MPs in spat over charter ferry
The charter ferry
Millennium is already on the Island, and should be deployed this week, according to Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell.
Millennium has come in, and needs a period of time to get things ready, and will be in service next week,” Mr Crockwell told MPs on Friday.
The US tender was brought in to avoid the difficulties incurred last year when the Island’s regular ferries broke down, he said.
Negotiations to bring in the reserve vessel were begun under the Progressive Labour Party Government, Mr Crockwell added, as both sides of the House of Assembly clashed over the cost implications.
The charter was budgeted at $1.3 million, but Shadow Transport Minister Lawrence Scott insisted its real cost would be closer to $3 million.
Last night, Mr Scott said he’d been unable to confirm the Minister’s claim that the vessel was already in Bermuda waters.
He said he’d been contacted by members of the public who were “emphatic that the charter boat is yet to arrive in Bermuda”.
The two MPs wrangled as well over a contract for ten new buses, again negotiated under the PLP, and put on hold by the One Bermuda Alliance.
Mr Scott charged Government with wasteful spending, but Mr Crockwell insisted no order had been nixed under his watch.
“When we became government, they had not been ordered,” he said.
The buses were required to keep up with attrition of the Island’s existing fleet, the House heard.
“The reason why we didn’t order them, I was informed, was there was some deficiency with the agreement,” Mr Crockwell said.
He said the extra vehicles would arrive, but were still being built.
“It doesn’t happen overnight — it takes a little while, and they are going to get here when they can,” he said.