Dr Gibbons: ‘Trump-Like Misinformation On AC’

September 15, 2017 | 59 Comments

It’s “unfortunate” that the new PLP government “continue to spin Trump-like misinformation about Bermuda’s highly successful financial management and hosting of the recent 35th America’s Cup,” Shadow Minister of Economic Development Dr Grant Gibbons said today.

Premier Tables Supplementary Estimate

Earlier today, Premier and Minister of Finance David Burt tabled a Supplementary Estimate in the House of Assembly detailing over $12.6 million he said was a “combination of unbudgeted expenditure items which were incurred by the previous administration” for the America’s Cup, World Triathlon Series, Casino Gaming Commission, airport redevelopment and St. George’s Hotel development.

On the Supplementary Estimates pertaining to the America’s Cup, Premier Burt said, “An additional $4.3 million in sponsorship guarantees paid to the America’s Cup Event Authority [ACEA] in addition to the under budgeted amount of $15 million; this under-budgeting occur despite the advice of the ACBDA to budget at least $18 million. The total $19.3 was paid to the ACEA last month.”

Dr Gibbons’ Response

In response, Dr Gibbons said, “It’s unfortunate and frankly, pathetic, that the Progressive Labour Party and the new PLP government continue to spin Trump-like misinformation about Bermuda’s highly successful financial management and hosting of the recent 35th America’s Cup.

“The Premier in his comments to the media today has claimed that the $4.3 million difference between the budgeted $15 million AC sponsorship guarantee amount and the reported $19.3 million final figure, “… are all items that we will have to pay for this year. The Premier goes on to say that, “…we will now have to find an additional $4.3 million to pay.”

“These claims are spin at its worst given that the cash surplus left in the ACBDA following AC35 will more than cover any difference between the initial Government Budget Estimate for the residual sponsorship guarantee and the, now reported, reconciled amount of $19.3 million.

“Following the AC finals, overall ACBDA expenses were estimated to be more than $8 million below budget as of July 2017. The Government knows that this $8 million cash surplus represents money that will come back to government as the ACBDA shareholder. Thus, no additional taxpayer money will be required.

“This misinformation only serves to denigrate the amazing teamwork and contribution of hundreds of Bermudians and residents who came together to produce a spectacular event.

“Over the three year period since Bermuda won the right to host the AC35, the overall financial and operational management has consistently been within the original, projected 2014 estimates and the OBA Government’s annual budget allocations for the ACBDA and AC Department within the former Ministry of Economic Development.

“By international sporting event standards, the full $25 million sponsorship guarantee was an attractive deal for Bermuda. Actions by the ACBDA team and former Ministry of Economic Development to reduce that guarantee by the introduction of sponsorships and revenue-generating initiatives only improved the overall value for Bermuda.

“It should come as no surprise to the PLP Government that the final reconciliation in August of the sponsorship guarantee between the ACBDA and ACEA at $19.5 million did not match the government-budgeted number of $15 million estimated in January of this year.

“It would have been impossible to provide a precise total for the final sponsorship guarantee in January 2017 when the government budget figures were finalized, given the six months still to run before the AC event was over and the complexity of reconciling the final sponsorship guarantee total.

“The AC sponsorship guarantee mechanism has been previously explained in numerous statements to the House and answers to Parliamentary Questions. [PDF] Under the agreement with the ACEA, reductions, or claw backs, from the $25 million sponsorship guarantee included corporate sponsorships introduced by Bermuda, a percentage of ticket sales for the finals, as well as team base and ACEA partner rents and superyacht fees. In a number of cases, the corporate sponsorships were partially dependent on overall sales performance through the event, and these had to be adjusted against ACEA sponsorship commissions and costs.

“In retrospect, Bermuda should be pleased with the total sponsorships [more than $20 million] the ACBDA and the former Ministry of Economic Development introduced from Bermuda-based and associated entities given our relatively small market size. The PLP Government should understand that denigrating the overall sponsorship level does nothing to facilitate future government sponsorship requests for major sporting or tourism events.

“Finally, as the PLP Government will be aware, the difference between the Government 2017/18 budget sponsorship guarantee estimate of $15 million and the recently reconciled $19.5 million figure is more than offset by the superb financial and operational management demonstrated by the ACBDA and the former Ministry of Economic Development.

“Rather remarkably, over the entire three-year period, total operating and capital expenses for the ACBDA and the AC Department in the Ministry of Economic Development appear to be coming in at roughly 10% below the original estimates projected in late 2014.

“Furthermore, fixed assets owned by the ACBDA, such as floating docks and vessels acquired for facilitating AC35, represent additional cash, should the ACBDA and Government decide to liquidate them instead of retaining them for future sporting events.

“Rather than spending their time on petty, Trump-like political distractions, the new government should be working hard to build on the successful legacy of the AC35 by attracting lucrative repeat superyacht business to Dockyard and future sporting/tourism events like the World Triathlon Series, scheduled for 2018, 2019 and 2020.

“The transformation of Dockyard and the new Cross Island venue represent a superb platform for future international events. Bermudians will rightly expect the new Government to take full advantage of this wonderful opportunity for Bermuda.”

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Comments (59)

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  1. really says:

    I am concerned with Burt being Premier and Finance minister appearing to not have the basics correct.

    It appears that he took an opportunity with Mr Gibbons being away to spout nonsense to the house and press.

    Credit to Mr Gibbons to correct this from his location.

  2. lizard says:

    Mr. Gibbons – well done

  3. kevin says:

    If you walk like a duck , quack like a duck and look like a duck you are probably a duck , its been said many times in many ways that Burt really isn’t that smart just because he called the race card and won an election does not make him smart that was done before . So Mr. Burt what new trumped excuses will you come up with to start the overspending … Again it was only a matter of time.

  4. wahoo says:

    Burt, back to you….

  5. Warlord2 says:

    Thank you Grant Gibbons for correcting what our disillusioned premier is spewing,God help us all over these next 5 yrs.Its gonna get bumpy with that lot in charge.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      I think that today’s news releases are a clear indication of what we can expect from the PLP over the next 5 years.
      They seem unable to either get out of election mode (14 years of proof of that) or stop spreading misinformation to manipulate their support base.

      The next 5 years are going to be very destabilizing indeed .

      Grant , and others , please make sure you correct them every time it’s called for .

    • Mother Theresa says:

      I know, our beautiful little island is DOOMED……..but thhose who voted the PLP in will get exactly what they deserve.

      • Earth watch police says:

        When we don’t learn we have to feel plp has their own math formula we are truly f###ed.

  6. Bolt says:

    Burt to now face Gibbons. Gibbons comes in right arm over the wicket – its a sharper delivery and HE’S OUT, HE’S OUT – CENTRE STUMP!! Burt’s now sullenly walking back to the Pavilion for an early shower!!!

  7. steve says:

    If PLP wants to improve education, they can start by being truthful and drop the financial propaganda that confuse so many of us.

  8. Dae says:

    They are in well over their heads u watch lots of tomfoolery

  9. aceboy says:

    Stop with the silly tricks/spin. Govern.

  10. mixitup says:

    Or could it have been that the $15 million guarantee was not documented in the books, to be handed out ONLY if this deal can slide under the radar, to the players involved in ‘making this happen’ Of course any smart person would know to have a prepared speach in the event it doesn’t sliiiide under the radar… Just a different angle for us robots to think about.

    • jt says:

      A different angle. The plp angle.

    • Sherbet man says:

      Ummm yeah nice try wit ya BS too lol. We’re smarter than you….

    • Bullnoseh says:

      It’s a different angle because Burt tried to decieve us. Now he just looks like an incompetent liar.

      • Truths says:

        Agree. An incompetent liar and 100% untrustworthy. That combo is impossible to turn around after the people have seen the real him. We are in trouble.

  11. jt says:

    I actually don’t think it’s purposeful misinformation. Burt just doesn’t understand – which is even scarier.

  12. Stevie says:

    Agree with the above comments. Plp up to usual tricks. Well done Dr Gibbons.

  13. Seriously though says:

    OBA using Trumpism on PLP , WOW

  14. Mark says:

    They (the plp) dont care about telling the truth. They only care about power. They tricked bermudians into voting for them.

    • Truths says:

      If Bermudians were stupid enough (or forgetful enough) to vote them back in, then shame on us. We get what we deserve. Gotta be careful what we wish for.

  15. spider says:

    So with the $8 mill cash surplus government will be able to offset the additional $12.6 mill budgeted. Net effect $4.6 mill in additional spending.

  16. Ringmaster says:

    Today has proven the popular belief that the OBA are good with finances but bad with the social issues, and the PLP are good with social issues but hopeless with finances.

    The problem facing Bermuda is that without financial skills the social issues cannot be fixed.

  17. Jose says:

    They trying to find money to spend they love spending but they do not want to u understand we broke

  18. Zevon says:

    Looks like Burt has been well and truly busted. He’s a lightweight who doesn’t understand what he is doing.

  19. Really says:

    If the “world cup of sailing” couldn’t raise $25m in sponsorship then maybe it wasn’t what he OBA was trying to say it was. All you Burt haters can say what you like, the numbers don’t lie and the story they tell is that the AC just wasn’t able to get the sponsorship it bragged it could. End of story.

    • Zevon says:

      The nmbers don’t lie. They got better sponsorship than expected and the event cost us a lot less than anticipated. You have to actually read the article. A lot to ask I know.

    • Smoke & Mirrors says:

      The numbers don’t lie. Just like $800 million unaccounted for during the PLPs last time in power?

    • Ringmaster says:

      If you actually read the response from Dr Gibbons you would see he says over $20m in sponsorship was raised. Also there was a cash balance left in ACBDA.

      Incidentally if ACBDA were so inept why did Premier Burt say in the Throne Speech that because of the excellent job they did he wants to expand their role to all sports? Are you suggesting the PLP wants to support and promote a failed event and operation?

    • Yes Really! says:

      The sponsorship was LOCAL money and to raise the amount that they did was AMAZING!

  20. BermieBorn says:

    If our current Premier and Finance Minister is incapable of either understanding basic economics or worse misrepresenting the facts, the PLP is off to a bad start when it comes to establishing a level of trust with the taxpayers.

  21. Navin Johnson says:

    the honeymoon appears to be over and now Burt realizes he is way over his head…perhaps they should hire Bob Richards to consult regarding how to manage Bermuda finances…

  22. Speedy Petey says:

    PLP = Poorly Led Party, so sad.

  23. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    Doomed!
    We are all doomed!
    You are doomed.
    I am doomed.
    We are alllll doomed!
    Oh nooooooo!

  24. O.M.G says:

    Mr gibbons you all did a fantastic job. The plp would never be able to pull something like this off. They would rather spend our money on NEW CARS.
    Give me a break.

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