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Pressure group remains opposed to airport deal

A pressure group that campaigned against the controversial airport redevelopment deal said it would remain opposed to the plan — irrespective of the findings of a new review.

A spokesman for Move Bermuda said that “for so many reasons our position could not change about this deal”.

He added: “But that's another conversation.”

Move said the deal with the Canadian Commercial Corporation and construction firm Aecon to redevelop LF Wade International Airport had provoked “great angst, civil unrest and many restless nights”.

The spokesman added: “We believe that the Government that negotiated the deal gave away much to our detriment and could have gotten a better deal elsewhere through the bargaining process.”

Move was asked what the impact would be if the review was to find the deal a benefit to Bermuda.

He said: “There are many variables associated with whether the full review would be deemed beneficial to Bermuda and the only one we can think of is that a modern terminal would be built.”

“However, if it were found to be beneficial through the report then the idea would have to be accepted.”

The spokesman said that the group was confident that the review ordered by the Government, conducted by the Bermuda Airport Authority and American-based consultant firm LeighFisher, would be made public.

He added that Move expected the findings of the BAA review would “have a different conclusion” to the review completed by the Blue Ribbon Panel under the former One Bermuda Alliance government “based upon the knowledge of the contract and the financial information now available”.

The spokesman said: “The review by the Blue Ribbon Panel was viewed as an expected outcome as there was nothing to compare the negotiated deal with.”

A spokesman for the transport ministry confirmed this week that the final draft of a report on the review had been received, but that it would “undergo Cabinet consideration before it is made public”.

Denis Pitcher, an independent political commentator, said both the report and the review itself should be made available to the public.

Move and the People's Campaign opposed the redevelopment deal in the lead-up to last July's General Election.

A protest against the redevelopment in December 2016 turned violent when police officers clashed with demonstrators who blocked entry to the House of Assembly.

Officers used pepper spray on the crowd outside Sessions House.

David Burt, the Premier who was then Opposition leader, Derrick Burgess, Lovitta Foggo and Michael Scott were among the Progressive Labour Party MPs who showed up to picket Parliament.

At least 26 complaints were made to the Police Complaints Authority by members of the public in the wake of the demonstration.

The Bermuda Police Service said 14 of their officers were assaulted.

Work on the new airport terminal continues (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published February 09, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated February 09, 2018 at 7:43 am)

Pressure group remains opposed to airport deal

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