August 13, 2022

Jason Hayward stands by claims ex-finance minister ‘failed’ to close Gencom deal – The Royal Gazette

Updated: June 07, 2022 10:37

Curtis Dickinson, the former finance minister (file photo by Blaire Simmons)

A government minister said he stands by comments that former finance minister Curtis Dickinson failed to get the Fairmont Southampton deal over the finish line.

During the Gencom deal debate in the House last month, Mr Dickinson said: ‘We committed to giving someone over $100 million without understanding what else is in store for us. rush? Why are we doing this now?”

Jason Hayward, the Minister for Economy and Labour, replied: “Why are we doing this now? Because we waited too long for the former finance minister to get this deal done, and he couldn’t. TO DO.”

At the time, his comments were widely interpreted as a criticism of Mr Dickinson, who had previously resigned over the issue.

Pressed for the first time since remarks on whether it was an insulting comment to make about his own party’s former finance minister, Mr Hayward said his assessment had been “a statement of fact”.

Asked if Mr Dickinson might have rejected a deal because of his concerns about the proposals’ wider financial implications, Mr Hayward replied: ‘You can speculate on the reasons, but the statement is valid.’

At an event last week highlighting the government’s plans to reduce youth unemployment, the minister was asked if he would agree that Mr Dickinson had been widely seen as the finance minister of the most effective Progressive Labor Party of the past decade.

Mr Hayward said: ‘You are asking me questions that go well beyond the parameters of this particular interview, which is the Youth Jobs Strategy and therefore I will not provide an answer.’

Mr Dickinson quit Cabinet in a shock resignation just before he was due to present the February 25 budget after a rift with David Burt, the Prime Minister, over plans to give generous guarantees to Gencom.

The Prime Minister took over the finance file and got Parliament to adopt tax concessions to developers of hotel complexes in the amount of between 121 and 133 million dollars over 15 years.

The move, strongly attacked by Mr Dickinson, also included the government giving a guarantee of $75 million, representing 21% of the project’s revised costs of $376 million.

Mr Dickinson said the legislation had failed to provide enough detail when, with the $75m guarantee, it could be as high as $180m.

He added that the cost could be even higher, with the potential for additional additional costs on the project.

He said there was a risk that other developers such as St Regis could approach the government for retroactive relief because of the Fairmont deal, and said the government was “flying blind” on the real costs.

He said: “Given the government’s budgetary situation, the proposed legislation is too generous.”