Video: Premier On Airport, PATI, Stone, Census

May 18, 2015

On Friday [May 15] outside of the House of Assembly, Premier Michael Dunkley spoke about some of the recent issues in the news, including the circumstances surrounding the stone being removed from Blackwatch Pass, the amendment tabled to defer the census, a Minister being aware of an MP’s PATI request, and the recent release of emails pertaining to the contract to build a new airport terminal.

Statistics Amendment Act

When asked about his statements in the House that day, the Premier gave a run down of all three, and expanded on the Statistics Amendment Act saying, “Many of your readers will be well aware that, in 2010, we moved to do the censuses every five years.

“As a consequence of the tough budget challenges and decisions we have to make, this Act will amend it to allow us to do a census when we deem it appropriate because we haven’t funded it for this year, as would have been evident in the budget read earlier this year.

“It’s our intention to do the census next, and just defer it for one year to help with the budget challenges we have. Also, because we feel that any information we need for forward planning or current decisions being made, we can access that information.

“This is just an amendment to allow it to be done as similar to in other jurisdictions. As I said in my statement in Great Britain, they can do a census every certain period of time or when the government deems it appropriate. That’s what we’re going to do.

“Making A Mountain Of Stone Out Of Nothing”

Asked about the issue of the stone being removed, the Premier told Bernews,  ”My first comment would be on that is, as far as the stone issue goes, we’re making a mountain of stone out of nothing. The Minister’s been very forward on that matter from the very beginning.

“It was a poor decision made by the individual who wanted the stone, probably the right intention I would think. That matter’s been cleared up. I was aware of that incident from the beginning, The Minister informed me of what was going on and he’s handling it the appropriate way.

“I think we’re making a big mountain out of a molehill in regards to that.”

 PATI Issue

Asked about the PATI issue, “I would assume that because the Minister saw the honourable member in [Department of] Works, he just assumed that was the case..that he was looking for some information. That’s fine, everybody is entitled to look for the information.

“As the Premier, I was responsible for the PATI legislation coming forward. I fully support it, I will ask all our colleagues to make sure that we provide all the information we can and support the civil service doing their job and giving information that’s requested in the appropriate time.

People’s Campaign Outside The House

Asked about the People’s Campaign being outside the House of Assembly for the day and the released documents, the Premier said, “It’s always good that people are interested in the democratic process and coming to support what goes on in the House, listen to what’s taking place. It’s our first day back, very busy session, going to be a long session, there’s a lot on the order paper. I’m delighted to that.

“In regards to the group that you talked about, I am certainly watching with close and keen interest on what they have to say. I’m disappointed with the approach that’s been taken in some regard. I think some of the comments have been way over the top.”

 ”Minister of Finance Has My Full Confidence”

Speaking on the circumstances surrounding the airport contract, the Premier said, “What I will tell you and your readers online at Bernews is that in regards to Deputy Premier and the Minister of Finance, he has my full confidence.

“I take great exception when anyone wants to make an approach to him that challenges his integrity and how he handles the process, Bob Richards has been very straight and forthright on this matter.

“The airport redevelopment and the new airport is something that is very critical for Bermuda going forward. Anybody who’s traveled through that airport in recent times knows that it’s served us well, but it’s starting to show its age at the seams.

“We’re well aware of the air conditioning challenges, the plumbing challenges, the hurricane challenges that we have. The Minister of Finance has been very clear that as the gateway to the world and as a gateway to Bermuda, if we don’t plan now, we’d pay later.

“He’s come up with a good approach for us to get the airport that we need fit for Bermuda, but not over the expense that we can afford at this time. For those who want to try to derail that process with information and spinning, I just don’t think it’s appropriate.

“We need to be very careful that the negativity and some of the language we talk doesn’t derail the future for all of Bermuda. We’ll stand resolute, we’ll get the information out there. We won’t hide anything from people, but we’ll make the tough decisions that we have to make to keep Bermuda going in the right direction.

When asked about the concerns raised by the People’s Campaign over what was contained in the emails over the airport development contract, such as the reference to fuzzying, the Premier said, “I’m not going to go in and answer the specific part about all the document that was released and stuff like that as there is so much in it could be construed in any different ways, my comments could be construed one way.

“What I will say is the Minister was on a show last night, he basically addressed the adjective that you used. That he regrets using it in that way for an email that he never thought would be part of a discussion publicly about that. ”That stands to the strength of the man, and living and learning from there.:

“Bermuda Will Still Have All The Assets Under Our Control”

Premier Dunkley added, “Let me go back and reflect on the project generally. It’s been phrased as privatization, it’s been phrased as selling off Bermuda. That’s a load of nonsense, to be polite at best, Bermuda will still have all the assets under our control.

“We’re not selling off Bermuda to anyone, we’re trying to develop an airport that we can use going forward and put us in a good position. It will be built with a lot of Bermudians there. I take strong exception to the fact that people would use that type of scare tactics to take a project off in a different direction.

“There’s nothing that we want other than to see Bermudians come out ahead on all these type of things and put Bermuda in a better position than we are today. That’s how we’ll work, we’ll work diligently towards that. We’ll stand up and listen to what people have to say and continue to make those tough decisions,” the Premier added.

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Comments (35)

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  1. Terry says:

    Spot on Milk Man.

    Tell it like it is.

    Shalom.

  2. Though several days arear, Premier Michael Dunkley I still want to thank you for having Bernews bring this to the publics attention, that is them that are willing to listen…Yes that’s the operative word, “listen”

  3. Tom Cooke says:

    I bet he really wanted to swear…lol..
    good for you Mr Premier…

  4. Happy says:

    nuff said

  5. Happy says:

    nuff said on that

  6. Terry says:

    Looks like the PLP/People’s Protesters are out in force.
    Trolling like hell.

    Nothing to catch here.
    Gonna need some more chum………dun dun dun dun dunn dun dun……..

    Rum all around.

    • You’re right Terry, I agree…”out in force; trolling like hell.”
      (I’m not gonna “break-da-tack-dough”, hold the rum…for now :-) )

  7. Jadon says:

    Bull… The debt has increased by 20% …The airport needs to be re done ? Whens the last time you went to a country and said ” Oh I’m not going back to the place, the airport didn’t look nice” lol PLeaseee! blind !!

    • sswhite says:

      Right? With those ever increasing arrivals it is absolutely necessary to do this…I was once in great favour of the OBA but this latest act by Bob Richards has me feeling destitute. Neither party at this point can be trusted in my opinion.

  8. Independent says:

    Nuff said lol, he hasn’t answered any questions.

    He is a skilled politician, will give him that.

  9. Just a matter of time says:

    Since the airport departure tax will be the main revenue stream for CCC for the next 30,35 and who knows how many years more once it’s all signed and sealed (cause this keeps a changin’), what happens if the construction costs go over budget? Does CCC eat the cost and still keep the departure tax the same? Or are we expecting to see a departure tax of over $50 and more during our yearly Budgets in the early years to make up for any losses? Are projected future increases in departure taxes already projected and locked in to meet the terms of this deal? How does this work? Would be interesting to know how they calculate all of this.

    But since the OBA’s signature hallmark slogan now is ‘To Hell with Transparency, Try Your luck With PATI With All Our Redactions Suckers’, I guess we’ll never know now would we? A sweet deal for CCC/Aecon/Somers Construction in the main though no question as we give away our precious land for the next umpteen years for 2-3 years worth of jobs and multimillions leaving the island without local circulation. Nice.

    • I would assume you’re working and have been working ever since Bermuda had taken that big dive? Our economy is making a bounce-back whether you and a few others want to believe / accept it or not but the “ducks are lining up.”
      I’ll put it to you in layman terms: “Dem lot in need of work, tell dem it ain’t worth shhhhitttts to dem or der families.”
      Work, no-matter how many years it’s for surely beats the hell out of no work at all…

      • Impressive says:

        Yes Mr. Ray a family with their back against the wall, would certainly jump at the chance to earn a paycheck, even if its for a short period. With that said, why not implement a policy or initiative that seeks to employ persons for a longer time period and one in which the children of this hypothetical family can aspire to work in not only blue collar, but also white collar positions, just saying.

      • Impressive says:

        In addition to that, and let’s be honest here, forget the party politics. Do you think an organization whose Mission Statement is to provide jobs and benefits to the Canadian People are really going to come here and hire Bermudians in the manner that is being implied by the Government of the day???

        • It’s in the contract that this Canadian company will be compelled to up-hold an agreement prior to anyone doing any work at L.F.Wade International whatsoever.
          Now as for children working in “blue” or “white-collar” positions that would depend on the individual abilities to hold down the job they’re seeking e.g. knowledge or, lack of knowledge.

        • Edmund Spenser says:

          Air Canada is the flag carrier for Canada. If, by modernizing the terminal in Bermuda they can increase flights and seats filled on Air Canada they will be putting Canadians to work. Improving the terminal experience, providing 1st class service for 1st class prices and increasing the total number of passengers using the Bermuda airport is a win-win for everyone involved.

  10. Coffee says:

    ‘Just a matter of time ‘speaks the truth …. The immediate responder speaks from a position of ignorance .

    • I quote Bermudian from yesterday: Oh, and for the words, “dictatorial activities” was it not when the P.L.P. was the Government of the day, our Premier made the comment, “the Opposition can have it’s say, but the Government will have it’s way?”

  11. watching says:

    Dunkley always says a whole lot of nothing.
    Check his answer to the PATI breach by Cannonier. Who cares if you introduced it? And who cares if Cannonier saw Walton Brown in the department? The issue is the breach in confidentiality. Why did Dunkley skirt around the actual issue?

  12. Just a matter of time says:

    @watching. Exactly! This Govt really doesn’t care about the rules anymore whether in the spirit or the letter of the law. @ Impressive. You’re right. Of these precious few jobs this airport lottery deal to CCC and company will provide, many will be Canadians and others who alone will have the necessary ‘skill set’ with inevitable approval through Immigration. If I was a Canadian I would jump at this golden chance. CCC and partners have friends and family too. An expensive knee jerk plan with no long term job sustainability on the construction side. No policy. No planning. No rules.

    Also what is the maintenance agreement? Who gets that deal for the next 35 years since the airport won’t be ours during those years. Hmmm. Let me hazard a guess…

  13. Just a matter of time says:

    And no, the Premier did not address the breach. Min Cannonair should not know who the requester was. The Premier does not understand his own legislation that he boasts in passing. He deflects and lauds the implementation of PATI but ignores the confidentiality rules. Nice.

    • impressive. says:

      Trying to be as unbiased as possible, I am really trying to find out what is to dislike about this comment,, The truth seems to be a sin.

  14. Never Never says:

    Michael Dunkley never speaks to the issues or answers any questions you asked but at the end he will say my minister have my full support no matter what stupid stuff they say or do check it out like a dam robot SMDH unbelievable lol hahahahaha

  15. pot stirer says:

    Wonder what all the nay sayers are going to say when and if the airport project turns out to be a plus! Hey at least its not Island construction or pro active building it!
    For the record I do not support party politics, Bermuda is to small for that.

    • Onion says:

      They will do the same thing they did for the America’s Cup or the Tourism Authority: bitterly complain until proven wrong then move on to something else.

  16. Shadow Minister of Finance and P.L.P. Leader Marc Bean are far too young but yet feel within themselves “they are what they aren’t.” What I’m saying is just because they know the words to a song it don’t make either one of them a damn singer! The P.L.P. need to get its crap together and trim the loose threads.

    • Jus' Askin' says:

      Discrimination because of age is illegal ;-)

      • @ Jus’ Askin: Call it what you may, but the facts remain the same…They both lack in the required experience. Remember, “experience is always the best teacher.”

        • Jus' Askin' says:

          Your former leader and party lack experience but You still voted for them ;-)

  17. Need Peace says:

    I have a few questions. Who is the worker responsible for telling Mr Gleason he can have the stone? Who is the Minister that has had a long relationship with Aecon boss Mr. Butt and who is the person who told Minister Cannoniere about the request? In the spirit of transparency, please answer these questions. Thanking you in advance!

    • If true, then they need to be answered. Who’s the Minister that has a long relationship with Aecon boss Mr. Butt,(though I see no importance)Who’s the worker responsible for telling Mr. Gleason he can have the stone and also that person who had told Minister Cannonier about the request.This should be more of a public concern.

  18. Jadon says:

    WHY DO FOUR OBA MINISTERS ALLEGEDLY HAVE PREPAID CELL PHONES ?! WHAT DO THEY NEED THOSE FOR ??? NOT CORRUPT BUSINESS OF COURSE….