Video: Finance Minister On Morgan’s Point

June 13, 2019 | 57 Comments

[Updated] Minister of Finance Curtis Dickinson is holding a press conference this afternoon [June 13] about the development at Morgan’s Point, and we will have additional coverage later on and in the meantime the live video is below.

Update: The live broadcast has concluded and the 15-minute replay is below

Update 4.15pm: Minister Dickinson said, “Good afternoon. In recent days there have been media reports and some public speculation regarding the project at Morgan’s Point, known as the Caroline Bay Development.

“It is important to set out some facts for the Bermudian taxpayer whose hard-earned tax dollars are pledged in support of this development by way of a government guarantee.

“The public will recall the swap of land over ten years ago which saw the owners of Southlands in Warwick receive the former base site known as Morgan’s Point. Since that time, the development team has been unable to complete the project as intended.

“Bermuda is invested in this project also. The former government attempted to ease the path to financing and the completion of the development by pledging the Government of Bermuda as guarantors for the project financing in the amount of $165 million.

“The experience with the developers and this project has spanned governments of both Parties and Administrations within those governments for over a decade.

Slideshow of the development as it appeared in October of last year:


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“In February 2018, there began a series of crunch talks with the developers of Caroline Bay based on the fact that there was a forecasted likelihood that work on the site would stop, workers would be laid off and contractors would not be paid. The constant theme of those meetings and the persistent demand of the Government was that this could not be allowed to happen as this country could not then, and cannot now, afford to see more Bermudians out of work.

“As part of the process to shore-up the management of the project and other aspects of the operational control of the development, the Government mandated changes to the corporate governance of the development company and the marketing of the pre-construction units was made the responsibility of a strengthened, more experienced team of realtors.

“Whilst work continued at the site, the pace and scope consistently reduced to the point where it has now stopped altogether. Genuine efforts by the developers have been made to secure financing and these efforts are ongoing. In the interim, the principals of the company have continued to fund their obligations mindful of the importance of keeping some work going on at the site.

“This funding appears to now be at a standstill and as such this accounts for the sums owed to contractors and sub-contractors who have, in good faith, done the work required. Understandably, some have now lost their patience.

“However, in addition to the issues surrounding non-payment to contractors and sub-contractors, I have a wider concern based on my responsibility to safeguard the public purse and to avert the risk to which the Bermudian taxpayer has been exposed, first by the former government and now by delays in the project.

“The Ministry of Finance continues to consult with its advisors. These discussions are ongoing, and we are doing everything prudent to protect the Government’s position.

“There is much more to be done, however, to firstly secure financing to complete the project and to ensure a successful conclusion of the construction phase of the project.

“As recently as last Friday, the Premier and I met with the principals of Caroline Bay to discuss the advanced stage of negotiations for funding of the project. I made it clear in that meeting that the protection of the Bermudian taxpayer was this Government’s priority and that the terms of any financing deal, subject to the Government’s approval, must reflect that overarching commitment to Bermuda.

“There has been progress on the financing front and that is for the principals of Caroline Bay to address in due course.

“In the meantime, however, it is not correct that this Government or any of its various agencies is in any way preventing this deal from being finalized.

“Hotel and property development is not easy. In the current economic climate, securing traditional, and even non-traditional financing for development projects of this size is even more difficult.

“There is much riding on the latest efforts and the Government’s role, not just as guarantor, but as the representative of the people, is to do what we can to facilitate a successful development at Morgan’s Point and to realize the potential it can play in re-introducing Bermuda as a luxury tourism destination. Thank you.”

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  1. Joe Bloggs says:

    Some good questions from the reporters (especially Gary Moreno) and consistent refusal to answer on the part of the Minister. He would have appeared less arrogant had he simply released a written statement with no opportunity for follow-up questions to be dodged

    • sandgrownan says:

      Ah but that’s Curtis. To his credit though, and unlike his colleagues, he didn’t blame the OBA.

      • Black Soil says:

        People loosing confidence in Bermuda.

        • LOL says:

          The obaUBPEeeee pledged $165 million. What a bunch of circus clowns. Now you have Jet Gate Craig as the leader. WOW are you serious LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.

          Are you that desperate!!!Even the oba supporters are thinking how did we fall so far after the 25 to 11 that we need Craig back again. LMAO

          • sandgrownan says:

            Go read “USS Bermuda”. See how the PLP scuppered a chance to redevelop Morgan’s Point after they were first elected. A deal setup by the then UBP, and how they scared away the investors with the “we’re in charge now”, “what’s our cut” dickhead rhetoric of which they are so fond.
            The fact that the land lay dormant for so long is testament to PLP ineptitude.

            • Eyes wide open says:

              The oba the ubp all the same, You need to help your party perdorm a study on why so many black Bermudians left the UBP aka oba. Maybe because of people like you!!!

            • Toodle-oo says:

              ‘Do you think we’re going to be like the American Indians and just give our land away ?’
              And coming from a Rhodes Scholar nonetheless .

          • Anbu says:

            Well considering u seem to think burt is the next messiah, what has he done to better our lives? Ill wait. Almost 20 yrs in charge now and these @$$hats dont know their backsides from their elbows

    • So we are on de hook for $175 Million and de airport deal TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!
      I thought negotiations was supposed to be mutual.
      Well at least Grand Atlantic got finished.
      Snake oil guys

      • sandgrownan says:

        You daft git. GA is empty. And unsold.

        • But Grand Atlantic is FINISHED, your party started a project and cant finish it AND are responsible for paying for F@#$ups.
          What @$$#0£€$ do up a contract that leaves taxpayers holding de bag?
          Oh I forgot we have to pay CCC when they dont get their $30 Million a year quota for 30 years.
          F@#$ing PATHETIC.
          Should’ve had Chris Furburt on their negotiating team.
          LMAO

      • Question says:

        Grand Atlantic is a $70m total waste of borrowed money, It’s a shrine to PLP incompetence.

      • aceboy says:

        Yes it did get finished, but stayed empty. The tie in with Southlands is interesting. The land swap happened because “environmentalists “ and “concerned Bermudians” protested a hotel on the South Shore. There was much angst about a bridge over the road that certain Bermudians felt would mean that rich tourists would “look down” on the locals as they crossed it.

        Months later, a few hundred years away, the Grand Atlantic was built. A few scattered protests from the actual environmentalists but given that it was a PLP pet project (albeit against the advice of all technical advisors) the protests suddenly stopped and we ended up with the white elephant.

        Fast forward to the AC and all of the negativity from the unions and the PLP. Then the election and the whole “$100 million for a white man’s boat race” rhetoric and the investors got cold feet, understandably. They could see that luxury tourism would be extremely difficult in the economic environment to come. And it came.

      • lav says:

        “Well at least Grand Atlantic got finished.”

        LOL, you’re too stupid to realise how stupid you make yourself look. LOL

    • Stephen Thomson says:

      This was an excellent press conference. The minister was very open and forthright.
      Credit where credit is due.
      Arrogant? Not at all and that comment is unfair in my view.

  2. Tony Brannon says:

    Houston – we have a problem …

    From the get go the land swap was insane. The idea of swapping a pristine South Shore property for a dump of a land once occupied and polluted by the US Military was absolute folly. One can hardly compare this barren ugly plot of land to the lovely South Shore.
    But that deal was done…..

    How does this project get salvaged ? Can it be salvaged?? Will it become a chain around the necks of the Bermuda taxpayer ??

    Hopefully, the Owners and Developers can find a way out of this mess.

    Is it true that the Government insisted the developers will build lo cost housing near the entrance to a luxury resort development ? IF SO, that could well be problematic for people buying at Morgans Point.

    I hope for all concerned this gets resolved and we don’t end up with a proverbial White Elephant.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      I too hope we do not end up with another white elephant like the Grand Atlantic, Tony.

    • Ringmaster says:

      Location, location, location. The 3 most important factors in real estate. As Tony says to swap the land was folly. When you compare the artists/architects impression of Caroline Bay with reality I’m surprised the developers haven’t been sued for false advertising. That bay is stagnant and full of stinging jellyfish in the summer, and bears no resemblance to what the brochures portray. Compare to a new hotel that will be built in Jamaica – 8,000 rooms. Funding is available for the right properties.

    • Another OBA project to add to de airport where de contract favours de developer and tax payers foot de bill.
      PATHETIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Question says:

        24-11 for two solid years. You own it. Dickenson has nothing but excuses.

      • sandgrownan says:

        it wasn’t an oba project

      • Kevin says:

        ya wanna have a discussion on the Hospital juice …guess not
        maybe kings wharf
        maybe Berkeley
        maybe police headquarters
        maybe port royal
        want me to keep going
        Brown 1.2 million pay off
        still want more
        Flip flop getting paid extra for actually doing his job
        this government is useless

        • yabadabba Do says:

          Don’t forget DLBE
          And TCD
          And an Emissions Testing Centre that after 10+ years never failed a vehicle for testing because no standard was set.
          And Dockyard Cruise Ship Pier
          And Dr. Browns Privejet ride – followed by Globalhue / Tourism contract.
          Or that contract being awarded a second time without going out to tender.

        • Paul says:

          Kevin, you are right on the money…. the good thing is the PLP supporters are saying the same thing as you.

          • Anthony Brannon says:

            The way this is going…. the PLP will be voted out at the net election.
            We need an opposition who are NOT AFRAID to take the gloves off.

            When people get pissed off enough, stunning things can happen at the polls. Just look at Barbados where Mia Mottley won EVERY seat in parliament after the former government robbed and mismanaged the country so bad.

    • Retro says:

      Dump is a bit harsh .

    • Mb says:

      Exactly Tony
      What I want to know is ….how is it that all us average Joes knew such a swap was an incredibly bad move but the highly educated rich principals did NOT see that?? To swap beach front for a concrete pier requiring a billion to develop made no sense . Then to add salt the OBA dizzy from AC35 goes along and uses tens of millions of taxpayer money to guarantee this pie in the sky project … Well guess what, we all told you so, perhaps our politicians should start listening to the people before they start throwing OUR money around … remember the CoH disaster? Affordable housing/Grand Atlantic? All disasters as this will be. Sounds like developer willing take on the property but do what he wants not govt…stay tuned I guess

    • Eve says:

      Both governments share in the blame for their part in this dream development that has turned into a bad dream! Craig Christensen was allowed to continue making promises about completion when everyone knew it was only a dream. There were warnings, before the final plans were approved, that the tax-payers would have to bail out this overly ambitious development.
      Trying to salvage the project will take years and inevitably cost millions more than any estimate made today. The next big hurricane will swamp the development and there will be a different type of salvage.

  3. Clueless leadership says:

    Stop trying to blame buys and investors lack of confidence on the former Government. This island’s economy is once again going to the dogs thanks to the PLP

    • Wahoo says:

      They will go down in history as being anti billionaire after chasing the AC away. Caroline Bay was never targeted to budget conscious travellers after their display of hostility our reputation took a hit. What other place do you know of that do not want billionaire tourists? Investor confidence is gone.

      Interesting that the minister held his own press conference and seemed very defensive wonder what fall out will be over the next week or so.

    • Mb says:

      Ummm the OBA guaranteed this project did they not???

  4. question says:

    “In the current economic climate, securing traditional, and even non-traditional financing for development projects of this size is even more difficult.”

    What is he talking about? Stock markets are at all-time highs. Unemployment in USA and UK are at record lows. Tourism around the world is buoyant. People in our major markets are doing well and have disposable income. He is manufacturing an imaginary problem to explain his government’s failure. Typical.

    • inna says:

      Yet accoring to Furby, we are not in recession.

      Mixed messages??

    • sandgrownan says:

      Who would invest in Bermuda property at this juncture? And, you are correct in that Curtis is ducking the obvious.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      Not quite.

      The UK economy is terrible. The Pound is today trading for less than $1.27 to 1 pound. No one knows what will happen on 31 October and that is causing considerable economic concern all across Europe.

      As for the US, the President is tearing up trade agreements and threatening other countries with reckless abandon. He is plagued by allegations of corruption and obstruction of justice.

      The majority of the world’s leading economists are predicting a downturn (recession) in the world economy in 12 to 24 months.

      All is not rosy across the world and Bermuda is too small to have any real influence on the world economy.

      • Question says:

        You have no idea what you’re talking about. In the UK Employment is at a record high. Unemployment is the lowest it has been for 50 years.
        In the US, unemployment is at record lows.
        Markets are at all-time highs.
        Dickenson is manufacturing an excuse for failure. Just like every PLP government.

        • Joe Bloggs says:

          Question,

          You sound like you’ve been listening to Boris Johnson and Donald Trump without any independent thought or research. Might I suggest you read The Economist for a different perspective.

          • Question says:

            What numbers did I get wrong? I’ll save you the trouble. None.

            The Economist was predicting a recession if UK voted for brexit, and that didn’t happen. They also predicted dire consequences if the UK didn’t join the Euro, and as it turned out what a disaster that would have been. So let’s deal with facts as they are, not as someone imagines them to be.

            And lo and behold, an investor in Morgan’s Point has appeared less than 24 hours after the Dickenson press conference. I guess the world economy isn’t so dire after all.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      While I was firmly against the OBA getting involved in financial guarantees with this ridiculous project the problem was that they were banking on being re-elected and thus a continuing and growing confidence in the local economy.
      Your 2nd paragraph should get all intelligent people thinking . The writing is on the wall but the 25 part of 25-11 are in pure denial.

    • Red rose says:

      Yes. I thought that as well. He must be talking about bermuda

  5. Lol says:

    The PLP have been using the term “In this current economic climate” to mask their incompetencies since 1998.

  6. Jonathan Land Evans says:

    Echoing Mr. Brannon’s comments above, it’s surprising that anyone seriously supposed that a hotel development on that highly sub-optimal site would be viable. To me, it always seemed doomed to be a flop, and it is very unfortunate that the OBA administration unwisely saw fit to provide a financial guarantee backed by taxpayer money. I imagine the OBA would not have done so, were it not for their extravagant and implausible pre-election pledge to create 2,000 jobs. As is so often the case, party politics is showing itself once again to be the undoing of this country.

  7. wahoo says:

    Call the Chinese.

    • Onion Peels says:

      We could ask Mexico Infrastructure Finance if they’d like to have another shot at financing a Bermuda hotel. I’m sure they’ve been talking up Bermuda in the finance world.

  8. Kevin says:

    It was only a matter of time before a real case scenario showed up. It will also show the lack of ability to find a solution ….we have a very weak government and oh yeah the plp blockers will blame this on the OBA …but remember if we were in a growing economy and Tourism was operating without government interference we could be in a whole different situation
    just saying
    we need a new government

  9. Jurassic says:

    You reap what you see. The PLP supporters and make believe independent activist groups marched and complained about everything. During their previous 14 years in power there were $800 million that were unacounted for and several other projects under scrutiny for how contracts were handed, to who they were offered too, out and the fact that most were millions over budget. A few that come to mind are Berkely, TCD, DLBE Bldg and Port Royal Golf Course, They complained about AC35 even thought it was the most successful sporting event in Bermuda EVER. When the PLP got into power they shut down all possible enquires into where the money went. As a further slap in the face a few friends and family were awarded cash reimbursements. One that most know of was $1.2 to their former leader.

    They have slapped taxes on everyone and everything they can and raised the coat of living even higher.

    So when you ask where consumer confidence went? The answer is in the mirror. Would you invest in a country governed by a group that believe they are untouchable? Would you want to retire or vacation in a country that is bullied and often abused by the Unions. Would you want to live in a place that mistreats and discriminates against the LGBT or anyone not like them as inferior. Would you want to buy property in a place that treats children born here but not born to “Bermudian” parents as problems. What chance do they have of being treated fairly.

    So Mr Finance, when you are wondering why this is all happening you shouldn’t be surprised.

  10. George Jones says:

    I assume that we the Bermudian people now own this development. If it’s defaulting how can the original owners retain an interest?

  11. Onion Peels says:

    Like the old saying; if you owe the bank a thousand dollars and you can’t pay, you have a problem. If you owe the bank a million dollars and you can’t pay, the bank has a problem.

  12. Guy Carri says:

    This project will continue.
    There is a reason the factional ownerships were done before the hotel.
    Think about it.
    Revise plans = Finish fractionals, Scrap hotel = Financing available.

    And before you talk about the OBA involvement. Remember who traded the land. Remember who committed the $$ to cleaning it up (Agent Orange).

  13. White Wash says:

    Thank you OBA for given away $165 mill of the tax payers money!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Does the OBA leader want to talk about this???????

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