Premier On Gencom Paying Back $11 Million

February 3, 2021 | 17 Comments

Following the news that Gencom reimbursed the Government the $11 million that had been paid to approximately 700 employees of the Fairmont Southampton, the Premier said that it is “noticeable that we have had silence from the usual commentators or the Opposition, who criticized this arrangement that was made by the Minister of Finance.”

Fairmont Southampton Bermuda generic 3221

$11 Million Paid Back

Late last year, the Government confirmed that they will step in to assist Fairmont Southampton workers who were waiting for their redundancy payments, making “loans to employees equal to amounts due to them in redundancy, which will require repayment once sums are paid by Gencom.”

The Minister of Finance confirmed that on January 29, 2021“Gencom repaid the full amount that the Government loaned to the former employees, approximately $11 million” and “it has been agreed the Government will be reimbursed for all legal and professional fees incurred on this matter.”

Minister of Finance Curtis Dickinson said that “this repayment is an excellent outcome of the Government’s action which has eliminated the Government’s financial exposure in relation to the employee loans.”

The hotel owners said, “We continue to press on with our business plan, which includes executing on the substantial renovation of the Fairmont Southampton. We’re all looking forward to returning this significant and iconic property to its former glory as Bermuda’s premiere resort for both locals and visitors.

“While it has been an unconventional path thus far, Gencom has a wealth of experience in this arena and a successful track record worldwide. We are very confident in our ability to effectively manage the Fairmont Southampton’s redevelopment while navigating these highly unusual circumstances.

“As we make headway, we will continue to build a close and constructive relationship with the Bermuda Government to work toward a successful outcome for all.”

Premier David Burt’s Comments

Speaking at last night’s [Feb 2] press briefing, Premier Burt said, “The Minister of Finance the Hon. Curtis Dickinson announced that the government had been reimbursed the approximately $11 million loan that was paid to the 700 employees of the Fairmont Southampton by the owners Gencom.

“The payment from the Government to the workers in October 2020 was necessary, as there was no guarantee from the owners, when they would be able to make the payment themselves. This Government is committed to ensuring that workers are respected and can live their everyday lives with dignity, especially during these difficult times.

“The employees of Southampton Princess, were not given a handout, but rightly paid what they were owed. Our intervention was an important demonstration that people will always be given priority over profits by the Government of Bermuda.

“I must however say this. It is noticeable that we have had silence from the usual commentators or the Opposition, who criticized this arrangement that was made by the Minister of Finance. It is okay. You can tell the Minister of Finance, “Job well done”, and that you may have been wrong.

“Bermuda is fortunate to have a Minister of Finance of the calibre of Curtis Dickinson, and I want to congratulate him publicly for his work in this because I know that it has been incredibly tiring but he has made the Government proud.

“As I said last week we must have confidence in ourselves to work together and to solve the problems together. And in this case, in this instance, the Minister of Finance has done that. And Minister of Finance, I know that Aunt Laverne would be very proud.

“I would also like to thank Gencom for keeping their word. Now, it is on to the next phase of the development, and we’re going to be working and engaging with GenCom on that, to make sure that we can advance the redevelopment of that property, so that we can have it open, as soon as possible.”

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Comments (17)

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  1. sandgrownan says:

    No. You were lucky they paid up, nothing more, nothing less. You took a gamble with $11m.

    So, what are you going to do about the $4bn of debt the PLP have created for generations of Bermudians to support? A debt the PLP alone created.

    Will public services continue to be eroded to keep the bloated civil service afloat? What’s the plan?

    • OBA Myths says:

      No no no your not going to blame the PLP for all of the debt when over 1 billion was amassed under the OBA’s govt when they were in charge. You all claimed they did such wonderful things financially in their 4 and half years in charge, but we all know now that was a lie. Caroline Bay alone tops all of the PLP projects COMBINED that went over budget but its so funny how you all don’t want to mention nor admit that.

      • saud says:

        No No No, sweetie, you’re not going to revise history to suit your agenda.
        Your plp put Bermuda under water, there is no denying this.
        Act like an adult and take responsibility for YOUR actions.

      • sandgrownan says:

        Yes, it’s true the OBA had to borrow more during their short tenure. Arguably, they should have controlled the narrative better (this is why they are sh*t politicians), but we all know that they inherited a mess, when Bob “looked under the hood” he found commitments we couldn’t support – he had to borrow to keep the lights on. Even by the mid 2010′s, the PLP had made a complete pigs-ear of the economy and were haemorrhaging money. Can you imagine the uproar if he’d downsized the civil service by the third then?

        Ah Carolina Bay..that’s the argument du jour is it. We all know that Morgan’s Point was ripe for development in the mid 90′s, A UBP brokered deal was almost inked but the PLP, on assuming power marched in with the tired old “we’re in charge now” mantra. The catalyst for the mess now was created then, because now it all has to be cleaned up.

        What the OBA did was guarantee a loan to the developers, when between a rock and hard place. What the PLP did was call in that loan guarantee without fully understanding the ramifications of doing so – what they were getting…and it’s dirty land. Go read up, it’s not too hard.

        $4bn and counting is fully on the PLP. Unchecked spending, alleged unethical behaviour and a civil service we don’t need, don’t want and can’t afford. Meanwhile, killing the golden goose that lays the golden egg.

        It was the PLP, after all, who had the Auditor General arrested FFS!

    • Say What?!? says:

      Are you for real!?! You honestly believe that the PLP created $4bn of debt in their short tenure? That’s absolutely nonsense the; that debt is accumulated over decades. Do yourself a favor and read up on the economy. The country’s debt increases every year as is the case with most countries. It is the ruling party’s obligation to limit the debt that we incur each year. This is done by maximizing the country’s revenue but please don’t be foolish enough to believe, especially in this covid pandemic that we can reduce the debt. They can only limit the damage for now, especially when that airport deal has us up against the wall for yet another year. So yes they took a chance with this loan but rest assured that they had collateral (The Fairmont Property) before they entered into the agreement. A property that is worth well over $11m. So until you have something constructive to comment please refrain from the put downs and wake up to the reality of the day we are living in!!!

      • sandgrownan says:

        20 years is short?

        THe problem is, the PLP have had us living beyond our means for 20 years while demonising the very industry that keeps us afloat. That’s the problem, not COVID. All COVID did was speed up the decline and highlight what we’ve all been saying for years. Go back and read Burchall’s columns on the subject. He was right and noone listened.

        LOL, the Airport deal is the deal of the century…and the timing couldn’t be better. Can you imagine if Bermuda had borrowed the money and gone with the usual Correria / Island Construction cost overruns and inflated invoices…it still wouldn’t be finished, it would be over budget and we’d be paying much more.

        • Say What?! says:

          Are you serious!?!
          UBP was in power for over 30 years and they had us in debt. PLP inherits that, then we face a recession (global economy problem) then we allow OBA (after the UBP took it over) to get in power. They hoodwink us and allowed a man who has never led a party to an election victory to take charge. He and the boys take money from government workers (furlough days) and spend it on a party for tourists (America’s cup) from which Bermuda made no money! Moreover why we paid for it still made no sense. If you want to have a party at someone else’s house do you really expect them to pay for it too? Or should the house owner receive payment for the use of their house? Then the airport deal. You honestly believe that it was more cost effective to build rather than fix the problem in the old building? With the economy in the state that it’s in? Now we are paying out millions of dollars to another country and you think that is a great deal? Well let’s look at what $20m could have done; that entire roof could have been replaced for $20m. Here comes 2021, expect to pay out another $20m this year so there’s the money to redo the infrastructure; electrical work and the likes. Wow $40m and we have a operating airport in good order as opposed to $200m +. You realize that they are not going to pay us back even if they have a surplus of $50m a year? As for timing honestly with air travel at an all time low how can it possibly be good timing. SMH what we could have been doing is renovating while the arrivals and departures are so low. That would have been great timing!!!

          • Sandgrownan says:

            Can’t blame the OBA. This is all on the PLP, 20 years of utter failure and incompetence. All on the PLP.

            20 – that’s twenty – years. Think about it – late 90’s…. the PLP could have done anything, they had a booming economy.

            What did they do? They got greedy, like kids on a candy store and here we are 20 years later….$4bn in debt.

            Idiots.

          • saud says:

            “UBP was in power for over 30 years and they had us in debt.”

            LOL, no they didn’t. Bermuda was rich.
            You just can’t accept that your government bankrupt Bermuda.
            poor snowflake.

          • CHRIS says:

            What planet are you on? None of what you said is either factual or sensical. Poor you!

      • Hang Up and Try Your Call Again says:

        Actually, yes – the PLP created a vast majority of the debt. All you need to do is look at the books year-over-year. Short tenure? You mean that the PLP haven’t been in power since 1998 except for 4 years? Seriously, you need to wake up to the reality that as the debts have accumulated, the PLP have done little to limit the debt. It’s only in the past year or so that it’s under consideration and the pain to be felt hasn’t come about yet. Current debt as of March 31st, 2019 stands at over 3 Billion – it’s shown in the Consolidated Fund’s Audited Statements. It’s going to be higher yet again when the numbers are published for March 31 2020, and again next year in 2021. Some of it cannot be helped – such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic debts, but have no illusion that the debt isn’t going to grow more because of all of it. It’s time to wake up.

  2. Joe Bloggs says:

    When you are in show business, any publicity is better than no publicity.

  3. Guy Carri says:

    C. Dickinson is the best thing the PLP has. Without him the party would be even more lost than it is.
    Mr. Premier – you however are sleeping at the wheel. You have your head in the sand and won’t make the bold, unpopular decisions you know you have to. You have a spending problem not a revenue problem. CUT YOUR SPENDING!

  4. George says:

    Great how about we lend $11m to some other people and hope they keep their word to pay us back.
    How about the credit risk with this loan? Did the government put in place some form of insurance , why don’t you tell us about that.? What if Gencom had gone into administration?
    Was there any collateral involved with the loan?

  5. Ringmaster says:

    I think Cayman, with a similar if not larger population, has Government revenue of around $800m and they run a surplus. They were also impacted by the 2008 financial crisis and Covid but have recovered and have not sunk to having billions of dollars in debt. That’s the path Bermuda should have followed instead of continuing to blame 2008.

  6. red rose says:

    No Mr Premier – the Finance Minister took a gamble and handed out $11m with no guarantee of getting it back. That was bad business

  7. Nathalee says:

    Mr. Premier Burt, there is no need to highlight the noticeable silence of the persons who were very much apprehensive about the Govt (tax-payers money) paying the redundancy payments for Gencom. What makes me shake my head is your statement ‘I would also like to thank Gencom for keeping their word… My Lord…so this shows the Premier himself was not totally sure the repayment would be made…

    Yes I agree both the Bermudian and Non-Bermudian workers getting what was due to them was of course a priority, no-one was disputing that.

    The decision made by the Minister of Finance and all concerned was one that required the taxpayer to question and be pessimistic about the repayment especially when Gencom a private Non-Bermudian company and as per Mr. Curtis’ statement the owner/management was not even communicating with him/Govt for weeks.
    November 30, 2020
    Min: Employees Lawyers Could Apply In Court
    Quote “There is no agreement between the Government of Bermuda and Gencom,” the Finance Minister said. “What does exist is an agreement between each employee who received redundancy and the Government of Bermuda.”

    Quote by Mr. Premiere “Bermuda is fortunate to have a Minister of Finance of the calibre of Curtis Dickinson, and I want to congratulate him publicly for his work in this because I know that it has been
    incredibly tiring but he has made the Government proud.

    My unimportant thought about that is Mr. Premier with all due respect Mr. Dickson is paid a pretty penny to do his job and that is exactly what I think he did in this case.

    In my humble no-political opinion, just strictly based on my years of experience as an Accountant in various sectors. There should have been interest paid-back of at least 5% and administration fee attached to this ‘deal’ Gencom is a large company that has completed more than $6 billion in assets and owns 17 hotel properties around the world, according to its website.

    But anyway.. let’s see how this relationship goes moving forward, between Gencom and Bermuda as a country and people (if and when they decide to re-open Fairmont Southampton)

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