OBA’s Trevor Moniz On Ombudsman’s Comments

July 2, 2012 | 31 Comments

“Bermuda should be very concerned about comments by the Ombudsman that she was subject to high-level pressure to scrap an investigation into Government activities,” Shadow Attorney General Trevor Moniz said.

In a recent report [PDF], Ombudsman Arlene Brock said “Now that the SDO reports are finalised, I can inform the Parliament and public that — if not for the protection of Bermuda’s 1968 Constitution — this investigation might not have been conducted at all.

“After announcing the investigation in April 2011, I endured six high level conversations with three different persons over a four week period during which I was asked, advised, cajoled and urged not to conduct it. Finally I was told ‘there is no value to this investigation.”

Mr Moniz said, “Ms Arlene Brock’s revelation indicates that elements within the government will not hesitate to pressure – even bully – people who don’t toe the line.

“The Premier has made a big deal about pushing forward good governance measures to make sure “abuses will be a thing of the past”. But we continue to see indications that questionable behaviours continue, regardless of her declaration that there will be “zero tolerance for behaviour and practices that do not accord with the highest standards of good governance.”

“This underscores our concern that it is not just legislation that makes for good governance. For good governance to succeed, it requires people in positions of power to honour and respect those whose job it is to keep us honest and in check.

“We in the OBA understand that and it is both our promise and commitment to embrace what good governance will require of us as Government. That is the true meaning of letting in and working in the sunshine of public scrutiny.

“Good governance needs strong leadership. Without it, there is little chance for the change Bermuda needs, little chance for civil servants to work for the best interests of Bermuda.

“In the meantime, we urge the Premier to address Ms Brock’s comments. People would like to know where she stands on the matter,” concluded Mr Moniz.

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  1. Yng Black Mind says:

    Fine statement from the Opposition MP.

    “We in the OBA understand that and it is both our promise and commitment to embrace what good governance will require of us as Government. That is the true meaning of letting in and working in the sunshine of public scrutiny.

    “Good governance needs strong leadership. Without it, there is little chance for the change Bermuda needs, little chance for civil servants to work for the best interests of Bermuda."

    I do not have an issue with the MP's statement; however, I disagree with just two of his points above:

    1. Good governance needs strong leadership - - neither the PLP or the OBA can claim to have strong leadership, thus this is a mute point. People make referrence to the Premier as the "Cog", thus it is fair to refer to the Opposition Leader as the "Pawn" - self explanatory.

    2. Little chance for civil servants to work - - I purposely cut this statement short as this is the goal of the Shadow Minister of Finance, Mr. B Richards. He has already indicated on several occasions that the civil service is "bloated", "oversized", etc. - - HE will cut the civil service, putting hundreds of Bermudians (that's low income, middle class, and straight up - POOR BERMUDIANS) OUT OF WORK - period.

    Think about that for a minute - - it's scary, isn't it? Everyone can dismiss a few jobs here and there, but a huge amount would create chaos, right?

    I leave you with this - - "a single grain of sand can topple a nation, if placed in the correct position."

    Yng Black Mind
    (those who know understand)

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    • terry says:

      And that is why God said 'don't building your home on sand'.
      Irony eh?

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    • Truth (Original) says:

      My friend- I offer you the following comments:

      1. It was the Premier the referred to herself as a Cog. Others a following her lead on that. I don't think that we can assess adequately assess whether or not the OBA would be bad leaders, having not seen them lead as Government. All we can do is assess their performance as the official opposition and make the best determination we can.

      2. Given the financial predicament that we find ourselves in, we have to cut costs somewhere. I don't think anyone disputes the civil service is bloated. Neither does anyone dispute the fact that our current expenses outstrip our revenues. We MUST cut back expenses or raise revenues or a combination of the two.

      We cannot keep borrowing to fill that gap. That is simply not sustainable. I believe that Mr Richards is only saying what must be done to bring balance to our finances. I also believe that the Premier knows this to be true but the PLP cannot make those kinds of decisions before an election. if the PLP are successful at the polls again (and I hope not), I believe that they will have to announce cuts to the civil service shortly thereafter.

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      • Truth (Original) says:

        Please forgive my typos :-)

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      • Yng Black Mind says:

        @Truth (Original):

        I accept the origin of the "Cog" referrence; however, if we are going to speak honestly, my assessment of the Opposition leader as the "Pawn" should/will stand. I have spoken to supporters of the OBA who have said as such - moving on.

        I agree - cost should be cut - - getting rid of the civil service is not the way forward in order to achieve it. Yes - if you eliminate some Minsters, a few PS levels and ALL CONSULTANTS who actually take up office space and funds - we will have plently of return funds for the government to work with. I do not believe that getting rid of clerks, officers, and CSA reps is the way to go - period.

        We must agree to disagree as we will not see eye to eye on Mr. Richards - - you know where I stand in regards to him. He is not good for his party nor will he be any good for my country.

        Yng Black Mind
        (those who know understand)

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        • Truth (Original) says:

          @ YBM

          1. Other than some OBA supporters who feel the same way you do about the their leader, I won't aske you to go into specifics about why else you feel that way. I know that the opinion of a few wouldnt be enough alone to persuade of such. I will move on as well.

          2. To be clear, I did not suggest that we "get rid of the civil service". I do however believe that cuts need to be made there. That will not be a panacea for reducing costs but the govt must look there in addition to the other cost cutting initiatives that you mentioned above.

          My main point here is that although we may not see eye to eye on Mr. Richards, we can agree on the following;

          1. Our expenses are outstripping our revenues
          2. Expenses need to be reduced
          3. Revenues need to be increased (not just through additional taxes) and
          4. Borrowing to fill the gap is not a sustainable long term strategy.

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        • lionfish says:

          We NEED to scale back the size of the civil service tremendously. Getting rid of clerks, etc. is what NEEDS to be done. A job in the civil service is not a given right for everybody...and it is not a form of welfare/'unemployment insurance'. We have systems in place to deal with those who are unable to secure employment in the private sector. Wages and salaries from the public sector are killing the island slowly...but those benefiting from the current status quo (politicians who get their votes and current civil servants who get paid) won't have to live with the consequences of soaring debt (for day to day running costs) like we will. Making people redundant that need to be made redundant is a tough job and one the current qlq administration have shown they are unable to do...due in large part to their lack of testicular fortitude in these types of circumstances. Bermuda suffers as a whole for the benefit of a few...hoorah!

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          • Yng Black Mind says:

            Lionfish:

            I can agree that we need to review the size of the civil service - - above, I even gave some examples of how and who can be cut. A job in the CS does not mean that that person is lazy, rude or doesn't deserve their job - - - every company has bad eggs.

            I know several people working in the CS who work hard everyday for the funds they receive - - they shouldn't live in fear that the OBA, if they become government, will get rid of them to "fix the budget".

            The OBA has plainly indicated they will cut jobs, while the governement - with all their faults (some of which I can name) - is willing to try to keep them - - it is plain and clear to see how certain people will vote - - it is about their survival.

            Yng Black Mind
            (those who know understand)

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            • JJR says:

              "YBL" - - Listen, if your mates in CS are doing their jobs up to expectation and if their jobs are deemed essential, then they have NOTHING to worry about! If they are just collecting a paycheck for a job that can, and should be absorbed by someone else who doesn't have enough to do (and there are MANY like this - you know that and can't dispute it) then they should be aware of the reality that faces them. They should appreciate the free ride they have enjoyed and start updating their CV or learn a new trade.

              End of story! This is how a successful business is run and how a successful country SHOULD operate.

              PERIOD!

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      • Specialgirl4YOu says:

        @Truth (Original).... I think you are forgetting something. Well…. Mr. Richard said on a talk show recently, that he will "borrow money". What does that do?....Increase our debt as well? So under the OBA our debt will also increase. It also reflects that the OBA/UBP do not have any real solutions to this recession. So far all those countries that did cut back find themselves heading back into a double-dip recession. So how will the OBA/UBP stop us from going into a double-dip recession? How will they care for all those persons who will lose their jobs under the leadership of OBA, as they quickly cut jobs? I really need answers, before I can become a swing-voter and so far I do not see any from the OBA.

        This recession is not a simple fix, and it will take time. It is so easy to take on the position of Mr. Richards and be "Mr. Doom and Gloom, but he fails to provide any real solutions. Since you also forgot the government has cut the budget by several Million dollars already this year, and still working on cutting it some more. Spending in government has been tighten, and govt is still seeking ways to cut-back. Mr. Cannioner is a Pawn, he has little to add to the dialogue, and debate unless it has been scripted for him.

        Lastly, so far I think Yng Black Mind has made a few good points. He is apparently more honest in this debate than Mr. Richards or yourself. The government has a payment plan in place to address our debt, and this key to the matter. I beleive if they hold-fast to the plan we will survive these difficult times.

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        • Family Man says:

          What payment plan? This is the first I've heard of any plan.

          The only thing the party loving people have said is 'no worries, by the time we have to pay back the loans, the economy will have fixed itself and we'll be alright'. That's not a plan. That's delusional.

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        • Truth (Original) says:

          @SG4U

          Please tell me where I have been dishonest in this "debate".

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        • street wise says:

          More nonsense as usual from 'Bud' et al, the paid PLP bloggers. Sounding more and more desperate as we get closer to doomsday for the PLP.

          Jeeze the biggest "pawn" of them all was Ms Paula Cox, herself, when she was at the beck and call of Dr Evil. Now that's a pawn!! She admitted it herself.

          We do not know what Craig will do so it is premature to judge him. Give him a chance. Elect the OBA and let's see what they can do.

          The OBA certainly can't do any worse than the PLP! There is no doubt that the PLP have hit the bottom of the barrel both fiscally and morally.

          As far as solutions to PLP's problems you won't get anything out of the OBA until the election is called... so why do you go on and on about. The rest of your "narative" is pure speculation and conjecture... it's just your opinion.

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    • Mad Dawg says:

      Say what you will. The current govt has appallingly weak leadership. Every decision is second guessed by the unions, the 'Deputy Premier' contingent, and whatever other interests. Cox doesn't appear to be in charge. What's more she has very few loyal MPs. Not every position can be given to Minors Wilson Scott and Roban.

      The Omdudsman's concerns should be of extreme concern to every one of us. This is our country that s being managed like it 'belongs' to the government. It doesn't belong to them. We're supposed to be able to trust them, but we obviously can't.

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      • Specialgirl4YOu says:

        The Office of the Ombudsman’s was established by the current government, under the great leadership of Dame Hon. J. Smith. It was the PLP government that established such an office, and that speaks enormous applause and congratulations must be given to the government of the day. The government must be praised for arranging such an office. The Ombudsman’s is appointed by the Governor. The Ombudsman’s is an intelligent woman; she is familiar with the procedure and protocol at her disposal to address any concerns she may have. There is a form of action the Ombudsman can take if she deems it necessary, but instead she got on with the business of doing what her role required of her. The OBA is attempting to take cheap political shots in a hope of gaining political points in this situation.

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    • questionable Moniz says:

      Can't understand this man Mr. Moniz is the man that wanted to have his own colleague removed because of *certain* activities?

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  2. Amen says:

    Even x premier Brown stated that there were more door openers and closers in government you only have to pass any any government building these days to see them all outside swooning about with no sence of purpose or urgency hanging about on long breaks lolly gagging and rushing home before 5

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    • Cleancut says:

      Chicken coops! Hundreds of people in cubicles on floors in Government offices struggling to get through the day by doing absolutely nothing. And they all support the PLP.

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  3. Grouper says:

    Ignore the message and attack the messenger...usually PLP tactics. International Business is watching this very closely as they do not want to be associated with a jurisdiction that is appears to continually have "shady behaviour from elected Govt. officials"...

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  4. Blackberry Cadre says:

    I see the PLP PR team is out in full force for this article.

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  5. Liars! says:

    sg4y- your another one of these nasty greedy, lazy government workers aren't you?

    Always sticking up for the Pee L (for losers) PEE!

    Only because they have bought you out and you don't care about anything but your wallet and your disgusting ego, arrogance and megalomaniac PEE L(for losers) PEE!

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    • Truth hurts says:

      Yes, she is one of those workers that SHOULD be in fear of her job! She has been getting a free ride for a while now and is afraid she will actually have to go out and get a new job where she will actually be held accountable for her paycheck. The ride is over people and you all know it! (Should have been over long ago!)

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  6. Truth (Original) says:

    @YBM and/or SG4U

    Do either of you have any comments or concerns about what the ombudsman had to say about being pressured by the PLP to drop the investigation?

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    • Yng Black Mind says:

      Truth:

      I do not have any concerns with the statement from the Ombudsman - she has every right to provide information as she sees fit. And for the record, I believe she was pressured by the government to "soften" the blow from the report. This has never been in dispute on my part. As most will know, I am not a PLP supporter, nor am I am OBA supporter.

      The fact remains that any government will try to make themselves look as best they can - this is the nature of the beast which is politics. The only reason I commented on this post was to indicate that the OBA are no different in their approach then the PLP - everything smells rotten - you will decide which crap you will live with.

      Yng Black Mind
      (those who know understand)

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      • Marlon says:

        thanks for the response. To round out this conversation, I have to say that I am deeply concerned that thet the GOvernment tried to stifle this information. A lesser person would have caved and I am thankful for the Ombudsman's fortitude.

        That said, I am highly concerned about what information they managed to successfully stifle. I believe that the PLP have forgotten that they work for the people. The business that they tend to is the PEOPLE'S BUSINESS. They have no right to stifle or oppress the passage of information when it is inconvenient for them. That is what ensures accountability and good governance and without it ensures that malfeasance has a safe haven to operate.

        We should all be concerned.

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      • street wise says:

        @ Yng Black Mind: Who are you trying to kid, you are a staunch plp supporter, I can tell by the tone of your posts. You are just playing the part of a "swing" voter" at election time to throw everyone off.

        The plp dog and pony show continues....

        Next act, please.....

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  7. Hmmmmmmmmm says:

    Wow this thread if full of PLP paid bloggers trying to bully the public with so much misinformation. They must have something terrible they want to hide. The Ombudsmen really must have shaken some trees with your employers.

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