Premier: ‘Transparency Promotes Accountability’

June 13, 2014

In the House of Assembly today [June 13], Premier Michael Dunkley spoke of the importance of transparency, and said the government will require all government departments and public authorities to provide specific information about their accounts.

Premier Dunkley said, “Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for the people of Bermuda so that everyone is clear on how public funds are being used.

“While expenditure data for government departments is readily disclosed and information inclusive of salaries, grants, and contributions is available to the public, the same level of disclosure does not apply to all public bodies and authorities.

“While most public bodies and authorities are required to provide annual reports, the level of detail is not always as useful as the public requires in order to be fully informed.

“The government will amend the Public Treasury [Administration and Payments] Act 1969 to require all government departments and public authorities to provide very specific aspects of information relating to the accounts of these bodies.

“Under these provisions, information such as the salaries for senior executive officers of the public authorities will be made available as a part of the consolidated financial statements.

“This administration will take appropriate action, consistent with law and policy to disclose information so that the public is informed. The same principle will apply to public bodies and authorities.”

The Premier’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker, the Government is committed to keeping its financial affairs and those of public bodies and authorities, open and transparent.

Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for the people of Bermuda so that everyone is clear on how public funds are being used. While expenditure data for Government Departments is readily disclosed and information inclusive of salaries, grants, and contributions is available to the public, the same level of disclosure does not apply to all public bodies and authorities.

Mr. Speaker, a preliminary review of the legislation that governs the operation of different public bodies and authorities highlights significant inconsistencies as it relates to the requirement for disclosure. While most public bodies and authorities are required to provide annual reports, the level of detail is not always as useful as the public requires in order to be fully informed.

Mr. Speaker, in some case, in accordance with the legislation, the Minister is empowered to direct the form of the statement of account and may require that any other information relating to the financial affairs of the entity be included in the statement of account. This provision empowers the Minister to require any information that he or she may deem necessary is clearly set out in the statement of account and reflected in the annual report.

In other cases Mr. Speaker, the requirement is simply for the entity to transmit to the Minister a report of the operations of the body during the year and the annual statement of account. The Minister is not empowered to require that any other information is set out in the statement of account and therefore the detail does not appear in the annual report. In such a situation what is set out in the statement of account is the standard information, which does not itemize the specifics of the expenditure.

Mr. Speaker, the Government will amend the Public Treasury [Administration and Payments] Act 1969 to require all Government Departments and public authorities to provide very specific aspects of information relating to the accounts of these bodies. Under these provisions, information such as the salaries for senior executive officers of the public authorities will be made available as a part of the consolidated financial statements.

In other instances, the Government will implement policies that mandate, via contractual agreement, the public disclosure of similar financial information as a requirement for grant funding. Such policies will ensure that where public funds are being used to underwrite the cost of operations, information regarding salaries, sponsorships, and other contributions is publicly available.

Mr. Speaker, this Administration will take appropriate action, consistent with law and policy to disclose information so that the public is informed. The same principle will apply to public bodies and authorities.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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Comments (13)

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  1. somuchless says:

    Dunk. Just like in a relationship, keeping the communication level open is always the best way to go. By doing this people will tend to trust the gov more and more. Good move because this has been something that has been needed for a very long time.

  2. Rockfish#1and #2 says:

    Premier Dunkley said, “Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for the people of Bermuda so that everyone is clear on how public funds are being used.

    These words are hollow and meaningless and will continue to be, until they apply to the Bermuda Tourism Authority!

    • frank says:

      well said I don’t understand how the minister is allowed to dodge that question infact I don,t know how he could even be in the house
      he can not be trusted

      • Anon says:

        Where were you for those 14 years? How the Minister can actually be in the house, after Ewart and Burch’s tom foolery?

        • lucky 7 says:

          @anon–exactly! Bermuda could create its own version of ‘Mad TV’ skits just on these ignorant people’s comments, they should be required to hold a licence to think because the stuff that comes out of their mouths and posted on their comments, 1st of all, is not always proper english and 2nd, it’s so stupid, its rediculous and would make great TV!

    • Ace girl says:

      I agree 110%. Since when did Mr Dodwell have the right to run this clandestine highly paid non tourism group without openness and transparency? It is ludicrous in this era, where everything needs to be above board, given the previous governments clandestine operations. I sincerely hope Mr Dunkley and Mr Richards deals with this issue.

  3. Rhonda Neil says:

    except for the BTA, what is being hidden , why the OBA is going above a beyond, using existing laws, and where existing law don’t exist creating confidentiality laws to avoid transparency of the BTA which a publicly funded body , as well as MPs disclosure of govt contracts…the OBA is fighting tooth and nail to not disclose …my question is WHY……

    I would have thought, they would want to voluntarily offer this information…..

    • ole Onion says:

      I wonder if he really means ” on a needs to know basis ” or ” if we think so ” ?¿

  4. LOL (Original TM *) says:

    Lets see if this happens as alot of people may need to cover thier you know what first..

    LOL step in the right dirrection

  5. San George says:

    If you are not in the House of Assembly you are a Bottom Feeder. That’s the way they view us all, not just Mike McClean. They will tell you what they want, when they want.

    Signed – Bottom Feeder

  6. Come On Man says:

    Mr. Premier may I remind you to practice what you preach…

    • Evie says:

      Blahblahblah Mr Donkey we are not buying this hogwash the whole speech is a waste of effing film hahahahaha you are gonna have to come better than that SMDH