Political bickering futile amid communications’ minefield
The political blame game is in full swing. Letters appear regularly in the daily paper, and electronic media, from both the Government and the Opposition, all placing blame and criticism at the feet of the other. Rebuttals and accusations make for tiresome reading when our island is facing so many huge hurdles, both fiscally and socially, and these constant attacks and defensively written monologues never seem to yield any positive outcomes.
The latest blame game opinion pieces were from Progressive Labour Party backbencher Michael Weeks and Opposition leader Craig Cannonier. The focus of each of these letters was predictably one-sided, with each “party” owning none of the blame and both sides continuing to proclaim that they were handed an impossible fiscal situation, which dictated much of their progress — or lack thereof.
I would venture to say that the average taxpaying Bermudian is sick to death of the political bickering that we are subjected to on an almost daily basis. I know I am.
What we all need to do is to sift through the political, blame-game articles and find salient, critical truths, which can then be our own barometer for whether this administration — or any other — is spending our money in a responsible manner.
Since the One Bermuda Alliance is no longer in charge of the public purse — and therefore the spending — let’s take a look at this government’s recent $2.5 million increase in the budget for “communications” as an example, which Mr Cannonier mentions briefly.
What does this really mean? Well, first we should be aware that before this spending increase, there were already 30 employees working within the Department of Communications, including a six-strong team of writers. Then we have the Government’s CITV channel, plus the Government’s own website and also various social-media avenues.
So, to be clear, what this increased budget really translates to is the appointment of, and expenditure for, six additional political PR consultants and a Minister without Portfolio assisting the DoC. Are we to understand that, even though we have crumbling schools, an education product that is desperate for reform, litigation guardians not being paid, half of our fleet of buses out of service and our overall public infrastructure in dire need of repairs/rebuilding, this administration feels there is a priority and justification for the expense of hiring more government employees for the sole purpose of “communicating” its message?
We all know that every dollar the Government spends is our dollar. Every dollar that it has borrowed has to be paid back by us and/or our children and grandchildren in the form of existing and new taxes. Make no mistake, we are already beginning to experience what that feels like.
Regarding the $2.5 million budget increase for more staff for political communications, is this an example of responsible spending, given the state of Bermuda’s finances? Even a blind man can see that it is not.
Do I hear the sound of marching? No. Just crickets.