Docks operator alert to Corporation changes
With its licence to operate Bermuda's only cargo dock coming due in less than two years, the management of Stevedoring Services Limited is keeping a close eye on Bermuda Government's plans for the Corporation of Hamilton.
Stevedoring has an exclusive terminal operating licence for the Hamilton docks, which expires in February 2021. It holds a non-exclusive terminal operating licence, as do several other entities, for the free ports in St George, Dockyard, and at Morgan's Point.
Warren Jones, chief executive officer, Polaris Holding Company Ltd, the parent company of Stevedoring, said: “We have been watching it, and we will see where it goes. Our focus is on the business we do, and we will continue to defend our position here regardless of how it all comes out.
“Our focus is on the dock and trying to continue to be Bermuda's choice as the operator to run the dock. Whatever Government does, we expect to be the terminal operator running the dock. In fact, our vision is to be the terminal operator at all of Bermuda's ports.”
Mr Jones said Stevedoring is in close contact with government officials on an ongoing basis since the dock's importance to Bermuda is related to several ministries as well as to the Emergency Measures Organisation. “We are responsible for a key part of Bermuda's infrastructure,” he said. “The EMO and the various ministries are all key to what we do.”
Members of Parliament voted 22-7 along party lines on Thursday to pass the Municipalities Reform Act 2019, which once in force will transform the Corporations of Hamilton and St George into unelected quangos. The Act will bring to an end a combined total of almost 450 years of local government in Bermuda.
Elected members of the municipalities are to hold office until May 13, unless they resign in writing to the Minister of Home Affairs. The minister will appoint a mayor and councillors for each of the corporations to serve from May 14.
Charles Gosling, Mayor of Hamilton, has indicated that the Corporation of Hamilton will launch a court battle to fight the Government's plans.