Burt: ‘Disregarding Rules Of Good Governance’

May 17, 2015

“The unanimous rejection by the OBA of the PLP motion that would have subjected the 35 year airport privatisation to a competitive tender process demonstrates that the OBA are a government intent on disregarding the basic and fundamental rules of good governance,” Shadow Minister of Finance David Burt said this evening.

This follows after the PLP’s motion on the airport project was defeated in the House of Assembly on Friday [May 15], with the motion saying, “Be it resolved that this Honourable House does not support the sole sourcing of a developer and concessionaire for the proposed new terminal at the LF Wade International Airport and further, we recommend the project be subject to a public RFP process.”

Quick audio of the vote on the airport motion in the House on Friday:

Mr Burt said, “The unanimous rejection by the OBA of the PLP motion that would have subjected the 35 year airport privatisation to a competitive tender process demonstrates that the OBA are a government intent on disregarding the basic and fundamental rules of good governance.

“A competitive tender process is the only way to ensure that Bermuda gets the best deal for the privatisation of the airport which will give the Canadian company Aecon the rights to over $1 billion of revenue.

“During the debate in Parliament, not a single member of the OBA was able to assure Bermuda that we are getting the best deal; and that is because with a sole source contract Aecon does not need to compete against any other company with regards to price.

“The OBA have been in office for 29 months, and during that time they continue to bypass the rules that were put in place by the PLP following the recommendations of the Auditor General to strengthen the tendering process.

“The Good Governance Act requires that the Office of Project Management and Procurement approve the award of all contracts. The Office of Project Management and Procurement has not approved of this deal, however Minster Bob Richards and the OBA are moving this deal forward over the objections of the very department that is there to ensure that proper tendering processes are adhered to.

“These processes are in place to ensure that public funds are handled properly and Minister Richards’ declaration that they would continue to move forward despite the lack of approval from this important department should alarm all persons and companies that pay taxes.

Mr Burt speaking on the airport outside the House on Friday

“The recent release of emails and the admission by the Minister of Finance that he was aware Aecon was the contractor from the very beginning of this process calls into question this entire deal,” added Mr. Burt.

“Despite these revelations and the concerns voiced by the opposition, community groups, independent commentators, and 75% of voters – Premier Dunkley, Minister Richards and the remainder of their OBA colleagues refuse to rethink this sole sourced deal to the Canadian Company Aecon.

“The public can rest assured that while the defeat of this vote in parliament is a setback in our mission to ensure Bermuda gets the best deal, it is not the end of this issue.

“We will not sit back and allow Michael Dunkley, Bob Richards, and the OBA Cabinet to run roughshod over the good governance act, financial instructions, Auditor General recommendations, and the will of the people of Bermuda.

“We will do all we can to ensure that this deal is handled with the highest standards of tendering and ethics to ensure that over the next 35 years the Bermudian people get the best deal possible.

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Comments (37)

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  1. Ringmaster says:

    Without taking sides, it clearly wasn’t that important or 3 PLP MPs would have remained to vote on this. The fact they weren’t around on the vote is very telling. Even if the OBA have a majority, at least all PLP MPs could have shown they were against it.

    • And that’s the truth…Shadow Minister David Burt and associates should be more worried about the wrongs done over countless years by the Progressive Labour Party. Whether he or anyone else wish to believe, this “what’s done in the dark will come to light.”
      By the way, doesn’t this sound exactly like the way they Progressive Labour Party ruled our Government and the people of Bermuda for far too long?

      • “Cabinet to run roughshod over the good governance act, financial instructions, Auditor General recommendations, and the will of the people of Bermuda.”

        • Damn, they even locked up in prison the Auditor General for nothing but wanting to reveal the truth :-(

    • Trulytruly says:

      I wonder why they weren’t there? Might it jeopardize future prospects for them if they voted against a project they want a piece of?

    • rhonda says:

      It wasn’t important to the oba either, with one Minister not even bothering to read the emails. No need to when you are in a safe seat. Questions. from Constituent who said I need to be informed, I don’t need to be to be in the house.

      • Trulytruly says:

        None have to be there but as it happened on the two big votes all 19 OBA MP’s were present. plp had 12 present. Don’t understand the rest of your post.

  2. Kangoocar says:

    Once again this latest public statement by the plp only proves they are either spending to much time enjoying the special plp tea or the special online rum swizzle??? Anyone with any business sense would emmedialty know that there will not be many companies in this world that would even be remotely interested in building our airport knowing the serious financial constraints ( thanks to the plp ) our present government has?? I am still scratching my head as to why the Canadians are willing to do it when one considers the just over $3 million net our airport makes each year!!! My hat is off to Min Richards on this one!!! This only boiles down to the fact that the OBA has found away to put hundreds of Bermudians back to work and the plp knows it is the final nail in their long over due coffin !! Once again the plp has proven that they are only interested opinion power at all costs!!! Plp first Bermudians last once again??? The low turnout by the combined opposition on Friday at the HOA proves my point!!!!

    • Ann says:

      So true! Why can’t the PLP understand that a huge job like this will put 100′s of Bermudaians back to work? They seem to fight against everything that could possibly get their people back to work, gotta wonder if they really want to go back to work ?????

      • mj says:

        @Ann=== and who are YOUR people huh…the oba should be working for the better of the entire Bermuda, or do you consider people that vote plp “their” “them” instead of “US” therein lies the problem..

        • Tipsy says:

          Typical, mj clearly disagrees so he does the only thing he knows how to do; make subtle racial remarks even though nothing of the such was implied.

          • johnny says:

            Actually Ann was making subtle racial remarks with her ‘their people’, and ‘gotta wonder if they really want to go back to work ?????’ comments.

  3. Dylan says:

    please Burt its time to give it up and let us ( Bermuda ) move forward you and the rest of the opposition or whatever you are want to be want to stop the train… Bermuda is better without you in charge ,,,, PLP when are you going to get it … there are clear indications we are climbing out of the Sxxt you put us in. You had no clue what do to when you had the chance and you are clearly more clueless now… Burt go and Find Ernie and you can discuss what type of sandwich you should have for we all know that is about all you can both do and be successful

  4. Dylan says:

    I must admit that i do like the fact that you are wearing a red tie is it that the silent part of you wanting to show support

  5. Charlly X says:

    This whole issue is still very Fuzzy ! We the public still do not know the terms of the lease to our main Gate to the island ! If the PLP had made this deal what would the critics be saying ? Hello can you hear me now ? The Governments duty is to prove to the masses that this is a good way forward for everyone ! The Oba still aren’t keeping election promises to get rid of poor politics . Most Bermudians don’t care who makes a good choice for everyone but we do care who doesn’t !
    Together Everyone Acheives More !! Where is the TEAM Spirit ? All this surrogate behavior has to go !!

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      The trouble is they can’t provide details, NDA’s at this level of contract negotiations don’t allow it.

  6. Trulytruly says:

    Reminds me of the huge objection to the incinerator back in the early 90′s. 20 years on I don’t hear one person complaining. i get why the proposed PPP structure is appealing in our current desperate financial state. It actually makes sense. Burt has grabbed onto this one and is seemingly determined to derail the process. If only he had been so concerned in the final year of the plp term, when his party and his immediate boss was responible for a $400m million deficit. Anyone else find his new found concern hypocritical? plp: Standing in the way of hundreds of jobs for currently unemployed Bermudians.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Wonder how many remember who was responsible for the bulk of the objections over that incinerator which ultimately caused it to cost millions more? Burt was not around but some of the more senior members of his party could give him a history lesson.

      • Bill says:

        are you SERIOUS!!! the incinerator was a complete debacle, i remember the UBP saying we had to take one of the most pristine pieces of land and it would create enough energy to sell to Belco ultimately lowering electricity bills for every Bermudian…. well that was nonsense just as this jobs for Bermudians nonsense is. Three years of work for construction labors workers and then 32 years a salve to Canada. Utter nonsense I tell you. I ask the blind UBP supporters to seriously consider whats being done with our Airport. Research this company and its history before you support Ding and Dung and their timely election campaign YES election campaign!!! This is being rush through just in time for the next election white grunts just eating the bait and that analogy in no way speaks to race as the blacks of Bermuda decided the outcome of the last election. But rest assure that the lesson was well learnt and OBA and its manipulative methods is fresh in the minds of the People of Bermuda…….keep counting your days are numbered

        • Lois Frederick says:

          My reference to the Incinerator was, that after much uproar by the PLP at the time, it is now part of the fabric of Bermuda and something we can’t imagine not having. It has been highly effective and successful. Do you disagree? Without it, we would have created a mountain of trash that would tower over Hamilton at Marsh Folly. The decision took bold vision,by Sir John Swan and others, in the midst of lots of criticism. Same with airport. Listen to the reasoning and you can’t ignore that on balance, it makes sense and in 20 years you and I will be using it with no thought of this current outburst. Who would take financial advice from a party that has an abysmal track record handling money? Of course the OBA are seeing it as a major plank in their mandate to create jobs in the lead up to the election. On that point you are correct. Why wouldn’t they? That’s what they were elected to do and they are doing it. Get out of the way and stop getting in the way of jobs for out of work Bermudians.

  7. Build a Better Bermuda says:

    The postulating is getting ridiculous. The misrepresentations are just continuously being repeated and repeated as if that will eventually make them true.
    First misrepresentation is that this contract will be worth $1b… Mr. Burt continuously uses half truth to try and portray this, while the revenues the airport may possibly be $1b over the duration of the contract, in order for the airport to make those revenues, it will cost over $700m with the true value of this contract sitting somewhere around $300m. Now let’s go further to this and say that we finance and do this ourselves, complete with a tendering for contractor, given that the original estimate from years ago put the cost around $250m, would be the likely cost, but it,would also mean that we would be on the hook for overruns… and the full weight of history will back me when I say, there will be overruns, probably bringing the final total closer to $300m. The we add in the interest on the loan we would need to do this and well, we can kiss any and all revenues plus profit from the airport good bye. So there is no real advantage to us keep the airport to us leasing it out to be built. Even tendering out has no garantee that we will get our monies worth, because ultimately what will determine that is the construction contract, no matter who it is with.
    The next misrepresentation is the shifting about what the minister knew of Aecon, the PLP’s original uproar was that Minister Richards choose Aecon, to which the minister responded that CCC chose Aecon, so the PLP has tried to shift it to that the minister knew it was Aecon. But since the minister isn’t the one picking Aecon, and the emails provide zero collaboration to the PLP/PC’s assertations that he has colluded with Aecon, where is the scandal. The only thing the emails show is that someone got information to the minister about a potential plan to build the airport using CCC and their model, and the minister then requested a formal meeting and presentation which then took place, and even is indicated in the emails as being the first time anyone from Aecon or CCC actually meet with him anyway. And all the time since, has anyone actually produced any other viable alternative or shown any interest to do this same model. Last year the minister made a very public announcement to seek a way to build the airport without costing the public purse and someone answered the call. Since that time, no contract has been awarded yet… further disproving the PLP/PC assertations of collusion. In fact the emails show portray negotiations that have been long and not always to CCC/Aecon desire.
    Now as to the nobody being able to provide justifiable details on the arrangement for going this route, well, let’s face it, there are no details that they could provide that would satisfy the PLP; and quite simply put, they could provide details at this time anyway because of NDA’s regarding the ongoing negotiations.
    Now for the privatization, I’ve said this before let’s face it, the airport is already privatized with exception of admin and if we aren’t going to make any money of the airport for the next 30+ years even if we do still run it, what’s the difference if a private company runs it?
    When it comes down to it, if the PLP thinks that we can go further with our current airport, it goes to show how much they paid attention to it while they were in office. We need a new airport now, I would love to hear what the Auditor General would have to say about this process, she would need to be read in of the negotiations so far though. Also, I haven’t heard of any complaint out of the office of procurement. Frankly, other than a garantee for a world class airport in this contract, another important note will need to be that there is an early out option… that is that should we be able to buy out the remainder of the lease should it be that we can.

  8. Triangle Drifter says:

    “WE don’t care what you think.” Maybe Mr Burt could remind us of who from which political party that infamous comment came from? “It is our turn now.” Another one. Which party did that zinger come from?

    Well, the OBA is in charge now & despite the PLPs best efforts to trip up whatever good the OBA is actually doing in reversing the disaster that the voters are responsible for by putting the PLP in charge, the OBA is making progress.

    Bermuda has not hit bottom yet but the freefall has been slowed.

  9. Pastor Syl says:

    If there is ANY company willing to build us an airport that we don’t have to pay for up-front, and willing to receive NO money until after completion of the project and even then, accept payment by a percentage of the take on revenue AFTER wages and expenses, PLEASE, PULEESE will they step forward now!!!
    The only one’s likely to agree to such a set-up are possibly the Chinese, who will, beyond a shadow of a doubt, insist that all their workers and all the materials used be Chinese.
    I don’t know for certain where the raw materials for this project are supposed to be coming from, but I do know that there is supposed to be a clause in the whatever contract is drawn up with Aecon that Bermudian labour MUST be used.

  10. Jus Wonderin' says:

    1. Better than the 200-300 years you lot promised!

    2. “The OBA have been in office for 29 months, and during that time they continue to bypass the rules that were put in place by the PLP following the recommendations of the Auditor General to strengthen the tendering process.”


  11. seeingitbothways says:

    Bwaa Ha Ha Ha Ha, “a government intent on disregarding the basic and fundamental rules of good governance” should be the motto of the PLP after all the crap Bermuda has had to endure since 1998. Wow, if these lot get back in to run the show in 2017, we are done. The voting sheeple really do fall for all their bull$#*&. Scary stuff.

    • Extremely scary :-( “a government intent on disregarding the basic and fundamental rules of good governance” should be the motto of the PLP after all the crap Bermuda has had to endure since 1998. Wow, if these lot get back in to run the show in 2017, we are done. The voting sheeple really do fall for all their bull$#*&. Scary stuff.” e.o.q.

  12. Coffee says:

    The childish ,infantile responses ,comments displayed on this forum by the UBP/OBA paid keyboard heavyweights , shows either a complete lack of understanding or total disregard for process in this matter .

    • Ann says:

      Coffee- you best go drink some, have you watched Beenie lately? You need to see first hand what childish is, he could give my teenagers some lessons.

    • hmmm says:

      How about that school, and the PLP ignoring the technical advice of CIVIL SERVANTS re contractors….that cost us MILLIONS, what about not calling in the BOND from the UNIONS , that cost us MILLIONS MORE.

      You talk of process. You are just a pathetic PLP Henchman.

      • Lois Frederick says:

        Don’t start. It was a sorry affair and not the only one either…Can’t wait for the findings into some of them. Should be coming up in the next little while though… I know there is a lot of anticipation on both sides and we all need to be patience on that score. I even hear PLP members in the House spouting detailed reports into cost overruns by both the PLP and the UBP, trying to somehow justify their record. Mentioning percentages of the over runs. As if that is the main criteria. The main point which can’t be overlooked, is the dollar cost of the over runs of the PLP Govt. and the damaging effect it had on the deficit and debt we now owe. The UBP had project over runs, but as a Govt. balanced the budget year after year and only added a manageable and minimal level of debt, that we could comfortably afford. Don’t be fooled by the PLP defence of their spending, using their selective research. It’s the hundreds of millions of dollars of overspending that are their legacy. They can run from it, but they can’t hide. We are reminded of it daily, by the constraints they have place on Bermuda’s ability to function economically.

  13. Loosing my sight says:

    For the benefit of Mr. Richards, Mr. Crockwell, Mr. Scott, Mr. Cannonier etc., I am reminded of the following people who were in government that represented those who wanted us to remember our place; L.P, M.B, G.B, W.F, K.S, J.S, J.W, L.S, J.H, C.W, Q.E, and others. Where did these people end up?
    The light at the end of the tunnel is getting dimmer. My sight is going or I am walking backwards.

  14. rhonda says:

    I applaud at least one oba Minister, for transparency and honesty, as I sat in the HoA, to hear her say, “I never read the emails” , but I disbelieve them, and I am here to debate. Regardless of which party you support. We should all expect our MPs to come to the table fully equipped.

  15. clearasmud says:

    It amazes me to see that people think it is a ever a good idea to not follow good governace procedures. While creating jobs is a good idea that everyone wants, taking the time to get other bids would not have stopped the project. If we agree that this method of P3 funding is the best way to go, this still does not explain why the minister did not get a second quote. In fact in the emails disclosed last week the company that built the Bahamas airport (Stantec)expressed interest in our contract to CCC. As previously reported we still need the UK to sign off and given that they require more that one bid it seems doubtful that they will sign off. It seems more likely that they will require us to get more P3 quotes.

  16. A Front Ed says:

    I suppose Burt is working on the assumption that if you repeat something often enough it becomes a fact. But I would like a detailed explanation of how he arrives at $1bn and also the fact that he says it is a privatization. PPP does not mean privatization … if it does, does that mean that the hospital wing has been privatized.
    Personally I am not sure we need a new airport – certainly not until air arrivals show signs of picking up – and think that money like this could be better spent improving the tourism product and creating jobs.
    But please Burt – stop repeating unsubstantiated claims

  17. Vote for Me says:

    Virtually everyone that I have spoken to is concerned about the process by which CCC and Aecon have been chosen. The concern is distinct from the decision to about whether or not it makes sense to build the airport at this time.

    To put it in perspective, the OBA is proposing to award the single largest contract in Bermuda’s history based on a process that cannot guarantee that we are getting the best financial arrangements. Note the estimated gross revenues for the 30 year period will exceed $1bn and gross expenses will approximate $700m, giving net cash flow of at least $300m.

    To those that often quote Bermuda not having to pay up front etc, it demonstrates financial ignorance. If Aecon are going to proceed without a government guarantee, the OBA will have to prove a substantial cashflow that Aecon will receive in the future, that will withstand any variances in tourist arrivals for the next 30 to 35 years. The immediate impact to Bermuda is that the revenues, expenses and net cashflow will be removed from the Consolidated Fund. Financial reality says that the amount involved will have to be higher that the cashflow required by traditional lenders.

    To safeguard against cost overruns, etc the contractor could be hired on a fixed contract basis. That would involve some contingencies for costs, but still result in an overall savings to Bermuda.

    Finally, for the naysayers, please find one public accounting firm that would publicly state support for this process in the context of good governance.

    From a Bermuda perspective, where is the voice of the Internal Auditor, Ombudsman, or Office of the Auditor General!!

  18. aceboy says:

    The PLP wouldn’t know what good governance looks like.

  19. Cow Polly says:

    “The will of the people of Bermuda”????? By the size of the demonstration outside the house by the People’s Campaign, I would suggest that the OBA is carrying out the will of the people by providing jobs guaranteed after the Americas Cup is finished and before the full recovery of our tourism product. I do laugh when certain politicians make sweeping statements claiming that they speak for the people of Bermuda when we firmly ousted them in the last election. They just don’t get it do they?