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PLP pushing for airport authority

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Raising concerns: David Burt and Lawrence Scott last night(Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The Progressive Labour Party last night outlined its vision for the future of L.F. Wade International Airport at a public meeting.

The One Bermuda Alliance has outlined plans to build a new terminal through a public-private partnership with the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC).

But during the meeting at Warwick Workmen’s Club, Lawrence Scott, the Shadow Minister of Transport, told an audience of nearly 100 people that his party suggests the creation of an airport authority, which would allow Bermudians to take advantage of projected revenues generated by the airport.

He said this was a better alternative to the Bermuda Government’s plan to “privatise” the airport, a claim the One Bermuda Alliance has consistently refuted.

Flanked by David Burt, the Shadow Minister of Finance, Mr Scott said: “With my knowledge in aviation, what I realise is that we can get to the same goal but by taking a different route. If we were to create an airport authority, meaning the Department of Airport Operations would become a quango somewhat similar to Wedco, they would then become separate from the Bermuda Government.

“That means the overhead needed to run the airport operations would actually come off the books. The taxpayers would no longer have to foot the bill for what it costs to run the airport.”

He said this would allow Bermudians to maintain operational and managerial control over the airport rather than handing control over to CCC.

The MPs also reiterated concerns raised in the House of Assembly and elsewhere about the lack of open tendering and that with the loss of operational control, the 43 jobs at the airport could not be guaranteed to be safe.

They also highlighted the need for a new Causeway and to focus on tourism before committing revenue to an airport.

David Burt speaks at the PLP town hall meeting (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Panellists were David Burt, left, and Lawrence Scott, Shadow Minister of Transport (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Nearly 100 people attended the meeting (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Lawrence Scott (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Col David Burch opens the PLP meeting (Photograph by Akil Simmons)