OBA: ‘Government Finances Are In Deep Trouble’

November 22, 2012

“It is clear to the OBA and Bermudians everywhere that Government finances are in deep trouble,” Shadow Finance Minister Bob Richards said.

“We know Government is borrowing to pay the interest on the money it has already borrowed. We know it is borrowing to pay the salaries of civil servants and keep the lights on where they work. We know local vendors will only do business with Government on a cash basis because it pays its bills so late.

“It was reported that a local businessman was threatening to pull the plug on Hamilton docks’ power supply because the Government had not paid him for four months.

“We also know the cost of Government’s massive $1.5 billion debt is forcing it to cut back funds for vital community services. And we know for the fifth straight year the Government is spending more than it is taking in – some $200 million more.

“The Government financial situation is desperate, and Bermudians need only to recall its attempt earlier this year to tap into the civil servant pension fund to understand what I mean.

“Despite the situation, the Government has not been transparent. The Premier pledged last year to be more open about Government budgeting but nothing has happened.

“While we know enough to know Government finances are in trouble, we are very concerned that things could be a lot worse than it has let on.

“At this point, we cannot make a blanket commitment on what the legislated debt ceiling should be set at. That would be irresponsible, and Bermudians have had enough of that with the current Government. For one, the Government’s habit of setting a debt ceiling one year and then raising it the next year makes a mockery of the word “commitment”.

“When we become the Government, we will conduct a thorough review of the situation. Only then would we make a commitment to a debt ceiling. Not before.

“What I can make a commitment to is that an OBA Government will reduce the debt and the huge burden it is placing on Bermuda.” Mr Richards concluded.

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Comments (92)

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  1. Yes Aye says:

    I guess Bob Richards got touchy when he said that as minister of Fiance he would..... BORROW MORE MONEY!

    Shock.....

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    • Come Correct says:

      What else can they do when the plp spent all we had? Money trees are illegal, remember?

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      • Black Soil says:

        If Bermudians do not embrace the opportunities which will be afforded to them under an OBA govt, then the future looks bleak. The "high risk vote" is the PLP vote.

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    • CHEEKUMS BIE says:

      yup real touchy

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  2. Liars says:

    So to put it simply. If you vote PLP- you are going to get what you deserve-more taxes, more debt, more non preforming investments-more lay-offs, more people leaving the Island....to put it simply more BS....more Puff Daddy wanna be business nobody's running the show from abroad as no one in government is actually here, only for press releases that are stupid and brainwash the people that dont have a clue (the voters)

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    • Richard says:

      I am not going to front I am voting OBA but I hope they have answer and just blowing smoke I have issue with some of the founders of the OBA some laugh wonder why am I going to vote for them. I seen all I can see from the PLP.

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  3. FrankTalk says:

    Seriously?

    You can't give us a target Debt to GBP ratio, debt ceiling, a rough idea of specific/actual costs to reduce, time frame to get back on track?

    Nothing?

    Seriously?

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    • Truth (Original) says:

      Do you actually know how much debt Bermuda is in? Without Government transparency as to our CURRENT financial position, how you you expect anyone to provide a realistic estimate?

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      • Ringmaster says:

        I'd say it is impossible to know what he debt is. The PLP Government is late with Financial Reports, late with Audited Reports, refuses to release information such as the Future Care Actaurial study; refuses to say if they have nearly maxed out the $200 million overdraft which is in addition to the $1.4 billion of debt. Unfortunately for the last 8 years Bermudians has been treated with contempt and disrespect by the current Minister of Finance. The Rating Agencies won't be too pleased either.

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        • Rockfish #1 says:

          Ringmaster,

          I agree, the lack of vital information on our real financial state is troubling. So much for transparency!
          Unless more information is forthcoming, the taxpayers will never know how much trouble we are in.

          An uninformed population is easy to manipulate, especially by persons who have something to hide!

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      • FrankTalk says:

        I might be wrong but I think Mr Richards knows how much debt Bermuda is in:

        "“We also know the cost of Government’s massive $1.5 billion debt is forcing it to cut back funds for vital community services. And we know for the fifth straight year the Government is spending more than it is taking in – some $200 million more."

        So why can't there be any estimates put there?

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        • Truth (Original) says:

          ..because that number is not current. He would need to know the current situation to plan. For that to happen, the Government would have to "operate in the sunshine of public scrutiny"..... Which of course hasn't happened at all.

          Not even a little bit.

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        • Zombie Apocalypse says:

          Like the estimates the current government puts out there are worth anything? Every time Paula Cox talks about the debt ceiling it's to raise it. Every time she talks about government debt it's to announce more of it.

          has the government said anything at all about reducing debt? No.

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    • Desmond says:

      Frank Talk, GBP? Surely you mean GDP or GNP, the latter more likely? Accuracy pleas.

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  4. Blurt says:

    Of course the PLP will respond by denying this and say things like Infrastructure and investment. Investment means income will be generated...where is the income to pay us back our initial investment. If there is not enough income, then it is a foolish investment. The PLP never took a pay cut did they? I seem to remember them wanting us to take a massive hit on our pension fund first. Where are the 2011 financial statements?

    The so much more campaign seemed really promising until I read the government Retail sales index yesterday which showed a 25.6% fall in tourist related sales....

    We have got to figure out what the PLP have really done, and get the OBA in office, I don't believe the PLP at all anymore.

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    • street wise says:

      All the plp is doing is trying to back the OBA into a corner with amateurish attack advertising. The puppets ad was a disgrace; I had no idea what it was all about, and still don't. Maybe the numpties understand it, but I don't.

      What the plp SHOULD be doing if they really want to get re-elected (and I'm not so sure that they do) is tell us about all their PLANS, IDEAS, AND SOLUTIONS to clean up their mess!

      [Crickets]

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

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  5. Encyclopedia says:

    I feel Mr Richards is making the "easy points" (low hanging fruits) in very general terms, without making any substantive points about their plan and a road-map on how they are going to get things done better. Throwing stones at a time of economic crisis is the easy part.

    Anyone can say things like: I will reduce debt, I will increase spending on seniors, I will not decrease government payroll, I will not decrease any benefits you are so used to...in fact, I will give out more freebies for all of you, etc., etc.

    If that were "feasible", then I own the Eiffel Tower and the Brooklyn Bridge.

    Both parties should stop with the platitudes and lay out a clear road-map on what exactly they would do in the next 12 months, knowing what they do now about the world economy.

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    • Sandgrownan says:

      The problem is, that real tangible steps to fix the problem(s) require an ideological shift and won't be palatable to much of the electorate. That's the problem.

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      • Encyclopedia says:

        Both parties may know the answer but will not reveal them because it won't be palatable. Either party will do exactly the same thing after the elections by taking the tough decisions.

        The civil service/government payroll will have to be slashed. There is no getting around it, for whoever rules the island after December 17.

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    • Wanderlust says:

      Excellent point! I couldn't agree more!

      I

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  6. M.P.Mountbatten JP says:

    Pastor Syl , when will the leader of the OBA have a debate on the issues facing our country with the leader of the PLP ?

    If he ask the tough questions , Maybe then we will hear the plan but, will he understand ?

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    • Come Correct says:

      Is she the oba spokesperson?

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    • Truth (Original) says:

      I'll give you this Mountbatten, the Premier is much better than Craig Cannonier at saying a whole lot of nothing.

      As far as the PLP electorate are concerned, as long as it sounds intelligent, it must be true.

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    • Pastor Syl Hayward says:

      Most of what I know is what is on the OBA website, www.oba.bm, which is available to all who are interested. I do not have Mr. Cannonier's ear, any more than you do. I believe he is responsive to the public, but I cannot say the same for the Premier. Any debate would have to be agreed on by both parties. My guess is that Mr. Cannonier would welcome the opportunity, but as I said, I am not a member of his immediate team .

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    • Zombie Apocalypse says:

      If he wanted to do it I guess he'd have to find a few moments in between her various award ceremonies. She seems to be tied up with those these days.

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  7. wizeazz says:

    People,it's really quite a simple choice:
    PLP = NO POSSIBLE HOPE
    OBA = SOME HOPE
    We need some hope for a better future.

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  8. Triangle Drifter says:

    Expect many more "computer glitches" holding up Government payments for the foreseeable future.

    To protect myself I think I'll withhold paying Government taxes until Government pays me money owed. Keep sending those nasty letters threatening court action over a couple hundred dollars. Make my day. That works both ways.

    If everyone withheld taxes how long do you think it would take for the Government to collapse?

    The gravy

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  9. Vote for Me says:

    Vote for Me says:

    This post is unfortunately a 'whole lot about nothing'. Effectively Bob Richards is saying I have no specific idea about what I am saying but vote for me and once I know I will say something sensible. In other words vote for me and I will go forward on a 'wing and a prayer'.

    Yesterday's press conference by the OBA and the related comments on Bernews were quite interesting. From my perspective, Bermuda deserves better because the OBA continues with a superficial analysis of Bermuda’s current debt. Why do I say that??

    A simple example. Ms. Davis refers to her status as having a young son. Under the PLP she would benefit from the daycare benefit which would ensure she has access to appropriate daycare for her child. On the basis of the assistance, she would be able to ensure that her child is prepared as much as possible to enter primary school. The benefit is because it is generally accepted that the better our children are prepared when they enter primary school, the better their education experience will be for their entire school experience.

    To add to the daycare benefit, Ms. Davis would be free to either work or seek employment if she is not employed because her child is in safe daycare. Thus the full benefit to residents is the ability to have safe daycare but also to have the freedom to work or seek employment.

    Is the OBA going to cancel the daycare benefit? They must start to answer these questions because voters want to know!!

    In addition Ms. Davis was clearly unprepared for a discussion about the economics of Bermuda since she was unable to answer the first question about the relevance of the private $5b debt. I accept that as a new candidate, she will not know all the answers but the inability to answer the first question shows her lack of preparedness.

    And back to today's release, the government has always indicated that there is pressure to cut government spending. Thus there was a request to the various unions that represent public sector employees to allow for a one year suspension of pension contributions. This makes sense since salaries are the highest category of expense for government.

    The request was ultimately denied because at least one of the unions (the BPS or police union) disagreed.

    With respect to the overall debt, the government has been clear. They will be prudent with all government expenditure and increase transparency through the office of Procurement.

    In order to reduce debt, it is clear that Bermuda's GDP must be increased and several initiatives have been announced:

    1 - the Job Makers Act - the Act makes specific allowances for persons to come to Bermuda and set up businesses that will result in sustained jobs for Bermudians. Where appropriate teh senior executives may get PRC status and certain employees will be exempt from term limit restrictions
    2 - a review of the Hotels Concessions Act. The objective is to ensure that Bermuda is consistently benefitting from hotels that are proposed and encouraging an investment in hotels (i.e Hamilton, St. George and Morgan's Point)
    3 - signing numerous Tax Information Exchange Agreements. These agreements will provide closer links with our existing and potential economic partners which will make it easier for businesses to set up in Bermuda
    4 - the BMA has been quite public in trying to get Bermuda recognised as a comparable jurisdiction for insurance operations. Once successful, international insurance companies will be encouraged to remain here because our regulators will be considered as comparable to those in Europe and they can be regulated from a single jurisdiction. This will increase our competitiveness and encourage businesses to remain in Bermuda.
    5 - an increased emphasis on the hedge fund industry. Benefits will arise from employment, revenue and jurisdictional reputation perspectives
    6 - broadened emphasis on the Middle East and South America. Success in eiter area should result in an increase in GDP. This is actually a usefull objective since it follows the international business companies that are seeking to extend into new markets
    7 - Islamic Finance. This involves the opportunity to get financing at lower rates. Recent discussions aboout developng the waterfront are critical in this area since we will need an injection of up to $1b to get the waterfront completed. This is a significant area for sustained job opportunities in the construction sector and for new entrepreneurs.

    This has been a very basic review which can be extended but you can see that much is being done by the government, although admittedly, there is more to be done.

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    • Sandgrownan says:

      All very well, but picking around the edges. There need to be unpalatable shifts in ideology to increase liquidity and generate demand in the economy and get the cash flowing in again.

      Tax treaties won't do it, nor does the "Job makers act", they really are window dressing. From a regulatory standpoint, Bermuda is actually very good but that is despite the government, not because of it.

      So what will the PLP do to generate demand in he economy again.? Let's shoot for, oh, let's say five simple things they could do.

      I'll wait.

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    • swing voter says:

      too little too late...if the foreign investment hasn't shown up by now, do you really want me to believe it will after you are voted back in for another 5 years? you've had your turn m8. I need to let the other team try to str8en your mess out

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    • MOre with less says:

      Yeah sure Bob knows absolutely nothing yet warned the PLP way in advance that tough times were ahead and they should reign in the heavy spending. What did the PLP say to that? Bob is fear mongering and look at us now. He was right and it totally kills you kool-aid drinkers that he was right and your party was disastrously wrong. Get over it, Bob is much smarter than anyone in the PLP for obvious reasons. The finance minister made disastrous decisions for Bermuda and now she is the premier and STILL the finance minister. It is ridiculous now that people can only laugh at the PLP and wonder what these lot are smoking.

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      • Vote for Me says:

        @ more with less
        The idea of Bob warning Bermuda is laughable at best. If he did do so and the warning was believable, why didn't the private sector listen?

        We have a crane still standing on Church street across from the Post Office, a new parking area on Front Steet on the old Belvedere site and numerous empty new buildings and residences.

        Why all the new construction if Bob was so 'on point' with his predictions.

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        • Zombie Apocalypse says:

          A lot of the private sector did listen. They saw it coming too, and they have taken action to remain profitable during the more difficult times over the past few years. Hence the 300,000 square feet of empty office spacxe in Hamilton.

          When the Bermuda government was warned, however, it said "You don't understand" " Bermuda is different" "You're scare-mongering" and "You're making mischief". And best of all "We don't care what you think". As far as I can tell the last comment still applies.

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          • Vote for Me says:

            I do not get your response. The private sector listened and yet there is 600,000 sq. ft of empty office space!! If they had listened they wouold not have built new buildings. Me thinks no one listened to good old Bob.

            To add, if his predictions were in fact predictions why didn't the banks listen? With more research you will find that he said what all others said - the opinion that the economy was overheating. Not a fact to be applauded in hindsight but an actual prediction... please!!

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            • Zombie Apocalypse says:

              You don't get my response. OK, well I'm not going to explain it again.
              Bermuda is still in recession, unlike our nearest neighbours.

              You can't get around the responses of the PLP at the time. Bob Richards was right, they were wrong. "You don’t understand” they said. ” Bermuda is different” “You’re scare-mongering” and “You’re making mischief”. "We don’t care what you think”.

              Pure arrogance.

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        • street wise says:

          And guess what else won't happen under the plp? No new hotels will be built here while the plp are in power. Dr Evil and his cabal ruined the chance of more foreign investment coming to our Island by their alleged graft. International investors do not trust the plp because of their historical antics. And I don't either.

          Our only hope is to vote in the OBA. What have we got to lose...??

          Vote wisely. Please don't vote against your own well-being.

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        • More with less says:

          Funny how you lot are still in denial about him warning the PLP. Do some research and you will find his statements. Denial is not a river in Eygyt. You can't move forward until you admit your mistakes. You will be stuck trying to defend your bad decisions. You see it all around you every day with normal people. They are focused on defending everything they do that instead of admitting they are wrong or things aren't working so what is wrong with me. This is how you begin to move forward. Bob makes your skin crawl because he was right and for no other reason as he is the opposition and has no power so why else would the supporters constantly bash someone without any power to do anything?

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    • Zombie Apocalypse says:

      Numbers 1-4 are irrelevent at this point. Numbers 5-7 are trying to find a new "third leg" of the economy to make up for the IB that you've alienated. I notice you didn't put satellite and space business on there. Why not? A coupe of years ago Robain said that would be a "new leg" of the economy and employ hundreds.

      Some of your points are actually pathetic. Signing more TIEA's will expand Bermuda's economy? Absolute nonsense. We already have more of those things than most jurisdictions, yet our economy is failing while others are succeeding.

      It's rubbish like this that only suckers will believe.

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  10. swing voter says:

    personally I don't like the guy but he's right. I have to know just how bad off we really are. If Lois and Cox senior were around we would not have to hand the government back to Richards. I didn't sign up for failure in 1998...This lot are not the PLP I cherished and admired. I have to put my country before party and vote Richards OBA ;-(

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    • Vulpes says:

      Thank you for putting it so lucidly - I think Richards is the guy most likely to give us a "David Saul" austerity package, i.e painful but good in that the rewards of recovery will far outweigh the a couple very painful years setting the accounts straight.

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    • Vote for Me says:

      @ Swing Voter
      You do not have to beleive anyone - just get a copy of the recent governmetn financial statements that are freely available. The statements will clearly show debt, cash etc. We should have the 2012 statements also, once they are tabled in the House of Assembly when parliament resumes.

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      • for what it's worth says:

        if I am not mistaken, the last accounts available are to March 31st 2011. Nothing since then.

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        • Vote for Me says:

          You are correct. The March 2012 accounts should be tabled when the House reconvenes and after the budget debate. The most current, publicly available statements are for the 2010 / 2011 financial year.

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          • 32n64w says:

            "The most current, publicly available statements are for the 2010 / 2011 financial year."

            And that's exactly part of the problem. The Government hasn't shared CURRENT accounts with the taxpayers so no one knows exactly where things stand.

            They are purposely keeping the electorate in the dark despite repeated (hollow) promises for transparency, accountability and open budgeting.

            The PLP have absolutely no idea how to run even the most basic enterprise so it should come as no surprise that they are completely out of their depth when it comes to a ministry let alone a country!

            PLP - Betraying Bermudians since 1998 - $1,500,000,000 in debt and growing EVERY day.

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            • for what it's worth says:

              As at June 30th this year the bonds in issue totalled $1.505 billion. Since then, borrowings will have increased via overdraft and loan facilities with Bermuda banks, plus an increase in unpaid creditors which has been noted elsewhere.
              And that does not even count the commitment of $30million per year or more to finance and pay for the new hospital.

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              • street wise says:

                Don't forget the under-funding of the Government Pension Plan which is now unsustainable. The plp have been dipping into that account as well.

                They are demonstrated rank amateurs who are not in the least bit trustworthy, and are STILL only interested in "What's in it for ME?"

                Big fat pensions, that's what, enough to live off-island without working. So even if the plp are defeated, the boys in the back room will STILL be laughing all the way to the bank!

                Vote wisely.

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

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      • swing voter says:

        If your team were able to break ground on just on major Hotel project (too bad Hunt, Brian, and Craig where screwed around with by a greedy individual that they won't give in to) If your team would have been realistic with the gang problem instead of sitting on your hands. If your team would have been more business like toward IB instead of forcing poor immigration policy and increase payroll taxes on them. should I go on.

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  11. Desmond says:

    Perhaps Mr. "I had to lie to you" --- could see their way clear to handing a good chunk of it back, presuming they still have some left after the private jet and yacht bills are paid - the price of running around pretending you are somebody important, i.e the financial ruin of an entire country. It really does not get much more Third World than this kind of ---

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    • argosy says:

      Same thing his buddy did for TCI.

      Birds of a feather, but hey, BDA voted for him and got what it deserved....

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  12. for what it's worth says:

    @Vote for Me

    "In order to reduce debt, it is clear that Bermuda’s GDP must be increased"

    Unfortunately no.

    In order to reduce the debt, Bermuda's government expenses must be reduced ........... drastically.

    No one has control over income, but governments have some control over some expenditure (but not debt interest).

    If you can, by any chance, increase GDP then you can reduce expenditure less.

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    • Vote for Me says:

      @ for what is worth
      The level of debt is always measured against GDP to determine its significance. If Bermuda's GDP was say $20b the $1.5 debt would only be 7.5% and we would not be talking about it. Thus it is important to ultimately increase our GDP and my comments above.

      The other component is to reduce the actual government spending which is also being done by the PLP. The biggest component of the government spending is salaries and related expenses. The government has said they will preserve jobs at all costs because making significant layoffs or redundancies in the Civil Service would result in a huge increae in financial assistance requests and untold social consequences as frustrations rise.

      The point of the level of Civil Service jobs is a real difference for the parties. PLP say maintain jobs as much as possible. Your post and similar posts call for drastic cuts. The OBA needs to identify if drastiuc cuts is their plan for reducing government spending since it is the only way to have a major impact. Tinkling with ministerial cars and travel will not have the desired impact for significant reductions in spending.

      It is clear to me that that is the dilemma for the OBA. Just imagine if in their platform they indicate a plan for major cuts in civil service jobs.... and instant election loss!!!

      It is clear that Bermuda must make hard choices going forward. PLP says contain costs and grow the economy. OBA says drastic cuts and grow the economy. Remaining question - where will OBA make the cuts... not platitudes, hard facts please.

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      • Sandgrownan says:

        How will the PLP grow the economy?
        5 simple steps please.

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      • street wise says:

        One cannot "preserve" 8,000 lackey jobs in the Civil Service. They will HAVE to be cut, no matter who wins the election! And if it causes more hardship, TOUGH TITTY, you voted the plp in! And you will suffer for it.

        Most towns of 60,000 people may have a few hundred Civil Servants, total. But the plp have made the Civil Service into a 'make-work programme'... that is also unsustainable.

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    • No one has control over income?

      HUR?!?!?!

      http://cdn.memegenerator.net/instances/400x/24810561.jpg

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  13. JT says:

    Bermuda is so screwed.

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    • Verbal Kint says:

      I am afraid, JT, that is the most lucid statement of Bermuda's financial situation on this entire page.

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  14. for what it's worth says:

    The real actions that would have to be taken to actually reduce the national debt would be so unpalatable to the average Bermudian that if anyone actually laid out their action plan to accomplish this 'feat' they would never have a chance of winning a general election.

    To start to repay the debt today even by a tiny amount, Government spending would need to be cut by about $250-300million or so. And thereafter expenditure could only be increased if revenue is significantly increased.

    That essentially means massive redundancies, almost no investment, and downgrading of most services in Bermuda.

    This dilemma is in essence what the national debt has done to Bermuda

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    • Vote for Me says:

      @ for what its worth
      See my post above. Bermuda could not be sustained with an instant $300m reduction in government spending. If you add the multiplier impact, the reduction in GDP might be as high as $1.2b. This was explained on one of the weekend talk shows.

      Thus the correct approach is the approach advocated by the PLP to grow the economy while containing future government costs.

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      • for what it's wort says:

        Correct. Hence I describe the situation as a dilemma. As you say, Bermuda could not be sustained with an instant cut....
        But equally, when no one is willing to lend more money because there is no way they will get their money back then there will be no choice. Hence, as JT says above "Bermuda is so screwed"

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      • Sandgrownan says:

        How will the PLP grow the economy? Ok, i drop my request, 4 simple steps. Come on, you must be able to think of four.....

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        • Zombie Apocalypse says:

          He'll have to dream them up himself, because the so-called leadership of the country has not announced any plans to increase GDP.

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          • Vote for Me says:

            see the post at 9:38 am - it is easy to show 5 steps to grow the economy.

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            • Sandgrownan says:

              Fail. While good as legislative measures, none of those will significantlty turn the economy around. So. No, not good enough, they are "fluff around the edges". They are simply steps in natural jurisdictional evolution

              So, 4 tangible steps to get us moving in the right direction. Anytime will do.

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            • Zombie Apocalypse says:

              See my response above about your pathetic 5 step plan to "grow the economy".

              I don't know why we bother debating Vote For Me. He gets his economic data from weekend talk shows. Basically, he's another bloody know-nothing spouting off.

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      • Ringmaster says:

        This position is totally flawed. If you took that position, Bermuda should increase debt and spend it on increasing the Civil Service thereby increasing GDP. In most developed countries GDP is a factor upon which revenue can be raised. Bermuda's GDP is not even close. Most og the GDP is revenue proof as it is protected by the Exempt Companies Tax undertaking. I doubt if the "real" GDP is above $2 bn rather than the $5.5bn used to compare to the debt.

        Government expense has to be reduced. Start by stopping all the consulting arrangements whereby retired Covil Servants are rehired as consultants. Stop the consultancy arrangements involving friends and family receiving large payments by doing nothing except plagiarize reports written by others that sit in a file. Collect revenue that is not being paid. Go after companies, and their directors, who deduct payroll tax, health and national insurance from their employees but don't pass it on. Why is that not a criminal act? Just a few suggestions.

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        • street wise says:

          The Civil Service eats up our tax dollars to pay itself. It takes away from GDP. Only the Private Sector can aid in increasing the GDP. We desperately need new International Business and some new hotels which will give us an infusion of cash. But this won't happen under the plp because they are totally untrustworthy. And they have a terrible international reputation thanks to Dr Evil's alleged graft.

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    • argosy says:

      If you want to see some "serious" Government (PLP) reductions in spending, take a brief walk through the Botanical Gardens and check out the Christmas lights being installed! Who's paying for all that and why, considering the sorry state of our finances, is this "show" not more muted and in keeping with the times?

      Guess if you're unemployed and can't afford lights at your (refinanced) home, you can visit the public gardens.....for a grand tax-payer funded bonanza of light.

      Another sorry PLP joke! Time for Bob to take hold of our purse strings, folks.

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  15. Eyes wide open says:

    This is my last year in a UK university and I am terrified of returning to Bda under a PLP government. It's not a nice feeling to read that there are no jobs in your own country. No jobs = no opportunities. I voted for the PLP on that fateful day back in 1998. I remember the atmosphere clearly - one of hope, triumph, and a sense that we were all going forward. Haha. Joke's on me or should I say on all of us. It's amazing that people can't see beyond race to realize that the PLP is bad for Bermuda. I'll be honest and say that I don't know what the OBA is capable of or if they can be trusted. But I do know one thing - the PLP certainly can't. I'd rather give someone else a chance to right the sinking ship then to allow the captain who got us in the mess to keep piloting the boat.

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  16. JT says:

    At least the OBA recognize and admit that our financial position is a big problem. Even if you think they "have no plan", that is a leg up on the PLP who have yet to publicly admit that a problem has been created. How can we have the slightest confidence the PLP intend to act where they see no problem?

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    • street wise says:

      That's right... how can the plp possibly solve the problem if they will not admit that they have a problem in the first place?

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

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  17. The current dilemma:

    I don't want to vote for the OBA because I found their tactic of changing their name from the UBP to the OBA to be based on deception. Simply put, it feels like trickery and I don't like trickery. I want HONESTY out of our leaders.

    I don't want to vote for the PLP because they have poorly managed the public purse and placed a $1,500,000,000 (and growing) burden upon the future generations of our country because they wanted to live a good life. Simply put, everything the PLP has done has wreaked of selfishness and I don't like selfishness. I want SELFLESS leaders.

    So if I don't want to vote for either of the 2 parties of any relevance to Bermuda's political landscape, what do I do?

    I must analyze my choices and make the most logical decision available.

    Do I say to hell with my homeland and leave?
    -Hell no! That's not logical. This is my home and always will be.

    Do I vote for an independent?
    -No. Again, not logical. They won't be able to do anything of substance for Bermuda because they will have to play by the ruling party's rules.

    Do I simply not vote at all?
    -No. Completely illogical. We must use our vote dutifully to protect our home because all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men and women to do nothing.

    Do I vote for the PLP because I can't vote for the opposition?
    -No. This is also not a logical choice. I can't rationalize how Bermuda and my fellow Bermudians can survive much longer with the PLP in charge. I'm tired of seeing my friends and family struggling thanks to failed policies, abuses of power, deceptive practices, and financial mismanagement. I'm tired of seeing businesses closing. I'm tired of seeing the OBA bashing the PLP in response. I'm tired of then seeing the PLP responding with smoke and mirrors. Recent example: OBA bashing the PLP because Computer City is going out of business. PLP responds by saying why aren't you praising us for the new restaurant, RED, opening? WHAT?! What about the old restaurant that was there before RED - you know, the one that went out of business under the PLP's watch? Should we praise you for that too? Simply put, I'm tired of the PLP and their BS.

    Do I vote for the opposition because I can't vote for the PLP?
    -Yes. It's a sad conclusion, but I've arrived at the point that this is THE ONLY LOGICAL CHOICE. I will be voting for the OBA because I feel like I've been backed into a corner and have no other choice.

    -MOTP

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    • BDA says:

      Sad, but I feel the EXACTLY same way :(

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    • Vote for Me says:

      @ MOTP
      In reading your post, I am not sure if you are genuine or not.

      The logical rationale for deciding which party to vote for is based on the philosophy of the party. In summary, the PLP has a greater emphasis on taking care of those who need assistance to a greater degree than the OBA. Examples include social insurance, increased healthcare, free hospital care for children under 16, racial equality, full democratic voting etc etc.

      The OBA essentially stands for the same ideals of the UBP if we listen to what they have been saying and look at where most of their sitting MPs came from (and this is not a dig at the OBA - just facts). They tend to have more of a business focus and a 'may the fittest survive mentality'. Several posters will disagree but we only need to look at our history to show that my brief comments are correct.

      A quick example might help to explain my comments.

      We have a single mother with 1 child. Both parties would help her with rent etc. The same would probably apply if she had 2 children. If we get to the same single mother continuing to have children, it is more likely, based on party ideals, that the OBA will stop providing assistance to her before the PLP does.

      My comment is not intended to be sexist or derogatory but to simply demonstrate the increased social emphasis of the PLP compared to the OBA. There are other substantive differences but this example should highlight relevant differences for the current election. The PLP is proposing to continue certain programs but the OBA is threatening to cut them. Hope this simple example helps.

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      • JT says:

        "The logical rationale for deciding which party to vote for is based on the philosophy of the party."

        At this stage the logical approach is to make philosophy secondary and make performance and abilty primary. Even if the PLP philosophy you present is accurate, they cannot effectively carry out said philosophy whilst exisiting in the economic vacuum they have created.

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        • Vote for Me says:

          @ JT
          Not true. The philosophy of the party will always act as a backdrop for decisions. The world remains in a unique economic circumstance but it time the situation will be reveresed and whichever party is in power will revert to its philosophic groundings.

          Just imagine - the hotels at Morgans Point, St. George and Hamilton get started in the next 3 to 5 years. Morgans Point because of environental clean up, St. George because of government assistance and Hamilton due to Corporation of Hamilton allowances. Add to that the real possibility of external investment to get the new waterfront underway. There are many naysayers but each of my examples are possible.

          At that stage Bermuda starts to increase GDP and get back on track. Who do you want to be leading the government at that time? The decisoon is based on the PLP with their espoused greater emphasis on social support or the OBA with their greater emphasis on the business aspect and 'may the fittest (economically able) survive'.

          Each of us must make our decision. Interesting enough, one of the first acts of the PLP under leader Dame Jennifer Smith was to ensure greater democracy by making all constituencies approximately the same size at 1200 voters. As best as possible, each vote at election time is genuinely one man, one vote, each vote of equal value.

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          • JT says:

            That investment will not come under the present government. Thinking otherwise is a pipedream. Why would it? In the absence of SIGNIFICANT foreign investment and a serious influx of foreign capital any desired socialist approach to governing is unachievable.

            The economy needs to be fixed and investors need confidence in the governing party to achieve that before they will put large sums of money into anything.

            I believe that, regardless of one's utopian philisophical beliefs (whichever political philosphy that might entail), this election must be about the economy - only.

            The reality is, I am talking about the swing vote, as they are the ones most likely not pinned to philosophy when they mark their X.

            For the record, I do not accept the persistent arguement that Bermuda's present state is largely due to world economic conditions. It is partially due to this, and largely due to the fiscal irresponsibility of our government.

            Put aside philosopy and vote on performance, or lack thereof as the case may be.

            The notion of one man/one vote, each vote of equal value, gets interesting if the popular vote goes against the 'winning' party? Could happen - and could happen this time. Kind of a sticky bit in the whole system.

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          • street wise says:

            "Just imagine – the hotels at Morgans Point, St. George and Hamilton get started ... Add to that the real possibility of external investment to get the new waterfront underway. There are many naysayers but each of my examples are possible.'

            NO! It won't happen because the plp have a terrible international reputation based on being extremely untrustworthy. Nobody trusts them! So nobody will invest here until the plp are overthrown. Simple as that.

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  18. Filta says:

    People long as you are breathing you will have to pay tax whatever. Bob you need to go smoke ah big Bob, tired of you.

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  19. Ryan says:

    The guy may be controversial in some things he says, but Bob has ALWAYS been right!

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  20. JT says:

    Filta - you think you pay alot of taxes now? - just wait.

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    • Come Correct says:

      The more taxes you have, the power you have over the government when you refuse to pay them. He should pick up a book, and not to use the cover for filta either.

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  21. navin johnson says:

    computer glitches,software glitches and the litany of excuses that come from the various government agencies when you or your business are waiting for a check.......musical chairs determines who gets paid and the music will be stopping soon.....Bermuda not only owes half of the countries in the world but we owe many of the vendors who do business with us.....the prudent answer from Bob Richards is wait until we get into office and see what the situation is for all we know it is much worse than any of us realize

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  22. Kathy says:

    ...sounds like they might need to implement some sort of personal income tax to pay the debt...we have got to start collecting the taxes from somewhere...God knows the 6 year term limit rule have ruled out taxing others to pay down our debt!

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    • Zombie Apocalypse says:

      And chase out more business. I know it sounds like a crazy plan, but we could rein in government spending and only spend money on the things we actually really need the government to do. Their job is to run the country. It isn't to organise music festivals. It isn't to become property barons (which they suck at anyway, look at Grand Atlantic). It isn't to take over the provision of healthcare (which they will also suck at). It isn't to prop up failing unions by giving them enourmous cash injections every few years. It isn't to reward friends of the premier by awarding them consulting contracts worth millions, sometimes hundreds of millions, of dollars. It isn't to make sure every MP and senior civil servant gets a new car every 5 years.

      If you increase taxes you will chase out more business, and feeding the government more money will do nothing more than encourage the ridiculous spending.

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  23. Opressed says:

    You may not like the way Mr. Richards speaks or looks, that doesn't matter. The most important thing is he knows what he's talking about, and has the brains to put us back on the right track, before we end up like the PLP's beloved Caribbean.

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  24. JT says:

    Kathy - if you think income tax will resolve this problem for Bermudians - think again. You will chase away what money remains and leave an ever growing debt to fewer people with fewer resources to pay it off. Like it or not, the wealthy are mobile, the middle and low income are not.

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  25. God Son says:

    Low Down Ewart Brown aka The PLP Puppet
    Master has definitely achieved his goal of bringing thi island to it's knees along with the rest of th PLP mafia. Voting PLP to continue to ruin this country for another 4 years cannot happen. For all that is evident the PLP is responsible for an influx of pointless spending, abuse of power and serious lack of respect for the tax payer to where we are left to deal with the outcome, ie loss of jobs, cutbacks on vital services, amongst many more....PLP will NEVER get a vote from me...too much secrets and just a very unsettling aura of failure, don't believe me? Look at th papers everyday, that explain it all!

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  26. Brenda Spearing says:

    Bob Richards has a background in FINANCE therefore he will be the best person to attempt to
    sort out this terrible mess Paula Cox, as Finance Minister, has put the country in. Paula Cox
    has a LAW degree - nothing to do with FINANCE and her attempts to sort out Bermuda finances
    have been abysmal and ineffective. Vote OBA for a secure Government.

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