By MP Lawrence Scott
The previous OBA Government, led by Michael Dunkey, entered into the airport deal. That deal requires Bermuda to maintain predetermined air arrival numbers. This agreement also included a clause that stipulated that if airport traffic numbers were to fall the Government would provide a Minimum Regulated Revenue Guarantee.”
The bottom line is, we, the Bermudian taxpayers have paid out $5,770,995.54 (five million, seven hundred and seventy thousand, nine hundred and ninety-five dollars and fifty-four cents), and counting because of the deal that Michael Dunkley and the OBA negotiated. That is money that could be going to relief for families hurting at this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That is money that could be invested in our public education. That is money that could be used to bring down the cost of living. That is money that could be going to expand COVID-19 relief efforts.
We have many insurance experts in this country. In fact, we have many of the world's insurance experts right here in Bermuda. And, our country is uniquely vulnerable to various acts of God, including climate change, hurricanes and other weather events and pandemics, among a myriad of other potential acts of God.
Although the OBA says that the Bermudian people should have paid for insurance relating to this airport deal that they brokered, the fact remains that the Airport Authority looked into an insurance policy, and it was determined not to be financially feasible nor would it have protected against a Force Majeure event such as COVID-19. Part of the 2017 legal review into the Project Agreement stated that type of protection should have been included into the original contract and that “it was highly unusual” for a contract with such an extended duration (30 years) not to include a variation clause. Michael Dunkley and the OBA should have negotiated a better deal than to put the onus on AECON to buy this insurance to mitigate for this risk.
Because of the OBA's failure to protect the interests of Bermudians, we the people, are having to pay the bill for their costly mistake.