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Guarded welcome to GP car fleet cut promise

A swift commitment from the new One Bermuda Alliance government to implement cuts across the Government fleet received a guarded welcome from the public yesterday.

Carpooling was suggested by the OBA when the party was in Opposition in response to figures showing 237 vehicles registered to Government between January, 2008 and December, 2011.

Swift on the heels of Monday’s victory for the OBA, a party spokesman said cutting “wasteful Government spending” was a commitment the OBA would follow through on.

“The reduction in the number of GP-licenced cars was identified as one of the ‘immediate steps’ we can take toward that goal,” he said. “The plan to do so will extend to the entire fleet of vehicles, with carpooling already identified as one option to reduce the number of ministerial cars.”

Abbie Caldas, education officer for the Bermuda National Trust and a staunch advocate of carpooling to reduce the Island’s traffic, commended the early pledge from the new Government.

“Carpooling is certainly an effective means to reduce waste,” she said. “There is the obvious financial saving, and the benefits extend environmentally and socially as well.

“By putting less money towards gas and vehicle maintenance, they will be able to reallocate the budget towards priority issues.

“Further, if they can demonstrate to Bermuda’s residents that carpooling is a viable and worthy option, we will be able to significantly reduce our carbon emissions and reliance on foreign fuel.

“Plus, sharing a ride with someone is an opportunity for conversations and building our community.

“I am pleased with their focus on reducing waste of any kind — it is this mentality that will foster our growth.

“Forward thinking governments, and communities and individuals, put efficiency into practice.

“And by taking actions that address economic, environmental and social concerns in one initiative, they demonstrate a true movement towards sustainable behaviour, which is key to securing a prosperous future.”

A possible figure of six for ministerial cars was suggested, about half of what is currently reckoned to exist.

Remarks on the streets of Hamilton yesterday indicated support for the measure, tempered with a degree of wariness.

Warwick resident Vera Petty said: “I think it’s the right thing to cut back. Government has been spending taxpayers’ money and more than the taxpayers’ money, so cost saving moves like this need to be encouraged.”

Ms Petty said she took hope from the fact that cutting the fleet was a post-election rather than pre-election promise.

“Both parties are the same when it comes to getting into power. That’s their priority, and they promises they make before are rarely kept.”

The environmental benefits, she added, were at least as important is the potential to save money.

“Any party that’s passionate for the environment is a great party as far as I’m concerned.”

Zalika Darrell told

The Royal Gazette: “I don’t know much about Government cars, but they need to cut down on a lot of stuff.

“If they’re not paying for cars then maybe they can pay for important things like schooling. Right now there’s a lot of people who aren’t working.

“Bermuda College isn’t free anymore and if you’re not working, how are you supposed to afford courses? If they save money they should put it somewhere else.”

Preferring to remain anonymous, a young male Bermudian insurance worker took a sceptical view.

“It’s best to make moderate promises, and then stick to it,” he said. “The Opposition is going to be watching everything they do and they’re not going to let them get away with it.

“Maybe they should just reduce them by a few. But I think it’s a good idea.”

And bystander Leon Virgil took a wait-and-see view.

“Sure, it sounds like a nice idea,” he said. “If they feel that they should cut it, then cut it. We’ll have to see how it goes. There is a whole lot they could do, but it remains to see it get done.”

These Government cars were handed back in by Progressive Labour Party MPs and parked in a field near the Government Quarry at Bailey’s Bay this week. The new One Bermuda Alliance government has vowed it would cut the number of GP-licenced cars.

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Published December 22, 2012 at 8:00 am (Updated December 22, 2012 at 12:09 am)

Guarded welcome to GP car fleet cut promise

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