Government rush job on corporation changes
Yesterday’s newspaper (February 14, 2019) had on Page 2 an interview with the Mayor of Hamilton, Charles Gosling, about proposed major changes to the corporations of Hamilton and St George, which appear to be being rushed through. I would have thought this matter important enough to make Page 1.
However, of more concern to me, tucked away on Page 11 was a little notice on the same topic inviting us to look at the Citizen’s Forum on the government website. This said that consultation was to take place from February 12 to 22. So, already two days had gone before we were even given the chance. And when I looked, there was nothing on the topic on the forum.
I tried most of the day yesterday to speak to someone in the Ministry of Home Affairs, but the number in the phone book was not working. When eventually I got through via the main switchboard, I was promised that someone would return my call, which has not yet happened.
Today, when three of ten days have gone, the forum does have an explanation of the proposals. Why rush through something without giving the public the chance to discuss it properly? And, anyway, why tinker with something that has worked well for centuries? To me, this is totally unacceptable unless there is clear indication that changes will bring improvement — and I am far from convinced of that.
One of the points made in the posting on the forum is that there are crumbling and empty buildings in the towns. At present, much of the worst-maintained buildings are those owned by the Government and the Bermuda Housing Corporation, so I cannot see that transferring them to a quango or government is likely to solve that problem. The ideas in the rest of the blurb are very laudable, but nothing that could not be achieved by adequate backing and co-operation between the corporations and government.
Maybe it is my incompetence, but I can see no way to comment on the forum other than by a simple “Yes” or “No” — of which overwhelmingly the responses so far are “No”. It seems to me that the Government has been thoroughly incompetent in trying to rush this through and that it is a subject that your newspaper should pursue and provide a fair hearing to the public.
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