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Cannonier calls on Government to give NSC solar contract details

More questions than answers: One Bermuda Alliance MP Craig Cannonier (File photograph)

Opposition MP Craig Cannonier is calling on Government to provide details of the controversial $3.2 million contract to install solar panels at the National Sports Centre.

The contract was finally awarded to contractor Atlantic Energy Solutions Group in May – almost three years after the company was first given a Letter of Intent to take on the project.

But leaked documents show that the NSC took out a loan to fund the project last month. When AESG was first selected as the preferred bidder in September 2018, it claimed it had funding in place.

Mr Cannonier, who is the One Bermuda Alliance spokesman on public works, said Government had so far failed to answer “many, many questions and concerns” about the contract.

Speaking during a Facebook discussion yesterday with OBA Party chairwoman Catherine Kempe, Mr Cannonier said: “I have put out nine questions that I have asked Government to answer to. We have not received any answers to those questions as of yet.

“I asked these questions in June at least a month ago and we have from there we really haven’t gotten any answers at all.

“And then of course I become the bad guy because I’m asking questions. I recognise that Government does not like to be asked questions about particular projects. I was not making any accusations at all, let alone accusations against the PLP party – there are many beautiful people within the PLP party.

“What I am concerned about is, based in the information that I have available to me – facts, not innuendo, not gossip – that point to the fact that the trustees of the National Sports Centre were not aware and did not agree to this project moving forward.

“I’m sitting here and I have all of this information and I’m saying we need to ask some more questions as to what is going on.

“All we’re asking for here is transparency very much like when the Premier was asking for transparency about the airport. We are now asking for transparency on this particular project.”

Mr Cannonier said he wanted to know who took out the bank loan on behalf of the NSC last month and if Cabinet formally approved the transaction.

He said: “How can a loan have been granted to the sports centre when the board of trustees never authorised any loan? What is the position of the remaining five trustees? They must make their position clear to the public.”

Speaking in the House of Assembly last Friday, Mr Adams insisted that the board of trustees approved the loan in May.

And he denied that AESG had been given a $12,000-a-month contract for ten years to manage the project once it is complete.

Mr Cannonier said: “The Government says that the facts remain the same – the loan was approved by the trustees. They need to provide that information, where the trustees actually agreed.”

In the past week this newspaper has e-mailed questions to the Ministry of Finance on several occasions. No response has been received.

A spokeswoman for the ministry of sport said: “The Ministry doesn't have anything further to offer regarding this.”