Minister Burch: ‘Dispel Some Of The Untruths’

December 1, 2019 | 12 Comments

“It is regrettable that this is how an open and transparent competitive process is being characterised,” Public Works Minister Lt/Col David Burch said in reference to the Clearwater concession, adding that he is taking the “unusual step of providing a sanitised chronology of events leading up to this decision”.

Minister Burch said, “It is regrettable that this is how an open and transparent competitive process is being characterised. For the record – this is a standard process to get the best option for a Government asset and provide opportunities to Bermudian entrepreneurs. Attached for your information is the RFP document that invites anyone to apply in a transparent process – including the current leaseholder.

“The assertion that the owners have not been given a reason is patently false. The owner, his lawyer, his mother, his sister and his lawyers aide met on Friday November 22nd with myself, management and the Deputy Chairman of the BLDC Board to be advised of the outcome of the RFP process.

“There were 5 respondents to the RFP – 3 made the short list including the current lease holder – BLDC are in the process of informing all of them of the outcome of the process. Once that is completed – a public announcement of the successful bidder will be made.

“For clarity’s sake – please refer to paragraph 7 in the RFP document that sets out the evaluation criteria to be applied to each bidder. That process is undertaken by technical staff who make a recommendation to the Board of the BLDC – who then render a decision.

“I am also going to take the unusual step of providing a sanitised chronology of events leading up to this decision – so that it is clear that every effort was made to assist the current leaseholder to provide a comprehensive proposal.

“The current leaseholder was alerted via formal written letter in April 2016 that the site would go out to tender when the lease expired April 30, 2019.

“In October 2016, Marlon Laws acknowledged the letter and asked written questions on how long they would have to vacate the premise if they were not the successful bidder.

“In March 2018 he wrote to the Board, and Board members subsequently met with him. During that meeting it was reemphasized that he would need to participate in the RFP process.

“In early July 2018, BLDC met with him to discuss a Lease extension and remind him of the RFP process. An email was sent after the meeting outlining this and he acknowledged via email. BLDC extended his lease to November 30 2019 in order to allow him another full summer season to operate while reiterating that the concession will be put out to Tender.

“Service – Standard of Service was identified as not meeting the minimum expected of an operator at Clearwater Beach by BLDC. He had been asked over the years to enhance the product and his level of service. He was also given use of the Clearwater BBQ pit to enhance services but there is no evidence that he has made use of this enhancement.

“In early 2019 Beach Boys leased a neighbouring space and brought a few thousand packages to Clearwater. Beach Boys package for their clients included a “Swizzle package from Gombeys” which assisted Gombeys bottom line but not through efforts of Gombeys to increase traffic.

“Assistance with marketing – BLDC offered marketing assistance on two separate occasions in meetings. As well, assistance was offered in preparing his proposal document in response to the RFP. No response was received and subsequently a two page unsigned document as a response to the RFP was submitted.

“Concerns of BLDC of Gombeys ability to improve facility. The leaseholder has been aware since at least 2016 that BLDC was looking to enhance the experience and the facility. Despite outreaches and warnings, no action was taken nor help sought to enhance the facility. The current proposal suggests renovating the kitchen which may enhance the staff’s ability to serve but does not meet the expectations or visions for an enhanced concession.

“I deliberately have not included all the issues surrounding this matter into the public domain but felt the need to dispel some of the untruths. But suffice to say that his response to the RFP was a 2 page letter that indicated a desire to leave everything the way it was with no improvement. Part of his lease agreement called for a nominal rent and a profit sharing arrangement – the profit sharing portion never materialised.

“Management and the Board have gone to considerable lengths to assist the current leaseholder to no avail and have made what I consider the appropriate decision to give other Bermudians an opportunity to make Clearwater a greater success without dramatically changing the character of the Clearwater experience.”

The full RFP – Clearwater Beach Concessions follow below [PDF here]:

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Comments (12)

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  1. Triangle Drifter says:

    Well now, that pretty much puts it out there. There was plenty of warning on what was wrong & consequences of failure to makes positive changes. Time was wasted away.

    • Real Deal says:

      but was there that many visitors in the warning period to support the development of the enhancements?

  2. Frank says:

    I now have a better understanding of what went on down there but it would be nice to not give it to a group that already has a place in dockyard and one in st.geoeges lets give a
    Someone else a chance hell the guy from beach boys has a piece of the airport concession

  3. Toadinthehole says:

    Yup. With the colonel on this one

  4. Joe Bloggs says:

    Right, so the Minister is calling Marlon Laws a liar (“The assertion that the owners have not been given a reason is patently false”) and the reason he has to leave is because he would not do what the Minister told him to do(“He had been asked over the years to enhance the product and his level of service. He was also given use of the Clearwater BBQ pit to enhance services but there is no evidence that he has made use of this enhancement”).

    I think the PLP Government can be fairly certain it just lost a few votes.

  5. Free Thinker says:

    That RFP was designed to push out David, and bring in Goliath. All this focus on enhancing something that didn’t need enhancing. Gombeys was the perfect fit for that beach, not overly commercialized and very homey. Sometimes simplicity is better. One more nail in the coffin of the small entrepreneur.

  6. frank says:

    I would not like to see beach boys get this they already have tobacco bay and snorkel park heck give someone else a chance

  7. La Verdad says:

    The place sucked. Food service was terrible and bar service wasn’t much better. I stopped going. Under a new management I will plan another visit when it warms up.

    • sage says:

      Well I went to Tobacco Bay several times and my opinion was the same as yours is of Gombeys.

  8. lol says:

    if ya dont live east of Tawn ya vote don’t count. – just like the the ATVs

  9. Dread says:

    Owell

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