People’s Campaign spokesman, the Reverend Nicholas Tweed has issued a “clarion call” for Bermudians to “mobilize, galvanize, and organize” plans to block Government’s $250 million airport redevelopment plan.
At a news conference on Monday at the Bermuda Industrial Union (BIU), the community activist group released a special report entitled ‘A Bad Deal for Bermuda’. The 69-page document sets out the group’s objections to the proposed redevelopment project.
In his opening remarks, Rev Tweed said the main purposed of the report “is to keep the critical, unanswered questions concerning this deal in the public domain, and to query a process that is shrouded in secrecy”.
“It appears that every effort is being made to keep the Bermudian people in the dark until reaching a point of no return and ultimately resulting in the people resigning themselves to the inevitability of a project,” said Rev Tweed.
“This deal will not only be to the detriment of the people of this country but will enslve future generations to a debt that will drain essential resources. This deal will see the shif of key resources out of Bermuda’s control and place them squarely in the hands of a foreign company; a company whose national allegiance and principle interests lie elsewhere.”
Rev Tweed said the people “should be further alarmed by the fact that, according to the Minister of Finance, even beyond the initial term of the Agreement, Aecon will continue to share for an undetermined period of time the profits from the airport”.
“One-hundred and eighty-two years after the abolition of slavery in Bermuda, we are now faced with sentencing the island to economic slavery. By this report, we are making a clarion call for us to emancipate ourselves from this bad deal for Bermuda,” he said.
Bermuda Public Service Union (BPSU) President Jason Hayward said: “The Government propaganda video has done a good job of showing the bad state of the airport.” He noted that the special report highlights how the Government was “seduced” into sealing a deal with Aecon.
He also said the report points up transparency issues, cost implications and conflicting statements by the Minister of Finance Bob Richards.
BIU President Chris Furbert accused Government of snubbing the people’s demands for answers by dismissing their concerns. And he took issue with the estimated costs of the proposed new airport.
“You’re talking about $1,000 per square foot. How could that be good value for money? Most of it’s open space,” said Mr Furbert. He also said page nine of the report shows “missing schedules that have all been redacted”. “You have to ask yourselves why,” he said. “Right now we’re just shooting in the dark.”
The report compiled by the People’s Campaign contends “the Government has doggedly continued to ignore the people it was elected to serve, as it sells off the birthright of future generations of Bermudians.”
It is available in electronic form or hard copies at the Bermuda Industrial Union. For more information visit biu.bm.
By Ceola Wilson