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Bitterly let down by Rio trip spend

Controversial trip: the cost of sports minister Sylvan Richards’s visit to Rio has raised questions about the use of public money

Dear Sir,

The following is a letter to the One Bermuda Alliance.

I am bitterly disappointed to read that you spent almost $40,000 on ministers’ trips to the Olympics.

I am very proud of our Bermudian athletes. They deserve to be at the Olympics. But our MPs cannot afford to go and cheer them on. We have no room in our budget for this sort of thing. I beg of you to take this austerity, in which we now find ourselves, seriously. I ask you, and all Bermudians, to implement and support a plan that takes all frills out of government spending; starting today.

Every penny we have, after necessary expenses and efforts to shore up the economy, should be spent on the poor and vulnerable first, and the paying-down of the debt second.

I understand that you choose to keep paying a bloated civil service. People’s livelihoods are involved and it is hard to cut them loose. You will have to stop, even this, some day, when the money runs out. But, in the meantime, you cannot afford to spend extra money on anything else. No lunches. No first-class plane tickets. No plane tickets of any kind, unless they are for a meeting that will help to improve Bermuda’s economy

Since when does a minister need to bring his private secretary to the Olympics? On the public purse? This is behaviour unbecoming of our elected officials. Yes, we saw it every day with the Progressive Labour Party, while we watched them slowly drain away every penny of the public purse and then rack up more debt than imaginable for a tiny island this size. But you cannot afford to do it. Not even in this tiny way. What on Earth were you thinking?

The amount of debt we are now carrying is so huge, so immense, that the average man on the street has no comprehension of the scale of it, nor the spectre of what looms ahead if we do not tackle it head-on.

And, yet, wearing blinders as thick as the fog that induces many poor Bermudians to vote, time and again, against their own best interests, the OBA has joined the march of the lemmings towards the great sea of debt into which we are slowly but surely sinking.