Burt On ‘Handpicked Panel’ For Airport Review

January 12, 2017

Yesterday’s announcement by Minister Richards of a handpicked panel to provide what he described as an independent assessment shows contempt and disrespect to the people and their elected representatives,” Opposition Leader and Shadow Minister of Finance David Burt said this evening.

“If the Government was truly interested in building consensus and trust, consultation with the Opposition regarding persons to sit on this panel would have taken place,” Mr Burt added.

Yesterday, Finance Minister Bob Richards announced that team of local professionals will serve on the the newly created Blue Ribbon Panel to review the Airport Redevelopment Project, 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 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.

David Burt Bernews TC Jan 12. jpg

Mr Burt said, “Since November 2016, the PLP has been calling for an independent assessment of the OBA’s airport privatisation by the Auditor General to ensure that MPs receive an unbiased appraisal of the cost to taxpayers.

“With critical details being kept away from public scrutiny by the OBA Government, it has been impossible to determine whether this project is a good deal for Bermuda.

“Yesterday’s announcement by Minister Richards of a handpicked panel to provide what he described as an independent assessment shows contempt and disrespect to the people and their elected representatives.

“The OBA refuses to share the airport project agreement with MPs who will ultimately vote on the contract, but will disclose this information to a panel with no legislative authority who he arrogantly states will “come to the same conclusion that I came to some time ago”.

“We cannot help but question what information the Government is hiding when their lack of transparency continues even through the selection process. If the Government was truly interested in building consensus and trust, consultation with the Opposition regarding persons to sit on this panel would have taken place.

“Furthermore, any committee must have terms of reference. These have not been revealed and we urge the panel to disclose these publicly without delay.

“A truly independent committee should also be able to set their own timeline. To expect volunteers to review all the information and present a report in less than three weeks is wholly unrealistic and makes a mockery of their purported “independence”.

“It should also be noted that some members on the committee have already advised the Government on infrastructure matters and, therefore, may already have an opinion regarding the airport privatisation.

“Minister Richard’s approach in selecting and announcing this handpicked panel shows the OBA has learned little, and continues to act in a manner that rejects consensus and fails to unify the country on the critical issues facing Bermuda.

“It is my hope that this panel will fiercely assert their independence and take action to address the Opposition’s concerns. If they do not, it will be difficult for the public to have any confidence that this panel is little more than a political exercise to support the OBA’s desire to privatise our airport.”

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  1. trump supporter says:

    Get over it Mr.BUrt and who you think you are thinking you can speak for the public. Move on go investigate the port royal. TCD, Dock yard the court building. Tired of typing.

  2. James Rego says:

    As I stated previously, if the government were to follow the combined opposition’s demands to satisfy them, guaranteed, they won’t be satisfied! One thing Mr. Burt is good at is moving the goal posts. This exercise is a complete waste of time and money!

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      They’ve already refused to answer if they would accept a review by the Auditor General, if the Auditor General deemed the airport deal OK for Bermuda… and they were the ones demanding that review. They have no interest in anything that doesn’t back up their misleading claims, the trouble is that they are running out of claims as they are being shown for their falsehoods that they are, so they have to keep moving the goal post.

  3. somuchless says:

    Burt. Give it a break already.

  4. Kevin says:

    Serious ………..Burt go back to sleep … this is a very strong group and for you to try and spin it so they don’t fit your preferred “profile of an independent committee….wow should i be surprised …the plp have become so predictable ….

  5. Barnacle says:

    I am more concerned with the emails and calls prior to the blockade of the House of Assembly…any comment on who those emails came from !? We all know….

  6. 747 Airbus 380 says:

    sick and tired of it.Burt even if your esteemed panel had tweed ,furburt,or ewart on it you lot would still bitch moan and complain, GET OFF THE f***** bowl and think of what your illustrious party did to us and screwed ALL of us and stop the DIVIDE and conquer thought maybe you lots need to go to this turn initiative ENOUGH IS ENOUGH GET A LIFE

  7. wahoo says:

    Nothing progressive here and hasn’t been for a very long time. Go back to sleep Burt.

    • hmmm says:

      He had basically discredited the professional ability of the people on the panel. Some of them are PLP voters too !

      This boy Burt doesn’t care who he tramples on. It is all me me me me.

    • Rockfish#2 says:

      Well, David”Rip Van Winkle” Burt has finally crawled out from beneath his bed now that the coast is temporarily clear.
      Unfortunately for him, the part he played in the”peaceful” protests did not disappear when he did.
      What will he do for an encore?

  8. Rumsoak says:

    like I said yesterday, why are we playing Childrens games with the PLP , you have been transparent , just build it .

  9. aceboy says:

    He lives! Silent throughout the entire Tweed debacle and now he comes out and starts demanding consultation. Funny.

  10. inna says:

    The “Consensus” was back in 2012, Mr. Burt.

    And the next one will be in 2017.

  11. Rumsoak says:

    can we please get a viable opposition.

  12. jt says:

    It will be just too precious if the panel supports the plp position. Same with the police review.

  13. Zevon says:

    Burt seems to have missed the events of the past two weeks.

    We the people want the airport Burt. Give it a rest.

  14. CPM says:

    Usual plp boring us to death
    Like children-they get what they asked for but it’s never enough

  15. Waiting and Wondering says:

    Rather than question why Bob Richards can share the agreement with these unelected persons rather than share it with elected people who have to vote on it, you choose to attack Burt.

    And for the record, I do not even like Burt.

    But this is a clear sign of Minister Richards trying to be sneaky, sly and slick.

    • aceboy says:

      There are non disclosure agreements in place, clearly both sides agreed to these people having the ability to review it all. Stop making up conspiracy theories.

      • VJ says:

        If course there are non disclosure agreements in place. Aecon is set to make a ton of money off our backs, and they don’t want us to know how badly they’re screwing us until it’s too late.

    • Oops says:

      Oops meant to hit dislike. My fingas are fet! I need to go gym.

    • Decent Citizen says:

      Because, like he’s done to date, he’ll only play politriks with the information.

      Folks are tired and we need to grow our economy to create jobs!

  16. John says:

    Mr Burts call for an independent review November 2016 that is only 10 weeks ago that a fast response by the OBA any government standards where nothing ever happens in a hurry well done I would say

    • What?? says:

      A fast response? Ten weeks to make the decision and then allow the panel only two weeks to review and write a report.

  17. mark says:

    Is he joking?!? Does he eveb read these statements before he puts them out?!? Does he understand how ridiculous he sounds?!? I feel like im taking crazy pills! What a numpty. Ive had enough of this nonsense from the plp. How can they live with themselves? Do they have no morals or sense of decency to put our whole country at risk for their personal political gain!

  18. New Bermudian says:

    So what are you saying, someone like Malcolm Butterfield isn’t going to tell the truth about what he sees??? How insulting to not just one outstanding individual, but to the rest of them as well!! Anyone who knows Malcolm would know he has no special affection for the OBA. How utterly insulting. I used to respect Burt, but not so much now. Sounds like a petulant child.

    • What?? says:

      I have no doubt that he will tell the truth about what he sees. My worry is will what he sees be the truth. The panel is limited to only information provided by Government, Aecon and CCC and can only interact with persons from those entities. And it all has to be done in two weeks.

    • Call for sensibility... says:

      While I am not a supporter of the PLP I think you have intentionally missed David Burt’s point. He is not attacking the credibility of anyone on the committee, but is instead making a valid point about the approach the OBA continue to take. It is naïve to think that the OBA forming this committee with no consultation, would address the oppositions pressure. The committee may be a good thing, but it does very much seem to have been set up on their terms. With some consultation and collaboration I am sure many of the committee members would have been agreed by both sides and it would result in some form of ‘buy in’ from both sides to enable the debate to move forward. As a result of how the OBA have gone about this, regardless of the outcome, this will have been a waste of time – guaranteed. I do not think the OBA are hiding anything, but equally I do not think this deal is the best deal for Bermuda. The stark reality is that we are proposing to build a much larger and more advanced airport terminal than Bermuda has ever had. In all other countries such projects are undertaken because their airports have reached their capacity limits. For Bermuda it is somewhat different. Our airport used to handle many more passengers than it does today. The reasons for Bermuda building a new airport are very different. Number 1 reason cited by the government is to create short term job opportunities in the construction phase – totally the wrong reason to build an airport – If that was valid justification building literally anything could be justified… I reserve judgment as to whether we should build a new airport. Ours is definitely dilapidated, but beyond economical repair possibly not.

      • jt says:

        Progress will never be made if the plp must be a ‘collaborative partner’ in every decision made by the government. Many will argue that the pace an enormous task has been slowed too much already because the oba continues to bend to what seems to be a boisterous minority. To date it really appears that the intentions of the plp are less about being an effective opposition and more about obstructionism and creating the illusion of general public discontent with the sole objective of regaining power. There is a lot of evidence to support that view, but it is all debatable, acceptable or unacceptable depending on which way you lean. At the end of the day we have a governing party and an opposition.

  19. steve says:

    Hey Burt, the problem is you are either totally paranoid lunatic of you are just a Bull s$$#er trying to become the premier any way possible.
    Hey i bet your party will win, so wut ya gonna do then??
    Hey your not stupid,but your intellect is overstated time and again by party stallwart. What are you going to do as premier other than making anything life less than you

  20. Silence Do Good says:

    FYI your not the government of the day just the opposition and you are doing a piss poor job at that.

  21. 32n64w says:

    Last time the taxpayers checked, the (beneficiary of a no bid TCD contract) former PLP Junior Finance Minister has absolutely zero credibility when it comes to comprehending or evaluating anything to do with matters relating to Government finances or reasonable operating or capital expenditures. We have billions of reasons to confirm this, not to mention an empty $46 million dollar housing project on the South Shore.

    Furthermore, Burt, et al, have had every opportunity to produce a critical evaluation of the project’s merits based upon hundreds of pages of data already in the public domain together with multiple third party reports.

    But to date, Burt and his willfully blind cohorts have done nothing other than spread disinformation and factless talking points designed to confuse voters and whip up their base. Politricks at its worst.

    They’re either fundamentally incapable of undertaking a thorough analysis or are unwilling to support the project because it’s politically inconvenient. More than likely, however, it’s a bit of both.

    Malcolm Butterfield, Craig Simmons, Gil Tucker, Barclay Simmons, Anthony Joaquin, and Caroline Foulger are each individually qualified, if not more so than the Auditor General acting alone, to opine on this project.

    But that won’t stop the PLP from moving the goal posts for the sole purpose of manufacturing discontent for political purposes, regardless of the fact we have SIX Bermudians willing to work selflessly on our behalf without any form of personal remuneration.

    Perhaps this lack of pay is why Burt and company can’t comprehend their dedication. It’s a foreign concept to him and his self anointed elite taxpayer trough feeders.

    Burt’s remarks are shameful and disrespectful toward the hundred plus years of combined experience of this panel. His bias and opportunism are abundantly clear.

    Maybe if he had this same think tank working in his corner he wouldn’t have needed to benefit from no bid taxpayer funded contracts to attract personal business revenue.

  22. Widget says:

    I for one Mr. Burt have no confidence in you or your party. After what the BIU has attempted to do by making that statement regarding A/C I am sick to my stombic. I say this because that single comment was reverberated around the world and for those considering invention in our country have now ape Ed back because they look at us as an unstable country. Thanks Mr. Burt. Thanks you Mr. furbert. Now go away Mr. tweed, we don’t need your type here.

  23. Wow! says:

    I’m not saying we don’t need a new airport but if there were no other consultative bids or options that could have saved our country money, wouldn’t that have been a more dollar productive approach? I’m not saying I agree with everything PLP did when they were taking care of the purse but can we afford this deal? I hope Craig Simmons is the objective voice of reason on this whole deal.

  24. John says:

    They are over doing the games now getting boring now time to tune out

  25. Mmmm’kaaayyyy?

  26. Realist says:

    My prayer is that the PLP do not get re-elected. They must never get re-elected.

  27. sandgrownan says:

    Ah, there he is, I thought he was missing in action! Leading from behind as always….

    The fact is, he’s never going to be satisfied. Let the review proceed and act accordingly.

  28. Infidelguy says:

    In this article, David Burt states: “With critical details being kept away from public scrutiny by the OBA Government, it has been impossible to determine whether this project is a good deal for Bermuda.”

    However, in an opinion article that David Burt wrote back in September 2016, he sates: “Mr Richards’s airport privatisation is a bad deal for Bermuda and will compound our financial problems.”

    So which one is it Mr. Burt? You said it was a bad deal last year September and now you are unable to make a determination?

    Get your act together man!

  29. aceboy says:

    Burt’s ideal panel:

    David “Swizzle” Burt
    Derrick “Court Building” Burgess
    Walter “Planning Appeal” Roban
    Zane “Sandy Bunkers” DeSilva
    Nicholas “Son of The Soil” Tweed
    Chris “AC35″ Furbert

  30. Dave says:

    Mr. Burt,

    Any man can cast stones, can you please provide a plausible economic plan for our country for 2017 instead of consistently just poking holes in another. You lack the vision, integrity and leadership skills of a Premier. Your back stabbing in our PLP party will not be forgotten. Time to disband the PLP and form a new all inclusive party instead of drumming up support by simply banging the drum, this is not politics.

    Concerned

  31. Enough says:

    Burt has turned into one of the most useless politicians Bermuda has. Whatever credibility he had has been thrown out the window with statements like this. If it was not clear previously then it is abundantly clear that the PLP do not have Bermuda’s best interests in heart but will say whatever they can to disrupt a process, even one they called for. Sorry, make that two today given Roban’s mouthing off about the police investigation and it’s not even 9am.

    Sit down PLP and let the country be led the way it is meant to be. You’ve done enough damage.

  32. Joe Bloggs says:

    “Since November 2016, the PLP has been calling for an independent assessment of the OBA’s airport privatisation by the Auditor General to ensure that MPs receive an unbiased appraisal of the cost to taxpayers.”

    Ok, now here is your independent assessment panel. The Auditor General has no power to audit something that does not yet exist. The powers of the Auditor General are fixed and are designed to look at matters after the fact, not in advance. One would have thought that the head of the Public Accounts Committee would know that.

    “It is my hope that this panel will fiercely assert their independence and take action to address the Opposition’s concerns. If they do not, it will be difficult for the public to have any confidence that this panel is little more than a political exercise to support the OBA’s desire to privatise our airport.”

    Right, so either the panel says what David Burt wants it to say or it must be seen as another OBA attempt to “trick” the public. Let’s all just lay down and let the BIU/PLP take over Bermuda.

  33. joe says:

    “… shows contempt and disrespect to the people and their elected representatives”

    That’s funny because most of the Bermudian people I speak with show contempt and disrespect for their elected representatives.

  34. clearasmud says:

    There is a well known generally accepted management concept that says that “people are more willing to accept a decision when they have been included in the decision making”. The Minister wants both the community and the opposition to accept his decisions on this “Blue Ribbon” panel but he has not included either in the decision nor has he asked the public and opposition what is it they need to be satisfied that his decisions are indeed the best way forward. Consequently I believe that although this panel is a first class one it is not complete!

  35. walls says:

    Of course they have been hand picked!

    Hand picked for competence!

  36. Mary says:

    yawn he would do better to lead with a positive attitude always complaining and moaning “quite frankly”

  37. jt says:

    Mr. Burt should indicate which panel members he feels are unsuitable and why. Tell us where they lack qualifications and/or how he knows them to have a predisposed bias. Just something of substance – anything at all.

  38. sid says:

    Some of these points are valid. The committee needs a frame of reference. Just asking “is the project good for Bermuda?” could be answered in 100 different ways — good for whom? Good compared to what?

    And yes, it’s pretty easy to get the judgment you want when you get to pick your own judges. Someone without connections to Bermuda who has been involved in airport construction projects would have been better.

    And yes, three weeks seems short. Having dealt with these types of deals, I have seen contracts and specs go to thousands of pages — it would have taken three weeks just to read, never mind evaluate.

  39. Baygrapes says:

    PLEASE – give it a break PLP. Just go away for now. Most of us have real work to do and real issues like progressing Bermuda forward for ALL Bermudians. We have families to feed and educate, jobs to hold onto and elderly people who are counting on us.

    I’d like to start a new slogan….BERMUDA FIRST!

  40. O.M.G says:

    God forbid if you lot got back in how de hell would you build the airport and with what monies. Please let us know. Who own the hospital and for how long?