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Dispute over airport development plans

Senators crossed swords over the airport redevelopment plans yesterday after government senator Georgia Marshall branded the public private partnership as a “stroke of brilliance”.

Ms Marshall, who was speaking during the motion to adjourn, maintained that the tender process in Bermuda had a long history of going significantly over budget.

She went on cite a string of capital projects that came in over budget including the Berkeley Institute, Port Royal, the Dame Lois Browne-Evans building, Heritage Wharf, TCD and the Tynes Bay facility.

“What does that tell you?” Ms Marshall asked. “It tells us that even though referring to the tender process as being a sacrosanct way of ensuring that Government gets the best price for building or creating new capital projects, in actual fact what we have experienced is that the actual tender price accepted by Government and what Government actually spend on the project is 86 per cent off on average.

“If we take on a project and the cost of overrun is 86 per cent greater than expected it could be devastating.”

Ms Marshall maintained that it would cost $115 million to renovate the existing airport building, which would amount to more than $200 million if the 86 per cent overrun was factored in.

“So when the good people of Bermuda hear in debate in another place or talk radio or in conversation that the tender process is some sure way that Government gets good value for money I would ask them to look historically at what we have experienced and ask themselves is that always the best way. Clearly the answer is, it is not always the best way.”

Progressive Labour Party Senate leader, Marc Daniels, accused the One Bermuda Alliance of “arrogance” in the way it had dealt with the public's “angst and concerns” over the project.

“We simply don't have all the details,” he said. “We don't know what's in the schedules and contracts are being signed right now. We are working in a vacuum.”

OBA senator Vic Ball then entered the fray expressing his support for the project and praising the former PLP administration for formulating the 2008 Master Airport Plan which he said was “exactly the same plan that the OBA is using to build the airport”.

Senator Georgia Marshall. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published June 09, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated June 09, 2016 at 8:00 am)

Dispute over airport development plans

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