Minister Moniz: ‘Wharf Project Remains On Track’

April 5, 2013

The $22.36 million Heritage Wharf project remains on track to be completed in time for the arrival of the Norwegian Breakaway cruise ship on May 15th, Minister of Public Works Trevor Moniz said last night [Apr 4].

Last month Shadow Minister of Public Works Derrick Burgess expressed concern over the 22 work permits issued for the Heritage Wharf Project saying, “This is the first time I would venture to say, that 22 temporary work permits have been granted to a single employer. This is cause for much alarm.”

Earlier this week Mr Burgess said, “With so many qualified, capable, hard working Bermudians out of work and so many Bermudian companies seeking opportunities, we must remain vigilant that the interests of Bermudians are protected. The OBA cannot duck responsibility for their decisions and owe the people an explanation.”

In a statement issued last night, Minister Moniz stated that the project “remains on track [weather permitting] to be completed in time for the arrival of the Norwegian Breakaway on May 15, 2013, and would encourage all of Bermuda to remain focused on the task at hand – and that is to ensure Bermuda as a country does not attract negative media during a time when we need to pull together to get the economy back on track with the arrival of thousands of passengers wanting to enjoy our beautiful country.”

A statement from the Ministry said, “Notwithstanding the most recent media and questions from the Shadow Minister for Public Works, the Minister reiterated that the upgrades to the Heritage Wharf are a Bermudian led project and refutes any claims that he has not addressed the employment of Bermudian workers and construction companies undertaking the project.”

The Minister said, “The Heritage Wharf project is Bermudian led which provides opportunities for Bermudians. Proposals were sought from six local construction companies. No non-Bermudian companies were invited to bid on the works.

“Local engineers, project managers and contractors are responsible for delivery of this important project and are working in close partnership with the Bermuda Government to this end. Further, that three local engineering firms have been employed to support the works, providing services in project management, geotechnical studies and traffic engineering and passenger management. Surveying is also being undertaken by local surveyors.”

The Ministry said the following information is “intended to assist with concerns anyone may have with this critical and most time sensitive construction project.”

1. As previously mentioned, there were press releases issued advising that local employees would take up 75 percent or greater of the total workforce to complete the project.

2. This would provide an excellent learning experience for both the local workforce on the ground, local engineers and technical staff who are working closely with overseas experts to ensure the project is completed to the required quality – and on time.

3. Bermudian labour is presently employed at both the Heritage Wharf site and the South Basin site.

4. When the dock was originally built, a lot of pre-cast elements used were procured in the US. In this phase of the works, the majority of the elements of the dock will be constructed and procured in Bermuda from the materials already on island.

5. Bermudian labour is presently employed at both Heritage Wharf and South Basin sites. Activities include but not limited to, fixing steel reinforcement and forms for concrete shuttering to placing concrete.

6. Bermudian workers are also operating local barges for transportation of the construction barges one of which is Bermudian owned with one hired from the US.

7. The Bermudian barges, both privately and Government owned, are being used for the supply of materials to the site.

8. Bermudians are also employed as divers on site for installation of environmental mitigation works.

9. Bermudians have been employed for landside drilling and piling operations as well as for installation of services and security for the site set up.

10. Bermudian welders have been assessed for use on the works and those that have passed the quality control checks are being employed to undertake welding works on the project. With that stated, if should be important to note that the welds on this project are far more difficult to complete than usual in Bermuda. These welds require two welders to work in tandem for eight hours at a time to complete.

11. All welds are then checked and defects removed. Faulty welding in these circumstances would severely hamper the efforts to complete the works on schedule.

12. A Bermudian welder was used for the first of such welds which was successfully completed and Bermudians will continue to be used for welding throughout this project.

13. Non-Bermudian workers are limited to specialist works that have the technical expertise that are not available locally and these same specialists have the necessary level of experience required for this project.

14. These specialists are responsible for weld testing, geological drilling and testing, interpretation of geological information, pile load testing, and operation of the piling equipment on the barges and to supplement the Bermudian welders.

15. For clarification, the 22 temporary work permits are broken out as follows:

  • a. Crane Operator (1)
  • b. Diver & Steel Pile Installer (8)
  • c. Engineer/Project Manager (1)
  • d. Project Manager (3)
  • e. Pile Diver (5)
  • f. Technician/Weld Inspector (1)
  • g. Commercial Diver Welder & Steel Pile Installer (1)
  • h. Ironworker Welder/Foreman (1)
  • i. Welder (1)

16. The non-Bermudian site workers are housed locally thereby providing off season income for local businesses.

17. Regarding any work undertaken by non-Bermudians, the Ministry is training local labour where possible.

The Minister concluded by saying, “Bermudian labour has been present on the piling barges throughout the construction activities. They are also being trained in a safe manner to take on some of the work of the non-Bermudian employees. Taking this course of action will ensure we will have experienced local labour that should be able to undertake future works of this nature.

“However, this does not guarantee that in future we will not have to bring in foreign operatives as the time and extent of experience will be limited to this construction project.

“However, it is envisioned that the ratio of foreign to local employees will be reduced even further. And as promised, I will continue to keep the general public in the loop as we countdown to the date we are working towards, that being May 15th 2013.”

The Norwegian Breakaway will be the largest cruise ship to ever visit Bermuda, and is scheduled to arrive with up to 4,000 passengers.

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Comments (14)

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  1. Elizabeth Von Trumparani says:

    If the PLP had got in we still would not know there was a problem – and when it was discovered too late – they would have gone “Oh Dear’ and blamed it on race. Then there would be no ships at all – and slavery to blame. Such is the Pathetic Lazy Party – find a way to blame someone else – preferably the white man. What a way to ru(i)n a country.

    • swing voter says:

      I’m so embarrassed, although you are very rude, I have no defense to your rudeness, hence my pen name. I do hope the honorable opposition will join hands with our government to bring the island back from the brink of financial ruin. Thankfully, The experiment ended Dec. 17th 2012 and I’m one house ‘n@%*er’ (as one ‘experiment’ called it) that is more than happy to have cast my vote to return to ‘the plantation’ as another ‘experiment’ had implied.

    • Independent says:

      @ Elizabeth Von Trunparani,

      I too understand your point, but your comment is pretty shallow, and speaks to your character. I will say this, your comment is an assumption, and you know what people are when they ASSume things!

  2. SoMuchMore says:

    Minister Moniz. thank you for the update and do not allow the negative comments of the opposition to side track you and everyone else working hard on heritage wharf.

    It is a delicate project that must be completed ontime and we all know, including the opposition why we are in the situation we are in.

  3. Jason Smith says:

    Lets stop the petty arguing over this project and make sure it is done on time and properly.

    Any further losses of cruise ship calls will only result in further pain for Bermudians and our already struggling tourism industry.

    Just get it done!

  4. Amazed says:

    While I agree with Jason The Minister has never answered directly whether these jobs were advertised as required by LAW. The Law must be followed by everyone and cannot just be ignored for expedience sake!

    • Jason Smith says:

      Temporary work permits aren’t required to be advertised by law.

      Hence why the numerous temporary work permits for the Tynes Bay refurbishment and the construction of the National Stadium swimming pool were never advertised. And both of these projects relied heavily on foreigners to complete.

      So this is simple politricking by the PLP and another case of do as I say and not as I do.

      Just get it done and get it done right this time, OBA. Time is not on our side and neither will the cruise lines if it isn’t completed. So it is exactly for expedience sake at this point in time.

    • Portia says:

      Amazed ,

      These are temporary jobs, to last only the duration of the project, which means they do not need to be advertised. Only long-term positons must show an advertisement was placed. This has been the policy for quite some time, so the Minister has adhered to the law.

    • navin johnson says:

      Sure Amazed let’s advertise the jobs and wait two weeks for the replies that will likely never come and then ask the Cruise ships with their 6,000 Passengers to sit off shore while we diddle around with Politics…..get the thing done and get it right and quick…..the whole tourist season and perhaps the future of tourism depends on this so let’s stall around…..Think Dude

  5. Winnie Dread says:

    Well there it is the total breakdown in laymans term,over to you Bro Derrick. If everything is true as outlined I am more than satisfied my tax dollars are being spent properly, simply because it was not spent properly the first time.

  6. Winnie Dread says:

    With regards to the jobs not being advertised locally, If that is true it should never happen again, the law is the law. Now what kind of action will be taken for breaking the law??? Shoot I just got a ticket bearly broke 35 Ks,lol.

    • blankman says:

      Temporary jobs don’t have to be advertised.

  7. Verbal Kint says:

    There are a bunch of foreigners on the hospital project. Who cleared all those permits?

    • SoMuchMore says:

      the plp won’t answer that if asked… i’m sure.