The government of Barbados has planned a lease and awarding of a $300M contract to an unknown company to run the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) in Barbados for up to 30 years. The winner of the $300 M contract to lease the airport would be granted a concession or lease to expand, operate and maintain the airport until the end of the contractual period of 30 years. Up until release of this article the company’s identity remains unknown to date June 8th 2023,
There should be nothing to hide when handling an important government asset such as the airport, however the government of Barbados keeps falling down on transparency and the fight against corruption. I relied on international sources to get information on this contract and that is unacceptable. The Barbados government can be cited as withholding information as no updates on the status of the tendering process can be obtained locally.
In February 2021 GAIA project coordinator, Gale Yearwood speaking in an interview with BNamericas confirmed a delay to the airport’s planned privatization. Yearwood reported that, “the government of Barbados, GAIA Inc. and its advisers took the decision to review the transaction to ensure that it meets the needs of and remains attractive to the shortlisted bidders, government, GAIA Inc”. International media reports indicate and can be quoted as saying that the Barbados government has not since July 2021 updated the status of its tendering process in regards to the leasing of the GAIA airport. Greater accountability is required on the $300M airport contract.
The government revealed the names of the 13 companies that have lined up to bid on the contract on its GIS website. The list of bidding companies come from, Ireland, Luxembourg , France, Spain , Amsterdam, Mexico , Brazil, Canada, Jamaica, Barbados and South Korea.
Taken from Government Information Service Website
The 13 prequalified bidders are:
- Companhia de Participações em Concessões S.A.
- Corporación Aeroportuaria del Este, S.A.S.
- Corporación Americas Airports S.A.
- daa International Limited
- EGIS Projects S.A. in consortium with Bouygues Bâtiment International, Jamaica Producers Group Limited, and Eppley Limited
- Ferrovial Airports International SE
- Groupe ADP
- Grupo Aeroportuario del Centro Norte, S.A.B. de C.V. (GACN)
- Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico
- Incheon International Airport Corporation
- Schiphol Nederland B.V.
- Vantage Airport Group Ltd.
- VINCI Airports in consortium with Williams Industries
The original idea for the tender was established in October 2018 under former tourism minister Kerrie Symmonds however deeper analysis revealed that the tender on the contract was slated to be awarded in early April 2021 after a delay & review of the contract as mentioned by the project coordinator Gale Yearwood occurred under former tourism Lisa Cummins in Feb 2021 and in July 21st 2021 Lisa Cummins said that the project is still on. She went on to say that later in the year 2021 there will also be an in-person bidders conference, where the bidders will visit Barbados and see first-hand the operations at the GAIA.
The PM then said that some of the shares of the airport will be sold to the NIS and some to airport workers however the constant reshuffling of tourism ministers breeds the secrecy and dark clouds surrounding the award of the contract to lease the country’s sole airport as very little information is available on this 30 year $300 M contractual arrangement.
This is June 2023 and we now have a new tourism minister Ian Gooding-Edgehill and the secrecy continues. The Barbados government stopped providing updates on the 30 year lease and Barbadians should ask for government accountability on this 30 year $300 M contract to lease out the GAIA and Barbadians should ask for transparency in how this extremely important state asset is handed over to a private entity to manage. We should know by now who has won this 300 M contract.