Cordell Riley Responds To Minister Of Finance

August 23, 2013

“It is one thing not to agree with the information put forth, quite another to cast aspersions on one’s abilities,” statistician Cordell Riley said in response to comments made by Finance Minister Bob Richards.

Earlier this week Profiles in Bermuda, which is run by Mr Riley, released a report which said that the Bermuda economy could shed as many as 2,400 jobs in 2013 — or 6.8% of the workforce — if current job trends continue.

The newspaper reported that the Finance Minister said Mr Riley’s prediction has no credibility in his view, and quoted him as saying: “There’s no analysis. It’s just looking at a chart and extrapolating a chart that’s going down. Statisticians don’t run Governments, economists do.”

In response to Minister Richards comments, Mr Riley said: “I was quite surprised and disappointed by what can only be described, in the Premier’s words, as ‘school yard’ antics by the Minister of Finance. It is one thing not to agree with the information put forth, quite another to cast aspersions on one’s abilities.

“Last February, in testing out a new business venture, a newsletter was sent to 40 select local and international business men and women. The lead story was about jobs. In the story, I had indicated that ‘By the end of 2012, if current trends continue, jobs could have fallen a further 3.5% to 36,750, the lowest level since 1998.”

“You will note that jobs for 2012 were worst than predicted falling to 35,443. Likewise for the International Companies sector, the article stated that, ‘Projections are that jobs in the International Sector could fall below 4,000 by the end of 2012, giving rise to an employment growth capacity warning, a preparation warning, and a structural warning.” Jobs in this sector fell to 3,867, just as predicted.

“I should point out that the purpose of statistical modeling is not always to be proven accurate – one of the main functions is to pick up the underlying trend. This we have done successfully for the past two decades – without fail. And the reason we use forecasting techniques is for the same reason the Minister complains about – a lack of up-to-date data.

“In North America, Europe and other places, organisations such as the Conference Board carry out a similar role and the business community usually welcomes such information. We shall continue to provide such information as a public service.

“And considering the feedback we have received this far, there are those in public who indeed welcome this information. I wish to point out to the Minister that statistical modeling techniques, if done correctly, are not a respecter of person or government,” concluded Mr Riley.

We asked Minister Richards for his comments on Mr Riley’s statement, and will update as able.

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Comments (67)

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  1. Take a seat says:

    Go sit in the corner with Flip Flop as two people who we have no interest in hearing from...

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  2. aceboy says:

    Wow. Thin skin Mr. Riley. You put out your dire prediction and expected what exactly?

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  3. Mazumbo says:

    Bob Richards should give this guy 1/2 his paycheck. LMAO

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  4. Time Shall Tell says:

    "Statisticians don’t run Governments, economists do.” A statement that Bob just may see backfire yet.

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  5. Sorry Sir says:

    Second time Mr. Riley has made ridiculous claims within the last year. Ironic that he, himself, still has a job.

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    • inna says:

      who pays his salary at profiles bda?

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    • TheyWereCrooks says:

      then go ahead and put your faith in Bob Richards, the guy who stated explicit that per the OBA's "new rules" Public Debt = Current Public Debt - Money in Sinking Fund. And the went on to top up the Sinking Fund with eight hundred million of new debt, which furthermore by his calculation reduces public debt!

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  6. Hmmm says:

    He didn't cast anything....that's in your head Riley.

    He said you extrapolated from a chart and you said you picked up the underlying trend.

    Same thing, so why so bitter.

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    • TheyWereCrooks says:

      if that is the case why was Richards criticizing Riley??

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      • Hmmm says:

        Comprehension is not your strongest asset is it!

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        • TheyWereCrooks says:

          I comprehend just fine... In simple terms for you if Richards is saying the same thing as Riley then you should be just as defensive of Riley as your are Richards. Instead your bias rules supreme. No surprises there.

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          • Hmmm says:

            You still don't understand it do you.

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  7. Truth is killin' me... says:

    "The trend is you friend" however many times a trend can be broken which is proved countless times in the stock market year after year. Trend up one month and down the other. Nobody can predict the future unless you're God!

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    • Truth is killin' me... says:

      meant "The trend is your friend"

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  8. blankman says:

    Mr. Riley, I won't bore you by enumerating the problems with your analysis (or at least the summary published in the papers) but fact is, I can't give them any credibility either. And for the record, I'm willing to state, without qualification, that I have more academic and professional qualifications than both you and Mr. Richards combined.

    And that's not casting aspersions on your abilities, only on the particular study in question.

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    • curious says:

      I could not agree more with this statement. Mr. Riley had some technical notes in the bermuda sun but they were so embarrassing they look to have disappeared.
      Unfortunately he has been given a platform to broadcast his bull @#&% propaganda under the guise of statistical analysis.
      If you want to follow his modelling, within 5 years bermuda will have negative jobs. Not exactly possible.

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    • Ole says:

      So why are you trolling this media outlet? Person of your academic standing should be locked in a prestigious think tank, solving the world's economic problems....

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      • TheyWereCrooks says:

        probably because Riley isn't OBA so blankman's natural response is to attack his position - on anything!

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  9. Verbal Kint says:

    Just for the record, could Mr. Riley tell us the results of his job loss predictions for the last couple of years of the previous administration?

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    • J Starling says:

      He's been issuing these kind of reports regularly.

      I am surprised at people focusing on Mr Riley and portraying his stats as some sort of conspiracy against the OBA. All he's doing is showing what the trend shown by the available data appears to indicate. It's not anti-OBA or pro-PLP. It's just a statistical model.

      The attacks against Mr Riley truly do seem to be an 'attack the messenger; ignore the message' thing here.

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      • RJ says:

        Actually, judging by Profiles' website, this is Mr. Riley's first publicly-released report in over three years.

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      • Sandy Bottom says:

        Has he been issuing them accurately for two decades, like he says?

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      • Impressive says:

        noone is allowed to speak in any negative light about the OBA, whether the point they make coudl be valid or not.. The OBA know what they are doing and should not be questioned, anybody who dear question them will have there character challenged and ultimately destroyed.. rule number 1 in bermuda these days.

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      • Verbal Kint says:

        You, as usual, have mistaken a question for an attack. I just asked for clarification to provide some context. So what kind of job loss predictions did he publish?

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        • J Starling says:

          Lol - in fairness, I should have been more clear in my initial post.

          Only the very first part of my post addressed you specifically Verbal Kint.

          The rest of my post was more a general comment\observation of reactions to Mr Riley overall.

          I considered posting the second part separately, but figured you - and others - would have been able to understand the difference between the two parts of the post.

          Assumptions, eh?

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          • Verbal Kint says:

            Fair enough. Have a source for those job loss estimates?

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            • J Starling says:

              Sorry, was on my phone there, which I don't like using for this.

              When I read your initial post I saw it as part of a general criticism of Mr Riley, in the context of the thread overall. It seemed to me as if you were saying he's never posted something like this before, so why now?

              I believe he runs these analyses regularly, but the only recent formal public release I can find is on his website from 2010, as another poster above pointed out.

              I believe at times he's overestimated, at other times underestimated, and occasionally got it correct, but with an acceptable deviation for all of them.

              To be clear, Mr Riley notes that his analysis is just the trend based on current data provided everything stays the same (ceteris paribus). I don't see him saying that this is a certainty, just that based on current trends one would expect to see such and such.

              The link for his 2010 analysis is: http://www.profilesofbermuda.bm/news.php

              His 2008 analysis may also be of interest (see above link).

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              • Sandy Bottom says:

                So in fairness Mr Riley should admit that there is nothing to suggest he's going to be correct, since extrapolating the past trend takes no account of changing conditions.

                I still seriously doubt the veracity of his claim to have been making accurate predictions for two decades.

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                • J Starling says:

                  Mr Riley states quite clearly, in the article above, and the previous related ones, that he is just stating that if the current trends continue we can expect to see xyz. The implication of this, his emphasis that it's just what will happen if current trends continue, provided nothing major changes, is that it can change if things change...

                  He also notes that his predictions for 2012 were slightly off overall (slightly worse than predicted), but correct for certain segments.

                  He then says that his analyses aren't supposed to be taken as iron-clad predictions but simply as indicative of the general trend. He probably could successfully predict, based on simple extrapolation, such general trends (jobs up or down) for 20 years, but I cannot speak on that.

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  10. Lay down! says:

    Who is this guy!? Never heard of him, maybe he should be our finance minister! He seems to know everything about stats! BTW stats don't run governments!

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  11. Proud Bermudian of Color! says:

    He is a well known Perceptually Limited Politician, and malcontent who often uses race to attack others or justify his actions... no one important!

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    • J Starling says:

      For clarification, when has Mr Riley ever ran as a candidate or served as a PLP officer/senator? I certainly don't recall that. I don't recall him ever being identified as a PLP member either.

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    • Mazumbo says:

      Using race to justify actions PLEASE look at Bermuda's history and see which race had justice and which race had and has injustice. People like you need to see the movie The Butler for a friendly reminder.

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      • inna says:

        and how does said race still "have" injustice today? enlighten me, please..

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        • Mazumbo says:

          Its so subliminal you wouldn't recognize it if it hit you on your head. Its been documented that whites make more then blacks doing the same job, when white politicians runs for PLP or are affiliated with the BIU their ostracized by the mainstream white society, and whites are intimidated to have intimate relationships with blacks not alone to have children together. There are more black people that participate at white events and functions then whites participate at black events and functions. There are more blacks that patronize white bars then whites that patronize black bars, etc,etc!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If your not enlightened after this there's no hope for you. LMAO

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          • Sandy Bottom says:

            What do youmean by " whites are intimidated to have intimate relationships with blacks not alone to have chldren together". Your sentence is garbled and I don't understand the point you are trying to make.

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            • Mazumbo says:

              Being that this is the only point you have a problem with everything else must be accurate

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              • Sandy Bottom says:

                No, you basically talk sh1t. This part was incomprehensible and apparently you aren't capable of explaining it.

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    • TheyWereCrooks says:

      Sorry hilarious how people like you have to audacity to accuse [alleged] PLP supporters of racism / race card tactics when recent history depicts quite clearly that the UBP/OBA is the party that serves the interests of those that have benefited immensely from this islands most heinous practices of racism. Take a drive through Tuckers Town, Triminghams Hill and Point Shares and see how many "Proud Bermudians of Color" you see living there! People like you are the stuff people that have [and continue to] thrive on our segregated past dream for more of!

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      • Mazumbo says:

        In their eyes it was justified because they believe they are the superior race but there is no guilt for their past economic genocide and undeserved privilege and get bent out off shape when descendants of the oppressed speak the truth, times have changed get over it. LMAO

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        • Sandy Bottom says:

          I think you should take your own advice. "Times have changed. Get over it".

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          • Mazumbo says:

            Its easier for the Victor then the Victim and healing comes from dialogue, admittance ,acceptance and equality then we can get over it

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            • Sandy Bottom says:

              So have times chamged or not? Make your frikkin mind up.

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              • Mazumbo says:

                Times have changed as far as legislating and implementing Jim Crow but ideology and systemic structure is still alive !!!!!!!!!!!

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            • Come Correct says:

              Funny, cuz I ain't seen the word Irish yet...Ireland island, get it? The truth is convenient lol you don't hear me cryin about my people, that's because I got over it....times have changed.

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          • TheyWereCrooks says:

            I love how its the reasoning of a certain segment of this community that people should just "get over" tragedies of the recent past that have shaped many aspects of our society today. The fact that all-white neighborhoods even to this day in Bermuda are not just some archaic notion of the past is pretty wild when you think about it. And to the surprise of few it tends to be the opinion of their inhabitants that another segment of the community should just get over the way the dice "rolled".

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  12. Hurricane says:

    Stats do run governments, ok, so what's your point? Certainly governments collect stats. The question here should be who's are accurate. And this should be the question whether U know him or not.

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    • Concerned Citizen says:

      Exactly! You OBA people are really sick in your heads!

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    • Sandy Bottom says:

      The stats collected by governments are historical. They pertain to events that have already happened. Statisticians are not forecasters. But in 4 months we will see won't we, whether Mr Riley is right or wrong.

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  13. Sandy Bottom says:

    Mr Riley claims he has successfully been predicting these things "for two decades - without fail". While resisting the temptation to call that claim complete BS, let's just say that in the evrent that 2,400 jobs aren't in fact lost between now and the end of the year, then Mr Riley will have been utterly wrong.

    We don't really have to wait. The prediction is completely ridiculous, and we all know it. He makes himself look an even bigger.. by trying to defend it.

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  14. Educator says:

    Sir Riley you continue your work facts are facts and they will just have to suck it up.

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  15. Lay down! says:

    @Hurricane TRUE! Well if if was doing stats about previous administration he was RIGHT! If he wasn't then i don't believe a word he says! It really sounds like someone is trying to get political points here! Especially if he is trying to challenge the finance minister! Don't ya think?

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  16. Collins says:

    MR.Riley reminds me of Al Sharpton and Jessy jackson they have their own agnda.

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    • Ole says:

      And you SIR need to stop the man crush on Limbaugh and everything Fox!

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  17. Mercy rewrote my life says:

    It seems that some of the OBA affiliates have been ticked off by some revelation that Mr.Riley has produced in his statement . Stop making demeaning comments about the person an look at the information that been given.
    Wake up OBA SUPPORTERS!!! Stop the bashing and look in the mirror

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  18. God 1st says:

    This is a profound statement Mr.Riley.

    I wish to point out to the Minister that statistical modeling techniques, if done correctly, are not a respecter of person or government,” concluded Mr Riley.

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    • blankman says:

      Absolutely correct - glad to see that you included the condition "if done correctly"

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  19. Jus' Askin' says:

    Does anyone know how many jobs have been lost since OBA came into government?
    BOB and OBA are jokes ;-)

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  20. Lay down! says:

    NO! U pLP supporters are dreamers and u all woke up 2 a blinking nightmare! For the life of me people still defend them funny!!

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    • TheyWereCrooks says:

      And OBA supporters are subjects of a consultant drafted social experiment [PROVEN TO EXIST] to build a stronger voting base for interests stemming from the original UBP forefathers' power center. Of course there is always the constant anti-PLP base [typically white and privileged] but beyond that the majority of you folk are essentially a bunch if suckers that were tricked into voting for a government headed by a guy with no political experience and a service station back ground!!! You guys make fun of the PLP while this is the case/reality?!?! And the crazy thing is this tactic/experiment has be conducted many times over successfully on other unsuspecting populous'. The whole thing is one massive joke, especially for the consultants that drafted up operation "UBP to BDA to UBP+BDA=OBA"!

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  21. Accurate says:

    If a ship strikes an iceberg and starts to take on water faster than the pumps can remove it then a statistician armed with this info can predict a certain sinking trend. If the crew has the skill and materials to effect some kind of repair that subsequently reduces water ingress to a tolerable level and the statistician is unaware of this then his previous trend prediction becomes meaningless.
    Lies- damn lies - - - we'll you know the rest.
    Good luck Mr Richards & crew.

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    • TheyWereCrooks says:

      So what happens when the crew has no control over the supply of materials used to keep that ship afloat up until the point of hitting the iceberg. What if the ship is antiquated with most of the parts required now obsolete. Now put that in the context of a small country that has relied on a single source of prosperity for far too long and beyond a contraction in the market representing that source, that market is also coming up with smarter ways to make money that do not require additional human resources and office space etc.. THAT is whats happening here. To to your last line, your darn right, Good Luck!

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  22. Rich says:

    Cue the predictable partisan divide in online comments ...

    On the one hand, Mr Richards was asked about Mr Reily's extrapolation. He clearly disagrees with it. And his comment is true - there is a difference between statistical analysis and modelling.

    On the other, Mr Reily's release of his modelling is part of his company's marketing strategy - which is common of such firms the world over. He has every incentive to use properly thorough methods. If his predictions turn out to be out of whack, companies won't engage his services.

    Two professionals who disagree. That's NEVER happened.

    Why does a simple disagreement between public figures need to take us all down that constant, ridiculous rabbit hole of ad hominem attacks and partisan hyperbole?

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