Column: ‘Airport Objections Were Political’

February 9, 2019

[Opinion column written by Sylvan Richards, Shadow Home Affairs Minister]

In his submission to the Blue Ribbon Panel BIU President Chris Furbert admitted that Bermuda needed a new airport, but then declared that “if it should result in any cost to the taxpayer, the answer is no”.

The question therefore becomes how can a new airport terminal be built without cost? It is impossible and Mr Furbert knows that, therefore he was against the project on principle, the principle being a political one.

In addition, you cannot reasonably expect lenders to lend more than $250m over 25 years without certainty that the terms of the contract will be faithfully followed. Therefore, there can be no variations to the contract or else it could result in “an event of default”.

Mr Furbert then compared the OBA’s airport deal to the PLP’s hospital wing. It must be noted that the big difference between the two is that the PLP government guaranteed the hospital wing while the OBA government did not guarantee the airport deal. The airport deal had to stand on its own.

Mr Furbert said “the hospital is not government” and that the P3 was done by the Bermuda Hospitals Board and not the PLP government. In actual fact, the hospital is owned 100 percent by the government and is paid more than $140m a year by government and is, therefore, part of the government sector.

The airport and the hospital are therefore both owned by government, so in that respect they are the same, however the major difference between both deals is that the hospital wing P3 was guaranteed by the PLP government and forms part of government’s ongoing official obligations.

In contrast, the new airport will receive no money from government for the next 30 years, and the debt is not guaranteed by government and therefore does not form part of government’s official obligations. Comparing the two is like comparing apples versus oranges.

Mr Furbert also said that the airport was privatized while the hospital was not, yet a minute before, he also stated that, “a P3 is a P3,” again implying that they are the same, i.e. comparing apples to apples. The airport deal and the hospital wing can’t, at the same time, be the same and different. Mr Furbert contradicted himself.

The OBA released information on this contract that would, under normal circumstances, have never been put into the public domain. The same cannot be said of the hospital P3. The Premier has twice promised to release an unredacted P3 hospital contract. To date, those promises remain unfulfilled.

- Sylvan Richards


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Comments (23)

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  1. Sandgrownan says:

    Facts have an OBA bias

  2. Bermudians who vehemently disagreed with the airport proposals, were denied entry into The City Hall by the then Finance Minister, Bobbie Richards, and other horrible O.B.A.members.
    O.B.A. rarely, during their 4 year stint, function like a DEMOCRATIC party. May they be denied entry into full power, for decades to come.
    Teachers must school current O.B.A. shadow ministers,, on the meaning of DEMOCRACY. Teachers must ensure that their O.B.A. shadow ministers are equipped with an OXFORD dictionary.Classes are to be held indefinitely.
    There should be a mid term and a final exam. Those shadow ministers who get C or lower, are thrown out of politics!!
    That should do it!!!!

    • Question says:

      Greenshirts invaded public meetings, intimidated government supporters, shouted hysterically, and made sensible discussion impossible. Your posts here are pretty good evidence of the mentaility.

      • Onion Juice says:

        In every country where Democracy is practiced but suppressed, you will have an outcry or protest against abusive authority, you see it in America, Canada and Europe.
        But for some reason when its done in Bermuda there seems to be a stigma from those whom have never experienced being opressed or have been privileged to live a sheltered life.

    • Rocky5 says:

      PLP just like Trump & the Repuglicans – all FAKE news!

    • Ringmaster says:

      Was it democracy when the OBA tried to have public meetings to explain their proposals on various matters, only to be shouted down No No No and the meetings cancelled. No wonder they gave up.

      As to your suggestions, there would not be 25 if they had to pass the same tests you propose.

    • 2 Bermudas says:

      Say what you want about the OBA but they had this economy on the rebound and now it is flat lining under the Pee El Pee!! Hahahaha!!

    • Onion says:

      You were yelling like a lunatic and I wouldn’t have let you in either.

    • Good comment says:

      Very well stated – I agree!!!

    • Red rose says:

      Winner of the most bizarre comment

    • Toodle-oo says:

      *Bermudians who vehemently disagreed with the airport proposals, were denied entry into The City Hall*

      And that’s how you deal with the obstinate and totally unreasonable ‘No , no , no ‘ crowd !

    • wahoo says:

      You gotta be working undercover for the OBA, who would believe that the government of the day have such idiots as supporters? You make no sense at all. But talking about exams perhaps there should be one for voters I mean a vote is a serious thing really but a vote that is easily misguided could be a dangerous thing. The exam doesn’t need to be too difficult but the applicant should demonstrate some very basic knowledge of Bermuda economics.

    • Mike Hind says:

      Rantings of a madman.

      This kind of nonsense is SO bad for our country…

  3. Truth says:

    Hey UBP Sylvan did you know that the new airport’s customs hall was made smaller then the current one in use? How do we have a new airport and it’s smaller!!! What did your obaUBPers sign off on before you received the KICK from the voters!!! Did you even look at the plans? Ask Skyport who advised them to fix this ASAP??

    Now run along and do some more homework before you come on here making a royal a$$ out of yourself. I can see why they didn’t select you to be leader of a sunk ship.

  4. Pork & Bean says:

    Yes, Sylvan the Airport and every other “protest” was political especially when you consider the fact that the PLP had a few years earlier provided plans for their own new Airport. The two differences, their plan was far more expensive and they had no plan on how it would be paid for! We also know it was political because they financed the Hospital upgrade THE EXACT SAME WAY!

    The PLP brainwashed Bermudians by infiltrating and partnering with the unions, social clubs and the churches. Fully how the “concerned bermudian group” and all the others that were formed…just disappeared the minute the PLP was voted in.

    Sylvan, you and the OBA ministers can sleep at night knowing that you handled the countries affairs with credibility. You did not splurge, you were transparent and got international business and tourism heading in the right direction. Many hotels upgraded under your government and you even turned the St Georges hotel into more than a dream. You guys even had Casinos passed and on the way. In comes the PLP – and in 18 months what have they one?! Answer nothing. We have nobody heading that commission and so we are paying salaries, lawyers, rent all for what and who is paying for it!

    What is the PLPs answer – Sugar Tax and Cryptocurrencies!

  5. Chauncey says:

    Meanwhile PLP ministers would not pass the entrance exam!

  6. LaV says:

    Straightforward….OJ is your only audience, and you’re one in the same….you’re psychopathic.

  7. rodney smith says:

    The airport deal was suppose to pay for itself . The plan was that the current profit of $25 million would fund the deal , with the government picking up what they were already paying for out of pocket ,ie: electricity ,runways, air traffic controllers , etc, etc. The no money down deal was so to keep the debt off government’s books .Additionally, profit sharing was to kick in after the profits reached a certain threshold ,thus assisting the government to foot it’s overhead cost .All things being equal this is how it was suppose to work . Yes the PLP were able to crawl back some concessions since becoming the government . Good for them because all the benefits go directly to the people of Bermuda .What is not talked about is the political angle that was designed by foreign advisors to the PLP/ The People’s Movement .At all cause the protest was designed to shut down any progress on the airport, even while promoting the PLP’s old plan .All things OBA where off limits .The country was divided both by race and class . It works for both political parties when either come to power . We are a divided nation . Our hatred towards each other will certainly spell our downfall . We can change it , but who will be the first to say , ” ENOUGH ALREADY .”

    • Mike Hind says:

      “Our hatred towards each other will certainly spell our downfall…”

      Says a rabid anti-equality poster… amazing, the hypocrisy.

    • Question says:

      “PLP were able to crawl back some concessions since becoming the government .”
      Rodney you’re talking utter nonsense. The PLP did not change one word in the contract. They’re just talking about it differently now because they want to take credit for it now, and because there was never anything wrong with the deal in the first place.

  8. 2scoops says:

    Maybe the OBA should step down and let the PLP have all the seats.
    Once that happens who will you blame??