Alexis Swan: Is It Cost Effective To Jail Debtors?

November 27, 2012

[Written by OBA Candidate Alexis Swan] Almost every day, we read or hear stories about people who have been sent to jail for not being able to pay their bills.

Bermuda is already facing monumental debt as a country. Should we be spending more money on locking up those who can’t find jobs to pay their debts? Or should we look to creating a solution outside prison walls that will enable those in debt to pay their bills and maintain their dignity without having a prison record hanging over their heads for life?

Running up debts with no intention of paying them is one thing. But little regard is given to those who had every intention of paying, but who can prove that they simply cannot pay the debt they have incurred due to job loss or other unfortunate circumstance related to these tough economic times. If they go to jail, the bills remain unpaid and the problem has not been resolved.

How do we arrive at a solution that will please the creditors and keep the person who is trying to pay his/her debts out of prison? Westgate is, after all, an expensive alternative. The cost to the taxpayer of keeping a debtor locked up is upwards of $80,000 a year – in many cases the bill will be more than the offender’s debt.

We need to look for solutions to this and similar problems that help our fellow Bermudians, not solutions that change their lives for the worse. Bermuda seems to be one of the few countries in the world which locks people up for debt. It seems to me a throwback to the days of the offence of wandering abroad.

My question to government Ministers is whether they truly consider that this treatment of debtors is appropriate in this day and age. What service does the government think jailing them does for the people of Bermuda? It is clear that there have been high volumes of job losses in Bermuda recently, and that is beyond people’s control.

If we are going to move forward as a country we have to learn to create solutions for our people and not more problems. No one deserves to live in fear.

We have seen the government mismanage the public’s money on numerous occasions. There is never an explanation as to where the money has gone. Yet if an individual mismanages his own money, he can be pulled up before a magistrate to explain what happened and to beg not to be sent to jail.

That’s not fair, and it’s not the way we should be operating in the 21st Century. We need to put this right. The One Bermuda Alliance intends to do just that.

- Alexis Swan is running in C#24 Warwick South East against the PLP’s Lawrence Scott

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  1. Vote for Me says:

    Here we go again... another supreficial analysis by the OBA. I assume Ms. Swan did not read pages 15 and 16 of the 2012 Throne Speech. In summary, it states that the government intends to review the whole process of debt collection in Bermuda, in response to recent job losses and the inability of some people to pay debts. The review is also in response to some inconsistencies in current debt collection processes.

    One of the most significant adjustments might be to the amount of interest and fees that can be added to the debt by the collection agency.

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    • swing voter says:

      after 3 election cycles of bullsh*t promises that really haven't produced much but 1.4B debt do you really expect me to believe anything in that throne speech.....if I were the govna, I wudda told Paula to read it herself.

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      • tired of the bull says:

        Lol @swing voter really!!! Your beloved Ms.Swan is committing forgery again, and stop calling yourself swing voter. You talk about lies but you having that name is a lie be honest and just call yourself a blind OBA/UBP supporter.

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        • swing voter says:

          I don't blindly support party. the ubp were a bunch of self serving opportunists. so are the plp. the difference is now in 2012 bermuda has real debt. coupled with high unemployment out of control anti social behaviour, and our infrastructure in broken. now remind yourself which bunch of self serving politicians had control during this period of degradation...

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    • street wise says:

      What are the plp going to do about absentee fathers refusing to pay their child support payments to their girlfriends/ex-wives? Do they go to jail?

      Yet, if the Government had a system for collecting overdue child support payments that included garnishing the father's wages, much unnecessary suffering would be alleviated as mothers now would have a little more money to better raise their kids.

      Fathers MUST be made to pay child support! Why they are not is beyond me.

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      • FACTS says:

        Well said street wise.

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      • Pastor Syl Hayward says:

        @ Street Wise, it goes a little deeper even than that. A man can be sent to jail for not paying a fine and when he comes out that fine is cancelled. It is "jail in lieu of payment."

        However, when a woman with children is in debt, and her child support payments, if paid, would cover that debt, the court doesn't take that into consideration and require the dead-beat-dad to pay his arrears so that she can pay her debts. Instead, they send the woman to jail for non-payment (while the DBD walks around free and often making more babies) and she STILL owes that money when she comes out, now with a prison record and even less possibility of finding a job and paying off the debt.

        This situation was highlighted in that movie put out a couple of years back by the Coalition for the Protection of Children - I think the name was "Poverty in Paradise" or something similar. The only comment I heard from PLP supporters at that time related to whether or not the women in the film had weaves and their nails done, as if any woman with any pride would appear in a film without trying to look their best. Not a peep about the inequities and no action to redress the situation.
        Some of these women are owed tens of thousands of dollars, while the fathers are just walking around and the courts do nothing.

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        • Andrew Carmichael says:

          Not all fathers are "Dead-Beat-Dads". Just as not all mothers spend the child support on themselves. While I hold my tongue from giving you a serious rebuke on your broad brush comment, I will remind you that each situation, like the people involved is different and should be looked at in that light. If you are indeed a "Pastor", then you should know better. The movie "Poverty in Paradise" was filmed to show and promote a certain view only, and does not show the other side of the story, good or bad. I could make a case that males that don't pay child support were raised by single mothers and that ideology was passed on to them, but that is not right. Long story short, you seem to be biased like our judicial system. Step back "Pastor"!

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      • Yes Aye says:

        Just so you know, the laws allow for courts to garnish wages.

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    • Out of flight says:

      Poor girl. Got wiped clean by Lawrence Scott on ZBM and now this. She sat in a Bright Temple church service and was never recognized because NOBODY knew who she was. Wow. What can we say.
      She will lose and you won't hear a word from her for 3 years. Unless of course the OBA waste their efforts and put her in the Senate where Kenneth Bascome did not shine....not one noteable accomplishment and not one from Gina Spence who also went there and nothing from the young OBA person there now who nobody knows. What's her name?

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  2. Just saying says:

    Well said, I find it hard to beleive that people in bermuda can go to jail because they owe the Hospital money !!!! Basic fundamemtal heath care can land a Bermudian in jail if they can't afford to pay the hospital bill. I have seen it first hand, pay the 1000.00 or three months in jail. Yet the current goverment says its the peoples party !!! Right, they can be 23 million over budget on a project no jail time and don't need to answer to anyone ! Maybe they might like to get health care for Bermudians and pay off their old medical bills. This would be for the people.

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  3. Yes Aye says:

    SO, this morning OBA Trotts out their candidate who got defeated in last nights debate to talk about an issue that they provide no solution to.

    Here is a hint OBA, if you don't have an answer as to how you are going to do anything different, don't talk.

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    • The Truthsayer says:

      Yes Aye - Where's the PLP's answer on how they're going to do things differently? They've only been critisizing the OBA, but where's their REAL plan, not their "10-point" plan? I'll wait....

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      • Yes Aye says:

        Who said PLP are going to do things differently. Not everyone thinks the world is ending like you.

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    • Mad Dawg says:

      I can't wait for the debate between Dawn Simmons and Jeff Baron.

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  4. Vote for Me says:

    For added clarity, the Throne Speech states:
    'there is a delicate balance that must be held between aiding those who genuinely lack the capacity to repay a debt and penalising those who are unwilling to pay to ensure that creditors are compensated for the cost of loans that are outstanding.' further,

    'the objective is to maintain Bermuda as a commercially respected jurisdiction that provides assurance for fair compensation in debt recovery while providing useful options to those individuals in legitimate financial hardship and who are unable to pay.

    Based on these statements, it is clear that the PLP have a comprehensive understanding of the current challenges but also know that you must consider Bermuda's reputation as a business center before you propose a solution.

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    • Verbal Kint says:

      Before they said "fair compensation in debt recovery" did they consult with people who lost money in the British American Insurance fiasco. Bermuda's reputation as a business center is in danger of being undone by a court system that is stuck in the 19th century and a legal system that is rife with the potential for manipulation.
      Besides, Government "have a comprehensive understanding" of a number of current challenges. They, unfortunately, don't seem to know what to do to overcome any of them.

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    • Mad Dawg says:

      Why are we supposed to rely on what the PLP says? Last night Blakeney boasted about how the pool had been completed 'on budget at $20m'. Yet the budget was actually $15m! And the pool isn't even complete! Every time he opens his mouth he's lying.

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  5. campervan says:

    Maybe you could send all to the bad debtors to the UK and let them take care of the problem for you?

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  6. haha says:

    Um, did Ms Swan not read the Throne Speech? Did she not see that the Govt intends to review this whole process?

    Did anyone see the debate last night?

    Lawrence took her to the cleaners.

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  7. Silence is golden says:

    Apparently Ms. Swan did not learn from her overwhelming loss last night on "Let's Talk" - - an statement from the Opposition WITHOUT some solution is just empty talk - - what we can expect from the OBA UNTIL they are elected. This entire piece is fuffy crap without any substance.

    Wake me up when the OBA and Ms. Swan start talking about the issues with real solutions - - I am interested - - IN SOLUTIONS.

    Shhhhh!!! Silence is Golden

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    • street wise says:

      No! Wake ME up when the plp start talking about the issues with real solutions – - I am interested – - IN SOLUTIONS.

      Where is THE PLAN, plp?? What is your PLATFORM, plp??

      The plp. No talent. No plans. No ideas. No solutions. No future.

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  8. Licks are trump! says:

    Alexis needs to take a back seat after the licks she took last night on Let's Talk. It seems very obvious, after last nights performance, that her written commentary and press conferences have been prepared by someone else with her name attached to it.

    Furthermore, the PLP government has already stated that they will be looking into this issue - so what's the point of the article?

    Another question, who is next to take on the PLP in a
    debate? Bring it on!

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    • street wise says:

      Promises mean nothing to the plp, they break them all the time.

      The plp will say and do ANYTHING to get re-elected! Don't believe a word.

      Vote wisely

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  9. That was easy says:

    After her poor performance last night on lets talk, I would think that Ms. Swan would lay low for a little while. Boy , did she get a beat down !! She had no answers last night....and her answers about RACE !!! ARE YOU SERIOUS!!!??? WOW .. PLP all the way !!

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    • street wise says:

      It continually amazes me the number of folks who will vote against their own well-being....

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    • Autumn Fire says:

      I agree, it was clear as ever that Mr. Scott surpassed Ms. Swan during last night's debate on Let's Talk. From what was presented, she has a lot of maturing to do - sorry, she's not ready....

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      • Come Correct says:

        Failure is the key to success, so how is she supposed to learn and grow? Doesn't really matter because the more she tries to rise to the occasion the more you lot will beat her down...who the hell would want to be a candidate on this island with the constant abuse from people that haven't stepped up like she has? Before anyone talks a pack, this guy is drawing a ganja leaf on his ballot and voting for that, so if Premier Cox says there's no spoiled ballots in her constituency this time, I'll have something to say.

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  10. OBA is just like romney says:

    "There is never an explanation as to where the money has gone."

    Alexis, here is a clue. The Auditor General releases annual audits that say specifically where they money has gone. Please read them befor you say stupid things.

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    • Portia says:

      Actually, the Auditor General herself has raised several questions to the Government over its handling of certain projects and its lack of transparency in financial reporting. So if the AG is asking questions, that's a signal something is wrong.

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      • haha says:

        The auditor general may have questioned projects and transparency but nowhere has she said that there is no explanation as to where the money has gone.

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        • Concerned says:

          the Auditor General can presume where the money went but prefers to get honest answers from those that be. larry Dennis can tell you that they aren't about answering to anybody anywhere.

          I would say that they are dangling on a short line in deep water.

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  11. swing voter says:

    I want 2 items added to either OBA or PLP platforms.

    (1) cut ministerial salary to $1 per year for 2 years

    (2) mandate the Auditor General unlimited dumpster diving privilege

    BTW the company that won the retaining wall contract doesn’t have heavy equipment so they have to sub contract a large portion of the job to a company that does…now who do you think the minister of W&E and cabinet would recommend …..go f$%%^in figure…after 3 election cycles, bermudians are still so slow to connect the dots

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  12. Encyclopedia says:

    I did not realize Alexis Swan was this poor in understanding issues and laying them out clearly.

    If she was a Minister, I would really worry about the calibre of the OBA cabinet, if they won.

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    • swing voter says:

      don't be silly....that's akin to Roolfe and Makai bein appointed ministers ....now do you get it? probably not cuz yur head is saturated with emerald flavoured kool aid

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      • Encyclopedia says:

        Actually I am an independent and I do think both OBA and PLP have both some good folks and not so good folks.

        Besides, I don't judge people, who blog here and I believe they are free to express their opinion without getting personal like yourself.

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    • street wise says:

      Ms Swan is definitely a little "wet behind the ears." But she's a political newbie, give her a chance. What have you got to lose?

      Vote wisely.

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  13. LaVerne Furbert says:

    Once again Ms. Swan shows her lack of political acumen. Her first sentence says it all "Almost every day, we read or hear stories about people who have been sent to jail for not being able to pay their bills." Where do we read stories of people have been sent to jail ......?

    I guess the OBA is hoping that this article will show that she really has something to offer the voters. I would love to see her in a press conference answering questions on this article that was obviously written for her.

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    • haha says:

      Laverne,

      I agree. Where do we read these stories 'almost every day'? This whole column is ridiculous.

      I bet we don't see Ms Swan at a microphone any more for a long time.

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      • Encyclopedia says:

        After the performance last night, there is no way she can redeem herself by a few press statements that's written for her, as everyone can see through that.

        She should lie low until the elections are over.

        A few more debates like this will be a disaster for the OBA.

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    • The Truthsayer says:

      Faverne Lurbert - So the PLP don't have any of their press releases or things written for them. FOH!

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    • Come Correct says:

      Lol you're one to talk, I thought you weren't commenting on here anymore with all the commentors cowardly hiding behind their anonymous names, or did your handlers finally take the muzzle off. I'm willing to bet even Andre Curtis will get more than 8 votes, get back in your cage.

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  14. Bella Believer says:

    I question both parties on this issue. They both state that it is in fact a problem and we must deal with what we have created but I'd like to know who will actually work on creating a better solution. I know of numerous people who cannot pay past due bills because they have no salary what so ever, not to mention a family who was harrassed over a bill they paid over two years ago, but the system shows they had not and must be taken into custody YET AGAIN to prove what they have proven ALREADY. The system needs a serious reformation

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  15. campervan says:

    if we are to incarcerate anyone who goes into debt with no intention of paying it back, then does that mean we will be sending the finance minister to jail?

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  16. Eyes Wide Shut says:

    I agree with the sentiment that those who have fallen on hard times and cannot afford to pay their debts should not be criminalised and sent to prison. The problem is that there is little support in Bermuda for people who find themselves in this situation. Perhaps a debt advice service will be a step in the right direction.

    This issue, like many others, is not new and if the PLP government had any REAL intentions of improving/updating the law they have had 14 years of which to do so. A mention of this issue in the latest Throne Speech is not indicative of any actual action as the Throne Speech was an outline of the government's agenda for the previous sitting of the House of Assembly. As the House of Assembly has been dissolved (because of the election) nothing contained in it will be actioned as it is no longer relavent - other than as a pseudo election platform for the PLP. Essentially the Throne Speech isn't worth the paper it is printed on.

    Equally, the OBA have not actually proposed a policy to correct this 'injustice'. If they want people to get out and vote for them, they have to get beyond 'superficial analysis' and set out creative solutions that people can support.

    I plan to vote for the best CANDIDATE and forget about party loyalty as both parties are a disappointment.

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    • Vote for Me says:

      @ Eyes wide shut' - please open your eyes!!

      '...The Throne Speech was an outline of the government's agenda for the previous sitting of the House of Assembly'..

      The Throne Sppech is an outline of the proposed legislative changes that will be made by the government in the UPCOMING year.

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      • Rockfish#1 says:

        The last Throne Speech is most interesting, primarily because of what has NOT been delivered, nor mentioned since.

        Before the daggers are thrown, read it in it's entirety!

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  17. JOE says:

    NICE TO SEE SO MANY 'DIFFERENT' PLP SUPPORTERS POSTING ON THIS ARTICLE...

    HINT: WHEN YOU POST UNDER DIFFERENT NAMES TRY TO MAKE YOUR MESSAGE AT LEAST SOMEWHAT DIFFERENT!!! CREATING FAKE SUPPORT BECAUSE THERE IS NO ACTUALL SUPPORT IS LAUGHABLE...AND WILL ONLY SERVE TO MAKE YOU FALL HARDER COME 12/17.

    TRUTH: NOBODY CARES ABOUT THE DEBATE LAST NIGHT/ANY COMING UP. IF YOU ACTUALLY THINK PEOPLE WILL CHANGE THEIR VOTE BASED ON CANDIDATES DEBATE PERFORMANCES YOU ARE DELUSIONAL. FOCUS ON WHAT YOUR PARTY WILL DO TO GET US OUT OF THE MESS THEY PUT US IN AND NOT ON THE OBA.

    WHAT DID OBAMA ONCE SAY? "If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from. You make a big election about small things."

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    • Idiots r Us - OBA says:

      @ joe

      Hint: when typing a comment, take off your cap lock! No need to shout at us!

      You have assumed PLP supporters posting on this article, using different names, are the same people. Hint - when you assume you are making an a$$ out of you and...well, just you!

      Maybe, after watching the debate last night the voting public came to an informed decision - the OBA have NO solutions!

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      • street wise says:

        Serious?! No one in their right mind could make up their mind about a whole political party based on one meaningless debate with a two political neophytes....

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      • JOE says:

        HI THERE. WHEN THREE OR FOUR DIFFERENT POSTERS POST PRETTY MUCH THE EXACT SAME MESSAGE JUST MINUTES APART FROM EACH OTHER ONE IS APT TO DRAW WHATEVER CONCLUSIONS THEY WANT... IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME. WOULDN'T YOU AGREE?

        AND BY YOU SAYING BERMUDA NEEDS "SOLUTIONS" THAT IMPLIES THAT BERMUDA IS IN TROUBLE. ANSWER ME THIS: WHO/WHAT HAS LED US TO THIS TROUBLE?

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    • You cant be serious says:

      How can you say don’t focus on the OBA? How can someone vote for a party that has no answers or solutions? Lets be honest with ourselves. If the OBA/UBP thinks that people will vote for them after they state they will do things that are already in place you are mistaken. Ms. Swan did not have a clue what she was talking about last night and had to walk away wondering what she is actually fighting for. I hope the OBA realizes that we are not fooled by the lack of substance they are providing to the voting public. I for one will not vote for a party that continues to say they have a plan but produce nothing.

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      • The Truthsayer says:

        Where's the PLP's REAL solutions? Not their "10-Point" plan. I'll wait....

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      • street wise says:

        Don't worry about the OBA, you were never gonna vote for them anyway. Where is the plp PLAN?? That's what most of us would like to know about, the plp PLAN. And please stop rewriting history.

        The plp. No talent. No plans. No ideas. No solutions. No future.

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    • Hi-Liter says:

      PLP 1 - OBA 0

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      • The Truthsayer says:

        PLP $1.4 Billion - OBA 0

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        • You cant be serious says:

          So what would the OBA/UBP not have invested in???

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          • Zombie Apocalypse says:

            What would the OBA not have invested in?

            How about the $hundreds of millions "invested" in Global Hue and all the other foreign 'consultants', who were chosen due to their 'friendships' with Ewart Brown and his wife?

            How about the $60m wasted on the new slums on South Shore? They're still empty, nearly a year after completion. No-one wants them. Yet new ones are being built in the West End, using imported labour. More $millions wasted.

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            • You cant be serious says:

              Talk about issues you know about as the facts are that the WEDCO are developing the units in the West. Hundreds of Millions for Consultants??????????? lets be for real here. I notice how you fail to talk about the affordable housing in St. Davids, the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Center, free transportation for school children, affordable education at the Bermuda college……. The list goes on and on. I would like to know what the OBA is cutting. It seems to me that you have trouble answering my questions and fail to address the good the PLP have done for the people. Instead of trying to bash the PLP tell me what the OBA/UBP intend on doing. The only concrete thing the OBA/UBP have come out and said is that they believe in Austerity. Or is that not supposed to be made public just as the big secret about disbanding the party was. Give the voters some substance and quit with your absurd statements.
              I await your response as to what they plan on doing…….

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              • JOE says:

                YOU TALK ABOUT "AUSTERITY" AS IF IT IS SOME BIG BAD THING! UNDER THE PLP'S WATCH AUSTERITY MEASURES ARE ALREADY IN PLACE...! BUT SSSHH DON'T TELL THE VOTING PUBLIC THAT. LINK AUSTERITY TO THE OBA AND CLAIM IT IS BAD. THEY WILL FALL FOR IT; OR AT LEAST DRINK THE KOOL-AID! HOW MANY ORGANISATIONS HAVE BEEN IMPACTED BY PLP-LED AUSTERITY MEASURES?? POLICE, TEACHERS, VARIOUS SHELTERS, ETC. ETC. BUT I THOUGHT IT WAS A BAD THING? WHY WOULD THE PLP IMPLEMENT BAD POLICIES?!

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                • street wise says:

                  It is MUCH easier to read lower case type. Using all upper case is passe. Just sayin'.

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              • Zombie Apocalypse says:

                At its peak, the PLP was spending $100,000,000 a year, every year, on foreign consultants. And now, 5 years later, you ridicule someone who raises the issue. It was $100m A YEAR. For years. And what was wasted on the Grand Atlantic?

                And you think I have 'trouble answering questions' about what should be cut? It isn't even a mildly difficult question.

                What about the sham contracts for Friends if Ministers? The $160,000 for the sham report by Pastor Bean? The report he wrote to provide advice to himself. The secret report, that we have never seen.

                There are all sorts of wastes of money that could have been saved. You don't even want to admit they happened, they're so criminally ridiculous.

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          • Correct says:

            how about $800 million dollars disappearing?

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    • AGREED says:

      I actually do NOT know who I am voting for...and although these candidates are not representing my constituency I tuned in for every minute of that debate and will tune in for subsequent ones. Again I do NOT know who I am voting for and if more of the debates rolled out it WILL determine where my vote will be placed on the ballot so please DO NOT speak for others. Rephrase your statement to say YOU DO NOT CARE ABOUT THE DEBATE LAST NIGHT/ANY COMING UP AND IT WILL NOT CHANGE YOUR VOTE! STOP SPEAKING FOR OTHER PEOPLE....YOU ARE 1 PERSON!!!!!

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      • Vote for Me says:

        @ AGREED
        How would you rate the candidates based on the 'debate'. some people that did not see the 'debate' might be interested in an objective opinion.

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    • VJ says:

      Hey Joe! Why would 'different'people have to post as PLP supporters? You're obviously not too smart or you would realize PLP supporters are clearly in the majority hence them being in power!!! We'll see just who 'falls' come the 17th!!!

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  18. Vote for Me says:

    @ Joe
    What is your analysis of the debate? Were the candidates well prepared and articulate? Did they demonstrate a knowledge of the subject material? If you believe the 'debates' are of no consequence, why do you think the candidates attended?

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    • Mad Dawg says:

      Did you think Obama won or lost his first debate with Romney?

      And who won the election?

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  19. Concerned says:

    President John Kennedy's quote has stayed with me since I first heard it" Ask not what your country can do for you but ask what can I do for my country."

    I don't think that means taking us from the top of Gibbs Hill Lighthouse down to the edge of the deep and dropping us off and expecting us to tread water back from whence we came. What you have done has taken us from Grace to disgrace with your plans/dealings/kind of but not quite promises. PLP you have in not in years given us any ray of hope except perhaps those you hold near and dear to your hearts, you have abused our young people's desire for better education, future employment, you have abused our seniors with outrageously priced health care, low pension plans, you have abused our transport system (land and sea), you have abused Bermudians beginning with the taxes on companies and so on, you have abused our local Businesses with your Permit decisions (Immigration), you have abused our Bermudian spouses with your now defunct property law (which should not have been) and the list goes on. TIME TAH GO!

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  20. Concerned says:

    Correction" but what you can do for your Country".

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  21. Vote for Me says:

    The primary reason for my characterisation of these comments as superficial is that it does not cost $80,000 to house a prisoner. That number appears to be one of those 'lies that if told often enough tends to be believed.'

    I assume one day somebody took the cost of running the Corrections Departmetn and divided the number by the number of prisoners. If the answer was $80,000 that day, the number would change as soon as you added one more prisoner or released a prisoner.

    A correct analysis (which Ms. Swan should have done) would be to simply state the annual cost of the Department of Corrections Services. Based on the correct analysis, she would have realised that there is actually no significant cost to having one or five more prisoners. The only cost, if any would be more food for the prisoner and any direct costs.

    To be even more clear, if we add 10 new prisoners today, the cost of the Corrections Service does not increase by $800,000 (i.e. 10 x $80k).

    And now to address the core point she is trying to make. Bermuda's laws have been traditionally biased against those least likely to defend themselves, i.e. the average worker (that the OBA often calls people who vote on emotion). Thus we have draconian penalties for non payment of debt, traffic violations etc but relatively minor penalities for white collar crimes involving theft of thousands, if not millions of dollars.

    The real solution?? Bermuda must get back to a lower cost of living and the chief cost is the rate of interest that we pay. Whether we are talking about mortgages, car loans, business loans, overdrafts etc, an unnecessarily high interest rate makes the cost higher than it needs to be. with a lower cost of living, there would be less people unable to pay thier bills.

    My message to Ms. Swan - be more substantive in your comments (even if they are written for you) and let us all know what the OBA plans to do to reduce interest rates for all Bermudians and residents!!

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    • street wise says:

      You say all that, yet have no idea what you are talking about. And say nothing about the crux of the matter: Should debtors who cannot pay be locked up in the 21 century? How the hell can they re-pay debt if they are locked up? Jailing debtors was fashionable in the Middle Ages, not today!

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      • Vote for Me says:

        @ street wise
        Reread the post. Debtors are only locked up (based on historic laws) because they are least likely to be able to defend themselves. The current laws represent an imbalance. Small infractions get more draconian penalities then big infractions.

        Prison should only be for those persons that are wilfully not paying their debts. If you genuinely cannot pay then the solution is to help you get a job.

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        • Pastor Syl Hayward says:

          @ Vote for me: You say, " Bermuda’s laws have been traditionally biased against those least likely to defend themselves, i.e. the average worker (that the OBA often calls people who vote on emotion). Thus we have draconian penalties for non payment of debt, traffic violations etc but relatively minor penalities for white collar crimes involving theft of thousands, if not millions of dollars."

          I say, if you and the government have recognized this fact, and have not done ANYTHING about it over the last 14 years, shame on you! You call yourselves "standing strong for Bermudians" yet those who are the most in need of defense/support/services/etc., in other words, the ones I thought you would be championing back in elections past when I voted for you, are the ones who are even worse off than they were before you took over the government.

          This, to me, is indefensible.

          I didn't get to see the debate last night, but I will say this. Larry Scott is a lawyer, used to thinking on his feet and building arguments to defend even those who are guilty. Alexis Swan is, I believe, accountant who works with figures. I would bet she would not come out looking top-of-the-trees against a skilled and experienced argumentarian.

          I think of my mom, who ran several times for the PLP in any district they placed her, even UBP safe seats like Paget East. She was passionate about Bermuda's needs of the times, and about her party, the PLP of the day (not the PLP of today, by any means), and she could argue points with most folks, but if they had set her up to debate against someone like Dr. Masters, DeForest Trimingham, or God Forbid, Sir Henry Tucker, UBP candidates for Paget during the time she was a PLP candidate, she would have had a pretty hard time of it.

          All that to say, Ms. Swan is a bright young lady whose strong suit may not necessarily be debating with lawyers, but I would trust her integrity any day over Mr. Scott who could write such a scathing denunciation of his party as "4%" and then present himself as a candidate for the same party.
          In addition, Ms. Swan's debate performance, good or bad, has nothing whatsoever to do with the issues she refers to here. And I refer you back to my opening paragraphs.

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          • Yes Aye says:

            Pastor, Lawrence Scott isn't a lawyer. He works at the airport.

            Stop making excuses for your Party's lackluster candidates.

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    • Zombie Apocalypse says:

      VFM,
      What exactly does the PLP plan to do about interest rates? I haven't heard anything at all, other than the (stupid) CURB ideas.

      I'll tell you why. The government can't dictate interest rates. It can borrow money, which it does, but it must pay the market rate, which is determined, among other things, by the risk presented to the lender. So Bda Govt Bonds attract an interest rate of about 5-6%.

      So what have I missed? What plans does the PLP have to reduce interest rates for all Bermudians and residents?

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      • Vote for Me says:

        @ zombie apocalypse
        Government does not have any authority to reduce general rates but they can reduce the statutory rates under the Interest and Credit Act 1975, which will impact debt collection.

        The answer for general rates is to introduce more competition. We will see if the relaxation of the 60/40 rule will get us a new bank that is more market driven.

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        • Zombie Apocalypse says:

          Nobody will lend money for less than the market will bear. No-one, for example, can lend money for less than they can borrow it at. And anybody who lends money has to (a) make enough to cover nonperforming loans, and in addition (b) make a competitive return on capital. Otherwise the capital will go elsewhere. The government can't 'legislate' for a lower interest rate environment.

          More competition? Well, there is already competition. Tere are already 3 or 4 sources of borrowing, and taking that up to 5 or 6 won't make a difference to interest rates. We're a small market of 60,000 people, and we're reducing in size, and have a shrinking GDP (unlike many other potential markets). Our housing market sucks, and the government is still (inexplicably) adding to an already over-served market, while recently-built condos along with established ones, stand empty.

          In short, we ain't that attractive to lenders.

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          • Vote for Me says:

            @ Zombie Apocalypse
            The savings rate is approx. 0.5% and the lending rate is at 6.5 to 7.5%, giving a spread of 6% to 7%. The question is whether or not that is too high. At the moment it is about the same for all lenders and the open question remains about whether or not a new bank would force rates lower.

            The earlier comment about government reducing rates relates to debt collection since debts incur interest at the statutory rate of 7%. If that is reduced than it will be a benefit to delinquent borrowers.

            Going back to general rates, it is interesting to note that Islamic Finance guidelines are on the basis that rates should not be exhorbitant. Thus the banks must effectively prove what their costs of operations really are before setting rates. They are then able to add a small profit but there is less exploitation of borrowers.

            Perhaps it is something we should at least consider for Bermuda as we seek to grow and diversify our economy.

            As to housing, prices clearly have to fall further since there are people that want to buy homes and houses are available but not at the 'right price'.

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            • Mad Dawg says:

              You can in theory legislate a lendng rate of say 2%. The only problem is that no lenders will participate in that business. If there is a limit on what lenders can charge, loans will become more scarce, and at some point unavailable at all. It's a simple fact.

              As for your comment about property prices, everywhere in the developed world there are some people who can't afford to buy a home. And some that don't want to.

              The reason people in Bermuda are not buying homes is not because they can't afford to. It's because the economy is unsound, and the economic future is uncertain. Houses and apartments stand empty in their hundreds, and the government responds by building even more. Ownership of property is risky and unattractive in Bermuda, hence the lack of buyers.

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  22. Rockfish#1 says:

    Why not wait until Makai Dickerson debates someone before throwing the young candidates under the bus?

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  23. InquiringMindsWannaKnow says:

    Can/Will the debate on Let's Talk be posted to YouTube for those of us who missed? Or is it posted somewhere else?

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  24. 1minute says:

    If there is no punishment for not paying ones debts, why would anyone bother to pay?

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  25. Mr Scottt defeated her but it came across as a case of dumb n dumber. Neither qualified to run this ship ,
    2 jokers. WOW!!!!!!

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  26. Know DAT says:

    So island has gone straight to hell in a handbasket and you all still want to Vote for PLP????? Mmmmmmk *smdh*

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  27. Petra says:

    Mr Scott may have won last night, but his party has still ruined this country. I live in 24, and I'll be voting for Alexis - public speaking/debating is a skill that can be learnt. Honesty and integrity come only from ones soul.

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  28. islandflavor says:

    ALEXIS PAY YOUR OWN DANG BILLS!!!!

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  29. The Truthsayer says:

    To ALL the PLP supporters and bloggers on here complaining about how the OBA hasn't put out any of their plans, blah blah blah, WHERE IS THE PLP'S PLAN. NOT their "10-point" plan. THEIR REAL PLAN. NOT BULLET POINTS! That's right SILENCE.....I'm still waiting for your plans.

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  30. its all about the LOOK and that there see says:

    Dear Ms Alexis Swan

    Your response last night on the issue of race highlights what is wrong in Bermuda, because whites (and your UBP Handlers) wish to erase Bermuda's oppressive past, the standard response is that "oh race is irrelevant we have more important things to worry about".

    Well Alexis, let me tell you a little story 2012 about people (yes who look like you) who are routinely rejected from job applications because they are Bermudian and Black.

    Race is still a major issue excluding many qualified Bermudians and their non-bermudian spouses from employment opportunities in our beautiful island home, so in short Alexis its an open secret who owns Colonial Insurance where you were and its also an open secret that your Human Resource Department would have already put any PLP aspiring MP on a written warning for the amount of time that you Nandi and others have swanned out of work for those mickey mouse press conferences.

    Open your UK University educated eyes and stop trying so hard to be one of the few blacks in the room who have been given an opportunity, as there are dozens of people with more relevant insurance industry experience than you who are unemployed right now whilst you are allowed to spend your days canvassing and pretending to be a leader.

    Furthermore as a young person it is offensive when you and some of the otehrs from First Bermuda Alliance Youth wing claim to "represent" your generation.....should I go there about the make up of those meetings and who is politely told to zip it, yes people who look like you

    So please open your eyes since your political career is now over and step aside for Nandi Davis so she can read her lines at the next press conference.............I had to laugh at Nandi's recent ad on the TV, she had a 3 year old young boy in her lap saying that he is inheriting $34,000+ in debt, yet the young boy had on a platinum bling chain and a diamond earing..........maybe someone should take those items to cash for gold to reduce the national debt, or pay some child support

    You are NOT representative of a generation of Bermudians, stop fooling yourself Lady.

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    • The Truthsayer says:

      "Your response last night on the issue of race highlights what is wrong in Bermuda, because whites (and your UBP Handlers) wish to erase Bermuda’s oppressive past, the standard response is that “oh race is irrelevant we have more important things to worry about."

      You're ignorant as hell. Then tell me what do YOU want? It's not a secret who owns Colonial, but I can assure you they are FAR from racist and one of the most honest, genuine families on this island. She didn't get the job because she is part of the OBA, she got it because she's qualified and works hard. This whole issue of color is f0cking childish. Who cares if they're purple as long as they're doing the right thing. Fall back you sound like a jealous, envious hater!

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    • UBP/OBA says:

      As Jim Woolrridge said “those little white boys don’t mind you being in charge as long as they can tell you what to do – “The House That Jack … C.V. (Jim) Woolridge

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      • Verbal Kint says:

        Will the people who post this please note that Jim Woolridge was speaking to people in the media when he said that and not people in the UBP. By the way, C.V, got so upset with the UBP that he left the party,right? No?

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    • swing voter says:

      Idiot, the race war has been over for YEARS. The 40 theives are no more...their children married black children, go to intergrated schools and cupmatch. they congregate at beach fest and smoke weed together. get a f$%kin life will you

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  31. Sandman says:

    I'm bored of repeating myself on committal of debtors.

    Debtors cannot be imprisoned if they can prove they can't pay. Prison is for ones who say they can pay but then don't - I.e the shirkers and the wheeler-dealers.

    Furthermore if you can't afford to pay your debts there is a simple solution: bankruptcy.

    If truly impoverished people are being imprisoned then the law is being ignored. Look up the Debtors Act

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    • Vote for Me says:

      @ Sandman
      Not sure where you are living but go to debtors court and see how many people make promises that they are unable to keep in an effort to please the judge or in response to the presurres of the debt collectors.

      The judges do appear to be lenient but at teh end of the day, they do propose jail and many end up in jail as a consequence.

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  32. Vote for Me says:

    @ its all about the look 2.05pm

    I did not want to go there today but I was also very surprised about Ms. Swan's dismissive comments about race. Race is clearly a remaining issue for Bermuda!!

    Perhaps Ms. Swan routinely ignores reading! She clearly did not read this year's Throne Speech pages 15 and 16 but also missed her own Leader's response to last year's Throne Speech where all of Bermuda was surprised at his acknowledgement of the continuing vestiges of institutionalised racism in Bermuda.

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  33. Highlyfavoured says:

    Has this topic arose because Ms. Swan is herself in debt and has the Credit Association calling at her phone for collection and she refuses to answer?

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  34. UK Dependent Territory Citizen says:

    Nandi is pretty thats allbthat matters

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