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Critics of Premier holding finance portfolio are spinning yarns

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Tall tales: A man spinning a yarn in this painting by Dutch painter Jacob Toornvliet
David Burt, the Premier and finance minister, speaks at a press conference (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Most people believe that the phrase “spin a yarn” was originally a nautical idiom. Seaman often had to spend time repairing rope on board ship. This is a time-consuming task involving twisting fibres together, which is supposed to have been referred to as “spinning yarn”.

During the past few weeks, a few people have attempted to write fanciful stories about the moralities of politics.

Considering their own political, or non-political, histories, it is quite amusing in some regards.

They have attempted to twist the fibres of something which is not unusual, into something abnormal and borderline diabolical.

Here is the reality. There is a history of premiers/prime ministers being finance minister at the same time. Please do not take my word for it. Here are the historical facts:

● Paula Cox of Bermuda

● Mia Mottley of Barbados

● Sir David Gibbons of Bermuda

No one questioned these arrangements as being immoral or dictatorial.

As a matter of fact, the law surrounding government decisions in a Westminster system is that legislation or proposed legislation must have the consensus of Cabinet ministers.

No one person, or in this case no finance minister, can just up and decide, on their own, what happens with the finances of the country.

It is ironic, that these very same critics have nothing to say about the decisions of the finance minister that signed off on the following follies:

● Cross Island: $40 Million

● Morgan’s Point: $160 Million

● Airport Terminal: $41 million and counting.

That finance minister could not sign off on those deals on his own. They were collective Cabinet decisions.

That is how the Westminster system works.

There are longstanding policies and procedures in place that act as checks and balances:

● Annual Budget scrutiny by Opposition

● Process for approval of supplementary budgets

● Codes of practice for project management and procurement

● The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) headed by the Opposition

One has to wonder if those same yarn spinners think that it is immoral for the present finance minister to have done the following for the people of Bermuda:

● Cutting taxes for workers

● Putting a freeze on fuel per cent increases in April

● Finalising the Fairmont Southampton Princess deal that will create hundreds of jobs

In closing, only those wishing to spin yarns, fanciful as they may be, would have people believing that a premier/prime minister being finance minister, has never happened before.

Simply put, they are, in parliamentary terms, attempting to mislead the public.

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Published April 29, 2022 at 7:52 am (Updated April 29, 2022 at 7:51 am)

Critics of Premier holding finance portfolio are spinning yarns

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