US wanted more time to cose USNAS

Make text smaller Make text larger

Americans would leave the Naval Air Station it is closing in September, 1995.


Americans would leave the Naval Air Station it is closing in September, 1995.

The US wanted to return the Base and Civil Air Terminal "in such a way that if we wanted to come back here we would be a welcome guest,'' Mr. Joseph P.

O'Neill told the Kiwanis Club of Hamilton.

"If we do it in any other way, we dishonour ourselves, we make enemies, and it is not what I have been sent down here to do,'' he said.

A high-ranking career diplomat, Mr. O'Neill arrived in Bermuda in February to help fill a long gap created by the delay in naming a political appointment to succeed former US Consul General Mr. Ebersole Gaines.

With the dicey issues of the US Base closures and Independence on the agenda at the same time, he is seen as a troubleshooter.

Mr. O'Neill said there was a long history of cooperation between Americans and Bermudians dating to before 1776. And he raised the possibility the US might want a Base in Bermuda again in the not-too-distant future. He said the Americans would have preferred to keep a smaller presence in Bermuda, rather than close the Base entirely. Nor did it want such a short time frame for handing the Base back, he said.

"But there is in the US a thing called freedom of the Press,'' he said. TV journalist Mr. Sam Donaldson "came down from ABC and did a hatchet job on us.

He did not give the US Government the proper amount of time to hand over the Base to Bermudians as we would have liked to have done it.'' Nevertheless, he predicted there would be no noticeable difference in air operations after the US left.

Also "there are suggestions that we're going to leave behind toxic waste, and asbestos'', he said. "There are already arrangements made for ships to come down and take away most of this.'' The Base would be "no harm to anybody''.

And Bermuda would "profit'' from the infrastructure left behind.

"Houses, the Airport, all the facilities that we can hand back, the schools, the bowling alley, the McDonald's, when we want to use the facilities, we're going to have to come to the Government of Bermuda and say, `Please'.

"We may have to pay a service charge, if that's what your Government decides.'' The US did not plan to get involved in the Independence issue.

"Regardless of what happens, the relation between the people of Bermuda and the people of the US is longstanding, is safe, is secure, and is made of good solid rock.''

You must be registered or signed-in to post comment or to vote.

Published Apr 26, 1994 at 12:01 am (Updated Feb 9, 2011 at 5:38 pm)

US wanted more time to cose USNAS

What you
Need to
Know
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon

Take Our Poll

  • Should public transport be listed as an essential service?
  • Yes
  • 80%
  • No
  • 18%
  • Don't know
  • 2%
  • Total Votes: 9750
  • Poll Archive

Today's Obituaries

View all Obituaries Place an obituary

Facebook Activity