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John Barritt

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  • Oversight critical to get value for money
    Feb 5, 2016 8:00 am

    Oversight critical to get value for money

    Now we all like to be in the know, or at least think we are, Mr Editor, but it isn’t always easy to keep with everything that is going on with the Government. So we come to rely on the news media to keep us informed of the affairs of state, thank you very much.

    We can also do some checking up ourselves, thanks to the internet, one of the greatest advances of the information age and for good governance: statements and documents can be...

  • Why AC is already a missed opportunity
    Jan 29, 2016 8:00 am

    Why AC is already a missed opportunity

    There is this conversation I have been having with one reader that I have been meaning to share, Mr Editor. After last week’s column, this is as good a time as any. Our conversation was about politics, race and the America’s Cup, an interesting but unlikely trio, you may think, at first blush. While some but not necessarily all readers may wonder what one has to do with the other, it is hardly surprising that the three should intersect, given...

  • The Trump phenomenon: what lessons for us?
    Jan 22, 2016 8:00 am

    The Trump phenomenon: what lessons for us?

    How long, I wonder, before the Trump phenomenon reaches our shores, Mr Editor? And I don’t mean the man; I mean his brand of politics.

    Unlikely, you say? Well, maybe not. In politics, as in business, as in life really, nothing succeeds like success and by all appearances (and polls), Donald J. Trump appears to be succeeding.

    His game plan of huffing and puffing himself up and tearing his opponents down is gaining traction; not...

  • System of accountability not been working
    Jan 15, 2016 8:00 am

    System of accountability not been working

    It might be laughable, Mr Editor, were it not so sad. OK, maybe “laughable” is not the right word, but a wry smile would not be out of line.

    This Commission of Inquiry is needed, we are told, because Bermuda’s reputation is at risk. Moreover, so the line goes, those recent reports of the Auditor-General have not, to say the least, painted a pretty picture, and made us look like something less than the first-class, world-class...

  • Power and loss of power are what count most
    Jan 8, 2016 8:00 am

    Power and loss of power are what count most

    Charisma, huh? Well, I agree, Mr Editor, to this extent: as has been often said, style is a good indication of substance. Not always, mind you, but often enough. This can be particularly true of those who perform in the political arena.

    We do so admire the silver-tongued who can entertain us, sure, but who can also appeal to our higher nature, our collective hopes and aspirations, and take us to new heights, rather than those who seek...

  • Can Environment Charter help airport plan?
    Jan 5, 2016 8:00 am

    Can Environment Charter help airport plan?

    The proposed new airport project has given flight to a lot of discussion — to put it, er, mildly, Mr Editor — and is likely to continue to do so for some time to come. It’s not surprising either, when you consider what’s at stake and how the development is going to be financed. But here’s something else to consider and to add to the discussion.

    Now, as you know, personalities do not often feature in this column but this week I make an...

  • Transparency needs sunshine of scrutiny
    Jan 2, 2016 8:00 am

    Transparency needs sunshine of scrutiny

    “Where had I heard this wind before/

    Change like this to a deeper roar?” *

    By John Barritt

    Finally, Mr Editor, a much-needed Commission of Inquiry, the announcement of which has met with initial endorsement from the Man on top of the Other Hill down to Alaska Hall, and pretty well across the rest of the Island, I suspect.

    No one I know is asking why. Only: why did it take so long?

    While there is no need to pour...

  • Enjoy some year-end fun with my quiz
    Dec 30, 2015 8:00 am

    Enjoy some year-end fun with my quiz

    Oh, the things that people say, Mr. Editor. They often make for good copy, as we say in the trade, and for interesting reading for sure. So this week, by way of my “Year in Review”, readers are challenged to identify who said what in 2015 but with a twist for a bit of year-end fun.

    Here’s how it works — or is supposed to. The reported remarks of various personalities — lifted from the pages of The Royal Gazette, thank you — are...

  • No need to check my wish list twice
    Dec 24, 2015 8:00 am

    No need to check my wish list twice

    Yes, Virginia, politics could use a little more Santa Claus. I don’t necessarily mean more jolly and I am not thinking of more gifts; nice as that might be.

    Instead I have in mind the give and take of politics, the cut and thrust of debate that is an integral part of the adversarial system that is Westminster. All of us, I suspect, Mr Editor, would probably like to see a lot more give and a lot less take.

    Of course, we all have...

  • Snap elections, integrity and credibility
    Dec 18, 2015 8:00 am

    Snap elections, integrity and credibility

    The urge to go, Mr Editor, can be strong; compelling even. Pressure can mount, becoming, well, quite intense, practically unbearable. You know the deal, and thus it appears that there is but the one solution.

    It can be like that with the body politic, too.

    You touched upon prospects for a snap election last week. It has also been a talking point in any number of circles and for obvious reason. It wasn’t that long ago that Sir John...

  • Step up and start the Pati brigade
    Dec 11, 2015 8:00 am

    Step up and start the Pati brigade

    Inquiring minds want to know, Mr Editor, what it is they can do in the wake of the most recent reports of the Auditor-General. Of course, they want action and many have lost confidence that anything meaningful will happen.

    Well, I have an idea: step up and help to start the Pati brigade.

    Pati: the Public Access To Information Act, which, from the start, has been widely touted, and correctly, as an additional means by which the...

  • Inquiring minds want and deserve to know
    Dec 4, 2015 8:00 am

    Inquiring minds want and deserve to know

    I don’t know about you, Mr Editor, but the cynic in me tells me that the dogs may bark but the caravan will move on. The reports and findings of the Auditor-General have caused a stir, but will anything really happen?

    You may remember the old saw about matters that are sent to committee: so that those in charge can give the appearance that something is being done when, in actual fact, difficult matters are simply being sent there to...

  • Promises worth pursuing
    Nov 28, 2015 8:00 am

    Promises worth pursuing

    Be careful what you wish for, yes? Be careful, too, what you promise, Mr Editor. You may reasonably be expected to deliver.

    To its credit, the One Bermuda Alliance government announced in the Throne Speech its plans to deliver on a promise to introduce absentee balloting for students abroad, providing they are studying at “recognised educational institutions” — although quite why their right to vote should be so qualified is not yet...

  • Damning report must wake up our Legislature
    Nov 21, 2015 8:00 am

    Damning report must wake up our Legislature

    How rich it was, Mr Editor, that the most recent damning report of the Auditor-General should be released on the same day our Legislature reconvenes for another year. Poor pun, I know. A Throne Speech, you say?

    For my money, and for your money, too, dear readers, the Governor should have read the Auditor-General’s report out loud to our legislators, all nicely assembled and attentive under the big tent eight days ago with their...

  • Lyrics may change, but the beat goes on
    Nov 20, 2015 8:00 am

    Lyrics may change, but the beat goes on

    Steady as she goes? Maybe, Mr Editor, maybe.

    Certainly, Throne Speech 2015 didn’t contain any significant surprises — nothing that new and nothing that dramatic — and it struck me as all very matter-of-fact and straightforward in tone and content; very businesslike, in fact.

    What is clear, very clear, is that the Government is pinning its electoral tail very much on the economy, specifically economic recovery. It remains the...

  • Less from less would be welcome
    Nov 13, 2015 8:00 am

    Less from less would be welcome

    Pomp and pageantry marks the beginning today of a new legislative session. It’s one of the more pleasant (and pleasing) parliamentary traditions that helps to distinguish us here and abroad.

    It also highlights our British heritage and represents that to which we apparently continue to hold fast, or so it seems, but which is in need of change, specifically our Westminster style of government.

    But it isn’t like we need to...

  • And here is ... not the Throne Speech
    Nov 6, 2015 8:00 am

    And here is ... not the Throne Speech

    This week’s column features the Throne Speech that will not be delivered next Friday. At least I don’t think so — and that’s because it is made up, by me. It comes with a disclaimer, too. Any resemblance to actual events, past or present, or actual persons, real or not, is purely coincidental — and any relevance to actual events or actual persons, Mr Editor, I leave to readers to decide.

    Some assembly will of course be required and the...

  • Scrutiny by PAC should be standard procedure
    Oct 30, 2015 8:00 am

    Scrutiny by PAC should be standard procedure

    We all get our fair share of criticism, Mr Editor, and JB is no exception. Nor should he be. Readers should have their say, too, and I appreciate the dialogue. But there are a couple of points that have arisen recently in conversation that are worth sharing.

    Point Number One: I am too critical of the Government, says one reader. I should take on the Progressive Labour Party, too, and more often. Well, that sort of criticism largely...

  • What needs fixin’ and where
    Oct 23, 2015 8:00 am

    What needs fixin’ and where

    Reports of the Auditor-General can be challenging and heavy reading, Mr Editor, the more so for the average person. But that doesn’t make them dull or any less important.

    On the contrary; and to be clear, I am not referring to those “special” reports, which the Auditor-General publishes from time to time on projects that have gone, well, horribly wrong, and that’s putting it mildly, I know, like the Port Royal Golf Course, for example.

  • Nasty, personal attacks are unwelcome
    Oct 16, 2015 8:00 am

    Nasty, personal attacks are unwelcome

    This week’s column is a farce, Mr Editor; although, who knows, maybe in the eyes of some, all of my columns are. So be it. There will always be a disagreement on matters of opinion and that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it is downright healthy. As one of your anonymous readers pointed out this week, columnists are not gospel.

    But here’s the other thing; a good thing, I think: while I may disagree, I do try to express my disagreement...

  • Oct 9, 2015 8:00 am

    Author’s observations a Rae of hope

    What’s happened to politics?

    Good question, Mr Editor, and one that is asked and answered by Bob Rae in his recently published book of the same title that I mentioned in a column a few weeks back, about which I promised a follow-up.

    It is a quick read, if you can manage a copy of 147 pages, and well worth the time it takes to work your way through. He is a Canadian politician of considerable experience, wit and insight. He has...

  • Heed call for a spirit of collaboration
    Oct 2, 2015 8:00 am

    Heed call for a spirit of collaboration

    It was something the Pope said, Mr Editor, that got me to thinking. In fact, he said a lot of interesting and challenging things on his recent visits to Cuba and the United States, and one of them was, yes, the need to make politics a creative calling.

    The Pope has a point: we here in Bermuda do need to start thinking (and acting) outside the proverbial Westminster box in which we find ourselves.

    But that wasn’t the comment that...

  • AC and airport: more public scrutiny needed
    Sep 25, 2015 8:00 am

    AC and airport: more public scrutiny needed

    Night and day, black and white, OBA and PLP, two meetings, two Bermudas. But I expect that I am not telling you anything new, Mr Editor, or anyone else for that matter.

    The two meetings to which I refer were meetings I was able to attend on the same evening last week: first, the one in Hamilton City on the America’s Cup and the second in St George’s on the proposed new airport project.

    The audiences could not have been more...

  • Backbenchers and the numbers game
    Sep 18, 2015 8:00 am

    Backbenchers and the numbers game

    There’s nothing like a pleasant dressing-down, Mr Editor, and I received a very nice one of those last week from a kind and faithful reader. She told me that I don’t understand, although I do (smile), and only too well (smile), and from experience (smile, again). Politics is all about numbers, she wanted to remind me: always do your arithmetic if you want to know what is or is not possible.

    I hear you. A 19-16 majority in the House on...

  • A need for change from the top down
    Sep 11, 2015 8:00 am

    A need for change from the top down

    Recent events have once again prompted me to dust off my copy of the Sage Report, Mr Editor.

    One of the recommendations in particular came to mind; the one that focused on the need for change from the top down. You know, leadership by example. It has been almost two years since the report and its recommendations were made public and, while I hate to say it, but I will, it is looking like opportunities squandered are now lost.

    The...

  • New approach needed to turn things around
    Sep 4, 2015 8:00 am

    New approach needed to turn things around

    There was a time when people simply trusted their governments with the really big decisions. Those were times when people also had little choice or option. But this isn’t so much the case these days, Mr Editor. In fact, those “olden” days are long gone — and rightly so.

    It isn’t just their votes that people want to exercise. It is also their right to know and their right to have an opinion and to express it. Advances in technology have...

  • When fixed-term elections lose their appeal
    Aug 28, 2015 8:00 am

    When fixed-term elections lose their appeal

    Fixed-term elections sound good, Mr Editor — at least I’ve always thought so. Their appeal is that they go some way to taking the politics out of calling elections. Everyone knows the date, and those in power no longer have the unfair advantage of selecting a day that they believe gives them maximum electoral advantage. That’s the theory anyhow.

    Reality can be different — as they are now finding out in Canada. The reigning Conservative...

  • Starling has already kicked off debate
    Aug 28, 2015 8:00 am

    Starling has already kicked off debate

    We will not be breaking new ground with fixed-term elections, Mr Editor.

    There are any number of models we can follow. Canada has legislated for fixed-term elections, federally and provincially. Britain has its own Act, too, which came into play at its recent general election and appeared to work well, notwithstanding its early critics.

    There is also a local model available for review as well: the work of former Independent...

  • Starling has already kicked off debate
    Aug 28, 2015 8:00 am

    Starling has already kicked off debate

    We will not be breaking new ground with fixed-term elections, Mr Editor.

    There are any number of models we can follow. Canada has legislated for fixed-term elections, federally and provincially. Britain has its own Act, too, which came into play at its recent general election and appeared to work well, notwithstanding its early critics.

    There is also a local model available for review as well: the work of former Independent...

  • A means to kill two birds with one stone?
    Aug 21, 2015 8:00 am

    A means to kill two birds with one stone?

    We have been down this road before, Mr Editor, with lots of forks along the way. Discussion and dialogue continues, as it should, on what can be done to turn around our economy. What can also be done to improve government finances is also a continuing focus of conversations. The two issues are inextricably linked, of course.

    It was former UBP Cabinet minister Quinton Edness who got us all thinking again when he recently suggested that...

  • The long and winding road to recovery
    Aug 14, 2015 8:00 am

    The long and winding road to recovery

    So goes the economy, so goes the Government. You think? I do, Mr Editor, I do. Economic conditions feature large in elections and Bermuda is no exception. Too early to be thinking about the next election? Maybe. But there again, maybe not.

    The One Bermuda Alliance is almost three years into its five-year term with only two years remaining to turn around the economy; assuming, of course, that the OBA is going to take those two years and...

  • Allegations should not be glossed over
    Aug 7, 2015 8:00 am

    Allegations should not be glossed over

    On any view, Mr Editor, the recent allegations made against two government ministers and the former Attorney-General are serious. Very serious.

    In fact, and let’s be clear on this, what’s being alleged constitute criminal offences if made out. You cannot get any more serious than that when it comes to allegations. They cannot be brushed aside or glossed over or simply put behind us. Nor should they be.

    In the circumstances, a...

  • Bermuda on display for the enjoyment of all
    Jul 29, 2015 8:00 am

    Bermuda on display for the enjoyment of all

    Tempting as it may be, Mr Editor, politics takes a back seat today, except for a big shout out to the CJ and a thank you for the mention.

    The dust has still to settle anyhow and it’s Cup Match, people: in my mind, there really ought not to be any doubt or dispute, division or discord over the pre-eminent place the Annual Classic holds in our national calendar.

    That’s the point I want to make this week.

    It is Bermuda’s...

  • Talking politics and sustainability
    Jul 24, 2015 8:00 am

    Talking politics and sustainability

    It’s the politics of it all, Mr Editor. There’s no need to read between the lines. It’s there for all to see. We know it when we see it or when we hear it. Had enough yet?

    Two recent matters on and off the Hill underscore the point.

    First, the censure motion against the Speaker: anyone who listened to the debate has a pretty good idea what was at the root of this action. BTW, if you didn’t catch the debate live, you still can,...

  • Big effort needed to break political cycle
    Jul 17, 2015 8:00 am

    Big effort needed to break political cycle

    There must be some way to break this relentless, repetitive cycle we see played out each week on the Hill. That, Mr Editor, is the refrain I constantly hear whether by phone, by e-mail and/or out and about on the street — and often in response to columns I write, such as last week’s.

    There will be no magic breakthrough, I tell them. Old habits die hard. Strong effort is required to bring about much needed change and, behind it, the will...

  • Semicircular chamber could help unite MPs
    Jul 10, 2015 8:00 am

    Semicircular chamber could help unite MPs

    If our environment shapes our behaviour, Mr Editor, observers must wonder what's wrong with our House on the Hill. You may think I jest; I do not.

    Somebody Famous (hint) got me to thinking about this again when he e-mailed me a recent clipping from the London Evening Standard. Thank you.

    “Turn Parliament into a museum”, screamed the headline. No joke. The story was apparently prompted by plans over there to refit their...

  • Between a rock and a hard place
    Jul 3, 2015 8:00 am

    Between a rock and a hard place

    Nothing quite like being between a rock and a hard place, Mr Editor. It is no fun and you can’t bail. It’s very much like that in politics.

    There are two big issues that are looming that are not going to go away:

    • The decriminalisation or, maybe even, the legalisation and lawful control of marijuana

    • Same-sex marriage and equality for all under the law.

    Both are coming to our shores — if you catch my...

  • Mr Smith comes to Par-la-Ville
    Jul 3, 2015 8:00 am

    Mr Smith comes to Par-la-Ville

    No, dear readers, I didn’t miss it. We have a new news sheriff in town and I appreciate that I am now writing to a new Editor (pictured).

    First, my congratulations, Mr Editor: the first black Editor of The Royal Gazette after centuries of publication. It is truly a historic first for Bermuda, and for the newspaper and for all of its readers. Title this one Mr Smith Comes To Par-la-Ville, a modern, local twist, if you will, on that...

  • When hatred was greeted by love
    Jun 26, 2015 8:00 am

    When hatred was greeted by love

    Charleston — Maybe like me, Mr Editor, you are still trying to process and fathom what was by any standard an unspeakable crime, certainly, but most definitely a hate crime fuelled by racism.

    I feel not just for the victims, their families and friends, but for the entire black community.

    I am astonished, too, not only by the heinous act of this magnitude by a deranged young man fuelled by racism, but by the Christian witness,...

  • RV, you left a legacy that will endure
    Jun 26, 2015 8:00 am

    RV, you left a legacy that will endure

    This week I am going to get personal, Mr Editor, but in a good way. It was only two weeks ago in my column on unsung heroes that I mentioned my uncle Bobby Barritt and his influence on my decision to go into politics. The tributes which have appeared since his death on Sunday have been spot on, but nonetheless I would like to add my own.

    First, to borrow a line from Teddy Kennedy’s eulogy for his brother Robert, my uncle would not want...

  • Work to be done to make airport project fly
    Jun 19, 2015 8:00 am

    Work to be done to make airport project fly

    It is a hard read but a good read, Mr Editor. In fact, it should be considered required reading for those who want to better understand the proposed airport project.

    I am, of course, referring to what has come to be more commonly known as the Deloitte Report which is appropriately also titled, Government of Bermuda, Appraisal of Bermuda Airport Development Business Case.

    Few will find it easy to wade through all 200 pages, a...

  • For those who have been wondering...
    Jun 12, 2015 8:00 am

    For those who have been wondering...

    This week’s column, Mr Editor, is for those who have been wondering — questions readers have asked, and sorry to have kept you all waiting.

    Wonder No 1: No, I am not advocating that we let bygones be bygones when it comes to past overspends and questionable practices.

    One reader, quite agitated, stopped me in the street about this. So let me be clear(er): the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) should be pursuing them vigorously,...

  • Expect a bigger chunk out of your pay
    Jun 5, 2015 8:00 am

    Expect a bigger chunk out of your pay

    The detail, Mr Editor, is where you find the devil — so often followed by discord, division and disagreement when people don’t like what they eventually discover in the fine print. Legislation can be like that if you are not careful.

    The Health Insurance (Miscellaneous) Amendment Act is a perfect example, tabled two weeks ago and now eligible for debate and adoption.

    We all recall the concerns the Bill prompted, and which...

  • PATI misstep goes beyond usual foot in mouth
    May 29, 2015 8:00 am

    PATI misstep goes beyond usual foot in mouth

    That was a pity about PATI, Mr Editor: one of the first public steps to see the light of day and it was very much a misstep – and that’s putting it mildly. It went beyond the usual foot in mouth when the identity of a PATI user/requester was revealed publicly. A Cabinet minister, no less, breached that key provision on the floor of the House.

    Okay, sure, there was the subsequent apology for what was termed an inadvertent mistake, but...

  • Lacking courage, lacking conviction
    May 27, 2015 8:00 am

    Lacking courage, lacking conviction

    Criticism is good. Criticism is healthy. Personally, I welcome it. If it is constructive, so much the better. Critical thinking is, well, critical, to informed national debate on the issues of the day. Like on the airport, yes.

    But the one thing we can do without, mind you, are the cheap shots. You know the ones, those that are excessively partisan and unnecessarily personal, delivered far too often from behind pseudonyms. I get my...

  • How will Codes of Conduct be enforced?
    May 22, 2015 8:00 am

    How will Codes of Conduct be enforced?

    You might think this timely, Mr Editor. The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) has come up with recommendations for Codes of Conduct for MPs — and just to be clear this is for the consideration of Legislatures throughout the Commonwealth. Bermuda is no exception. We are on their mailing list. We’re members.

    The circular, which went out just last month, is a bit of a long read but nonetheless makes for interesting reading. For...

  • Airport project should be put out to tender
    May 19, 2015 8:00 am

    Airport project should be put out to tender

    Here is my take, Mr Editor.

    Politics is very much broad strokes. First impressions tend to stick. Detail is important, sure, and woe betide should you get caught out for failing to pay attention to detail. Those chickens, my friends, have a way of coming home to roost — eventually, and usually sooner rather than later.

    Those e-mails: It isn’t how much they number. It is what they tell you. Aecon appeared pretty damn keen, outright...

  • May 15, 2015 8:00 am

    Owning a home may be about to get harder

    Me and the mates got to talking recently, Mr Editor, always a dangerous thing I know, and the topic was home ownership, in Bermuda mostly. We are agreed: it is more than just a worthwhile pursuit.

    Owning your own home is something which all people should be encouraged to pursue, and it is something which we wish for all our children.

    Home owners are also generally viewed as the bedrock of any community, the backbone of any stable...

  • PAC and Port Royal: horse has bolted stable
    May 8, 2015 8:00 am

    PAC and Port Royal: horse has bolted stable

    There’s no sense crying over spilled milk, right? Wrong — and certainly not when it involves taxpayers’ money and politics.

    It seems also to depend, Mr Editor, on whose milk we happen to be talking about and how fresh or sour it was when it was spilled.

    Take the Auditor’s Report on Port Royal Golf Course by way of example. You might think it an obvious case in point. It is certainly the case that makes my point. It is...

  • The more things change, the more they don’t
    May 1, 2015 8:00 am

    The more things change, the more they don’t

    Some things never change, Mr Editor. Or so it seems. It was back to the future when I recently had occasion to pick up a copy of the Report of The Royal Commission into the 1977 Disturbances, better known as the Pitt Report, and thumbed through some of its recommendations.

    One of the concerns back then, believe it or not, was the way in which Bermuda’s legislators conducted our public business.

    “We also observe”, the Commissioners...

  • PATI: costly but well worth the price
    Apr 24, 2015 8:00 am

    PATI: costly but well worth the price

    Be careful what you wish for. Funny that, Mr Editor, but the admonition is probably best appreciated on hindsight.

    I have in mind here PATI, the Public Access to Information legislation which became effective (finally) on April’s first, April Fool’s Day — and whether there was any significance to that date remains to be seen.

    People have been asking me what I think about it: quite a lot, actually.

    I was a long-time...

  • Apr 17, 2015 8:00 am

    ‘Blame game’ – it’s the voters who always lose

    We remain stuck on stuck. Or so it seems, Mr Editor. The blame game rages unabated as each party seeks to put the blame where they each think it (self) justifiably lies — at the other party’s doorstep.

    The approach is exceedingly helpful, er, unhelpful, depending I suppose on which side you happen to support.

    But I wonder if, for just once, the debate on what’s best for Bermuda could be lifted to new heights. You might not think...

  • Never let the perfect be the enemy of good
    Apr 10, 2015 8:00 am

    Never let the perfect be the enemy of good

    Exhortations to do better are fine as far as they go, Mr Editor, which usually isn’t very far, really. But maybe, like me, you cannot help but think that we could use something more.

    Sure, we should call out bad behaviour when we see it and condemn in strong terms what we regard as irresponsible. What the heck, if nothing else it makes us feel like we have done something. But whether it will actually change anything is another matter.

  • Apr 2, 2015 8:00 am

    What’s happened to Salaries Review Board?

    Leftovers and loose ends this week, Mr Editor, as we catch up on correspondence and queries.

    First off, one reader wanted to know more about the members of the Legislative Salaries Review Board that by law is supposed to review parliamentary salaries every two years and to make recommendations. Good question.

    I did check the Government website (www.gov.bm), which lists committees and boards, but it wasn’t there.

    The...

  • Don’t squeeze the Charmin!
    Mar 27, 2015 8:00 am

    Don’t squeeze the Charmin!

    Forget for a moment (if you can) recent events on the Hill. The story of that week, possibly the month, or maybe even the year, Mr Editor, may yet turn out to be the one headlined: “Charman: Corporate tax would benefit Bermuda.”

    Heads were spinning, phones ringing and tongues wagging, I bet, after that one — and I won’t even get into what was tearing up the blogs. It was no early April’s Fool joke either. It read like Mr Charman was...

  • Why our politicians need tighter briefs
    Mar 23, 2015 8:00 am

    Why our politicians need tighter briefs

    There must be some other way, Mr Editor, and of course there is.

    It is just a matter of will and reorganisation on the Hill. We just need Government to lead the way and Ministers to start by tightening their briefs. Say what?

    I am, of course, referring to the recently concluded annual Budget Debate, which actually very rarely resembles debate and all too often, if you happen to tune in (good luck), sounds more like remedial...

  • Reform is possible with required political will
    Mar 20, 2015 8:00 am

    Reform is possible with required political will

    It ain’t easy. Mr Editor, never was — and most likely never will be. Think about it for a minute: long days, late nights, three times a week for two weeks. A Budget debate that is anything but a debate. Two parties, two viewpoints and some very strong differences of opinion — and that’s putting it mildly: maybe too mildly in view of recent events. Invariably decisions that go against you and, wham, bam, thank you ma’am, it’s a wonder that all...

  • PAC: we can learn a lot from across the pond
    Mar 13, 2015 8:00 am

    PAC: we can learn a lot from across the pond

    Readers write, Mr Editor, and I am grateful. They are never wrong and I generally enjoy what they have to say. This week I feature what one astute reader had to share with me: the views of the retired head of the UK Civil service, Lord O’Donnell, on the importance of the work of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) across the pond.

    This reader has obviously been keeping up with what I have been writing about PAC here and its most recent...

  • Collaboration? Maybe a
lot more than you think
    Mar 6, 2015 8:00 am

    Collaboration? Maybe a lot more than you think

    Here’s a novel exercise to undertake, Mr. Editor, when assessing the Annual Budget Debate. Let’s look for a change at the issues and approaches on which the Government and Opposition appear to agree and put to one side for a moment the differences, the real, the imagined and the manufactured. You might be surprised (pleasantly, I hope) at the number of items on the list. Heck, you might also start to think that there is sufficient common...

  • Do we really need outsiders to do our work?
    Feb 27, 2015 8:00 am

    Do we really need outsiders to do our work?

    This is serious business, Mr Editor, governing Bermuda. If you had no sense of how serious — and that’s no small “if”, you do now.

    The 2015/16 Budget Statement makes it pretty clear, although I agree pretty is not exactly the right word here.

    What makes it even clearer is the apparent about-face the Minister of Finance and his Government are about to take. Despite signs that the economy may be turning around, albeit slowly, and...

  • People pin hopes on results, not promises
    Feb 20, 2015 8:00 am

    People pin hopes on results, not promises

    Tough: that is what we have been told to expect with the 2015-16 Government Budget. We will soon know whether that means tough for those who had to put it together, or tough on all the rest of us. Or both.

    No guesses or predictions or special wishes here; the document is drafted and ready for delivery, and instead today, Mr Editor, a kind of political potpourri of leftovers as we brace ourselves for the worst. But you will detect a...

  • DUI stats say it all, let’s find a solution
    Feb 18, 2015 8:00 am

    DUI stats say it all, let’s find a solution

    Traffic, Mr Editor, traffic: it seems everyone has an opinion about the problem and the solution — and why not?

    We are all drivers, riders or users of the road in some way, form or fashion; and if we are all a part of the problem — and we are — then we should all be part of the solution.

    Road summits are good. So, too, will be any sustained multifaceted education campaign. But a one-off big police crackdown, I am not so sure.

  • Time for PAC to flex its legislative muscle
    Feb 16, 2015 8:00 am

    Time for PAC to flex its legislative muscle

    PAC, man, is no game. Nor should it be, Mr Editor. At least not the one I am constantly going on about. Readers will know where I stand on the matter of the Public Accounts Committee. It is long since time that this bipartisan parliamentary committee started to flex its legislative muscle and got on with the job of tracking how our Government manages our money and not just years after the fact, after funds have been spent and the damage has...

  • Conflation – we need more of it, folks!
    Feb 13, 2015 8:00 am

    Conflation – we need more of it, folks!

    Talk about juxtaposition Mr Editor. Former Premier and astute businessman Sir John Swan thinks we are about to fall off the edge of a cliff. An OBA spokesperson affirms her party’s confidence in a confidence survey of Bermuda businessmen which indicates that we may be turning the corner, and declares that the Government is on the right track.

    Confused? Don’t be. They are only opinions and both may be right. We may yet go...

  • Brace yourself for possible health rates shock
    Feb 11, 2015 8:00 am

    Brace yourself for possible health rates shock

    It was only a small slip, of information, Mr. Editor, but it struck me as a possible tell. In the throes of the dispute over furlough days, the BPSU declared that they had been threatened with a 19 per cent hike in health insurance premiums. Around about the same time, the rest of us were put on notice by the Finance Minister to expect (his words now) a tough Budget in a little over a week’s time.

    Inquiring minds begin to wonder; no,...

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