UBP’s Richards On Budget: No Plan, Direction

February 18, 2011

Shadow Minister of Finance Bob Richards spoke about today’s budget saying “The Budget offered no plan, no direction and very few concrete steps that would give the country hope that recovery was within reach.”

Mr Richards said the budget failed to “address soaring public debt, with interest charges set to nearly double to $70 million a year. That’s more than $190,000 a day in interest charges.”

His full statement appears below:

We are pleased Premier Cox has finally acknowledged the seriousness of Bermuda’s economic troubles, but merely recognizing tough times is not a plan and this is where her new Budget fails Bermuda.

This was a great opportunity for the Premier and her Government to lead the country.

The people were prepared to play their part. They were ready to support steps that could have put the Island on the path to recovery and to help Government to get its financial house in order.

Instead, they got a 15-page statement that simply did not rise to the occasion.

The Budget offered no plan, no direction and very few concrete steps that would give the country hope that recovery was within reach.

The Premier’s statement, rather, was a disturbing study in avoidance. Examples are legion:

  • Ms Cox saying the Budget was her “first as Premier and Finance Minister” – a poor attempt to separate herself from her own seven-year record Finance Minister.
  • Ms Cox’s head-shaking call for a “credible” tourism plan, as though the Government today had nothing to do with its past 12 years in power.
  • The Government’s move to redefine public debt – a shell game to make it look smaller than it is.
  • The failure to address soaring public debt, with interest charges set to nearly double to $70 million a year. That’s more than $190,000 a day in interest charges.
  • Verbiage about the need to re-tool the economy for recovery without specifying a way to do it.

The Government had an important opportunity to lead by example, with Ministers taking a symbolic pay cut as the springboard for belt-tightening reform of government spending. But this did not happen.

We support moves to cut employment costs for businesses. But these measures in themselves are not enough. The Government could have done much more.

In the end, this Budget statement is a triumph of politics over responsibility to the short and long-term economic health of the island. It is shame and an opportunity lost.

Bermuda can do much better.

We will provide the country with a plan to rebuild our economy in our formal Budget Reply next Friday, February 25th.

Mr Richards also spoke with us this afternoon:

Read More About

Category: All, News, Politics

Comments (8)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Triangle Drifter says:

    I wonder how many Bermudians truly understand what this Governments gross mismanagement of our finances is really costing them?

    If Bob Richards projections of $190,000 per day come true, and he has a better track record than the PLP for accurate predictions, then financing our debt will cost every man woman & child on this rock something like $3.00 per day.

    What, $3.00per day does not sound like much to you? How about $1066.00 per year EACH for interest charges? If you have a family of four & had $4264.00 extra to spend each year, what would you do with it? That is alot more than most pay for rent.

    How much are you paying for interest on your car loan, your mortgage?

    This PLP Government has us headed for near $70,000,000 per year in interest charges. That is near doulble what is budgeted for Tourism. Gee, that is what Berkley was originally contracted for. How many seniors could be well taken care with that money? How many deserving students could have scholarships paid with that money? How much less would we have to pay in taxes if we were not saddled with these fees from fiscal incompetence? The PLP has failed, & failed miserably.

    More than a few would like to know…Where did all deee money go Paula?

    • Bottom Line says:

      Borrowing money to pay for current expenses is a death spiral. By the time common folk clue in to how bad the death spiral has become (give’m 2 or 3 more years) it will be too late. The PLP will be saying yes massa to Wall St.

  2. Bermie says:

    AS her father father once so eloquently stated, this is VOODOO economics based on trickery for the masses.

  3. george says:

    Paula Cox has done all of these cuts in this year’s budget. How much did she cut from her own salary and the rest of her cabinet, mps, civil servants, etc. to match the cuts she made yesterday? If not, WHY???

  4. Reality says:

    This is a guy that I can listen too and trust. He speaks in a way that is clear and understandable. He predicted what was to come and it has come to fruition but unfortunately people trashed him simply because he is not in the PLP.

    • PEPPER says:

      I hope Bob Richards, keeps on telling us what the hell is going on …this man is what is best for Bermuda…

  5. Jim Garlic says:

    Is it true that Bobs’ company has cut all financial ties to this Government seeing how desperate the situation is ?? You know as his civic duty to save us a bit money…..Just asking

  6. Arthur Raynor - Atlanta says:

    Anyone up to the task of doing a breakdown (without the political spin) on How, When, Why, What of Bermuda’s debt/borrowing situation.
    Break it down for the common person/teens etc. who does not have the high Mathematical/Accountant/Economic knowledge or degrees.
    For example it can follow a question and answer format as below:
    Q: Why does Bermuda borrow money?
    A: Because Bermuda does not blah, blah, blah
    Q: Who do we borrow money from?
    A: Bermuda borrows money from China, Germany and Africa at different times or at the same time
    Q: When does the money have to be paid back?
    A: By a fixed date or there is no fixed payback date as long as you pay the interest.
    Q: What are the pros and cons of borrowing from other countries
    A: Blah, blah, blah
    The bottom line is to keep the explanation simple and easy to understand for us non-Mathematical/Accountant/Economic types.