. Money talks !!!!

    • Bermyman says:

      These organisations are the difference between 1st world and 3rd world for Bermuda.

      • Outerbridge says:

        Hear, hear!
        Bunch of simpletons can’t see the trees for the forest!

      • Manor House says:

        You are absolutely right about these organisations being the difference between a 1st and 3rd world.

        The idea that ABIR can document that they TAKE NO POSITION pro or con on the Government’s proposed rebuilding plan of the L.F Wade and yet continue to list the cons, claim they are not experts on Bermuda’s infrastructure, suggest that the airport facility needs to be replaced and that the replacement will benefit Bermuda…? Is this not TAKING A POSITION? We can see a clear and well defined position here ABIR. Or were we not supposed to pick up on that?

        Should ABIR and others like them continue to support issues (Bermuda) will careen into 3rd world colonisation faster than Bob can fuzzy the numbers.

        ABIR, “We don’t take a position pro or con.”

        For nine hundred years have I trained Jedi….

    • Bermy says:

      Care to elaborate on what you mean? Or do you think you’re adding valuable contributions to the discussion by adding vague, clearly intended to rile the emotions, and baseless statements?

      • Cotty Outerbridge says:

        I think their comments are very well founded and anyone who can’t grasp the significance is contributing to Bermuda’s problems.

    • On lookers says:

      Does it ever!

  5. aceboy says:

    I dropped off some family members yesterday and there was what appeared to be a huge flood.

    Fact is this airport development is needed. I’d rather pay half of what the PLP’s plan was and avoid what Marc Bean described as the Trough mentality that comes along with PLP capital projects.

  6. Gabriel says:

    How about the ABIR tell their members to invest in Bermuda by hiring more Bermudians so we can pay taxes to pay for Bermuda’s crumbling infrastructure. Thanks – if you not part of the solution – your the problem.

  7. Terry says:

    Trump will build the Airport.
    Viva La Mexico……………………………

  8. Guy Smiley says:

    LOL to these comments, “Get them to pay for it.” WHY in de ras would they do that? We can’t even maintain our schools and we are going to maintain an airport? We can’t even run the hospital, we can’t even run the civil service, we can’t even run a $25M project on budget and you think companies want to donate or invest $250M for us to manage??? LMAO! Hint: Companies are for profit not losing government enterprises.

  9. smh says:

    Open some dispensaries and watch the taxes from that pay for a new airport amongst other things.