Minister & Chairman: Permission For Sole Source

November 20, 2015

Following yesterday’s [Nov 19] Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Public Accounts meeting, the Minister of Finance moved to “refute the assertion in yesterday’s PAC meeting claiming that the Government had failed to receive permission to proceed with the sole source arrangement” with CCC to develop the airport.

PAC Chairman/Shadow Ministers Comments

In describing the PAC meeting, Chairman David Burt said, “What we heard in the testimony today was, and just by way of background, at our first meeting with the Accountant General…because the Accountant General is required to give permission to bypass Financial Instructions and in order for any contract in excess of $50,000, to not be tendered, the Accountant General has to give his permission.

“For the Letter Agreement and the Memorandum of Understanding, which was the first agreement with CCC, which was signed back last November, we had a hearing in February where we asked the Accountant General whether or not he gave his permission, and he indicated that he did give his permission for that specific phase.

“And inside of that Permission Letter he said that this was only for the Letter Agreement stage, and he would need to see additional information before the Government would like to move to any additional stages.

“The reason why we called the Accountant General in today is because we know that the Government has moved to additional stages. What we called the Accountant General in today for was to provide us with the documentation of the requests that came from the Ministry of Finance and his written approval that was given to violate Financial Instructions and proceed on a sole source basis for the Airport Development Agreement”.

“The Accountant General indicated that he had sent a note to the Financial Secretary in where he had indicated that it was his belief that the 2nd agreement represented an additional sole source contract, and that he would need to see information so that he can verify value for money before giving his approval for violating Financial Instructions for this stage, to allow the Government to proceed with sole sourcing CCC for the Airport Development Agreement .

“I don’t want to speak for the Accountant General but I think what the Accountant General said is that ‘there may have been a difference of opinion as to whether or not his permission was required.’ And that is why the Committee has unanimously agreed to call in the Financial Secretary to find out his views.

“Given the apparent difference of opinion, we asked the Director of Project Management & Procurement of his opinion whether he agreed with the Accountant General that separate permission was needed.

“The Director reminded the Committee that Financial Instructions are very clear, and give the Accountant General sole discretion on whether Financial Instructions can be violated. It is his decision and his decision alone – so no one else’s opinion matters.”

Finance Ministers Comments

Following the meeting, a Ministry of Finance spokesperson said, “The Minister of Finance has moved swiftly to refute the assertion in yesterday’s PAC meeting claiming that the Government had failed to receive permission to proceed with the sole source arrangement with the CCC to develop the LF Wade International Airport.

“The Ministry can confirm that in September 2014, after considering the significant benefits associated with the Government to Government approach in relation to the redevelopment of the LF Wade International Airport the Ministry of Finance consulted with the Accountant General, who is responsible for Financial Instructions [FI].

“The Accountant General determined the applicability of procurement rules in Financial Instructions with regard to the proposed relationship between CCC and Government and after reviewing all relevant documentation and considering all circumstances gave his permission to proceed with the project using the Government to Government approach.”

The Sept 2014 memo on the subject of “sole source engagement” of CCC follows below [PDF here]:

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Comments (24)

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  1. hmmm says:

    The conclusion is pretty clear … permission given.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      Couldn’t find anywhere in his memo that the permission stopped at the MOU, in fact it actually said he was granting permission for the government to sole source, he just had to be kept in the loop and shown that there was value for money… something that can only be done at this stage of the contract negotiation. There is even an out for Bermuda still, should they fail to show value for money. Course, according to Marc Bean, the PLP and the PAC chairman Mr. Burt, would opt us out in breach, forcing us to pay penalties, then spend millions we don’t have to try and patch together our current airport for another 10 years so that our visitors (you know, the over 100,000 more the PLP says they know how to bring here) could keep getting on and off their flights in down pours and other inclement weather, on stairs that are slippery when wet.

  2. TruthHertz says:

    Now that the minister has proven irrefutable evidence via the memo, why don’t we hear about the massive AG report that illustrated the misuse of taxpayer funds under the PLP’s reign?

    What were the PAC discussions regarding the 315 page AG’s report that highlighted persistent ‘malfeasance and maladministration’ regarding the consolidated fund between 2010 and 2012?

    Given the extent of this ‘malfeasance’ why hasn’t the PAC Chairman demanded that further meetings be held with senior civil servants to determine how our monies was spent with no accountability?

    Why does it seem that this waste and misappropriation of taxpayers funds are being deliberately swept under the carpet by the PAC Chairman?

    Let me remind all readers on here that the OBA’s first consolidated fund audit (for year end March 2014) received a clean and unqualified opinion. The very first after 6 consecutive qualified audit opinions issued up until 2012 by the AG.

  3. Deflection 101 says:

    The PLP deflection machine is in full swing….don’t think about all that malfeasance brought up by the Auditor General….point fingers at the airport instead

  4. Unbelievable says:

    Seems to me there is a plot by the PLP/PAC/People’s Campaign and this guy Stovell.

  5. Cow Polly says:

    One more for Bob!

  6. Bermyman says:

    So Nothing on the Auditor’s report but a lot of time on trying to expose a loophole for an injunction fro the airport project by the PLP. Let’s get this straight, the contract does not involve financing by the BDA government, therefore it does not require tendering process or value for money. Burt has discredited himself with the negligence of the public purse under his watch as Junior Minister- He should step down from the PAC.


  7. Terry says:

    There you have it.

  8. CS says:

    Mr. Burt, as Chairman of PAC is merely trying to deflect attention away from the gross unauthorized spending that occurred under the PLP by bringing up this so called present violation. The Accountant General memo clearly provided authorization for the current Minister to pursue the CCC agreement. The reference to a condition that he be provided further information to ensure value for money in no way meant that he was providing a conditional approval on only the initial agreement. The AG is back-tracking to protect himself. The PAC Chair is exploiting this situation by interpreting the memo to suit his agenda when he should be digging into who authorized the tens of millions in untendered, unapproved, and unauthorized payments that occurred under his party’s watch.

    • Unbelievable says:

      He won’t. he thinks the PLP has some divine appointment to be Bermuda’s Govt.

  9. serengeti says:

    Burt should resign and let someone competent have a go.

    • Spit Bouy says:

      @ serengeti

      Let’s not stop with Mr. Burt, the rest of the PLP cabal need to join him on a long walk off of a short dock!

      The island has barely survived the PLP as Government once, I fear it won’t if these jokers are given a 2nd chance at the wheel in the near future.

  10. Unbeliebavle says:

    I’m sorry you can disagree but this is another example of the PLP’s misinformation campaign and the OBA just had to correct the PLP – AGAIN!

    Keep going forward, OBA. You may be messy but you’re still doing the right thing.

  11. SANDGROWNAN says:

    Burt blurts!

  12. high road says:

    Too bad these people did not apply all the energy and focus they have on derailing the OBA gov on the countries finances 1998 – 2012

  13. Starting point says:

    Man….. Burt is getting owned this week lol

  14. Triangle Drifter says:

    Ignore the noise Bob the Builder & get on with the new terminal. The PLP is like a yippy little dog nipping at the heels. It needs a swift kick every once in awhile to make it shut up.

  15. Pastor Syl says:

    How typical! Devote all kinds of time and effort on thwarting the spending of someone else’s money for our benefit, for which we will eventually have to pay about $250m but will have a well-built airport and employed people in the bargain, and ignore a couple hundred more than that of tax payers actual cash gone down the drain, with nothing to show for it except unemployment, underemployment, people going bankrupt, and more debt!
    The sad part is that there is a portion of our population that thinks this is right, appropriate and to be applauded.