Govt Offers Airport Project Agreement To PAC

January 27, 2017

The Government has offered to provide the members of the House of Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee with copies of the Project Agreement for the airport redevelopment project according to Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance, E.T. Bob Richards.

The Minister said, “On January 24th the Opposition leader and the Public Accounts Committee were offered the opportunity to receive this information on a confidential basis, similar to that given to the Blue Ribbon Panel. On January 26th, they rejected the offer.”

Bob Richards Bermuda January 27 2017 TC

Minister Richards statement says, “In the latest measure of unprecedented transparency, the Government has offered to provide the members of the House of Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee with copies of the Project Agreement for the airport redevelopment project.

“By proactively releasing the Project Agreement to the PAC, we believed this would increase the comfort level of PAC members, and reduce the misleading and inaccurate statements being made about this development.

“To make the document available, the Government had to first secure permission from our partners in this venture, CCC and Aecon. It contains proprietary information, and therefore is subject to a non-disclosure agreement. It remains a confidential draft document, which cannot be final until the transaction closes.

“On January 24th the Opposition leader and the Public Accounts Committee were offered the opportunity to receive this information on a confidential basis, similar to that given to the Blue Ribbon Panel.

“On January 26th, they rejected the offer.

“Backed by an increasing list of knowledgeable experts who have endorsed this plan —the Government will continue to be transparent and collaborative because this transaction is in the best interests of all Bermuda.

“There have been more details about this project in the public sphere than at any stage of any prior public infrastructure development.

“None has attracted so much attention, or led to the release of so much detailed information – not the hospital wing, not the courts building, nor the Berkeley Institute project.

“Opposition critics have repeatedly pressed for unheard of disclosures, before the Government was even in a position to release such information.

“Yet by making this offer this week, we took transparency to another level.

“This, as Parliament is set to debate two related bills.

“Contrary to assertions from some quarters, Parliamentarians will not be voting for or against the project, or the Project Agreement, through the bills that are before the Legislature.

“One bill provides for the establishment of a Bermuda Airport Authority, comprised of Bermudian professionals and responsible to Government, to oversee airport operations.

“The second bill exempts the project’s operating company from specific taxes and charges for a period that allows for upgrades, maintenance and operation of the old terminal building and related airport functions; and, the creation and eventual operation and maintenance of the new terminal building and related airport functions.

“We have also released a large amount of information on everything from how we realized the superior value of this opportunity to specific details of the way forward. This voluminous mountain of fact can be found online.

“Already in the public domain are the Entrustment Report, assessments carried out by Deloitte Ltd. and a Value for Money report from Steer Davies Gleave.

“The Bermuda Hotel Association has called on the wider community to support the project, saying that it would not only help create construction jobs but create employment opportunities in all industry sectors by benefiting the economy.

“The worldwide trade representative for airports, Airports Council International, which serves 592 members operating 1,853 airports, were satisfied with our due diligence and approach.

“The Construction Association of Bermuda has fully supported the P3 transaction, noting that local construction companies and Bermudians will receive maximum benefit.

“More recently we’ve formed the Blue Ribbon Panel of notable, respected local professionals from varying backgrounds to offer additional independent insight into the agreement and the impact on Government finances.

“We will continue to be open and transparent and continue to provide information about this project to highlight the benefits and correct the untruths.

“We have taken great care to consult far and wide with the most knowledgeable experts who agree with our position – that this transaction is highly beneficial to Bermuda today, and into the future.

“The Government retained several independent third party advisors in order to help assess the airport project, each with expertise in different disciplines and experience having worked on similar projects globally. This list of advisors includes:

  • “CIBC: CIBC’s Infrastructure and Project Finance team has extensive experience in financial advisory for P3 projects. The team has closed over $15 billion in P3 transactions in Canada alone and has significant experience in working with a wide range of equity sponsors and construction contractors, both domestic and foreign.
  • “Bennett Jones [Bermuda] Ltd. and Bennett Jones LLP [Canada]: Bennett Jones is an internationally recognized law firm and has experience in construction, project finance, complex cross-border and international transactions. It is one of Canada’s leading public private partnership law firms.
  • “Leigh Fisher: LeighFisher is a management consulting firm with expertise in infrastructure advisory and consulting services. LeighFisher has over 65 years of experience in the aviation consulting sector and provides strategic facility and operational planning for their clients globally.
  • “HNTB: HNTB is an architecture, civil engineering consulting, and construction management firm with expertise in the aviation industry, including projects at the Denver, San Francisco, and Dallas Fort Worth international airports. HNTB understands the entire life cycle of infrastructure and provides services that solve technical, financial and operational challenges.
  • “KPMG [Bermuda] and KPMG [Canada]: KPMG in Bermuda has a strong track record across a wide range of government and private sector work, including the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital P3 project. KPMG Canada is a leading financial and commercial advisor with global experience in public-private partnership and airport projects, including projects in Curacao, Bogota, Toronto, New York and Hong Kong.
  • “Steer Davies Gleave [SDG]: U.K.-based leading independent transportation consulting firm which specializes in preparing value-for-money reports.”

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Comments (27)

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  1. About F!@#ing time.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      And they refused to look at it . Are you stupid ?
      So guess what ? It’s not a matter of ‘time’ whatsoever.

    • hmmm says:

      About time you revealed who you really are Onion juice.

      You talk of transparency in the PLP, yet you are a glaring example of PLP not being transparent.

      Me, I have nothing to do with any political party, I’m just a voter.

      • Swing vote says:

        hmmm based on all the past bloggs you wrote on here I’m pretty sure you’re a Troll for the UBP/OBA.

    • Say Whaat? says:

      But can we trust Richards? Nope!

    • Unbeliavble says:

      @Onion Juice, This proves that you only read the headline and not the actual story and then just comment on the headline.

      The Opposition, your PLP, actually refused to see it. What you saying now?

    • somuchless says:

      You have serious personal issues. Seek help.

    • Ty says:

      @Onion Juice,

      Foot in mouth syndrome. That was by far the funniest from you. All you saw was the headline hey…. And to the 19 who agree with you….WOW….. You are toooooo funny.

      Check with the America’s Cup people – they still looking for a stand-up comedian.

    • 32n64w says:

      You obviously mean about time the PLP owned up and admitted to politicizing this issue for party gain.

  2. HA! says:

    ***crickets***

    Guess they’ll have to find something else to protest about now.

  3. San George says:

    Chomping at the bit to spend a billion dollars plus of the taxpayer’s money. If your roof had a leak(s) would you build a new house or repair the roof? Only a politician makes decisions like this with opm!

    • Jus' Wonderin' says:

      Yeahhhh that makes sense, continue patching the roof wasting millions of dollars on a bandaid approach and guess what it’ll still be sh**** years later.

  4. I and I says:

    Well they have gone that far with transparency why not let the general public view the documents and let us all see what the OBA has or will have gotten us into? We are not uneducated people so stop treating the voters as such!

    • Jus' Wonderin' says:

      IT’S A BUSINESS DOCUMENT YOU DON’T PUT IT OUT THERE LIKE THAT…IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SECRECY!!! Hence the non-disclosure but you wouldn’t understand that…

  5. Waiting and Wondering says:

    So why not let all Parliamentarians see it?

    By this inference only, it can not be transparent.

    I support a new airport but there is something sneaky, sly and slick about this approach.

  6. the real Terry says:

    @OJ Me thinks the reason your party didn’t want to see it is because they really didn’t want to show how little they understand it. Then the chairman of this weeks meeting got shown up for his lack of knowledge so probably you will not use him again. Maybe Mr. Jahmal Simmons might like to take a turn he seems to know everything. :-]

  7. aceboy says:

    So their idea of good governance is to effectively stick their collective fingers in their ears and yell “I can’t hear you”…like a 5 year old would do. They cannot debate it, they just refuse to even read it. Unbelievable.

    But, hang on a second. The PAC is comprised of OBA members too. Did they not want to see it? The ENTIRE Committee refused it? Was that decision voted on?

  8. wondering says:

    can someone post the similarities between the KEMH project and the Airport project – isn’t the hospital the same or similar to the terms and conditions?

  9. Build a Better Bermuda says:

    With any business agreement made, doesn’t matter who would make it, there will be certain commercial information that cannot be made widely available due to non disclosure. So it goes to say that anyone who wants to see the entire deal would have to sign onto any such NDA to gain access, so for the opposition to reject it because they don’t feel they should have to sign on… hypocrites. After all they made sure we can’t see the full Hospital agreement, and there is more information withheld there than there is currently on this one, and that is already signed. All Burt has to do is sign on, review the full agreement, then report what he can to his MP’s about whether the agreement is a bad one or not for them to be able to debate… oh wait, the information already available has dismissed the misinformation they have been using as their base for rejecting the agreement and now they are just desperately trying to keep moving the goal posts. They also are very quiet about presenting alternatives, maybe becaus their only alternative is a patch and wait approach that would ultimately see the taxpayer pay easily $700m+ for a new airport as we would first have to pay to fix the current one to an acceptable standard that would maybe extend it another 10 years. Or they would have to negotiate a PPP just like this one that would come with the exact same NDA limiting how much information they could share before they signed the contract. Nope, this is politricks pure and simple, the PLP’s favourite game, the game of keeping Bermudians unemployed and disenfranchised with any government that isn’t them.

  10. Chris Famous says:

    Interesting the majority of the PAC are OBA MPs

    • aceboy says:

      Yes it is very interesting.

      It would appear that Mr. Furbert made that decision on his own. Is that appropriate? Is that an example of the kind of good governance we can expect from the PLP?

      • aceboy says:

        I just read Wayne Furbert is claiming that the PAC were never contacted. If that is the case did the former Chairman of the Committee make this decision without even consulting the current Chairman or the other committee members? What a twisted web being woven here.

        Or Bob just outright lied, which I have no doubt you will claim, right up until the communication proving it was done comes out.

    • Albie says:

      I believe that the chairman of the PAC is always from the opposition but that the majority of members are from the government.

  11. Baygrapes says:

    OMG. Do you people know just how tired we are of both of you? You are both making us look stupid and ignorant to the rest of the world.

    We are on the world stage and it’s time you all stepped up and acted accordingly.

  12. Albie says:

    If the minister is willing to release the documents to the PAC what is the reason that he will not release those same documents to we the public?

    After all since there is no competition for the project what would be the harm to let us the voters and taxpayers know the details of the agreement?