I am glad to see that questions are being asked again about the Dockyard Cement Facility. Since BCC closed up shop and Maxcem took over the operation there have been some unanswered questions surrounding this issue, as well as allegations of crony capitalism.
When Government/Wedco and the BCC first began the protracted disagreements that led to Maxcem taking over I initially argued that the demands by Government/Wedco were legitimate (the demolition of the silos and the construction of a new plant and, to a lesser degree, the position on the length of the lease), although I thought there was enough scope for compromise, both in the details and in timings. Having said that I always got the impression that the issue was less one of rational argument (or alleged covetousness) and more one of some personal animosity. I felt that this personal animosity was not so much between the PLP itself versus BCC/Mr. Butterfield, but more between one or two persons within the PLP and BCC/Mr. Butterfield. Despite this feeling, I could see the argument being put forward by Government/Wedco as plausible, rational and legitimate.
When Maxcem, largely controlled by Mr. Correia took over the facility, while I raised an eyebrow due to Mr. Correia’s political connections, I generally did not have a problem with it, and was of the understanding that Maxcem would be taking over the facility with the conditions that BCC had refused. Otherwise, there was absolutely no point in the whole kerfuffle. Indeed, failure to hold Maxcem to the same standards as BCC were being asked to comply with would instead reinforce the perception that the issue was not one of principle but instead one of revenge or cronyism on the part of the PLP/Government – or at least by one or two members who happen to be in Government.
Naturally, I would hope the above is not the case, that instead there is a perfectly legitimate explanation why Maxcem does not appear to comply with the conditions that forced BCC out. To date though I am not aware of such an explanation being put forward, and the failure to do so will only reinforce negative perceptions of the situation.
I also find it curious that the BIU backed Island Cement Co seemed to have been so readily dismissed, and this in itself raises some questions. I note that the Myron Piper is listed as the then president of Island Cement Co, and that he is now a member of the Bermuda Democratic Alliance, publicly speaking for them recently. I recall Mr. Piper as a former PLPer (although I viewed him as a political entrepeneur opportunist, a class which has heavily infested the PLP since 1998), and I wonder if his newly revealed political connections had any factor in this.
The whole thing just stinks, and needs resolved. Otherwise this issue will continue to be cement shoes for the PLP/Government.