Premier accuses Burt of selective amnesia’
Michael Dunkley has accused Opposition leader David Burt of “selective amnesia” for stating that the One Bermuda Alliance has taken too long to enact the Good Governance Act.
The Premier highlighted that the Progressive Labour Party, which introduced the Bill in 2011 under former premier Paula Cox, made no further progress with the Bill during its time in power and that while Mr Burt was not a member of Cabinet, he was Junior Minister for Finance.
Mr Burt said on Monday: “51 months later [since the Bill was introduced] there is no code of practice for procurement management that the government has to follow.”
Mr Dunkley argued that progress was indeed being made, telling The Royal Gazette: “The Opposition leader has selective amnesia. The former premier [Ms Cox] started that process because of the critical challenges within her administration specifically relating to some of her ministers. At that time the Opposition leader, who was at the time Junior Minister of Finance, didn’t progress it and now we are picking up the pieces.
“I will stand on our record of transparency. I explained in detail in the brief what we are doing — we have made sure that all along the way we have consulted on it throughout various government ministries to make sure we get it right.
“We also posted it on the website to make sure we got feedback on it. We actually have to change the Good Governance legislation to allow these improvements to take place.”
In his brief to the House of Assembly, Mr Dunkley committed to place a Code of Practice for Project Management and Procurement within a “new unified legislative framework for procurement” that will replace the relevant sections of the Public Treasury (Administration and Payments) Act 1969 and the Good Governance Acts of 2011 and 2012, and will meet the requirements of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. He said the office is working with the Attorney-General’s Chambers to develop the procurement legislation that will form part of the new legislative framework.
Mr Dunkley made assurances that there was currently proper oversight despite the legislation not being enacted.
“I can allay any fears that people may have because every Cabinet paper that involves some sort of transaction, the office sees that paper and it comes to me before I sign the paper to go to Cabinet.
“Good governance is still taking place even while we try to move the legislation and changes forward. The Opposition leader can play his political games but the people of Bermuda can be assured that we are holding it to the highest level.
“I can’t recall anyone complaining at all about tendering of projects or awarding of contracts under my administration. I will accept no shortage of following the proper procedures.”
Speaking to this newspaper earlier this week, Mr Burt also made the suggestion that had the Good Governance Act been enacted, the airport deal, which did not go out to tender, would have been “against the law”.
Mr Dunkley again made reference to Mr Burt’s memory saying: “No, not at all. He [Mr Burt] seems to forget the letter of entrustment to the UK and the Accountant-General’s final position.
“The Opposition leader is very good with his alternative facts as well.”
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