Video: Sir John Swan On Airport Redevelopment

February 26, 2017

“There’s no perfect solution,” former Premier Sir John Swan said about the airport development, adding that the deal we have “was the best possibility of getting the project done” and the “only way we could go”.

Sir John Swan, who served as Premier from 1982 to 1995, recently sat down with Bernews for a live interview on a wide range of topics, with the airport redevelopment deal one of the matters discussed.

Sir John Swan 2017 Interview Airport Redevelopment TC

When asked about the project, Sir John Swan told Bernews, “I 100% endorse the airport. I did an inspection of the airport and made it publicly known that the airport is in a horrible state. It’s been patched up for too long now, and it runs the risk of being damaged because of weather conditions.

“Bermuda has to recognize one fundamental thing, which really brings it home to you, is without an airport, we’re out of business. We’re out of business, tourist wise, we’re out of business international business wise, and Bermudians won’t be able to travel, unless they go by boat.

“I think the Minister of Finance has done a hell of a job of doing a PPP that accommodates the process of us building the airport. I looked at other places that have done it, I looked and realized that other places have done the same thing, and so I don’t think we have a choice, unless we are fools.”

Asked about the process, Sir John said, “The PPP process was necessary because again, go back to if a GDP isn’t growing, if your debt has been growing, and if you can avoid burdening yourself with a continued debt which has implications.

“We had no choice but to do that, and think that the Minister did a good job in getting that process done. It wasn’t easy. He’s the Minister of Finance. He’s a figures man. He’s not a public relations man,” Sir John added.

Video excerpt from the live interview showing Sir John discussing the airport deal:

When asked if this was the right way to pursue it, Sir John said, “It was the only way we could go. There isn’t a question of right way to go. It was the only way we could go.

“If you went out and say ‘I want to borrow another 200 million or 300 million on the debt that we have’, the answer would have been no. The answer would have been an emphatic no.

“When do we stop letting you have it? There’s always going to be something that we have to do, that’s beside the airport that we still might have to borrow money on. So the best thing you could do, was to do that. The question is what was the best deal we could get, and that was the best deal we could get on it.

“There’s no perfect solution,” Sir John told Bernews. “I think this was the best possibility of getting the project done.”

The video above was extracted from the full interview, in which Sir John discussed a wide range of topics including the current political scene, the waterfront, America’s Cup, race relations, same sex marriage and more. We will post additional excerpts from the interview, and to watch the full 1-hour live interview replay, please click here.

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Comments (15)

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  1. FFF says:

    thank you sir John please explain this to the union and plp that put us in this position they should listen to a man of your stature

  2. Onion Juice says:

    UnbeF!@#inglievable, even though we have to fork out over $20 Million a year for the next 30 years to aeCON.

    • Zevon says:

      Shut ya nois. You spemt more than that returfing a golf course for no reason.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      We’d be forking out more than that on the current PLP airport band aid and wait plan. Course you’d have no problem adding a capital expenditure debt on top of the public debt, so long as it was the PLP telling you it was the right thing to do, like they are now. You’d just keep on Trump-eting for them.
      It will be interesting that to see how the PLP can criticize the budget this year, without being hypocritical to what they have said in years past, their initial response on Friday was already a laughable attempt to write out their role in our financial mess.

    • Ocean Bound says:

      Your $20mm is incorrect. The current revenue is not being spent on the necessary maintenance and repair because the new airport option is being pursued. It’s like having an old car and not continuing to fix it because you’re buying a new one. The current position of the Airport – if the required maintenance was done – is that it loses money. Loses money, plus we lose the benefits of a new facility. Whatever the politics we should all be accurate about the facts.

      • What?? says:

        If the current airport loses money then could you please explain how Aecon is going to finance $100 million of the construction costs of the new terminal from revenue from the old terminal?

  3. Hello says:

    PLP have a lot of nerve to open their mouth about the Airport after they had KEMH built to hold just 90 patients. They are now talking about canceling surgeries due to lack of rooms to put patients in. Only in Bermuda!

    • wondering says:

      ^^^^^This right here.

      The darn hispitalbis built like a model that architects use to show a building concept to a client.

      It is like a toy Lego building and it is costing us 8n untold fortune

      • Earth watch police says:

        Who the f##k designed the hospital and who approved it and how much did it cost us and who owns Paget health but I guess that’s a plantation question.

    • rightok says:

      The 90 beds didn’t come from the PLP… I’m just saying.. Typical person just trying point blame at the PLP.

  4. San George says:

    Still cow-towing to his Paget neighbors.

  5. Our Hospital is a joke. Nothing changed but the bldg. says:

    we have this fancy Hospital that can only house 90 people. Pathetic!! There is excessive empty space in that bldg. Not sure who designed it, but they should have been fired before the project started. Hospital has not changed at all. Poorly planned bldg., and the same crap service.