Port Royal Q&A yields little by way of tangible results

  • Michael Dunkley

    Michael Dunkley


Once again, the Port Royal Golf Course is in the news for all the wrong reasons, with some familiar faces creating the problems.

Bermudians can recall the refurbishment of the course under the former Progressive Labour Party government before hosting the PGA Grand Slam of Golf at Port Royal in 2009.

It was clouded in controversy with a budget of $4.5 million eventually ending more than $20 million over that amount. This was then the subject of a damning report by the Auditor-General, allegations that present minister Zane DeSilva lied to a parliamentary Public Accounts Committee on six occasions and a Commission of Inquiry stating that there was possible “criminal activity” and “straightforward fraud” in referring to actions by some of those involved at Port Royal. News reports indicate that there is still civil court action pending in this matter.

Now fast-forward to 2019 and the announcement by the Bermuda Tourism Authority and Mr DeSilva that the island will host the Bermuda Championship to be held at the end of October at Port Royal.

This announcement necessitated work be done to the course to bring it up to expected playing conditions of the PGA Tour. Included among the work is the fixing of all bunkers, as they were sadly lacking in bunker sand.

Once again, Mr DeSilva clouds a good initiative at Port Royal in controversy by his actions and inability to be transparent and accountable over the budget and tendering for bunker sand.

In the House of Assembly on July 19, the minister during Question Period was asked to provide “details of the total approved budget for preparing the Port Royal Golf Course and clubhouse for the Bermuda Championship, detailing the total budget cost with an itemised list of main expenses”.

The minister replied that it was being finalised. At the time, I questioned how the Government could sign a contract to host the event and not have a budget prepared and approved for work needing to be done to the course before the event.

The next week, I asked the same question of the Government, and it was not answered.

Then during our most recent sitting on Friday, public works minister Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, while not stating the budget for course work, said that it was being “sourced jointly from internal ministry resources”.

So, still a mystery budget amount and with his statement the minister raises another question as to how the Ministry of Public Works can have a significant amount of money, perhaps as much as $1 million, “sourced” from internal resources?

What happens to those initiatives or programmes for which the funding was approved in the budget for 2019-20?

With regard to the bunker sand, it is expected that Mr Burch will come to the defence of his beleaguered colleague over the contract to tender for sand. What the minister has not assured the House, or people of Bermuda, of is that Mr DeSilva did not have advance information about the request for proposal before it was posted on the government portal on July 16.

Furthermore, Mr Burch has not answered if all work on the course has been tendered and who was successful in that tendering.

Many Bermudians support the Bermuda Championship, but we also expect to know the benefits and costs associated with it so that tangible opportunity is the result for the island and its people. Sadly, it appears that the PLP has not learnt from its mistakes of the past and the taxpayer could be on the hook once again for poor planning, bad budgeting and a lack of accountability.

It is not too late for the Government to come clean with full transparency on this matter now that Mr DeSilva is back from his “mystery shopping” cruise and the House is again in session.

Michael Dunkley is the former Premier of Bermuda, an Opposition backbencher and the MP for Smith’s North (Constituency 10)

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

Published Oct 1, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 1, 2019 at 7:32 am)

Port Royal Q&A yields little by way of tangible results

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

    • "Which of these is the worst political gaffe of modern times"
    • Craig Cannonier getting on that plane
    • 11%
    • Michael Fahy pressing on with Pathways to Status
    • 10%
    • Bob Richards's 'Money doesn't grow on trees' speech
    • 5%
    • Lt-Col David Burch and ATVs
    • 9%
    • Wayne Caines and the London cereal cafe
    • 44%
    • Zane DeSilva's mystery shopper cruise
    • 21%
    • Total Votes: 5373
    • Poll Archive

    Today's Obituaries

    eMoo Posts