Moniz questions Govt on consultant hiring
Shadow Justice Minister Trevor Moniz is calling for Government to reveal who sits on its panel overseeing the selection of consultants.
Mr Moniz also questioned whether the new review committee, announced by Cabinet Secretary Donald Scott last week, was in place when contracts were handed to Progressive Labour Party figures Renee Webb, Rolfe Commissiong and Walton Brown.
The One Bermuda Alliance MP was responding to Mr Scott’s statement that former PLP chairman Anthony Santucci was not hired as a Government consultant as he had not been vetted by the new review committee.
Mr Moniz said in a statement: “Late last week, after Transport Minister Terry Lister said former PLP chairman Anthony Santucci had been hired as a TCD consultant, the Premier and the Island’s top civil servant stepped in to ‘categorically’ deny Mr Lister’s statement.
“The Cabinet Secretary said Mr Santucci ‘has not been engaged’ because there had been no submission to an internal review committee, which the Premier set up to vet all Government staff appointments, including consultants, to ensure value for money, the skills ‘to deliver’ and no conflict of interest.
“Despite the Premier saying ‘the rules of engagement have been made transparent’, there are questions that need answering if we are to have transparency on this issue. Specifically, the public should know who sits on the review committee and what are the guidelines used to vet hiring ‘applications’ from Government Ministries and Departments?
“In addition, the public should know if the review committee vetted applications for a number of consultants recently revealed in answers to Parliamentary Questions; namely Ms Renee Webb, Mr Rolfe Commissiong and Mr Walton Brown.
“The One Bermuda Alliance is committed to a broad programme of reform to ensure greater transparency and accountability in Government, and a broader level of interaction between Government and the people it serves. It is why we ask the above questions.”
Premier Paula Cox has previously responded to Mr Moniz’s questions on the issue by stressing Mr Santucci was not engaged by Government and the process in place is effective.
She said on Friday: “In the matter of applications for consultancies, we have revamped the process so it is assessed objectively and on a needs basis.
“A compelling case has to be made. We made a studied effort to reduce the number of consultancies.
“The dial has been reset. The rules of engagement have been made transparent. Further, the division of responsibility between policy-setting and the implementation of policy is also clearer.
“The same control process is in place for the hiring and retention of consultants.”