Bulk of $22m for Tynes Bay emergency repairs going overseas, senators told
About a third of the $22 million being spent on an emergency stabilisation programme at Tynes Bay is going to Bermudian firms and workers, the Government has said.
Some 70 per cent of the funds are being spent on overseas companies and experts, with 30 per cent going out domestically, Leslie Robinson, the Junior Minister of Public Works, told the Senate on Wednesday.
The emergency work, which began in September, is part of a $150 million long-term refurbishment plan for the waste facility – one of the Government’s key economic recovery initiatives.
The $22 million stabilisation project was launched in an effort to keep Tynes Bay operational and avoid “catastrophe” until wider works can be done, according to the Government.
Ms Robinson described the situation as a “vast and complex operation”, but did not give a breakdown of specific costs involved.
The third critical work project at the plant since 2020 involves 70 works and engineering staff, 50 local contractors and 60 overseas contractors, the junior minister said in response to questions from Douglas De Couto of the One Bermuda Alliance.
Ms Robinson said the costs involved divided as 60 per cent for equipment and 40 per cent for workers and consultants. She added that payment for overseas expertise was “normally higher” than for Bermuda-based firms and individuals.
She said that overall, about 70 per cent of the budget was going to overseas firms.
The junior minister told the upper house: “As work is currently on going for both the refurbishment programme and stabilisation programme simultaneously, the financial costs associated are complex and are not easily conveyed as each contract, invoice, and/or fee is submitted in different and various ways.
“These two programmes are vital to ensure the waste that Bermuda produces is properly disposed.”
Ms Robinson described the situation as a “vast and complex operation”, stating that in 2021, upgrades to equipment and systems cost $8 million, emergency repairs and support came in at $3 million, contingency equipment support cost $700,00 and project consultants were paid $350,000.
Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, told the House of Assembly in September that since the $150 million refurbishment plan had been announced, the facility had endured the failure of one of its two refuse cranes in April and vendor delays caused by Covid-19.
He warned that there was a very real risk of catastrophic failures at the waste plant if action was not taken as he announced the $22 million emergency plan to MPs.
The minister said: “I want to stress in the strongest possible terms that the risk of a catastrophic failure is very real.”