De Couto: We Need Answers On Fairmont Hotel

February 14, 2023

[Updated] “It’s now two years since the Fairmont Southampton closed and there still appears to be no progress on the site,” OBA Senator Douglas De Couto said, adding that while they have questions for the Government “based on the history of missed deadlines, lack of transparency, and unmet promises, we are unlikely to get any answers.”

Fairmont Southampton Princess hotel resort generic (1)

Senator De Couto — the Shadow Minister for Economic Development and Spokesperson for Tourism –  said, “One year ago today, then-Minister of Finance, the Hon. Curtis Dickinson resigned over the Government’s concessions to and agreement with Gencom for the Fairmont Southampton, because it was such a bad deal for Bermuda.

“It’s now two years since the Fairmont Southampton closed and there still appears to be no progress on the site. The only area Gencom seems to be progressing in in the development of the condos.

“Recently, area residents received a letter consulting them on the environmental impact of the “residential development”; presumably the condos, to be built tax-free by Gencom.

“Like all of Bermuda, we have many questions for the Government, such as: what is the current status of the project? Has financing been secured? When will construction start? And when will the hotel reopen? Will the condos be bult before the hotel reopens?

“Based on the history of missed deadlines, lack of transparency, and unmet promises, we are unlikely to get any answers. Time and time again the Premier promises dates, and time and time again, nothing happens.

“As a brief recap: In 2021, Government negotiated a guarantee with Gencom, which was unable even to come up with the finances to pay redundancy to the hotel staff.

Senator Douglas De Couto noted that Gencom said “it would reopen in April 2022.” He added, “By March 2022 the Premier said he was “confident” construction would commence, and developers announced a plan for a “grand re-opening” in 2023. But here we are a year later and still nothing,

“In October 2022 the Premier told PLP delegates the deal “is ready to go” – but four months later, it’s clear the hotel reopening is nowhere in sight.

“We demand the Government explain what, if anything at all, they are doing to progress this, or any other project, to secure Bermuda’s tourism future.

“We are concerned that the Premier has become distracted by his personal political problems and has not paid suitable attention to this project of vital national importance.

“We need answers because the people of Bermuda deserve better than this.”

Bernews has asked for a response and will update as able.

Update 7.32pm: ”More political theatrics and posturing,” said the Premier and Minister of Finance, David Burt.

“We recognize that as we get closer to delivering the National Budget, there will be those who look to distract the people of Bermuda away from this Government’s commitment to delivering a responsible and fair budget for its citizens.”

The Premier added, “We remain focused on the mandate we undertook to deliver in 2017 and 2020. Not only did we promise a fairer and better Bermuda, but we also understood that in the wake of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, it would take strong leadership to see us through.

“The people of Bermuda can rest assured knowing that our commitment to economic recovery and balanced economic growth is unwavering. Our focus on fiscal prudence is steadfast, and our vision for the future remains positive.

“This Friday, as Minister of Finance, I will deliver the National Budget. This will be a budget about building our economy and making bold decisions to ensure we continue our economic recovery.

“The fact is that our economy has experienced five consecutive quarters of GDP growth, our credit ratings remain stable, and our budget deficit continues to fall. Tourism numbers are increasing, employment figures are improving with more Bermudians working, and a recent survey reported two-thirds of local businesses expressing confidence in their economic future, with many planning on creating additional jobs. I look forward to sharing more with the people of Bermuda on Friday and in the weeks following the presentation of the budget.”

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Comments (15)

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  1. Indeed we do says:

    Do not let this go. This govt seems oblivious to the people of this island. WE WANT ANSWERS. t Thank you for asking of them and like I said don’t let it rest till we get them. They are excellent at BBB and let things go so long that they hope people will forget.

  2. Island Man Bermuda says:

    Please do not allow Gencom to build condo’s on the SP land. Look at Tuckers Point, it is concrete concrete concrete, all being sold off to build real estate and very few hotel rooms. They got away with an SDO as they said it was vital for tourism and look what happened, it just turned into real estate. They have destroyed that beautiful land. Please make sure that SP remains a hotel and do NOT build condo’s. This is our main hotel and should remain tourism only.

  3. Ringmaster says:

    Also most of the condos and plots at Tuckers are sold to foreigners. It’s a real estate deal paid for by Bermudian taxpayers and is not increasing houses available to the average Bermudian.

    Add to the demand answers list the TAF contract, and response to the allegations made by Derek Burgess in the HOA. A sitting Premier, who is also the Finance Minister has to respond, or has it already become a criminal investigation? It is public knowledge Zane DeSilva is facing money laundering charges.

    • sandgrownan says:

      Did you read about the Lantana owner the other day?

      The sad fact is, you’d need to be out of your mind to invest in a hotel in Bermuda. It simply doesn’t make sound financial sense.

      • question says:

        Yes. And then there was the planning permission debacle in St G. The government is incompetent and anti-business.

  4. Guy Carri says:

    This will fall of deaf ears of blind supporters.
    OBA’s message is correct but it as an opposition is weak.

    Keep banging the drum. Bang is loud. Bang is often. The PLP made something out of nothing for everything when the OBA was progressing the island.

    OBA – keep the pressure on, on everything.

  5. Hol ya own says:

    Yes we need answers. Let’s start with Morgan’s Point…o yall forgot about that OBA huh? How convenient

    • Sandgrownan says:

      Would have been a resort there in 1999 had the PLP not been drunk on power.

    • Hey says:

      Ummm instead of supporting the Morgan’s point project, didn’t the PLP allow the loan to default in order for govt to get the land by triggering the guarantee. Unfortunately the land only consisted of Caroline Bay and not what the PLP thought was the whole of Morgan’s point. This resulted in Bermuda paying millions and getting very little in return, whereas if they had supported the project we would have had Caroline Bay open by now. Yet how many millions of dollars has the PLP effectively given up for SP and where is that today?

  6. puzzled says:

    After reading the above comments no one has addressed the question about why this is happening.
    The country is falling apart, and yet they PLP are selling us out.

    Money Laundering and graft and all being sent to islands south of here.

    Get out now.

  7. Marine Life says:

    LIGHT BULBS. St. George’s. Casinos. COST of LIVING. Economic Stimulus. HOTEL BEDS. LESS FLIGHTS. Less POPULATION. BELCO. ROADS. Constant BrOkeN Promises. Iconic Businesses closing over the last few years. CRIME.
    Great headlines to describe the failures. It is NOT this Picture perfect wording in the statements above in the article made by…..!
    How many times do you read these words and they paint negative pictures in your mind?

  8. Observer says:

    I’m not sure why Bermuda didn’t see this coming. When government gave themselves the power to develop any part of Bermuda regardless of the underlying zoning or SDO, it should have been obvious.

  9. Ringmaster says:

    The Premier’s opening ”More political theatrics and posturing” is a perfect description of his response. Ignore the question and deflect to something totally unrelated. He is a disgrace to the office of Premier.