How can Bermudian taxpayers trust in the Government’s ability to manage its finances when it is “obvious that Ministers can perform their daily duties in any manner that suits them” and are not held accountable, asked UBP MP Charles Swan.
Mr Swan was speaking about matters revealed in the Public Accounts Committee [PAC] report tabled on July 20, which detailed a number of issues with both the Global Hue Advertising Agency and the Bermuda Land Development Company Ltd. that occurred in 2008 and 2010.
Mr Swan said that the PAC Report “should be welcomed by not only the Bermudian public, but also by the government and all of the affected parties. Anyone who states that, and sincerely cares for, the betterment of our island, and values the resources we have and create, would wish these to be cared for and properly managed.”
“This report highlights instances where this has not occurred, and the need for our elected officials to be accountable for their actions,” said Mr Swan.
“Former Director of sales and Marketing Glen Bean, a 20 year veteran in tourism, is to be commended for his actions in revealing episodes of wrongdoing.
“How much has Bermuda’s public purse been affected through the ‘pay off’ of the Director of Sales and Marketing at the BDOT and other public servants?
“The PAC report clearly demonstrates how Ministerial influence can adversely affect the operations of departments and Ministries. The PAC report also clearly sets out how Ministerial influence can adversely affect the public purse – the examples are irrefutable.
“How can a Minister refuse a directive from his superior colleague, and Bermuda’s Premier, and not be held accountable? It’s inconceivable, to me, that accountability of Ministers in this government, manifests itself by being transferred to another Ministry. Any person who truly cares about Bermudians and their welfare would have resigned long ago.
Mr Swan continued: “The issue of trust rears its head. How can the Bermudian taxpayer have trust in the Government’s ability to manage its finances? It is obvious that Ministers can perform their daily duties in any manner that suits them, and when that manner is not in accordance with standing orders, and costs the taxpayer excessively, they are not held accountable.
“The issues specifically concerning a currently serving member are particularly galling. The same minister who ignored technical officers advice regarding lighting at Global House is implicated in the BLDC consultancy agreement, and other examples of influence peddling at this Quango.
“This Minister has repeatedly put his own interests ahead of those of Bermuda and its people. It’s a pity that elected officials can not be fired…
“Bermudians, having paid hard earned dollars to this government, deserve more respect than it appears this government, and in particular that former Minister, can offer,” concluded Mr Swan.
In response a PLP spokesperson said: “Has Charlie Swan been paying attention in the House of Assembly? Over the last two years, we’ve passed landmark good government reforms. These good government reforms have strengthened whistleblowers, increased contracting transparency, created more oversight of contracting, put into place stricter requirements for contract tendering and much more.
“Like his friends in the OBA, Charlie Swan offers no ideas and no solutions for addressing Bermuda’s problems. While the PLP instituted the most sweeping Good Government reforms in Bermuda’s history, Charlie Swan and the opposition sat back and attacked, attacked and attacked. They offered no substance, no ideas and no solutions. Just negativity.”
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