One vendor who requested anonymity, said the Antigua and Barbuda Airport Authority (ABAA) stipulated that if they (vendors) wished to get a kiosk when operations move to the new terminal, they must procure maintain a total of five insurance policies.
“While we don’t know what the premium is, it would be high given that entire total of EC $20 million. How can someone with a small business afford that? That is to get us out as far as I’m concerned and get bigger companies that can pay that,” one concessionaire said.
The “Request for Proposals for Retail Concessions” document presented to the vendors last year, calls on the concessionaires to have insurance from products/liability with a limit of no less than US $1 million per occurrence and US $2 million per period of insurance.
The other section to be fulfilled is Commercial General (public) liability, to include but not limited to premises/operations, independent contractors, personal injury, contractual liability where exposure exists, elevators/escalators and others.
The ABAA has suggested the policy for that must be a limit of no less than US $1 million per occurrence and US $2 million per period of insurance.
There’s also the need for Employer’s Liability with a limit no less than US $1 million for each accident. They want the merchants to secure property insurance for physical damage to the property of the concessionaire, including improvements and betterments.
The final insurance policy is for fire and explosion and that is to be no less than US $3 million.
Another concessionaire said, “With those onerous requirements, they’re setting us up for failure. And, it isn’t just the insurance. It is also the mid-term refurbishment requirement being asked for that is a big problem.”
The mid-term refurbishment plan contained in the document, indicates the cost of such refurbishments shall be a minimum of 20 per cent of the initial capital investment.
And, to ensure that the mid-term refurbishments are funded and built in a time manner, the document indicates that “the concessionaire shall pay ABAA, one thirtieth of the proposed mid-term refurbishment investment.”
The ABAA and the vendors have been working to seal the deal for over a year now, ahead of the scheduled opening of the new terminal in the first quarter of this year.
Another dispute is the cost to rent the kiosks within the new terminal. Currently the vendors pay $4 per square foot and the airport authority is suggesting a fee of $10 per square foot.
The vendors said they’re willing to pay six dollars.
Efforts to reach Airport Chief Executive Officer Stanley Smith were unsuccessful. OBSERVER was told he’s out of office.
Smith was recently part of a meeting with the vendors and labour minister Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin who sought to help settle the matter. Benjamin earlier said he understands the ABAA’s operational cost would increase when the new terminal opens and certain measures have to be taken to cover that expense.
In his New Year’s Day message, former prime minister Baldwin Spencer said he hopes the issues are settled in a manner favourable to the vendors so they would not be displaced and their employees sent home.