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Ball blasts Gazette over BPSU story

Bermuda Public Services Union executive Ed Ball has blasted

The Royal Gazette for sensationalising headlines to boost sales instead of relaying the facts.

General Secretary Ed Ball disclosed that BPSU President Kevin Grant “apologised to his membership for the stress that was imposed on them” by the story headlined ‘Civil Service may need to shrink, says BPSU boss’. The story was published on June 22.

In a statement released yesterday, Mr Ball said the union’s mandate “has always and continues to be job retention”. And he said the President had “been steadfast in campaigning for job security for all Bermudian workers” ever since he was elected in March 2011.

“The daily’s Saturday story appears to attempt to induce a hostile and divisive environment within the membership of the Union, while at the same time advocating for the pending SAGE Commission’s recommendation to reduce the size of the Civil Service (which may be premature expectations by the daily and others).

“The BPSU has categorically and continually stated that an economy full of unemployed citizens cannot flourish as confirmed by numerous austerity measures, globally, that have not helped the economic recovery of those countries,” said Mr Ball.

“It is also our view that

The Royal Gazette is not publishing enough interest stories, or conducting investigative reporting to flush out wasteful Government spending or suggesting ways to create jobs.

“Rarely have we read where the paper has suggested ways to increase Government revenues such as collecting $22 million of uncollected taxes as stated by the Ministry of Finance.

“In addition,

The Royal Gazette lacks consistency in reporting on the hardship of unemployed Bermudian workers or campaigns on their behalf for benefits such as unemployment insurance.”

He noted that $38 million has been allocated by Government to be spent on hiring consultants.

Mr Ball concluded: “It is time that

The Royal Gazette assist in Bermuda’s economic recovery and prosperity rather than ruining the reputation and careers of Bermudians.”

In response, Acting Editor Jeremy Deacon said: “There never has been any attempt to induce a hostile and divisive environment with the BPSU. Indeed this paper has gone on record in its editorials that it supports unions and the work they do.

“We will report on what the SAGE Commission recommends, but that does not mean we advocate any particular course of action.”

He added: “Through editorials we may from time to time make suggestions, but our role is primarily to inform the public of the ways this, or any other, Government is working to cut costs and create jobs. We are ourselves acutely aware of the effects of the recession and would be delighted to help Government if they asked us.

“As to the concerns that we are not conducting investigative reporting to flush out wasteful Government spending, we have done and will continue to hold Governments to account. If the BPSU has any concrete examples of this we would be very happy to investigate. We have no fear and give no favour, regardless of which political party is in power.

“In the past, we have often highlighted hardships suffered by families in Bermuda, but we also strive to highlight the positive issues in our community as well. If Mr Ball thinks we lack consistency in our reporting I would ask him to give me the details. If he knows of hardships being suffered, similarly, I would ask him to supply us with details.

“Lastly, it is in our interests that the economy recovers. The overwhelming number of people employed at

The Royal Gazette are Bermudians or spouses of Bermudians. To suggest that we put the ruination of the reputation and careers of Bermudians first, is illogical and absurd.”

BPSU general secretary Ed Ball

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Published June 26, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated June 27, 2013 at 12:06 am)

Ball blasts Gazette over BPSU story

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