Transparency Required with award of GAIA Contract

Kemar J.D Stuart, Director Business Development , Finance and Investment Stuart & Perkins Caribbean

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:

  1. Companhia de Participações em Concessões S.A.
  2. Corporación Aeroportuaria del Este, S.A.S.
  3. Corporación Americas Airports S.A.
  4. daa International Limited
  5. EGIS Projects S.A. in consortium with Bouygues Bâtiment International, Jamaica Producers Group Limited, and Eppley Limited
  6. Ferrovial Airports International SE
  7. Groupe ADP
  8. Grupo Aeroportuario del Centro Norte, S.A.B. de C.V. (GACN)
  9. Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico
  10. Incheon International Airport Corporation
  11. Schiphol Nederland B.V.
  12. Vantage Airport Group Ltd.
  13. 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.

63 thoughts on “Transparency Required with award of GAIA Contract

    • The transparency argument is relevant. How can we defend any government of recent vintage as it pertains to lack of transparency? Let us try to play the ball and not the man.


      Article by Barbados Today
      Published on
      June 9, 2023


      By Jenique Belgrave

      The National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) is concerned that the Government is holding back critical information regarding its plans to reform state-owned enterprises (SOEs).
      At the same time, the umbrella body for trade unions in Barbados says it remains completely in the dark about the process.
      NUPW General Secretary Richard Green told Barbados TODAY the island’s largest public sector trade union is still awaiting progress reports on the reforms.
      “We are not satisfied that we are getting all of the information that is required. There are a number of entities where reform has been proposed. We have already met with some and we’ve put our positions relative to how the process should go based on our experience, and in most cases, we are still awaiting information and progress reports on those reforms,” he stated.
      While remaining tight-lipped on the details, he said the union has already been engaged in talks with the majority of the SOEs which were at certain levels of progress.
      “In the majority of them, we have had initial consultations, but there’s more information that we have requested to be in a better position to advise our members,” Green stated, adding while information has been coming steadily it is not always adequate.
      He said the union was demanding the fullest consultation throughout the entire reform exercise and to be privy to all of the information in order to be in a position to advise members on all options.
      Green said the NUPW also wanted to ensure that what is being executed is being done with the best interest of workers in mind.
      “Reform of any SOE is a highly emotive and a highly sensitive exercise. We do not focus on deadlines. We focus primarily on making sure that the best possible results are maintained for the staff, especially those who may be affected negatively and to ensure that the SOE coming out the exercise is one that is stable, is one that supports future workers and does not compromise the services that it is providing to clients, especially the public,” he stressed.
      Meanwhile, General Secretary of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations for Barbados (CTUSAB) Dennis De Peiza said his organisation remains out of the loop regarding the restructuring of the SOEs.
      “Nothing has changed. We have had no word and know nothing about what is going on with that process,” he told Barbados TODAY.
      During a press conference in March, officials of the trade union umbrella body said it was not involved in any of the discussions taking place.
      At the time, De Peiza said the situation demonstrated the protracted disrespect being shown to the association, as it had often been left “begging” with repeated requests to engage with top government officials either declined or unanswered.
      Giving a brief snapshot of the progress being made by a few of the SOEs last month, Prime Minister Mia Mottley told the media the majority of the reforms should be finished over the next year.
      She said she had met with officials of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and had plans to have further discussions “to look at streamlining its further capital programme”.
      “The Mass Transit Authority and the Transport Board are well underway in terms of planning,” she added.
      The Prime Minister had also revealed that the lone public radio and television broadcaster, the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation, was in negotiations with a potential buyer.
      [email protected]

  1. Isn’t it funny, how some will seek information from KJDS and not from the horses’ mouth.

  2. LOL…transparency is a word the political class uses to make Joe/Joan Q public believe there is information to which they should be privy, but are not.
    If the awardee is an “unknown company”, there is an inference it was NOT among the names originally listed as prequalified bidders? In simple terms, that bidder list was not publicly amended to reflect new bidders, or those who had ‘dropped out’.
    Otherwise, it is not common practice to give a blow by blow on negotiations?
    Hence I agree, IF the awardee is known, why not just spill the beans?
    In so doing, the lack of transparency should be self-evident to the reader.

    • @ Dame B
      You may be surprised at the number of people who are laughing at our donkeys…
      The only ones not laughing are the lotta BBs who are so blind and deaf that they actually believe the shiite our politicians talk.

  3. Harrison’s Cave, GAIA, CBC, we ‘remain in the dark’ relative to SOEs…… this is not especially when one considers how those decisions will affect employees’ livelyhood and their future. Perhaps next on Mottley’s agenda is to lease the post office to FedEx or DHL, or maybe the Port Authority is soon to be on the ‘chopping block.’

  4. General report
    I am somewhat troubled by what I see/saw in Barbados. I believe there was progress compared to when I was last here, but I get the impression that not all are invited to feast at the big table.

    I was very surprised when we were bathing at a beach in front of a closed hotel next to Speightstown and my son said “Dad, three years ago, the security guards tried to prevent us accessing this beach”

    I keep my politics, comments and son in three non-communicative lockers. My son is a lighter complexion than I am but he cannot pass for anything other than black, but he was a tourist.

    Unexpected nuggets like that are what makes me cautious when dealing with fellow citizens.

    My interactions with some guards in Barbados have not been as positive as I like. I am always tempted to push back, but I am a family man.

  5. The Chinese will get the contract under the table.
    We owe them too much money for which we will be unable to repay. We are in a democracy with a dictator.
    David Clarke.

  6. @NO
    I understand your position, but I disagree with it. Of course there is a need for secrecy on some items, but when this is not the case we should not have to rely on guesswork/speculation from 3rd parties.

    Our first source should be GoRoB. I cannot understand why many are ready to take a hard stance on unofficial sources and give GoRoB a free pass.

    • TheO
      Disclosing the awarded firm, does anything but give the GoB a free pass? It turns up the heat as to why it was known elsewhere and no public announcement.
      There maybe a very good reason, like certain deal specifics needed sign offs etc etc But it forces the GoB to address the matter, seemingly before they wish to address it.
      The flip side, is the author is just fishing. For if he calls names and is wrong, his credibility is on the line.

    • The fact Kemar has to fish for info that should be readily available or at worse the status of the transaction should have been addressed in a formal way speaks volumes to the level of transparency.

    • David
      I agree fully, given the length of time this matter has been in the public space, there has been a dismal failure to address the matter publicly. The GoB could easily have made a short, say nothing statement, such that they could claim ‘public communication’.
      But as alluded, transparency is just bullshit chatter between the political class. They will all do as they please, and next time voting is available, citizens may pass verdict.
      You maybe disappointed, the current group is as non-transparent as others who preceded them. Time for a March? Get @TheO before he heads back to smoke infested air compliments of the Canadian wildfires.

  7. I’ve mentioned Sinckler and SOEs in this forum on several occasions. Yet, we ‘remain in dark.’ I understand the amalgamation process was discussed with NAB employees, indivdually, via the telephone. They too, are ‘in the dark’ as well.

  8. Business changes are announced at same time as legal changes are made such as registration of the new business entity for trading

  9. Transparency was always foolishness, to appease idiots.

    Even Transparency International was just another tool for external, imperial, control of assholes thinking that they were part of some grand democracy logic.

    There’s however no need for transparency in NATO’s war on the RF ’cause the RF has eliminated 8K troops, plus 100s of tanks and vehicles in the 4-day old counter-offensive insisted on by the imperial curators of Mottley and the big deckie is deeply planted in dey “democratic”, woke-ist, pragmatic-nationalist, fascist, western-christian, georgie-porgie, poooookerts.

  10. @Hants
    Thanks. I am having a great time.

    The acronym GoB puzzles me. Is that Barbuda or the Bahamas?

    I noticed you have a reluctance to properly identify the Republic of Barbados (RoB) or its government (GoRoB).

    • @TheO
      Do you pen RoUSA? RoT&T? PRC?
      I refer to the Government of the nation.
      Whether that nation has a head of state which is a monarch or a president, elected or otherwise.
      I note the local fourth estate has not adopted the GoRoB?

  11. @Hants
    Just remembered this issue. Dined at an expensive restaurant using my credit card. The food was great.

    Looked at the deduction made at my bank and it was $32.00 more than when I do a direct conversion. Was thinking of taking my wife there for a nice romantic dinner, but I hate being ‘cheated’.

    Hopefully, tourists have a better experience than I had. It appears repeat business is not wanted.

    • TheO
      Why not call the establishment and question the charge? Isn’t that what you would do at home?

    • It’s quite early this Saturday morn and I am still less than enthused about being out of a warm bed … so @Theo excuse the snarky note 😅!

      So wait you highlighted ‘an expensive restaurant’ to say what exactly … that Bajan restaurants cost lots of money!

      Well let things out, will yah.

      I mean if you had treated your family to a nice, inviting Mustors style repast fah sure you would have been on the matter like red on a Bajan cherry not so 😉…

      So why not this expensive spot …

      And of course expensive is relative to one’s expectations causing I think some of the lil spots at Hastings, Holetown or Speightown are expensive as bumbeclot so Cliff or other is just more money for that more contrived ‘romantic ambience ‘, yes!

      Looka if you were cheated then that’s on you to redress and if it’s a ‘legitimate’ charge which you missed then address that too but fah sure don’t label (or suggest) all Bajan eateries are crooked …

      Afterall they aren’t all politicians now, are they!🤦🏾‍♂️

      PS. I will entertain NO return snarky reasons for being out of my warm bed so early on a weekend day!😎😉 ..

      I gone. Might as well go for a run and burn off de energy!

    • @Dee Word

      It is no secret fine dining is expensive and a commonsense position is to check the menu online before entering the establishment.

  12. Two good comments from NO and dpD.

    I dropped them an email and will follow-up in person to get an explanation. The truth is, I would prefer to live with the charge and complain than to present my card again.

    I was speaking of specific restaurant and not ‘all’ as you seem to suggest. No charges were missed, but I get your overall message. Let me add.. I know expensive and cheap.

    However, I shall follow-up in person.

  13. @NO
    You see I am not too old to learn.

    Since I do not use ‘GoRo’ for the others, I will drop ‘GoRo’ from use, but folks do refer to our friends from the east as the PRC.

    Head may be hard, but stuff gets in.

  14. ‘Open a Billing Dispute’
    Can you dispute a charge on American Express?
    For charges you don’t recognize, incorrect charges, canceled services, returned items or goods you didn’t receive: Go to the Inquiry & Dispute Center. Click on ‘Open a Billing Dispute’

  15. Another non-story from a neophyte searching for relevance. In the words of the PM “stay focused…we’ve only just begun”. Kemar find the contracts at CAIPO yet? 🤣

    • Election talk pricks pundits’ ears
      It was all political guns blazing last weekend when the queen and some in the hive came out stinging.
      But amidst all the talking points – such as the bathroom row, child protection, ID cards, down to the country’s debt – it was a few words that stirred the curiosity of some political pundits and caused them to start talking.
      As is par for the course on the political front, fingers were pointed at the Dems for stirring a pot of “disinformation” and attempts to mislead the populace. They were even accused of being in “desperation mode”.
      Well, when a party has been decimated in back-to-back polls within the space of three years, a categorisation of that type may not be far off the truth; but it was what was said next by the queen bee that sent some tongues wagging.
      No time for ‘distractions’
      “With the problems we are facing as a country, do we really have time for distractions? All who are getting hot and sweaty, I say to them to stay focused, because there will not be a general election called anytime soon.”
      Hmmm. A general election? Is anyone, in particular the still reeling men and women in yellow and blue, looking for another poll anytime soon? Are they ready? Are they pushing for the queen to make the call?
      Cou Cou strongly believes that not even the most eager “election animal” would want another snap poll at this time, but that, of course, does not stop the armchair experts from relishing the prospects of another mighty battle between the main players.
      So if a poll was called, say, within the next six months, would the Dems be in a better position to get their names on the roll as far as seats in the House are concerned?
      The general feeling is that, notwithstanding the clear signs that the
      doc in charge of the ailing party is trying to present a new face and front with a cadre of fresh and somewhat fiery female faces, “dem ain’t ready yet” and are still too green to run the red squad out of town.
      Still struggling
      The political speculators almost all agreed that from the leader back down, they are all still struggling to find their feet and need so much more time to convince all and sundry that they can pack a punch that will knock out some of the worker bees who may be showing some vulnerability, especially if the queen bee calls it a day.
      Not one of the old-stagers, who may feel they have one good last fight in them, even came up trumps in the estimation of the “experts”, who said that from all they had heard and seen, nobody was bringing anything that could stir a major political fire close to smoking out the bees from their lofty hive.
      So despite any “hot and sweaty” talk, they say, the only poll George Street is interested in is an opinion poll on whether they are making any inroads into convincing Bajans they are ready to return to the big house and that some of the past “sins” have been forgiven.

      Source: Nation (coucou & flying fish

  16. “It is no secret fine dining is expensive and a commonsense position is to check the menu online before entering the establishment.”

    Most are missing the point I was making..
    I was not complaining about the cost of the meal as it was cheaper than what I budgeted for. This is not about cost of items on a menu.

    What I am complaining about is that there is a great discrepancy between the BDS $ paid and the US $ charged to my card.

    Fees from my cc company were a separate charge and are not included in that total.

    As indicated, I will stop by the company/restaurant.

    • The amount charged to your card has nothing to do with the restaurant or Barbados, it is how BBD currency was converted by your bank. A simple way to do it is check your card statement and divide local amount paid by US amount you will probably find the rate is wonky. The blogmaster has experienced similar many times when traveling.

  17. As a father, when my son comes to me with fancy footwork, I will tell him… You are not as smart as you think you are and more importantly, people are not as foolish as you think they are. Cut it out.

    -Here endeth my comments–

  18. David, I get your point.
    I have traveled extensively and this is the first time that I have experienced this ‘behavior’.

    Let me ask you this if the rate was 1:1 should I keep silent?

    Is there a threshold at which I should feel taken advantage of or does having a machine and a roll of paper makes a transactions valid.

    But I have a few days more here … I will explore further.

  19. David

    “The fact Kemar has to fish for info that should be readily available or at worse the status of the transaction should have been addressed in a formal way speaks volumes to the level of transparency.”

    Explain what should be readily available? How come no mention of the IFC in Kemar’s piece? Info about the airport was mentioned as recently as March in Parliament. Scandal chasers will always get duped easily. Let me sit back and watch the scandal chasers foam at the mouth. And contrary to what many here think, I am no insider or privy to info, I simply listen and read.

    • @enuff

      Parliament seems not to be the ideal place to update the nation given the absence of an opposition. How unfortunate for our democracy.

    • I am no insider or privy to info, I simply listen and read.
      yuh telling lies ting yuh!! 🙂
      You don’t do false modesty well… lol

  20. Let me add, that on the whole my experience was a positive one. I enjoyed reminiscing, seeing and meeting with old friends, the scenery, sea baths and grabbing a roti (very good value for your money). One gets

    ‘he couldn’t dun dere, he had to add a negative’

    Negative – There appears to be uncontrolled growth of a plant called ‘river tamarind’. Does it have any uses?

  21. Since GPII is focused on Bills, I see there are amendments to allow for a contributory public service pension plan, incl teachers, beginning 2024.
    All good, until it stated this is to be run by the NIS.
    Are they mad?
    While “easier” to enact, and one guesses it will be a separate segregated fund, given the inability of the NIS to comply with its own Act, I would expect Unions representing the affected employees to be “up in arms”.

    • David:
      That is more a burial than a reincarnation. Tho apparently the AudGen, not the contributors, have reports.
      If I were in the public service I would not be happy with the choice of fund management.

  22. Report #1
    You cannot get the full flavor of the island by relying on comments on a blog. Trying to guess the taste of Barbados from the mix of spices used by various contributors is impossible.

    You have to go to Ground Zero. Talk with the man in the streets and hear what he thinks. He is aware of what is happening and will tell you that there are issues, but his belief that Bajans will get things right shines through.

    The locals have the big picture and yet they have an abundance of hope. Some will give you a story that hits at both B and D; the true story (history) of Barbados with villains and heroes.

    We who are on the outside have the many negatives as our reference points. Our vision is limited mainly to stories that make it online. Our position does not allow us to see the whole terrain.
    ‘Get ye to Ground Zero’.

    I have not yet met Lorenzo or enuff, but ran into a few blogmaster type (optimistic) but with ‘less of a lean’.

  23. David
    Really? You claimed lack of transparency. I said I heard about the airport recently in a sitting of Parliament. Now you’re arguing Parliament is inappropriate, a sitting that is live and recorded for all to see and hear. I’m still lost at the transparency claim though. Keep being mislead.

    • David
      And you need to read period and stop being duped by scandal chasers. I ask again, how come there is no mention of the IFC?

    • @enuff

      Majority of Barbadians do not know about the role of the IFC. A sad place we find ourselves, where there is a vacuum you know what will happen.

    • Enuff
      Wasn’t the IFC hired to ‘structure and advise’, are you implying they made the decision on the selection of the successful entity?
      If not, what is the value of the IFC to the overall picture beyond ‘structure and advice’.

  24. “You cannot get the full flavor of the island by relying on comments on a blog. Trying to guess the taste of Barbados from the mix of spices used by various contributors is impossible.

    You have to go to Ground Zero. Talk with the man in the streets and hear what he thinks. He is aware of what is happening and will tell you that there are issues, but his belief that Bajans will get things right shines through.”

    Enjoy your stay on the island Theo. Just try not to become too indoctrinated. Our government appears to be funding private companies to self-promote their brands in the USA. One of them is Chefette.

    I have always stated that only foreign media houses can truly expose what is happening on our small little island. They can publish without fear of censorship. The Guardian link paints a tragic story of the reality behind the Barbados myth.

    Waru you need to go to Barbados and flog some lashes on those Bajans who, falsely, believe that the country will get things right. The minority groups are running things in Bimshire.

  25. “Waru you need to go to Barbados and flog some lashes on those Bajans who, falsely, believe that the country will get things right. The minority groups are running things in Bimshire.”

    TLSN….they are truly on their own…told them it will reach to this…weee posted and commented for many many years, and got nothing but attacks for our troubles..told them to stop listening to lying scum politicians and their imps, slaves fowls and pimps, …people are now so appalled at these outcomes, they just want them all gone..told them stop bullying people to take the vaccine, cause dem int no scientists…let the people make their own decisions…but not them, they too love to insert themselves in other people’s lives and personal decisions… all they got are funerals…

    This is the time for me to check for MY FAMILY ONLY …due to recent and upcoming events…dem gotta brek fuh deyself…

    Given the wickedness and evil that surrounds the island….weee can only wish them all the best. Me and mine come first.

    Ajay Banga Starts Work As New World Bank President
    By AFP – Agence France Presse
    June 2, 2023

    Ajay Banga started his first day as World Bank president on Friday, June 2.
    Tony KARUMBA
    Ajay Banga began his first day at the helm of the World Bank Group on Friday, taking charge of the development lender as it grapples with questions about its future direction.”

    I saw on another platform…”new playbook tour” for Jamaica” shortly…regardless of who is setting up their own scams…that is being spoken about.

    Small time pretenders may as well SIT DOWN…

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