Six months later, Premier David Burt, who is also the Minister of Finance, has yet to release any specific details on the controversial Gencom guarantee to renovate Southampton Princess Hotel.
With initial plans to redevelop and reopen the South Shore Resort by September 2023, Bermuda’s political pundits had much to say on the deafening silence to date.
And they want to know what’s the hold up and whether in fact the planned reopening by next summer will actually become a reality.
Bermuda Real has received a wealth of information on why the deal has yet to be sealed, including the employment of an undisclosed foreign workers to work around clock on 24-hour shifts – split as day and nightshifts.
No one in authority would speak to the issues at hand on the record – that process continues.
But when contacted by Bermuda Real, One Bermuda Alliance MP, Craig Cannonier, the Shadow Minister of Tourism, who is also a former Premier, said: “Our Premier has been alarmingly silent on where this most important project stands.
“We heard over and over on the importance to our Tourism industry, local entrepreneurs and our taxi business that we must move swiftly,” said Mr Cannonier.
“It is now many months since our Premier said ‘two weeks an update would be forthcoming’.
“Again he has misled the people of Bermuda.”
On that note he said: “Our Premier has been as transparent as mud. But like everything else he has difficulty with I’m sure it’s the OBA’s fault.”
He concluded: “Its evident this Government is having challenges and negotiations are problematic.
“I said it before and directly to Gencom that there is no need to extend concessions beyond the already legislated 10 years,” he said.
“I wonder now how much more may be asked beyond the 15 years given.”
He also reiterated the fact that six months later: “For now it’s only Bermudas tree frogs in Southampton speaking.”
As it stands now, just as it did in February,anyone looking to hear specific details on the Gencom guarantee to renovate the still dormant hotel would be sadly disappointed.
There was no mention of it in the 47-page fiscal plan for the next legislative year, in spite of the much touted speculation that it triggered Curtis Dickinson’s shock resignation as Finance Minister.
Ultimately, Premier David Burt did not specify what exactly has been guaranteed in the Government’s proposal for this multi-million dollar hotel redevelopment project.
Now six months later and Bermuda’s taxpayers were still in the dark, so to speak, on what exactly they are on the line for in terms of dollars and cents for this GENCOM deal.
It has given rise to a widespread speculation – now running rampant, in the lead up to the PLPs Delegates Conference, particularly in light of the abrupt resignation of Curtis Dickinson.
There is also mounting speculation that Mr Dickinson may challenge the Premier for the top job.
Our sources say that ticket lists Dickinson for Premier and Wayne Caines for Deputy Premier. This however, has not been confirmed and remains speculation.
Again, no one in authority would discuss it on the record and the PLP remains traditionally tightlipped on the party’s internal affairs. But time will tell.
One political pundit’s take on “the Premier’s silence”, sent to Bermuda Real on the condition of anonymity, stated:
“For the Premier, this ‘deal’ had to be done urgently; while Curtis Dickinson, with his wealth of knowledge and experience, approached this situation with caution, and said, ‘No let’s wait. There is no rush because important conditions have not been met by Gencom’.
“The Premier said ‘No, the deal must be closed’.
“Even Minister Hayward accused Dickinson of not knowing ‘how to close the deal’. This was a calculated assertion, aimed at garnering support from his fervently following MPs.
“Well the deal is still not closed!
“So Curtis Dickinson was right after all.
“He knew that all these promises were presented with an unrealistic timeline of closing the deal.
“The silence thus continues on the Gencom deal. And the silence is deafening!
“Both Mr Dickinson and the people of Bermuda just want the Premier to be transparent and honest, which he hasn’t been.
“He knows, and we know that there are potential challenges looming for him as we approach October, so what does he do?
“He tries to entice the public with a $15M payout, which will be presented in September, a minute before the Delegates Conference.
“This merely works out to be a ONE TIME payment of $150 for public school children, who qualify, and a one time payment of $250 to seniors who qualify.
“This Premier has mastered how to manipulate and play with the public’s trust. So it would be interesting to know what the Premier is selling the delegates!
“Bermuda, in October we will know!”
We’ll have more in subsequent reports…