PLP to raise airport plan in Senate
The Progressive Labour Party today reiterated concerns about the Bermuda Government moving forward with the airport redevelopment project, and pledged to highlight issues during tomorrow's sitting of the Senate.
A PLP spokesman said that even though the British Government had insisted that conditions be met before proceeding with the project, the One Bermuda Alliance was pushing forward with its plans.
“Despite the fact that independent commentators have asked the OBA to pause and reconsider moving forward with this project, the OBA government is moving ahead with this dubious deal,” the spokesman said.
“By privatising the airport, the Bermuda Government stands to lose approximately $2 billion in revenue over the next 30 years and $620 million in profit, as stated by an independent commentator.
“With our level of debt, can Bermuda afford to lose this income?
“With all of the signs pointing to an airport deal that doesn't benefit Bermudians and doesn't benefit Bermuda, why does the OBA seem unwilling to listen to reason and reassess this project?”
The spokesman said an independent report by Deloitte on the handling of the project had noted gaps in the process, including an economic assessment of a defined list of options to ensure the most economically advantage option was selected.
“The Deloitte report examined the commercial case and poured cold water on the OBA's claim that their approach can guarantee value for money,” the PLP said. “Deloitte went on to recommend that the Government independently assess some of the claims made by the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC), especially the claim that a sole-source procurement is the only viable option.
“Deloitte also examined the financial case and found that many items were developed by CCC and may not take into account the full costs to be borne by the Government of Bermuda.”
The spokesman said the report was expected to be debated in the Senate tomorrow, at which time the PLP intended to highlight the deficiencies and gaps in the project, and would lay out why the deal was bad for Bermuda and Bermudians.
“Unfortunately, the Finance Minister refuses to debate the report, denying Members of Parliament the opportunity to hold him accountable,” the spokesman said. “For the OBA, whose entire campaign was based on accountability, transparency and openness, this move to duck accountability demonstrates that they believe the rules don't apply to them.
“Tomorrow in the Senate, the OBA will be held accountable and, with the people's support, we can demand that the OBA produce an airport development plan that keeps the airport in Bermudian hands, keeps the revenue in the government's coffers, and creates jobs and opportunities for Bermudians.”