The Government published the Airport Development Agreement (ADA) on the parliamentary website last year. More recently, much has been made about the absence of specific schedules from the published material.
The schedules include commercially sensitive information that we cannot release while we are still in negotiations with CCC and Aecon. Parts of the ADA, which I signed last summer, bind us to keep such sensitive information confidential. This is for the benefit of all parties concerned.
Releasing these schedules contrary to our agreement, would jeopardise Bermuda’s reputation as a responsible and reliable business partner. Once the parties reach a final agreement, then all documents that relate to our agreement can, should and will be made public.
I was Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee for five (5) years. I am well aware of established procedures. I know how this Standing Committee of the House of Assembly is supposed to work.
During my tenure, we inaugurated public meetings and issued summonses – including one to a sitting Minister.But they were issued with the consensus of the bi-partisan committee – not by the Chairman alone. As the most recent summonses were written and delivered by the Chairman without prior committee approval, they are not valid.
With regard to the schedules, I need to reiterate that breaching the business agreements of confidentiality would be a serious matter for Bermuda, its reputation and the public interest. The information will be made public once the parties have a final agreement.