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It makes no sense for Burt to refill useless posts

David Burt, the Premier and Minister of Finance (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Dear Sir,

The posts that David Burt, the Premier and Minister of Finance, wants to refill are the same posts that were occupied for the past 30-plus years with no results.

The people of this island, not the Government, are owed one third of $1 billion by those who have not paid for any of the services provided for them. Do your readers know that there are people in Bermuda who have never paid land tax?

We have had the privilege of Bob Richards handling our finances for the past five years. He realised that the number of Civil Service employees was unsustainable and went to great lengths to reduce their cost to the island and, I might add, with very little disruption — firing no one.

What an accomplishment. Bermuda spends 50 per cent of the money it collects in taxes every year to pay for 6,000 of these people, when it could be done with half the number. Ten per cent of the population are civil servants.

Now, with all the commissions, consultants, committees and reporting of posts, all of this work and fiscal sensibility by Richards is being undone.

There is a company here whose business is collecting money. They are very good at it. This is what they do. This company has approached every finance minister — and ministry — since 1988 and given a presentation with a proposal to collect these arrears for the Government. And when they were dismissed offhand, they kept in touch several times during each year, just to remind the Government of their interest.

The only finance minister who received them with any interest was Eugene Cox. This certainly does not surprise me. Had we been able to have him for the Progressive Labour Party’s disastrous 14 years, we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in today.

But I digress. This company has 14 employees, all Bermudian. Six are qualified collectors. They are not civil servants and would not cost taxpayers the exorbitant salaries and other ridiculous extra benefits such as health and pension that go on for the rest of their lives at your expense.

I just can’t understand why they were never given the job; it is a mystery.

The only thing I can think of is that this group does not suffer fools and gets tough with culprits that don’t think they have to meet their financial obligations.

Mr Burt says aggressive measures will be taken by the previously useless posts he plans to refill.

For the guilty, will they cut off their electricity, revoke their passports, ban travel, ban them from the hospital, not give them a licence or permit for anything issued by the Government?

And for employers who collect or withhold money from their employees for pensions, health insurance or the like, and pocket the money, they should just go to jail because that is plain and simple theft.

Mr Burt has some strong points as leader, but he better realise, and quickly, to think outside of the box as Bob Richards did. Using the Civil Service to brag about the number of jobs the PLP has created is a recipe for disaster.