Questions raised over completion of pledges

  • One to go: David Burt claims just one pledge remains unfulfilled (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    One to go: David Burt claims just one pledge remains unfulfilled (Photograph by Akil Simmons)


Premier’s Progress

The Progressive Labour Party made 21 pledges in its General Election platform for its first 100 days in government.

COMPLETED

1. Re-establish the Bermuda First advisory group. Announced on October 26 last year.

2. Appoint a gang violence reduction co-ordinator. Announced on October 4 last year.

3. Increase the power of the Price Control Commission. Price Commission Amendment Act passed in House on December 8 last year. Legalisation renames the Price Control Commission the Cost of Living Commission and increases fines for failure to comply with Commission notices.

4. Review health and safety in public schools. Announced on November 3 last year that inspections were completed.

5. Provide financial support for Bermuda College students. Announced on August 15 last year.

6. Increase job training for Bermudians to fill jobs held by guest workers. Under way.

7. Start the installation of wi-fi in public schools. Started on September 11 last year.

8. Double the loan guarantee of the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation. Announced on October 11 last year.

9. Appoint a director of co-operative economics at the BEDC. William Spriggs appointed on February 20.

10. Establish a bipartisan committee on immigration reform. Approved by Senate on November 1 last year.

11. Establish a tax reform commission. Approved by Senate on October 25 last year.

12. Install fitness equipment in public parks. CrossFit rig installed at the Arboretum in April.

13. Review the airport contract between Aecon and Government. Report released on February 23.

14. Issue a request for information for a tech hub. Published on October 13 last year.

15. Update the Ministerial Code of Conduct. Announced on October 20 last year that it has been strengthened and would be tabled soon.

16. Implement a code of practice for project management and procurement. Introduced on July 2.

17. Reverse OBA policy on overseas entertainers appearing without Bermudians on the bill. Mr Burt said consultation ended last week and that “I think that policy is now in place”.

IN PROGRESS

1. Provide access to funding for community clubs through loan guarantees. Announced on November 3 last year that clubs would soon be told about the programme. Mr Burt said this week: “I am certain that it will be done in the very near future.”

2. Conclude negotiations with public sector unions. Mr Burt said this week that “most of them have been completed”, but that talks with the Police Association are ongoing. A deal also needs to be struck with the Prison Officers Association and the Bermuda Public Services Union.

3. Establish three parliamentary oversight committees. Approved by the House of Assembly. Mr Burt said this week that the matter is “in the ambit of the House of Assembly”.

4. Implement a code of conduct for MPs. Approved by the House of Assembly Standing Orders Committee. Mr Burt said this week that the matter is “in the ambit of the House of Assembly”.

A single platform pledge out of 21 made by the Government for its first one hundred days remains uncompleted, Bermuda’s Premier has claimed.

However, an in-depth interview with David Burt suggested that some promises said to be fulfilled are only works in progress.

Mr Burt told The Royal Gazette that 20 of 21 pledges made by the Progressive Labour Party were “substantially complete”.

The commitments, outlined in last year’s General Election platform, were to be achieved in the first 100 days as Government.

Mr Burt said that a pledge to implement a code of conduct for MPs had been approved by the House of Assembly’s Standing Orders Committee.

He added that the establishment of three permanent parliamentary oversight committees had been backed by the House of Assembly.

Mr Burt said: “When we say substantially complete — there will be some people who say ‘well, those things aren’t there yet’, but what I can say is that from the Government’s perspective we’ve done our bit of it and that is it.

“But implementing a code of conduct for Members of Parliament and oversight committees is in the ambit of the House of Assembly.”

He added that a promise to finish negotiations with public sector unions on terms and conditions was also mostly completed.

Mr Burt added that negotiations with the Police Association continued.

The Prison Officers Association and the Bermuda Public Services Union principals division also still have to strike a deal with Government.

The Premier highlighted a promise to provide access to funding for community clubs through a loan guarantee programme as the uncompleted pledge.

He said that work was taking place behind the scenes.

He added: “We will continue to work to finalise that particular issue.”

Mr Burt said the PLP’s 100-day plan had not been over-ambitious.

He explained: “I think that it’s a question of you set a target that is high. I don’t want to set a target of ten and only meet ten.

“We set a target of 21 and we’ve done a decent job in advancing most of these particular issues.”

The One Bermuda Alliance this week criticised the PLP on its first-year performance.

In a full-page advertisement run in The Royal Gazette on Wednesday, the Opposition graded the Government’s performance from A to F on 22 items, including many platform pledges.

It gave the Government F grades on pledges to establish three permanent oversight committees and implementing the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament.

Grades of A were given for financial support provided to Bermuda College students and the doubling of the loan guarantee to the Bermuda Economic Development Commission.

A single A+ was awarded to the review performed on the redevelopment deal for the airport, which the OBA said “wasted $186,950 to reiterate the OBA government’s message that this is the best deal for Bermuda”.

The OBA “report card” gave the Government an overall grade of D+.

The advert added that the grade “indicates more time should be spent this summer refocusing on issues raised in this report”.

It told the Government: “Your focus has strayed, but your success is Bermuda’s success.

“Feel free to call us for help or advice.”

Mr Burt claimed in November that all 21 pledges were “completed or significantly completed” in a speech made in the House of Assembly.

He later said in the House that the number of pledges completed was 14.

Analysis of the pledges made by Mr Burt and his colleagues by The Royal Gazette at that time suggested that only ten of the promises had been completed, with work under way on nine. The status of the final two pledges was not clear.

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Published Jul 20, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Jul 19, 2018 at 10:42 pm)

Questions raised over completion of pledges

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