Video: Minister Richards On Airport Development

April 22, 2016

[Updated] “The Bermudian public should not be deceived by innuendo, false accusations, and political rhetoric over the airport development project,” Finance Minister Bob Richards said yesterday [April 21].

Speaking at a press conference, Minister Richards said, “I want to speak about some matters that have taken place over the last few days.

“First of all, I’d like to say that the Bermudian public should not be deceived by innuendo, false accusations, and political rhetoric over the airport development project.”

“It was stated just two days ago at a public meeting that the Bermuda airport could be sold by Aecon. That is completely false. Bermudians should be clear that no one – and I say no one – will sell our airport.

“The Bermuda airport is, and always will be, owned by Bermuda and her people. In Quito it was the concession contract that Aecon sold – not the airport. In Bermuda, the Government has already publicly stipulated that no such sale will be permitted without the explicit prior approval of the Bermuda Government.”

Full 22-minute video of the Minister’s press conference:

Update 10.38am: The Ministry provided the points below:

1. Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance, the Hon. E. T. Richards JP MP said today that the Bermudian public should not be deceived by innuendo, false allegations and political rhetoric over the airport development project.

2. It was stated two days ago at a public meeting that the Bermuda airport could be sold by Aecon. That is completely false. Bermudians should be clear that no one – no one – will sell our airport. The Bermuda airport is and will always be owned by Bermuda and her people.

3. In Quito, it was the concession contract that Aecon sold, not the airport. In Bermuda the government has already PUBLICLY stipulated that no such sale will be permitted without the explicit prior approval of the Bermuda Government.

4. The fact that Government is still in negotiation with CCC/Aecon has been questioned. If negotiations had been completed the closing of the agreement would have been announced. We clearly are not there yet. I have said on several occasions that the document we signed in August was an interim agreement. Its purpose was to frame the negotiations towards a final agreement.

5. The negotiations are ongoing and we will only be in a position to provide details of the final contract once it is agreed and signed. Commercially sensitive information cannot and should not be disclosed at this time.

6. The opposition continue to say that government said this new development would be free. That clearly is false, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Neither is there such a thing as a free terminal. What we said was that the cost of the new airport would not increase the public debt. That statement stands. Projectco debt will not be debt owed by the government directly or indirectly. The new airport will ultimately be paid for by users, not government.

7. So quoting a monstrous amount of revenue accruing to Projectco as though that money all goes to Projectco/Aecon as profit is deliberately deceptive.

8. The opposition also claims that the Government would use tax-payers’ money to pay the new airport’s electricity bill throughout the 30 year agreement.

9. In actual fact the electricity subsidy will come from the use of power generated by the nearby solar power plant that will be constructed on the peninsular off the runway known as “The Finger”. This will be built and financed privately – not by government.

10. The current terminal’s BELCO bill for last year was $2.3 million or $191,700 per month, not $250,000 – another falsehood. Not only do we expect a substantial reduction in the amount of electricity used by the new terminal because of energy efficiencies, but only a fraction of the new electricity generated by the new solar power plant will be needed for the new airport. The rest will be sold to the grid.

11. The opposition has stated that the new terminal will have fewer gates than the present facility. This is patently false. The 8 gates in the new facility will also feature jet bridges that will allow passengers to embark and disembark without exposure to the elements and will be wheelchair accessible.

12. The Bermuda public should ask themselves what is the motivation behind this constant drumbeat of opposition to an infrastructure project that will replace a crumbling facility, create hundreds of badly needed jobs for Bermudians and not increase the public debt? The answer is naked politics.

13. The opposition is prepared to squander the opportunity for us to do what they couldn’t do – build a new state-of-the-art Bermuda airport, create hundreds of jobs for unemployed construction workers and help re-build our economy – and do so without adding massive new debt.

14. They are simply trying to deny the Government’s realization of an accomplishment of this magnitude. This is further evidence the opposition continues to put party before country.

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Comments (49)

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  1. watching says:

    This dude is the gift that keeps on giving.

    • Onion Juice says:

      A Full 22 min of Bull S!@# !!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        And how long did the BS go on for at the PLP’s misinformation meeting.

        • Coffee says:

          Bull$h&t on an epic scale is what this is , never mind what the PLP did or didn’t do !

          • Build a Better Bermuda says:

            Yup, but what is coming out of Minister Richards is less BS and more actual facts

          • aceboy says:

            What is bulls*t is the lies and mistruths being pedalled by the PLP about this project. The Peoples Lying Party.

      • Raymond Ray says:

        That is what this may appear to be to them that can’t see no further than the tip of their nose :-( For Christ sake have some real vision u’lot!

        • RBYC member says:

          I recommend you purchase this book while abroad.

          “English Grammar For Dummies”

        • The Real YAMAMA says:

          How can anyone see a Bobs vision when he doesnt let anyone in on whats going on.

          If it seems too good to be true than it probably is.

          You mean to tell me that this government who cannot provide the 2000 bermudian jobs it promised can pull off a major public works project with relative ease and we the people are just supposed to trust them?

          The same party that removed term limits and said “this will help employ bermudians” When it hasnt helped and it has actually hindered bermudians in getting jobs.

          I need to see the carfax (see what i did there). There is no one that gets my unconditional trust and I need to see what is actually going on word for word from the actual contract BEFORE Bob signs it.

  2. Dog says:

    Well ain’t that the pot calling the kettle black all these lot have done since they been in power is mislead people doing things until it comes out in the light, (e.g. former premiere Craig)then they want negotiate. Deceived, last i looked oba is mostly lawyers and what do lawyers do best. I dont like plp either so all you people who are going to dislike this so sorry because it seems that anything negative about oba get ooddles of dislikes and anything negative said about plp gets ooddles of likes. Why because some people like to hide in the internet and come out with there two meaningless pennies like little trolls so come out of your little safe space and stand up for your beloved parties it dont matter they are both worthless, outdated and obsolete.

    • Spectator says:

      You have said absolutely nothing of value here.

  3. Jim Bob says:

    Fine…..if that’s the case then let us see the documents. simple.

    • Vigilante says:

      Jim Bob, Item 5 from Min Bob clearly states the project is still under negotiation, and as such there are no documents to see. When an agreement is reached, the documents will be forthcoming. Take a chill pill and read the article.

      • Jeremy Deacon says:

        Yes, but this, IMO, is key: The new airport will ultimately be paid for by users, not government.

        So if it is being paid for by us, why can’t we see the details of what we are paying for?

        And, why can’t we see whether what we are going to pay for is what we need?

        • Build a Better Bermuda says:

          We have seen pretty much all the details currently available, but as in in the case of any negotiations of this nature, the unsettled details cannot nor should not be opened to the public until such time that they are finalized. This is why there are NDA’s, because incomplete or inaccurate information released would benefit no one and cause negotiations to drag on longer.

          • Raymond Ray says:

            Attempting to convince / show some people the situation is like, “pissin into the wind”
            Some are just too damn ignorant and blind to conceive the realities / fact surrounding this BIG deal that will benefit all of Bermuda and her people once completed…

            • Jeremy Deacon says:

              Raymond, in what way can we be sure it will benefit Bermuda? We don’t know revenue or usage forecasts, we don’t know final costs (taking into account debt repayment) we don’t know if charges to the consumer (ie us) will increase if revenue projections are not met, we don’t know rate of returns to investors, the list goes on.
              While I am sure we do need a new airport how do we know if an airport costing $100m to build will suffice?
              There are too many questions that are outstanding to be able to say ‘woopee, yes, cool idea’

              • Raymond Ray says:

                Listen to what has been mentioned thus-far mate…This project will not cost Bermuda a penny and we / Bermudians will benefit in the long run. Mark my word Jeremy. The facts are, it’s still in negotiation stages.

                • Its me again says:

                  And you just believe that?

                • Need Peace says:

                  There you go again Raymond Ray. Claiming that it will not cost us a penny. Is that your I standing? It must be cause you have repeatedly stated such. That is erroneous. Bob has said there are no free lunches! Try to keep up!

          • Jeremy Deacon says:

            Even in the case of a no-bid/non-competitive contract? yes, I get commercial sensitivity but this is not like any other contract seen before in Bda – the hospital PPP was a competitive bid.
            As I have said before and will continue saying, it is impossible to give unqualified support to a project when the people paying for it (as stated by the Minister) have no clue as to whether this is an appropriate sized project for Bermuda because we have no clue as to whether forecasts (if they have been done) support this.
            Just tell us that – that would be fine and then, I suspect, a lot of the opposition to this would evaporate

            • Build a Better Bermuda says:

              This has less to do with trying to improve commercial forecast and more to do with dealing with several critical factors that we face. One, a crumbling existing facility that past its best before even before we took possession of it. The old airport was built and run by the Americans back in the 50′s with no real input from us about what was going to be needed, when we would actually take possession of it and an expected lifespan for it. Now, we know these things and have input on them, and it is contraced that CCC/AECON must maintain it to international airport accreditation standards for the duration of their contract with us. How can we present ourselves as a world class jurisdiction when there are patches of cement falling out of the ceiling, paint peeling off the walls, rusty pipes and exposed cabling running along our passenger corridors. Two, our current airport is far below acceptable standards for our environment, open loading and off loading of passenger may work for some our fellow islands that benefit from year round good weather, but we do not. We face sudden winter storms that rival hurricanes, and deluging rains, for nearly half the year. Now try being a passenger getting on and off a plane in these conditions on rain slicked metal stairs, try being someone doing that while carrying an infant/toddler/child, an elderly person or disabled. How does these reflect our attempts to portray ourselves as a world class jurisdiction. Third, we need projects that create jobs, even if just for a short term. Our economy is slowly recovering from major double blow, a global recession and gross financial mismangement on the part of the previous government, so even if this is a temporary measure for employment, so long as our economy can maintain or improve on the track it seems to be heading, then by the time it is wrapping up there could be an improvement in the construction job market again. It would be nice to say that a lot of opposition would evaporate if we knew more, but let’s face it, that is something of a fantasy as it is obvious from what the PLP have said and even continue to try and say even when debunked, that they are engaged in a negative campaign against any possible positive work that the OBA may try to be doing, and far to many of their loyal followers will always go party before country to be dissuaded from their words.

              • Need Peace says:

                Sure, build a grand airport then see that eyesore of a bridge before the CausewY. Continue your drive and experience all the massive potholes and patched up roads that are not getting addressed because we have no money. Our infrastructure is being ignored for this huge, over exaggerated, unnecessary airport. Want to impress me fix the schools and give your Island a world class education and not a world class airport. Shame on you Bob Richards, for trying to make a 30 year deal when you will no doubt cease to exist yourself!

        • bee says:

          We, the Bda taxpayers, ARE THE GOVERNMENT! So I rather like the idea of not having to shill out my shekels!

          • Toodle-oo says:

            Too late for that concern. Thanks to the you know who you already owe over (way over) $40,000 sheckels ! And you’re not going to see anything new for it .

      • Jim Bob says:

        And what about releasing the agreement that was signed in August?

      • The Real YAMAMA says:

        So whilst they are negotiating theyll just write with finger paints on newpapers and make a paper mache when theyre done?

        Of course there are documents, the PATI request was (probably) illegally rejected. They are working on documents everyday and I need to see them before they get a vote from me in this coming election.

  4. Mister Mysterious says:

    “Why because some people like to hide in the internet”

    So the previous post was made, quite literally, by a dog. Wow, that’s a clever dog.

  5. flikel says:

    Just release the documents…’s a simple as that. By being so secretive about this no bid contract, you are opening yourself up to massive criticism.

    Remember, you said this airport will cost the tax payers nothing….now, it is clear the tax payer will be responsible for electricity and other bills, advertising expenses, revenue shortfalls. So, your statement was obviously false.

    • Vigilante says:

      Flikel, read the article. The answers to your questions, and the counter to your proofs, are contained therein. Your logic is sadly lacking, my friend.

  6. Jus' Askin' says:

    Bob seems to Forget what he has been saying All This Time

  7. frank says:

    Looks. Like we have. To go. On. The. Hill again. For a few. Days. So that we can get some truth out of. Bob
    Also it may cause. Mike to have to call. John. Again

    • Steve says:

      Bredren. Asthma is. No joke. Your doctor. Should. Be able to help.

    • serengeti says:

      Oh yeah. The one things Bob wants is your advice about how to negotiate the best possible terms for a contract. That’s how it’s always been done isn’t it.

  8. Jeremy Deacon says:

    This is what really annoys me – in the statement on the new airport plans, the Finance Minister says this: “The new airport will ultimately be paid for by users, not government.”
    So why can’t those who are going to pay for this be given the details that reassure them that what they are paying for is what they need?
    You know, something like a business plan, that shows revenue forecasts will cover debt charges for instance, ‘cos if they don’t the price of a cup of coffee there sure is going to be a world beater, even of the airport is, or isn’t.

  9. Raymond Ray says:

    There appears to be some real asinine people writing here in reference to the on going negotiations at the airport :-( Why don’t you all just wait? or, is it the Oppositions plan to strike their workers and humbug Bermuda even more than they’ve done over the years? Whatever your plans are the One Bermuda Alliance are the Govt. and is they that run the Island…

    • Jeremy Deacon says:

      Because it is a done deal Raymond and as such we – the people who will be paying for this – should not be asked to be treated in such a patronizing way. Do you know what the final cost will be? Do you know if there will be massive price hikes if revenue falls? Do you know if Bermuda actually needs a $250m airport – and remember this, that is the cost to build it, it is not the final cost once interest over 30 years is taken into account.
      This is the first deal of its type in Bermuda – a done deal, no bid non-competitive contract. It should be treated differently, if for no other reason than to reassure those paying for it that it is justifiable.

      • Raymond Ray says:

        Come now Jeremy, it is NOT a done deal as you and others wish to say / believe. It is still being negotiated…So how can anyone say it’s a done deal?

  10. dick francis says:

    What people don’t realise is that the PPP for the hospital wing is being paid for because the BHB made cuts equivalent to the annual debt charges. if they had not then charges would almost certainly have had to increase to cover debt repayment.
    Although not a completely like for like comparison it shows one way of dealing with debt from PPP, the other is a hike in charges.
    So we, the people, have a right to know what we are on the hook for!

  11. average Bermudian says:

    Where is fey on this matter ?

    Some things are in place (or as they are) for a reason.

    On this little island, 2 operational runways are better than 1.
    It appears the proposed plan will remove 1.

  12. Jonathan Land Evans says:

    Quite aside from the bigger questions like whether we really need a new airport and whether in our economically weak state we can really justify the expense and whether such a degree of commercial secrecy in the negotiations is really appropriate in the circumstances (all of which I am sceptical about), I hate to think of what a hurricane will do to the jet-bridges and perhaps to the proposed solar-farm on ‘The Finger’ (I suppose they can be protected, but presumably only at considerable cost and use of space).

  13. Navin Pooty Tang Johnson says:

    Does anyone know the difference between the Airport project and the Hospital Wing? I was under the impression that under the terms of the Hospital agreement Bermuda is on the hook for 30 years at $30,000,000 adjusted for inflation and the first payment was for $45,000,000 under the terms of a public private it amounts to over $900,000,000+ overall…..was that put out to tender?….I ask because I am interested in the comparison between the two projects

  14. Need Peace says:

    That was some hospital deal! There is no need for us to repeat our mistakes. The hospital is too big and has a lot of unutilized space like this airport. Stop trying to make this island something it’s not. You will change her natural beauty. Go ruin some other place like Canada!