Premier’s Promise of Budget Transparency Falls Short At First Test
By Sylvan Richards, One Bermuda Alliance candidate, Constituency 7, December 9, 2012
The only way Bermudians can keep tabs on this Government’s finances is through transparency. The more they know about its finances, the more they can exert common sense pressure on the management of our taxpayer dollars.
The Premier said as much last December when she promised to follow a new “open budget process” to foster “greater public participation and clarity in budget decisions.”
In order to achieve this, she promised to release “all pre-Budget reports” in the budget year including a ‘Citizen’s Budget’ and a ‘Mid-Year Review’, and that by doing so, her Government was conforming to international standards of budget transparency” and reaffirming “its continued commitment to good governance.”
But the promise of transparency is proving to be just another empty, broken Government promise.
“Sure and Steady Progress” on Transport – Really?
By Pat Gordon-Pamplin, Shadow Transport Minister, December 10, 2012
Transport Minister Roban announced his plan in terms that made you think he was cleaning up a mess created by someone else. But as we all know, the mess is of the Government’s own making, and it is difficult to see why the people who allowed the system to fall into such disrepair should be trusted to put it back together.
Perhaps there is no need at this point to recite a list of all the public transport disasters that a long-suffering public have been made to endure, especially over the last year or 18 months. They are still fresh in people’s memories. Suffice it to say that if the public were ever asked to vote on the worst-run ministries of the government, I have no doubt that Transport would be right up near the top.
In the One Bermuda Alliance, we consider that our mission is making the system work for the people again, and by people, I mean both residents and visitors.
Government’s Anti-Business Attitudes Hurt Jobs
By E.T. (Bob) Richards, Shadow Finance Minister, December 9, 2012
The only hope to get thousands of out-of-work Bermudians back to work is through private businesses, large and small.
The Government can’t do it, having destroyed its ability to grow jobs in tough times by racking up a billion dollar debt that has tied its hands.
What the Government can do is to foster an environment that gives business the confidence to expand their activities.
So, we are amazed its candidates have been doing just the opposite, by attacking the business community.
The simple fact is this: If we are to end mass unemployment, we have to grow jobs. But the reckless rhetoric we heard last week is what makes people lose confidence in Bermuda, driving business away. It serves no purpose but to divide people needlessly and undermine the Island’s ability to recover economically.
Amnesia, Truth and Glenn Blakeney
By E. T. (Bob) Richards, Shadow Finance Minister, December 9, 2012
One of the ways a One Bermuda Alliance Government will control wasteful government spending is through the formation of a Spending and Government Efficiency (SAGE) Commission.
Families Minister Mr. Glenn Blakeney on the weekend attacked the SAGE Commission saying it will result in “radical and destructive cuts.”
Perhaps he should have checked with the Premier before making those utterances. In a ministerial statement to Parliament last December, the Premier stated:
“The Government will establish an efficiency team, comprising staff from the Cabinet Office, Ministry of Finance and the private sector. The efficiency review that will take place throughout ALL Government ministries will ensure that we are delivering our services in the most efficient manner.”
It seems electioneering has caused Mr. Blakeney to suffer amnesia, because the Premier’s plan – did it ever happen? – sounds exactly like a SAGE Commission.
The Government is speaking out of both sides of its mouth on this issue – hoping people won’t remember what it says from one day to the next. It appears to be all for an ‘efficiency team’, but now, in the heat of an election, it is against an efficiency team going by the name of a SAGE Commission.
What’s the truth?
Will $20 Million Pool Be Closed During Winter Months?
By Anthony Francis, One Bermuda Alliance Candidate in Constituency 13, Devonshire North Central, December 9, 2012
It has become obvious that Government did not have a business plan or feasibility study done before it built the $20 million National Aquatics Centre.
Responding to my questions concerning the monthly operating costs of the facility, the guest worker chief executive officer, Bernie Asbell, has revealed that the monthly BELCO bill for the pool during the warmest months will be $98,000. He has further revealed that the pool will close in the winter months because it is too expensive to heat.
The only way Bermudians will be able to swim in the pool during the winter months is if the facility is able to attract international swim teams or organisations during those months in order to subsidise the cost of operating the pool.
It is completely unacceptable that Government has spent $20 million of taxpayer money on the Aquatics Centre -- $5 million over the original budgeted cost -- without carefully considering the pool’s monthly operating costs to make sure it remains open year-round.
This poor planning falls at the feet of the Minister of Sports, and no one else. It is, unfortunately, a hallmark of the current Government.