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Opposition’s airport motion defeated

David Burt’s motion to have the airport redevelopment deal halted and made subject to a public RFP process was defeated 19-12 in the House of Assembly in the early hours of this morning (Photo by Nicola Muirhead)

A motion opposing the proposed redevelopment of LF Wade International Airport and calling for a public request for proposal process to take place was defeated last night by government MPs.

The motion, moved by David Burt, the Shadow Minister for Finance Minister, was subject to more than six hours of intense debate by MPs from across the political divide.

At 12.20 this morning, the motion was defeated by 19 votes to 12, with all government MPs voting against it.

Mr Burt called for a competitive RFP process for the redevelopment of the airport that gave the “best deal for Bermudians” and urged One Bermuda Alliance MPs to have “courage in their convictions” and support the motion.

However, the motion, which stated that “this Honourable House does not support the sole sourcing of a developer and concessionaire for the proposed new terminal at LF Wade International Airport and further, we recommend the project be subject to a public RFP process”, was defeated by seven votes.

Only 12 Progressive Labour Party MPs were present in the House when the vote took place. By then, Marc Bean, the Leader of the Opposition, had been suspended from the Chamber after a motion to censure against him was carried by government MPs, while Zane DeSilva, Dennis Lister and Derrick Burgess were not present for the vote.

The redevelopment of the airport has been a hotbed of debate in the past week.

The People’s Campaign has demanded accountability over the development proposal for the airport. It has charged that a mass of e-mails, published online this week, show tainted dealings with the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) and the contractor Aecon that was chosen for the job.

Finance Minister Bob Richards has maintained that nothing untoward took place during the discussions with the CCC and Aecon, telling The Royal Gazette that he had not known of Aecon until a June 4, 2014 meeting in Toronto, which was brokered through the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

The PLP has called for Mr Richards to resign over the agreement with the CCC, charging that Aecon’s selection was a backroom deal.