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Answers deserved on MyBermudaPost

The Progressive Labour Party government regularly makes deals that don’t make sense, and at worse are actively against the interest of the Bermudian people, and in violation of the Government’s own procedures and laws. The Government then cynically tries to use all means within its power to hide the truth of its actions from the public.

That is why we are pleased to see the recent Supreme Court decision, confirming that the Government acted illegally when it entered into a partnership with an overseas firm to set up a package-forwarding service without undertaking a proper procurement process.

Given that there are multiple local firms competing in package-forwarding, with local employees, it makes no sense that the Government would go into direct competition with local businesses to provide these package services. Even worse, in promoting this service, the Government has been promoting overseas shopping, when instead it should be doing everything in its power to bolster local businesses. These government actions are in complete contradiction with its own stated goals of developing the local economy.

To add insult to injury, at all times the Government has sought to hide the details of this partnership from the Bermuda public, both in this specific legal case, and in the legislature.

The One Bermuda Alliance has sought details about the MyBermudaPost arrangement through two successive Budget debates, as well as through formal parliamentary questions in the Senate. The Government’s initial response was to claim that it did not know the answers to questions such as how many packages it would handle, or how much it would cost the Post Office to provide the local service. Later on, it hid behind this case being before the courts, to avoid providing basic information that would allow people to understand what was going on.

The Government will claim that it provides a valuable service to the public, at lower cost than the private businesses. But it’s clear that if this is true, it is because Bermudian taxpayers are subsidising the service. How could we possibly expect the Government to beat local businesses in a competitive market on efficiency and price? And if it could, why can’t the Government bring such a cost-effective and efficient approach to other services?

Finally, like the rest of Bermuda, we have to ask, what is the Government hiding, and why isn’t it following its own rules? Remember that the ResQwest contract was given without any competitive bids, and that the Government did not properly follow its own rules in that case, either, as highlighted by the Auditor-General, with the Premier directly making decisions.

If these deals are so good for Bermuda, why won’t the Government share the details with us? The public deserve to know who these deals are actually good for?

Douglas De Couto, PhD, is the Opposition’s spokesman for finance in the Senate and the Shadow Minister of Economic Development

Douglas De Couto, PhD, is the Opposition’s spokesman for finance in the Senate and the Shadow Minister of Economic Development

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Published August 11, 2023 at 7:57 am (Updated August 11, 2023 at 7:05 am)

Answers deserved on MyBermudaPost

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