Airport Deal: “All Options Are Being Considered”

October 23, 2017 | 69 Comments

[Updated] The review of the airport agreement is underway and “all options are being considered,” Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs Walter Roban said today.

Speaking at a press conference this afternoon [Oct 23], Minister Roban said, “You may be aware as part of our election platform – particularly our 100 day pledge – the Government committed to, and I quote, ‘review the privatization contract between Aecon and the Bermuda Government for the L.F. Wade International Airport to see if Bermuda can get a better deal.”

“The review is being conducted by the Bermuda Airport Authority. The Authority, on behalf of the Government and people of Bermuda, oversees the performance of Skyport, regulates fees, provides retained government services and procures energy for the facility. The Authority has already engaged P3 experts LeighFisher to assist in the analysis of the Project Agreement.”

The Minister said, “The agreement is requiring Bermuda to give up to more than $2 billion of revenue for the next 30 years. We believe the country cannot afford the agreement that the former Government signed us up to. As this transaction is under review, all options are being considered.”

The press conference has just concluded and we will have the text of the full speech later on, and in the meantime the 15-minute live video replay is below.

Update 2.14pm: Minister Roban’s full remarks:

Good afternoon,

You would be aware that as a part of our election platform and, particularly, our 100-day pledge, this Government committed to, and I quote: “review the privatization contract between Aecon and the Bermuda Government for the L.F. Wade International Airport to see if Bermuda can get a better deal”.

This contract is a Public Private Partnership [PPP or P3] transaction entered into by the former Government involving the Canadian Commercial Corporation on behalf of the Canadian Government and Canada’s largest public construction and infrastructure development company, Aecon.

The transaction includes the construction of a new airport terminal building and a 30 year lease at the L.F. Wade International Airport.

The Government wants to further scrutinize the agreement because, as I said, we wish to get a better deal for the people of Bermuda.

As Opposition we expressed our dissatisfaction with this arrangement, and as Government that dissatisfaction remains.

The decision to construct a new airport was not part of the last Government’s election platform, and appeared to come out of nowhere.

The former Government started this process without an RFP, not following Financial Instructions which are in place to protect the public purse, and which is standard for best practice.

Bermudians want a new airport and we do agree that this will be important to carry out.

What many people experienced with this particular proposal was a process and arrangement we were being forced to accept as the project was not opened to other bidders. When a significant amount of people expressed their disapproval, they were ignored.

It is not forgotten that the PLP in Opposition, and others, raised points and concern about information that questioned the circumstances under which this agreement was made, some of which were revealed by documents obtained through official freedom of information requests made in Canada.

The refusals by the former Government to fully abide by requests made by the Public Accounts Committee, even under the threat of Summons, appeared to show little respect for our legislative system of accountability.

The conduct and contempt shown by the former Finance Minister to Parliament, refusing to answer questions, and misleading by omission, did nothing to ease the concern and unpopularity shown by the Bermudian people for this Agreement.

Despite the public opposition, shameful events which saw Members of Parliament sneaking in the House of Assembly under darkness, police officers surrounding the Sessions House and the pepper spraying of peaceful citizens; the former Government did not pause to reflect on the wisdom of entering into this Agreement.

Whatever disclosure concessions the previous Government agreed to, were not done so voluntarily, but done under pressure.

With such an unfortunate and unpleasant sequence of events behind us, this new Government is determined to chart a different path.

I am here today to announce that the review of the Agreement is underway, under my Ministry’s leadership in partnership with the Attorney General’s Chambers.

The review is being conducted by the Bermuda Airport Authority. The Authority, on behalf of the Government and people of Bermuda, oversees the performance of Skyport, regulates fees, provides retained government services and procures energy for the facility.

The Authority has already engaged P3 experts LeighFisher to assist in the analysis of the Project Agreement.

LeighFisher is a global management consulting firm offering infrastructure advisory and consulting services to aviation, surface transport, infrastructure and government markets.

Skyport operates the L.F. Wade International Airport, and constructs the new terminal building, and maintains and operates it as part of the Agreement.

The structure of this arrangement calls for the designing, building, financing, operating and maintaining of the airport buildings and lands for 30 years.

The procurement portion was a Government-to-Government agreement [Bermuda and Canada], and the implementation phase, which we are in now, is the P3 contract between the Bermuda Airport Authority and the Aecon-owned Bermuda Skyport Corporation Ltd.

You will see here today the many volumes that make up the closing documents of the Agreement that is being reviewed. It is large, detailed, and complex, and it will take time to fully examine it to provide the Government with the recommendations required for a decision.

The Agreement is requiring Bermuda to give up more than two billion in dollars of revenue over the next 30 years. We believe the country cannot afford what the former government signed us up for.

As this transaction is under review, all options will be considered.

We remain confident that we can achieve a better deal for Bermuda.

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  1. jaden says:

    fix the grumpy customs faces too while ur at it maybe print a big poster that’s says SMILE …we are not all drug smugglers plus they are already on de rock and we are Number 13 in the cocaine world charts yeahhhhhhhhhh :)

    • Bermudian Patriot says:

      Where is the press release of the Customs Department’s new promotions?

    • Obliviate Bermuda’s Associations says:

      What about the minibus contract? Make that public!

    • Real Deal says:

      I am not believing this Number 13 in the cocaine world charts thing man i need prof.Bermuda is tooo small to be #13

      • SaltySailor says:

        Bermuda isn’t even on the list. Google “List of countries by prevalence of cocaine use”

  2. How much is this costing us?? says:

    The airport redevelopment agreement is under review by the Bermuda Government, through the Bermuda Airport Authority, and “P3 experts” LeighFisher

  3. Silence Do Good says:

    Start a Commission of Inquiry for the airport deal. Who is benefiting at tax payers expense? Just like we heard with Port Royal, the Court Building and Lahey Clinic who can we wag our fingers at and watch nothing happen. Hey maybe we will make them the government again in 4 to 5 years.

    • The Original Truth™ says:

      Bermudians were benefiting at tax payers expense since Aecon is hiring and paying Bermudians to build the airport under Aecon’s instructions. So Bermudians are being paid and trained but according to the naive we are not getting a good deal. On top of it all the new airport will allow for bigger airline investments in Bermuda’s airport and potentially new airlines accepting us as one of their destinations but according to the naive we can not afford this deal. Now we will have to pay LeighFisher lots of $$$ to tell us what is plain to see we can not afford not to take this deal.

  4. Tp says:

    This government are a bunch of clowns they are going to sink this country so far down the ladder that bermuda will be selling everything’s they own to outside people just to pay the ministers salaries , you will see I give it 2 years and we will have a forced election , then who will be laughing . God give us strength

    • mixitup says:

      Let me guess, you were ok with a review of the Port Royal Deal? This Gov’t spoke on the platform that if elected, they will conduct a review of the Airport Deal. 20,000 Bermudians were ok with this and therefore elected this Gov’t. So who are you really calling clowns? This project caused a lot of distress in the community. I’d like to know who and what are you really mad at?

      • Double S says:

        Are you actually comparing the Port Royal deal to the Airport?

        I know partisanship rots the brain, but that comparison right there is downright stupidity in its highest form.

    • Kevin says:

      Clowns is being nice these guys haven’t a clue . Roban can’t even read his own words…They are an embarrassment as being our elected officials …..but they want to throw rocks but short memories as they built the stone quarry they are in Port royal, Police HQ, Berkeley. And by the way all of those pepper sprayed were breaking the LAW
      You may not like it but the Truth is the Truth

  5. lalaland says:

    “all options will be considered”! the sad part not one option was layed out but yet the minister took the camera time bash the oba! what better deal do u have Roban or are u gonna smokscreen us by using the same deal sir?

    • A Chap called Vanz says:

      They are going to say that, although it’s a bad deal, the financial penalties are too high to terminate it.

      • Bee says:

        it’s not a bad deal. please read the terms.

        • frank says:

          the only person that knows the airport deal is Bob
          some one stands to make a lot of money from this deal
          acon is all so in charge of the south side property

          • The Original Truth™ says:

            I know the airport deal and I’m not Bob. All I had to do to find out was to look up the public information that Aecon posted years ago about this deal. Aecon has by Canadian legal obligations put all details needed to know out to the public from the start.

            I also know Aecon is the company that built the CN tower, highways in Isreal, an airport in Ecuador and many other successful projects. They have connections to resources that could take Bermuda into the future. The 2 billion is a drop in the bucket compared to what the airport Aecon will build will have the potential to make but it will never make this amount if Aecon is pushed out of the equation.

      • Jus' Wonderin' says:

        How is it a bad deal when the PLP’s original plans were more expensive and worse?! I’ll wait….

    • Infidelguy says:

      They will have their way no matter the cost to us. They continue to mischaracterize this deal as privatization when they know that it is not.

      The PLP is being willfully ignorant with this characterization because it plays very well with some of their supporters.

      Screw this up and you guys will be out on your Collective Ass come next election cycle!

  6. Anbu says:

    Still waiting on something to actually happen that benefits us. 3 days left guys. Talk abt last minute lmao. No surprise tho.

    • First 100 days says:

      Looks like more of what the last PLP administration did.

      There is nothing new that has been introduced at all, not even a conceptual discussion.

      Come on Mr. Burt and company give us something new or even PROGRESSIVE that is going to drive our country forward!

      Nothing new has been introduced by the new PLP regime–Just criticism of the OBA and getting up to speed with what the OBA did.

      You are no longer in oppostiion time to govern!

      Very sad.

  7. Get out while you can says:

    This government is out to destroy Bermuda’s reputation for political revenge. They will sink this island’s economy and future very quickly with these type of actions. No foreign investors will touch this island with a ten foot pole. Hearing the St. George’s hotel is next, hence why no development has taken place since the election. Property market is dead with everyone looking to sell and no one taking their chances with such an investment. With the new taxes inevitably to be enacted all residents should be making plans to move their monies to USD, and if you can out of Bermuda. The Government is broke and they’re coming for everything to fill their coffers.

    Good luck to all cause no matter who you voted for everyone will feel the pain from shortsighted and protectionist polices that are being crafts out of hate and the innate desire for revenge.

    PS: maybe Roban will enact a review on their hospital P3 deal as it sees $30mn in revenue being paid out to a private firm for the next 30 years. But somehow in PLP land that is different and acceptable.

  8. joe blow says:

    And d clown show continues………lord help us all

    • marge says:

      I was just wondering who in the PLP the (males) had a real job or a business..

  9. Nope says:

    100 days and all we have done is move backwards. Great job. If that is what the people really wanted that this is what we deserve.

  10. Jus' Wonderin' says:

    Enjoy being sued lmfao…

  11. Joe Bloggs says:

    “The Authority has already engaged P3 experts LeighFisher to assist in the analysis of the Project Agreement”

    Why is it that the KEMH “Public Private Partnership” (P3) is a good thing but that when it comes to the airport it is “privatisation” or “giving it away” to the Canadians?

    • Ringmaster says:

      Curious, as the OBA retained the same firm to assist in the original concept. It should be interesting to see how LeighFsher deal with that conflict of interest.

      • Obliviate Bermuda’s Associations says:

        With cash, promised cold hard cash. LeighFisher, no RFP, no bid, no problem! One sole source company reviewing another sole source company.

        • The Original Truth™ says:

          The difference is LeighFisher won’t be giving us any concessions for their review.

    • Busted says:

      They lie when their lips move. Before seeking revenge on the OBA dig two graves.

    • The dark knight says:

      Do you know how many people have lost their jobs since this deal was signed? Because there have been alot take ut from someone who works there it’s terrible

  12. cant wait says:

    Pull Aecon out and put the contractors down there that built Berkeley, the court building, port royal.

    • Busted says:

      Don’t even joke about something like that. One of the clowns may think you are serious.

  13. Rocky5 says:

    While they’re at it can they have LeighFisher look under-the-hood at the sweet heart Paget Associates new Hospital deal? Also how much will this cost the Taypayer? Did they go through the Govt. Procurement Office? Who else bid? Don’t see much transparency here, sorry forgot, it’s the 24 – 12 Party in charge now!!

  14. BDAGIRL says:

    The cost to get Aecon out will kill us all. We will be in legal battle for years to come. Its a done deal. Not only will we be in legal battle with Aecon, but what about the local contractors that have a signed deal. You can bet they would sue the Government. Even Stevie Wonder can see the hotel in St. Georges is a NO GO. Go and try to find new investors for a hotel. Lets talk about the 30 year deal we did with the hospital. Who was that hospital built for? the rich and famous that were supposed to come here and recuperate. 90 beds in the new hospital, and the overflow you are sent over to the old hospital. Curtis Ward doesn’t have a workable shower stall for wheelchair bound patients so you get a soldiers bath in bed. think of the population in BDA, heaven forbid there is an outbreak of some sort, we will all be over the old hospital. So think about it 90 beds and some surgical wings being paid for the next 30 years.

    • mixitup says:

      “The cost to get Aecon out will kill us all”

      So what are you implying here? That the deal was a good deal or a Bad deal? If it will “Kill us All” I would call it a Bad deal, but for some reason, you seem to be ok with this… Ahhh right, I get it.

      When that useless previous Gov’t pulled out all stops to investigate Port Royal, Lahey Clinic, raided Dr. Browns offices and clinics, Picked a fight with a World Renowned Medical Facility (Lahey) you all sat by rubbing your hands.. Now the world will crash down around us when the shoe is on the other foot? As mentioned, this Gov’t ran on the platform that if elected, they will review the Airport Deal. Well guess what, 20,000 Bermudians elected them! The majority of this country would like a review done on this deal, a deal that siphons off over a Billion dollars for the next 30 years! Help me to understand what part of this you are not getting?

    • Obliviate Bermuda’s Associations says:

      What you talkin bout? Plenty of hallways to put patients in, part of the original plan. By you OBA’ers piss me off. You probably don’t even look Bermudian, I’m checking wif MOVE.

      • De Truth says:

        Can u please tell me what a Bermudian looks like because if u think for one second that me and my family will be told that we are not Bermudian and bow down to those that think they are u got another thing coming!!!!!!!!

  15. SaltySailor says:

    “the pepper spraying of peaceful citizens”

    When was that? The only pepper spraying I saw was against a bunch of law-breaking people

    • sandgrownan says:

      They weren’t peaceful.

    • mixitup says:

      Law breaking people? Ever wonder how Bermuda made the list for most cocaine use? Well it wasn’t from Court Street.. Maybe we need to visit some of these Plush Office Blocks and Executive pads on Harbour Road over looking the City, we would probaby need a case of pepper spray for that. If you are going to call locals protesting, a bunch of ‘law-breaking people, the next time you Jay Walk, or travel over 35kph, you should be pepper sprayed the same way.

      • SaltySailor says:

        We aren’t on that list, so if you can’t even get basic facts right it’s pointless reading whatever else you might have said.

  16. Real Onion says:

    plp just wanna large slice of de airport pie.

  17. Humphrey says:

    Ya at it again Walter Smh

  18. Will says:

    So the airport deal which cost us nothing is now going to cost because we have to set up commissions to look into it. Way to go PLP with spending money we don’t have!

  19. Up D hill says:

    OMG this guy is deputy leader of the Government? Worst I have ever heard , this is going to be a nightmare for Bermuda! For God sake man brush up on your speaking would you!

    • I’ld rather have someone with integrity that dont speak well then someone who can sell me a snowball in a snow storm.
      LMFAO

      • Double S says:

        The man with integrity that had to resign from cabinet as the Minister of Environment in the last PLP administration because he was handing out SDOs like candy to his fellow PLP MPs?

        That’s PLP integrity for you I guess.

  20. Mark says:

    With all these terrible things the plp are doing, do you think they may actually cause their opponents adopt their oppositional tactics? I pray for that day. They take away our rights and hurt our economy and we do nothing. I switch between anger and depression daily.

  21. Infidelguy says:

    Excuse me?

    When diid I ever “slam you” Miss? You need to stop lying like that!

  22. Infidelguy says:

    Excuse me?

    When diid I ever “slam you” Miss? You need to stop lying like that!

  23. cpm says:

    It is getting scary
    The quiet march off the rock is gaining momentum
    Well done plp for pushing us to the abyss again

  24. Coffee says:

    What is so……. Good about a deal that doesn’t enrich the average Bermudian ?

    Imagine a soulless , faceless entity dictating every year what it will cost YOU to leave Bermuda on a aircraft ….

    Keep the clown shoes on , I’ll watch when you trip up .

    • The Original Truth™ says:

      The Average Bermudian is already getting enriched by this deal. Aecon is already paying Bermudians to construct the airport so Bermudians are being enriched with an education and financially at the same time. Much of what Aecon will make from the running of the Airport will go back to Bermudians and to maintenance of the airport.

  25. Eddie the expat says:

    If we’re not careful, we’re going to end up like saint Helena… A fancy new airport which nobody uses.

    • And all you expats have the same ideology, underminding people of color and using Capitalist gimics to minipulate your mandate.

      • Earth watch police says:

        Hey juice ethnic cleansing will be law soon

      • Up D hill says:

        While you live in your tiny world chained to you own little mind ! And i ain’t no expat hur me!!

      • Joe Bloggs says:

        OJ, the race card? Really? Have you run out of rational thought?

  26. Stevie says:

    Usual bulls**t from the PLP. Where’s Burt hiding?

  27. JUNK YARD DOG says:

    Too many cooks in the kitchen !

  28. Beverley Connell says:

    …..”The Agreement is requiring Bermuda to give up more than two billion in dollars of revenue over the next 30 years. We believe the country cannot afford what the former government signed us up for.”

    This is not true. The revenues from the airport and the expenses from
    running the airport are being transferred to the Special Purpose Company.
    The $2-billion estimate does not take the expenses into account. Before
    airport revenue was raised to help fund the project earlier this year, the
    airport operated at a small loss. A LOSS. There is no $620-million profit. Misinformation continues.

    • Beverley Connell says:

      The claim is that this deal gives up $2 billion in revenue and $620 million profit. That is not true.

  29. Eddie the expat says:

    A lot of big words and even bigger assumptions in that statement…

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