‘Emotional’ opposition to airport plans
West End residents expressed their anger and frustration over the multimillion-dollar airport redevelopment project last night.
About 50 people attended an information session hosted by the Progressive Labour Party at Sandys Secondary Middle School.
Shadow transport minister Lawrence Scott, and Walter Roban, the Acting Deputy Leader and Shadow Minister of Immigration, reiterated the PLP's concerns about the project and presented the party's alternative plan before giving residents the opportunity to express their views and ask questions.
“From what I hear tonight I think we do have a plan to let them carry on because if we didn't want it to carry on, we would be going forward to close the Government down,” one man said, leading to other audience members voicing their agreement that the Bermuda Government should be “shut down”.
Another woman said she had been at the last meeting where representatives from the Canadian construction firm Aecon were present.
“I got so emotional that if I could have, I probably would have done something I would have regretted later because I had a one-on-one talk with the gentleman from Aecon. A lot of stuff that they said just didn't make sense.”
She said she was “embarrassed” that the Bermuda Government “was not there to present these people to us”.
“I am going to tell you like I told him; I don't care what the OBA says, Bob Richards, the Governor, we are not building this airport if I have anything to say about it, we are not building it, we can't afford it.
“We can't do this, Bermuda. We have got to get up here and if we have to shut this island down like we did for immigration, we are going to shut it down because we can't afford this.”
Other residents also questioned why representatives from Aecon had been allowed to lead information sessions.
“They have persons, the company that is going to do the work come in and convince us what is better for us.
“I would think that our Government should be able to convince us what is best for us without having foreigners that have an investment in this whole deal which will get the cream of the pie to come in and convince us that this is best for you and you won't have to pay a thing,” one man said.
“Let's pull the plug, no is no,” another member of the audience added. “It's time to just stand up and say they've got to go.”
Also present at the meeting, which was moderated by Constituency 34 chairman Makai Dickerson, were West End MPs Dennis Lister, Jamahl Simmons, Kim Wilson and Michael Scott. Mr Richards, the Minister of Finance, has repeatedly defended the airport project.
In a press conference following the PLP's last meeting on the subject, he said “naked politics” was the reason for its opposition to “an infrastructure project that will replace a crumbling facility, create hundreds of badly needed jobs for Bermudians and not increase the public debt”.