Log In

Reset Password

A call for fairness over Aecon deal

The Covid-19 pandemic has undeniably affected every corner of the globe, leaving governments grappling with economic challenges, businesses struggling to stay afloat, and citizens bearing the brunt of these hardships. In the face of adversity, it is the duty of a responsible government to safeguard the interests of its citizens and ensure that every decision taken is guided by the principles of fairness and public interest — ultimately delivering on our promise for a better and fairer Bermuda.

It is in this spirit that we address the recent development concerning the Canadian company Aecon, which has sold 49.9 per cent of its shares in a 30-year airport privatisation/concessionaire agreement in Bermuda. This deal, which saw Aecon invest $65 million in 2017, has yielded a substantial return for the company, thanks in no small part to a provision in the contract that obliged the Government to provide minimum revenue-guarantee payments during the pandemic.

In essence, the Bermuda Government was compelled to pay Aecon $50 million over three years as air traffic ground to a halt.

While Aecon is set to receive a staggering $128.5 million from the sale of its 49.9 per cent stake in the project, not a single dollar will be returned to the Government or, by extension, to the taxpayers who funded the guarantee payments. The sale price of the company has been undoubtedly bolstered by the $50 million poured into its coffers during the pandemic. And, if this wasn’t bad enough, Skyport will send the Government another bill in two weeks — to ask taxpayers to fork up even more for the minimum revenue guarantee, just after it quadrupled its investment.

There are precedents for governments adjusting concessionaire agreements when faced with extraordinary circumstances. For instance, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the city of New Orleans renegotiated the terms of its lease agreement with the operator of Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. By working together, the city and the operator were able to reach a fair and equitable solution that accounted for the significant financial burden placed on the local government and its citizens by the devastating storm.

In light of this example, it is crucial for the Bermuda Government to seek remedies that address the disparity between Aecon’s profits and the sacrifices made by our taxpayers. We must explore all available avenues for recovering taxpayer funds and establishing a more equitable agreement that truly serves the public interest.

It is our responsibility as a government to stand up for our citizens and ensure that the proceeds from the sale of Aecon’s shares are not pocketed solely by the company, while Bermudians shoulder the financial burden of guarantee payments. To this end, we pledge to take extraordinary action if necessary, using the weight of public opinion and legal channels, to advocate for fairness, justice and the best interests of our citizens.

In conclusion, we call upon the people of Bermuda to join us in this fight for a just resolution, as we seek to uphold the principles that bind us in these challenging times. By standing together, we can demand a fairer distribution of the rewards of investment and ensure that the sacrifices made by our taxpayers are not in vain.

We, the Progressive Labour Party government, stand by our pledge to the voters of this country to ensure we deliver a better and fairer Bermuda.

Jaché Adams is the government MP for Pembroke West (Constituency 19)

Jaché Adams is the government MP for Pembroke West (Constituency 19)

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published March 21, 2023 at 7:58 am (Updated March 21, 2023 at 6:23 am)

A call for fairness over Aecon deal

What you
Need to
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