Column: ‘Effects Of Flawed Airport Deal’

December 2, 2021 | 16 Comments

[Opinion column written by MP Neville Tyrrell]

5 years after that fateful day of December 2nd, 2016, where peaceful protesters were attacked as they called for transparency, we are still living with the effects of the flawed airport deal. To date, Bermuda has paid out $41 million in minimum revenue guarantees to a bank account on Wall Street. That is money that could have been used to invest in Bermudians or invest in critical infrastructure like Tynes’ Bay. But, instead, 5 years later, we, the taxpayers, are still paying the price for the OBA’s poor decisions.

When you look at the actual impact of the airport deal, you can see that not only did we give away our airport for a generation – a revenue generating asset that was lost for some 30 years – but, it is also now costing us tens of millions in guarantees. In light of just how bad that deal is, when we look back at that fateful day, we can certainly say that the fears and anger everyday Bermudians felt was very much justified.

On December 2, 2016 the OBA Government wanted Bermuda’s Parliament to approve a deal that no one but the Cabinet of the day had seen. In 2017, after the deal was shared with the public, and despite 75% of Bermudians being against the privatisation of the Airport, the OBA pushed forward and sold out a key national asset with the promise that, “It wouldn’t cost the taxpayers a dime”. It has in fact cost us tens of millions…and counting…

As for those who were pepper sprayed – or, as OBA candidate Dwayne Robinson said, “pepper misted” – on that fateful day, there are still plenty of unanswered questions. We still don’t have the true story of the timeline of what happened that day. And, it is unfortunate that no one was held accountable.

The government is very much hamstrung in the investigation of matters involving law enforcement because we do not have operational control over the police, which lies with the Governor from the United Kingdom.

We also remember the stonewalling that happened with the Parliamentary Committee to investigate the events of that day with full and complete evidence not being shared with former ministers not providing answers.

To those Bermudians who stood for transparency and good government on that fateful day and were met with inappropriate force by the police, please know that your effort was not in vain.

You helped expose a bad deal and ultimately helped to dismiss a government that not only sold out a national asset to a foreign company but did so with such a rotten deal that we’re still paying the price today.

- MP Neville Tyrrell, Constituency 26 – Warwick South Central

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Comments (16)

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  1. sandgrownan says:

    Oh, &&&% off. You’re a liar, and you know it.

  2. Ringmaster says:

    Hard to know where to start with this fairytale, but let’s start with taxpayers paying around $180 million a year just for the interest on the debt created by the PLP. Enough to buy a new incinerator for cash and a new bridge on the causeway. Debt created since the mid 2000′s when the economy was strong with revenues beating budget, but instead of saving the surplus the PLP recklessly borrowed hundreds of millions, turning into thousands of millions. Has the debt benefitted Bermuda? Has it been used for capital projects? No, mainly to cover Government payroll, or wasted on idiot projects like Grand Atlantic.
    The PLP knew the airport contract terms when they were reelected in 2017 and the airport was still being built but failed to buy insurance that would have provided an indemnity against the lack of revenue.

  3. Say wha? says:

    “…where peaceful protesters were attacked as they called for transparency.”

    Protesters gathered to block parliament because they did not want something that the elected officials of this country put forward. Also, there was a video circulation of a man swinging an umbrella. Let’s get our facts correct here.

  4. D Samuels says:

    This story offers not one tread of evidence that the airport was a bad deal. Saying revenue guaranties are paid to an overseas account is not enough. This so called bad deal has won accolades from overseas organizations at least twice. It seems as though there is one group/party who continue to make this claim, despite the fact that they are in a position to “look under the hood” to find ANY indication of a bad deal. I’ll tell you what… If the current government were creative enough to feed our new airport with visitors, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Get on with it plp or you’ll be replaced too…

    • What says:

      If we had borrowed and built then we would have to pay the interest on the debt and suck up the airport losses. Spin it how you want PLP. The airport was and still is a very good deal for Bermuda.

    • iyiyi says:

      Agreed , the PLP needs to be replaced . The sad part is there is no one to replace them with yet ??? / !!!!

  5. BS Get a Life says:

    i find it hard to respond in a civil way to such erroneous falsehoods as garnered by the PLP in their close-minded reversed rhetoric. Alls they can do is rehash perceived wrongs when they created them. Simple question answer if you can where are the missing billions for.

  6. John E. Thorne says:

    The new airport wasn’t free and has to be paid for!
    Where is the 800 million unaccounted for under the previous PLP Government?
    At least we have a new airport!
    What do we have for the 800 million?
    Nothing!

    • saud says:

      “What do we have for the 800 million?”

      A government with a poor memory and a penchant for hypocrisy.

  7. Observer says:

    The only deal that was flawed was the cowardly way that the PLP government placed their citizens in a position of danger and illegal assembly. The situation turned nasty when the government encouraged their supporters to stand firm when asked to step aside. The definition of a peaceful assembly is clearly defined as non obstructive and not as, don’t let the politicians through.

    • Nine(9) different bodies examined the airport contract. All gave it a good report that it was good value for money. The company in California that the PLP engaged to examined the contract was one of those nine. And that costed us another $187,000. KPMG which the PLP has currently engaged on another Government project is also one of the nine. So, if KPMG was wrong in its assessment on the airport how can the PLP have confidence that it will get value for money this time? By hiring KPMG again demonstrates that its scrutiny and conclusion on the airport must have been correct. Why hire some one who did a poor job on the last project?
      What expertise does the PLP have that comes close to that of the nine that examined the contract? NONE!!! You could not name Burt, Furbert, Hayward, or Tweed.

  8. Average Bermudian says:

    Fools on this thread

  9. Tracey Kelly says:

    Lies and distortions. The pandemic is the reason we are paying. If we borrowed for the airport, as the PLP were prepared to do, we would still have to pay for a terminal that is massively underused.

  10. Tab Froud says:

    Such a crock of crap op-Ed and not sure why this falsehood is still repeated in the news. I would ask the writer to find out why there is a ND agreement for the people who may have been sprayed (did not follow Police warnings).
    We would still have to pay maintenance on the prior Airport, which was built way before the incinerator and we are told needs replacing.

    I sure bet there is a bigger story to tell here for the ND agreement and why none of the PLP government ministers were in court with them??

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