Fahy: airport deal remains confidential
Documents linked to the Bermuda Government’s airport project plans remain confidential, and would harm the island’s reputation if released before commercial close, according to Acting Attorney-General Senator Michael Fahy.
The independent Commission of Inquiry, which is tasked with investigating allegations by Auditor-General Heather Jacobs Matthews that public funds had been mismanaged in the fiscal years ending 2010-12, announced in June that the proposal for a new terminal at LF Wade International Airport would be among the projects investigated.
However, Mr Fahy this afternoon said that the commission and the Government “disagree” on the airport, and that the commission would have to make a ruling on the matter.
“It is our view that the commission will decide in our favour,” he added.
Mr Fahy was commenting in the wake of a communication within the civil service advising that questions on the airport be held in abeyance.
“The Government has been consistent in its representations to the commission that the LF Wade project is not within their terms of reference or scope.
“The commission has persisted in requesting documents and has asked civil servants to provide information about the airport project. Although the Government has advised that civil servants must co-operate with the commission, our position has not changed that the LF Wade project is not within the commission’s terms of reference.”
Commercial close on the project has been delayed, although Mr Fahy declined to specify when the deal might be complete.
“Certain documents relating to the project are protected by public interest immunity. They are contract documents, subject to negotiation.”
He added that the Government had not made any undertaking to the commission, but had asked that it hold off on its requests.
Mr Fahy described the information as “proprietary to the developer”, and said the Government would violate its non-disclosure agreement by releasing it before commercial close.
“After this process is completed, we look forward to working with the various parties to provide relevant information.”
A similar clash of views occurred when the Public Accounts Committee sought to obtain the schedules of the airport agreement, with the Government insisting that the full documentation could not be released until the signing of a definitive agreement on the project.
The public-private partnership with Canadian Commercial Corporation has been defended by the Government as the only means of building a new terminal for the airport, but has been repeatedly criticised by the Opposition, along with grass roots groups such as the People’s Campaign.
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