OBA hits out after $4m overpayment to airport firm Skyport
The One Bermuda Alliance last night slammed the Government for poor bookkeeping over payments to the operators of the new airport.
Scott Pearman, the Opposition transport spokesman, hit out after it was revealed that the Government had overpaid Skyport, which runs the terminal, by almost $4 million in minimum revenue guarantee fees at the end of last year.
Predicted income for the airport operator has been slashed in the past year because of the Covid-19 pandemic and a drastic cut in the number of flights to the island.
But the Government’s contract with Skyport means that the taxpayer has to stump up for shortfalls in expected revenue.
The Government paid out close to $20 million to Skyport to cover lost fees last year – but later learnt that it had overpaid by $4 million.
The overpayment was deducted from the bill for the second quarter of this year.
But Mr Pearman said: “At a time when our economy is struggling – and we so desperately need to pay careful attention to the people’s money – the media report that the PLP may have made a mistaken $4 million payment at the airport is deeply concerning.
“To make matters worse, these were the same airport payments used by the PLP to attack the OBA last year, when the PLP suggested, wrongly it now seems, that they had carefully scrutinised the airport payments.
“It would be nice to hear from those PLP critics, Minister Lawrence Scott and MP Christopher Famous, how this mistake may have happened.”
Mr Pearman added: “Projects like the St. Regis, the Loren, and especially the new airport are not just OBA successes, they are BERMUDIAN successes and our Government needs to build upon these successes for the benefit of all Bermudians, not criticise them for political purposes.
“The OBA respectfully suggests that the payment process needs to be reviewed again to reconsider the validity or otherwise of the $4 million payment.”
Lovitta Foggo, a Government MP and chairwoman of the Bermuda Airport Authority, admitted earlier this week that a mistake had been made.
Ms Foggo said: “Those monies did come back to us, as they should, and in keeping with the project agreement that governs the relationship between the Bermuda Airport Authority and Skyport.”