Cross Island, the sequel: not all doom and gloom
In response to the opinion piece of Christopher Famous, I am proud, happy and pleased with the great amount of work that was achieved by the West End Development Corporation team in the 4˝ years that I served as chairman.
Policies were implemented to address runaway arrears, political interference and free benefits enjoyed by political friends and family were ended.
Repairs to more than $7 million of damage to infrastructure from two hurricanes in October 2014 and one in 2015. The Wedco team responded so well that the port was back up and in operation in about two days. (For Heritage Wharf) King’s Wharf was substantially damaged.
Repairs and renovations were carried out using the $6 million in insurance funds and several million of Wedco’s funds to make wind and watertight all buildings — with the exception of the Victualling Yard — in the Dockyard.
The renovated buildings are already earning revenue, from the warehouses behind the Clocktower Mall to the popular Diamonds International, fun golf, the yoghurt place, the Outfitters, and Crown and Anchor are all welcomed additions. Now, with these renovated buildings, the potential is there to earn millions of dollars more per year than before.
All of the remaining America’s Cup bases — Land Rover BAR, Oracle Team USA and SoftBank Team Japan — were acquired by Wedco either for free or at very low cost.
They now stand ready to earn significant revenues, which were not possible before because these areas had been allowed to become dumping grounds. (I understand that there is significant interest in these facilities.)
The Dockyard is looking perhaps the best that it has ever looked. There has been an increase in employment and business/economic activity is higher than when I took over in 2012.
Irrigation was installed and the lighting throughout the Dockyard were changed out for energy-efficient LEDs, with considerable future savings. It all looks great.
Policies are in place to ensure fair treatment of potential investors and/or tenants.
The Cross Island project commenced under the Progressive Labour Party government when the bridge that was purchased in 2012 was ordered just weeks before the election. The same agreement that resulted in the purchase and construction of the Victoria Place Housing put aside profits — and I use that term loosely — to contribute to the construction of Cross Island.
Again, I am proud, pleased and happy with my conduct and great efforts that were made on behalf of the Bermudian people. Not only will I not cower from Famous, I will hold my head high and with pride. So proud am I, in fact, that I was disappointed at not being recognised for the America’s Cup and restoration of Dockyard efforts.
Why Famous is trying to score political points with this one is really beyond me.
Shouldn’t he instead be bragging about the foresight that his PLP government had that enabled us to host the biggest sports event that we ever can? Isn’t he proud that the Cross Island creation that began with the PLP in 2012 has created more than $300 million to the Bermudian economy. I wish to say thank you former minister Derrick Burgess for his foresight and vision in getting the project started. Bermuda owes him a great deal of gratitude.
Let us put the politics aside and work together now to employ more Bermudians on Cross Island.
I still believe the best usage is as a superyacht repair and maintenance facility, and as the home of the Department of Marine and Ports.
Stop talking, let’s get it done.
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