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Moniz offers details on Sandys 360 report

The Sandys 360 sports centre, just ahead of its opening ten years ago (File photograph)

A construction firm appealed to the Government to settle its unpaid bill topping $1 million for the Sandys 360 sports complex at the West End, an Opposition backbencher has revealed.

Calling the failed gym a “black hole”, Trevor Moniz, a former public works minister, told the House of Assembly on Friday night that BCM McAlpine, which built the centre, approached him when he was minister in 2013 in a bid to recoup its money.

Mr Moniz also told MPs that Walter Lister, the former Progressive Labour Party MP, had been paid $10,000 in connections with Sandys 360, which had been “flagged” in a report by the professional services firm KPMG.

He added that “nobody knew what it was about”, but said the final version of the report stated there was “no pattern of anything they could see of any untoward payment”.

Mr Lister told The Royal Gazette, when contacted on Saturday, that he “never received a penny from that institution”, adding that Mr Moniz “made this up”.

Mr Lister was chairman of the Sandys Secondary School Foundation in 2002 when it launched its fundraising drive for the facility, which opened in September 2009. He added: “I’ve done a lot of work because I believed in it. It will one day return as a shining example in Sandys.”

Crippling expenses and a lack of revenue ultimately scuppered the centre, which closed in late 2013.

Mr Moniz said there had been “no business plan in place that would have made it sustainable”.

He recalled viewing a preliminary copy of the KPMG report in 2013 during his tenure as minister.

Patricia Gordon-Pamplin had taken over the portfolio when the final report was released in April 2014.

Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, agreed on Thursday to release a redacted version of the report.

Mr Moniz told MPs on Friday that Melvyn Bassett, formerly the managing director of Sandys 360, was “the only person paid on a full-time basis” and received “a six-figure sum”.

Mr Moniz also said that as minister, he had told Sandys 360 trustees that he would not support any government funding to rescue the multimillion dollar facility “if I didn’t have this report”.

But he called it “patently ridiculous” to suggest that he had given trustees a guarantee to bail out Sandys 360 “no matter what the report says”.