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Was there ‘no other option’ for airport?

Airport groundbreaking: John Beck, left, Martin Zablocki, Michael Dunkley, Bob Richards, Michael Fahy, Steve Nackan and Aaron Adderley in April 2017(Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Dear Sir,

“The right thing is not the best thing, but the best thing is the right thing.”

It was unfortunate when the former Minister of Finance, Bob Richards, informed the people of Bermuda on November 19, 2015 that “there was no other option” for the Bermuda Government’s planned airport redevelopment because “we can’t afford it any other way”.

Mr Richards stated this at a town-hall meeting of about 100 people, saying this is the only show in town.

The Prime Minister of Britain, David Cameron, stated in a White Paper report entitled The Overseas Territories, and presented to the British Parliament by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in June 2012 that “the United Kingdom’s 14 Overseas Territories are an integral part of Britain’s life and history. Today they include one of the world’s richest communities (Bermuda) ...”

The Prime Minister went on to state that “this White Paper sets out our commitment to work with the territories to address the challenges we face together. This is a commitment from across the UK Government.” According to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs himself, “the connection brings benefits to the UK and to the territories”.

This was demonstrated when Britain provided $350 million to the country of Montserrat and $246.6 million to the country of St Helena, specifically to build a new airport.

Yet zero funding was provided to Bermuda for our airport. The Bermudian people want some answers. Mr Richards chose not to address this matter to the Bermudian people; perhaps we can now get some answers from the British Government. The Premier of Bermuda needs to ask the British Government why.