‘Blue Ribbon Panel’ To Review Airport Project

January 11, 2017

A team of local professionals will serve on the the newly created Blue Ribbon Panel to review the Airport Redevelopment Project Finance Minister Bob Richards announced today, with the members to include Malcolm Butterfield, Craig Simmons, Gil Tucker, Barclay Simmons, Anthony Joaquin, and Caroline Foulger.

The Minister said they will have “full access to all documentation regarding this project including the proposed Project Agreement” and they will be able to engage with executives from CCC and Aecon, as well as all of the Government’s legal, financial, technical and project management advisors.

“The Blue Ribbon Panel will be conducting their review over the coming weeks and will prepare an independent conclusion for the Ministry of Finance and the Bermudian public before the end of January 2017,” the Minister said.

11 minute live video replay of the Finance Minister’s press conference today:

Speaking at a press conference today, Minister of Finance Bob Richards said, “I am pleased to announce today the appointment of a team of local professionals to serve as members of the newly created Blue Ribbon Panel to review the Airport Redevelopment Project [ARP].

“This Panel is made up of distinguished local professionals who will independently review the Airport Redevelopment Project.

“The panel, which is chaired by Mr. Malcolm Butterfield, a retired managing director at KPMG, also includes Mr. Craig Simmons, Economics Senior Lecturer at the Bermuda College, Mr. Gil Tucker, retired Chairman of Ernst & Young Ltd., Mr. Barclay Simmons, a Managing Partner of ASW Law and chairman of Butterfield Bank, Mr. Anthony Joaquin, retired partner of Ernst & Young and Chairman of HSBC Bermuda and Ms. Caroline Foulger retired partner of Price Waterhouse Coopers.

“This Blue Ribbon Panel will provide an additional independent evaluation of the Airport Redevelopment Project as to whether the option chosen is the best one for Bermuda, given the realities facing the island.

“This Government has been very transparent about this complex transaction from the start and although assessments have already been carried out by Deloitte Ltd. and Steer Davies Gleave, this newly formed panel of notable, respected local professionals, offers additional independent insight into the agreement, the impact on Government finances and value for money.

“They will have full access to all documentation regarding this project including the proposed Project Agreement.

“Additionally they will be able to engage with executives from the Canadian Commercial Corporation [CCC] and Aecon as well as all of the Government’s legal, financial, technical and project management advisors.

“As financial close has not yet been achieved, we cannot release things that are not yet finalized. However, this panel will have full access to this information to form their conclusions.

“The Blue Ribbon Panel will be conducting their review over the coming weeks and will prepare an independent conclusion for the Ministry of Finance and the Bermudian public before the end of January 2017.”

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Comments (51)

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  1. Triangle Drifter says:

    Impressive panel.

  2. Point boy says:

    A very diverse panel of knowledge and wisdom. Thanks Mr Richards. It doesn’t get much more transparent than that.

    • stunned... says:

      great selection – suggest these fine people serve the government, no-serve the country in a non-partisan Financial Review Committee capacity.

  3. Kevin says:

    One can only hope that the PLP and peoples campaign accept their view of the proposed deal no matter the outcome.We need to get over this divide and obstruction and get this Beautiful country back on its feet

  4. Rumsoak says:

    why do we have to play childrens games with the PLP . How much transparency do we need . Build the thing.

  5. Jadon says:

    All OBA supporters… If this panel approves it, it must be a great deal for Bermuda….not. You can’t pull the wool over our eyes Richards… if it was really a “good deal” you would put a few PLP mps…. if it’s that “Great” you should be able to convince them it’s a good deal… but it’s not so that won’t happen.

    • Who done it says:

      …. because the PLP have proven to be such great administrators. Any recommendations? The brilliance of Burt maybe?

    • wondering says:

      ANY MY is self serving and anyone who disagrees knows nothing of Politics (from Greek: πολιτικός politikos, definition “of, for, or relating to citizens”) is the process of making decisions applying to all members of each group. More narrowly, it refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance — organized control over a human community, particularly a state.

      In today’s world of imperfect and greedy people or special interest groups, politics often gets muddled and in Bermuda we have a warped method of doling out political will.

      a sister island to the south has what we are cultivating – a militia of (sometimes armed) men and women who will stop at nothing to push their party’s agenda – wholesome or nefarious as the case may be……..

      this panel consists of a bipartisan group of PROFESSIONALS who will do Bermuda proud with an objective synopsis.

    • Letsbehonesthere says:

      Why would PLP MPs be apart of this panel? In order to correctly and **objectively** interpret all information related to the project, you would need individuals with extensive knowledge related to the controversial areas (e.g. financing, risk management, revenue forecasting, labour demand and supply, etc.). What PLP MP has decades worth of similar experience and knowledge? And which PLP MP would be able to review this impartially? Stop the complaining and face facts for Christ sake.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Name one PLP MP who has the credentials that any of these panel members have. This project is not like going to Walmart & loading up the shopping cart.

    • Point boy says:

      Have another one. Then try to keep up

    • steve says:

      You let the PLP pull the wool over your eyes and I aint seen very impressive results. why dont you follow Richards blindly for a while?

    • uhh WHAT? says:

      This is a panel independent of government…as in…NO ONE from government. Where did you miss that or did you not read the whole article?

      • What?? says:

        It can only be independent from Government IF it has freedom to pursue information and viewpoints NOT directly associated with the Project. The announcement says that the panel will have access to information produced by the Government and Aecon and “they will be able to engage with executives from the Canadian Commercial Corporation [CCC] and Aecon as well as all of the Government’s legal, financial, technical and project management advisors”. It says nothing about their freedom to seek alternative information or engage with persons not in favour of the deal.

    • wahoo says:

      They would have but the PLP nominees all shout NO NO NO! at meetings and nothing gets done.

    • Common Sense says:

      Can Jadon please provide all the factual evidence he at his fingertips to show that Bermuda College Economics Director, Craig Simmons, is an OBA supporter?

  6. NCM says:

    Yet another independent review. Doubt this will placate the Combined Opposition but at least most rational people will appreciate that all ‘t’s crossed and ‘i’s dotted on this deal. Let’s get on with building this new terminal – we can’t afford to wait any longer!

    • jt says:

      They’ll be just fine with this panel if the outcome suits them.

    • What?? says:

      Exactly why can’t “we afford to wait any longer”?

  7. Um.... says:

    Can’t wait to see their findings. Hopefully it is deemed a good deal and will put an end to the labor action of the unions/PLP.

    • James Rego says:

      @Um……As I stated in a similar story on here. Regardless of this review, the combined opposition will never be satisfied! Complete waste of time and money!

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        All costs should be billed to the various combined opposition to the airport. If they were to look in a mirror they would see who is responsible for having to do it this way.

  8. wahoo says:

    Crumbs, what will we complain about after this?

  9. property owner says:

    I don’t understand the main issue was so many things not made clear from the beginning even OBA had to keep something private they said so and that is my issue you was not as open from the beginning and yet you can say you have been transparent we all agree on a better or new airport just be up front not like the past gov who who you have to have all these inquiries into now I am tired of all this politics

    • Bullseye says:

      The reason is that projects of this size are complicated. Negotiations must take place before an agreement can be reached in principal. You cannot expect all the final details at the beginning of a process, unless of course you are “brilliant”.

  10. Point boy says:

    Change of subject. But, where’s the call for resignation of BIU and BPSU leaders?
    There the first ones to demand a resignation on the slightest offence!?

  11. Jadon says:

    Your right it’s no OBA mps on this panel… but I would bet my life they all vote OBA! Think we are that dumb ? Try again….

    • just wondering says:

      total brilliance – so on the basis of your “test” for impartiality it results in it being impossible to have an objective panel as people will have voted for either the OBA or PLP – or would you like to have people on the panel who couldn’t be bothered to vote!? Incidentally I vote OBA HOWEVER there are many things the OBA does that I disagree with – wny does voting OBA make me or anyone lacking in impartiality!!??

      • Toleratate says:

        @ just wondering,exactly… but he is willing to bet his life.”Think we are that dumb”…with such comments you actually make it hard not to…back away from the keyboard Sir.

    • Bullseye says:

      We don’t need to think on it. Your assumption that voting OBA at this juncture is bad tells us all we need to know.

    • Jus' Wonderin' says:

      nah ya jus dumb lol

  12. Baygrapes says:

    Congratulations MInister Richards. A great solution and I can’t wait to hear from this panel of extremely competent, well educated, financial experts. After all, facts are facts.

    Political gain should never be at the expense of the electorate. It has been so for to long now and the very people who need you the most are the same people you have failed the most.

  13. Baygrapes says:

    In addition to my previous post,i need to explain, the last part points to political parties in gereral and the PLP in particular.

  14. the real Terry says:

    Can’t really see this as a “Blue Ribbon” group if Onion Juice Tweed and Chris Furbert aren’t in it LOL

    • somuchless says:

      Red ribbon for Tweddie and green ribbon for Chris

    • HA! says:

      Onion Juice is busy packing his suitcases and getting ready for his new assignment.

  15. Lt. Col. D. A. Burch says:

    So let me see if I’ve got this right. The people of Bermuda or their elected representatives cannot have access to ALL the information on this deal – so they can make an informed decision but a group on unelected individuals including some well known OBA hacks can have access to that same information and we are supposed to take their word for it? Oh ok – I still have that bridge in Brooklyn for sale!

    • Bermy Juice says:

      Best comment on this blog

    • Waiting and Wondering says:

      Bob Richards is giving these professionals the opportunity to read the Airport Redevelopment Deal and access to CCC and Aecon, yet this same opportunity could not be given to the elected MP’s.

      That doesn’t even pass the stink test.

      Sneaky, sly and slick…..

  16. Hubert Watlington says:

    The only thing I can see, after reading and listening to the information given, the longbird bridge, which is the temporary bridge from Hurricane Fabian 2004 and a dock for water pick up are not included.
    I look forward to hearing what this panel says.

  17. What?? says:

    This is good news but there is one worrying aspect. The announcement states that the panel will “able to engage with executives from the Canadian Commercial Corporation [CCC] and Aecon as well as all of the Government’s legal, financial, technical and project management advisors”. Will they also be able to engage with persons who are not in favour of the project? Or are they going to be limited to only hearing one side of the arguement?

  18. Thank you Minister Richards says:

    This is a great and smart step. This panel is an excellent mixture of disciplines to review the airport documentation through many and relevant lenses.

    Of course their findings won’t be supported by some–but that won’t be due to a lack of substance or experience of the review panel.

    You should be congratulated for continuing to speak, work and be transparent on this key project.

    The reason why you are getting so much blow back is simply you have put your money where other’s mouths are and are showing leadership and modern day transparency and not just paying lip service to the concept.

    As a tax paying, voting Bermudian, I think you and this panel for the work being undertaken and look forward to the day when ground in broken on OUR new airport!!

  19. Terry says:

    Just get it done.
    In the next 6 months the place is going to be a mad house with the influx of AC people and watchers.

    Gonna need it.

    • What?? says:

      So you think we are going to have a new terminal in six months?

      Is this the level of knowledge concerning this project?

  20. Bill says:

    Impressive group.

    They have been given their orders, which unfortunately will be to give

    Bob exactly what he is looking for in order to try and put this to bed.

    One would stand a better chance with getting Trump to disclose his tax returns.

  21. Oh My says:

    My question. Why was this not done before Aecon-CCC became officially the company (ies) to build the airport?
    This independent board should have been borne then. When the Government “first was approached”. They could have given an opinion then.
    Why a year or so later is this committee formed? Aecon-CCC is practically in place in Bermuda and now they form a committee to see if this is all above board? Is this to appease PLP and the People’s Campaign that they are doing something to let Bermuda know they are being “transparent”? Pah!!!

  22. clearasmud says:

    This looks to be a well qualified panel however it is the scope of what they are asked to do that will determine their output therefore I hope that they are free to decide the scope. I hope that they are asked to compare the present deal against us borrowing the money and building it ourselves. I want to know what the full cost of borrowing is including any hit we might take as well as any cost of a downgrade of our sovereign debt. I hope that the comparative cost cover the same 30 year period which I think is a very long time.

  23. rodney smith says:

    Where is Larry Burchall ? He needs to be on this panel. At least than we could have a balance approach to these findings , and the rest, we’ll leave to the public to decide.

  24. um just saying says:

    Will the deal be scrapped if this panel of Blue ribbon professionals find that the deal is not the best solution for Bermuda? What happens if they can even provide proof that the deal is bogus? Will their findings be made public if it goes against the deal?

  25. Tired of you crybabies says:

    Airport, St George Hotel, Naval Annex Hotel, Renovation at Hamilton Princess, Americas Cup, 3 Casinos(approved), Entire Dockyard Project, Carnival, 3rd Delta Airlines. Damn OBA, thanks for putting people back to work. I honestly feel that its so much jealousy in that PAIN in LOWER PART (Plp)…camp.. In all honesty, Why doesnt any other one in that party tell these fools, hey guys, we overdoing it, I mean its some decent folks in that party that must be bored too as hell. I got a feeling this is gonna be a s#!t show. Burt, you are too immature to be my leader. my kids asking why you so dopey. jeesh