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PLP: airport deal is a parlour trick

Progressive Labour Party Senate leader Marc Daniels yesterday accused the Government of employing “parlour tricks” during the latest row over airport redevelopment plans.

Speaking in the Senate, he criticised the One Bermuda Alliance for its refusal to release full details of the Airport Redevelopment Agreement, as it hashes out negotiations on the $250 million L.F. Wade International Airport project with the Canadian Commercial Corporation.

“I personally don't think it's right that the current deal is being dealt with in such a confidential manner,” he said.

Sen Daniels compared the issue to a lawyer withholding crucial information from his or her client.

“We're not talking about a tender process where various numbers are being touted; we are negotiating with one (corporation),” he said.

“Why any terms would be concealed makes no sense. It almost neglects why the OBA were voted in: to serve people.”

Sen Daniels mocked the Government's argument that a modernised airport would bolster visitors' first impressions of Bermuda.

“I don't know a single tourist to Miami or New York who has talked about the airports as their first impression,” he said. “I just find the politics to be almost childlike. All I see is a whole lot of parlour-tricking to advance something where the people are showing a lot of trepidation.”

Senator Michael Fahy, the Minister of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities, hit back at Sen Daniels' claims, saying that the new project “doesn't have to be a JFK (airport)”.

“Anybody that negotiates contracts has to keep certain things confidential,” he said, “so to suggest something is being hidden is parlour tricks in itself.

“I think the Opposition knows that.

“It's a good horse to ride, but it's the wrong one.”

Sen Fahy pointed out that the airport's infrastructure lifespan ended in 2008, something which had been forewarned in a report ordered by the PLP.

“The fact that they commissioned a report tells you that they knew there was something seriously wrong at that airport,” he said.

“The Opposition knows that the airport as it exists is a joke. It's a terrible place to work and an unsustainable building.

“What I have not heard from the Opposition, who are being so nitpicky, is an alternative vision. Give us something that will work for the people of Bermuda.

“The OBA was put into power to fix things, which we are doing, despite all the noise.”

L.F. Wade International Airport.

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Published June 16, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated June 16, 2016 at 8:10 am)

PLP: airport deal is a parlour trick

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