BPSU Comment On Public Bodies Reform Bill

July 23, 2014

The Bermuda Public Services Union [BPSU] “will do all that we can to encourage amendments, modifications, or the defeat of this 2014 Bill,” a statement from the Union said.

On Friday [July 18] Premier Michael Dunkley tabled the Public Bodies Reform Bill 2014 “For Information Purpose Only” in the House of Assembly. Members of the public and public officers are encouraged to read the Draft Bill,  and to provide feedback and submissions to the Minister of Finance by Friday, August 29, 2014.

The BPSU said, “The Draft Bill 2014 is proposing to grant the ‘Efficiency and Reform Authority’ sweeping powers to reduce the number of public bodies and bring greater accountability, transparency and efficiency to the public sector.

“The Union implores all public officers to consider this legislation as reshaping their terms and conditions of employment.

“Many members of all ranks within the Civil Service have expressed their grave concern over the intention and the appearance to relegate the Civil service to an ‘administrative body’ with limited powers,” added the BPSU.

“Please be assured that this Union will do all that we can to encourage amendments, modifications, or the defeat of this 2014 Bill. At present, the Government has legislative powers to effect the combining of Departments or explore other options for greater efficiency, accountability and transparency.

The full statement from the BPSU is below:

On Friday, July 18, 2014, Premier Michael Dunkley tabled the Public Bodies Reform Bill 2014 “For Information Purpose Only” in the House of Assembly. Members of the public and public officers are encouraged to read the Draft Bill [an E-copy is downloadable from the Government Portal at gov.bm] and to provide feedback and submissions to the Minister of Finance by Friday, August 29, 2014.

The OBA Government will retable the Draft Bill when the House reopens in November 2014 for debate and a vote.

The Draft Bill 2014 is proposing to grant the “Efficiency and Reform Authority” sweeping powers to reduce the number of public bodies and bring greater accountability, transparency and efficiency to the public sector.

The Union implores all public officers to consider this legislation as reshaping their terms and conditions of employment.

The BPSU/Bermuda Trade Union Congress sent a Draft of objections to the initial Draft Bill in July 2014, which revealed a number of concerns of procedural safeguards to reduce effects:

  • On the balance of the constitution
  • By preserving the independence of key bodies from ministerial interference
  • Securing meaningful consultation with all stakeholders prior to the making of ministerial orders
  • The sale of government property
  • Ignoring the constitutional principle that primary legislation is amended or repealed only by Parliament
  • That as a democratic necessity, decisions of any ruling party remain subject to effective parliamentary scrutiny

The Government drafters did incorporate some of our draft response recommendations, but the Bill is still worrisome, especially the uneven number of Union representatives that sit on the Board and the usage of tax payer funds to advise the Authority on purchasing Government property or how to run a mutual.

By comparison, the United Kingdom’s Public Reform Act 2014 only targeted quangos and not Ministries, sections of a Department, charities, commissions, authorities, or a group of workers to be outsourced/privatized, mutualisation, etc.

Many members of all ranks within the Civil Service have expressed their grave concern over the intention and the appearance to relegate the Civil service to an “administrative body” with limited powers.

President, Jason Hayward and I will be visiting a number of Government Departments between the months of August through October 2014 where we will discuss the Public Bodies Reform Draft Bill 2014 along with matters concerning public officers’ terms and conditions of employment.

Please be assured that this Union will do all that we can to encourage amendments, modifications, or the defeat of this 2014 Bill. At present, the Government has legislative powers to effect the combining of Departments or explore other options for greater efficiency, accountability and transparency.

Edward G. Ball Jr, JP, LLB, FCMI
General Secretary

The Public Bodies Reform Bill 2014 is below [PDF here]

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Comments (19)

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  1. Starting point says:

    bring greater accountability, transparency and efficiency to the public sector.

    I can see how this would be a nightmare scenario for the BPSU…….

    • Bettty Trump's Fact Checker says:

      “Public Bodies Reform Bill 2014 Act” a backward move by this Government, it will impact the WORKERS and push us back by over a 100 years.

      People please READ this ACT, it has serious implications. We must ACT, the time has changed in Bermuda. The OBA will do whatever they want, and remain silent. Do not wake up tomorrow and be surprise. …. PLEASE READ AND BECOME INVOLVED !!

      People we must stand up, this is not the time to continue sleeping on what this government is doing. WAKE UP !!

      • 32n64w says:

        Betty please list EXACTLY how this is a backward move. Exactly. With facts. Not opinions.

        • Noncents says:

          She never will. Betty’s MO is to yell with empty rhetoric aimed to incite the masses without providing any tangible evidence to support her claims.

        • Bettty Trump's Fact Checker says:

          The mere fact you ask such a question, is telling indeed. You and the other Diehards are blind to the implications and outcomes of such a bill… guess your clueless nature of the issue is very telling. The real underlying factors are evident if one know s the history and understands the economic impact of such an act… ..the funny thing is I do not think you would grasp the full implications even if I explained it too you….. REALLY…..for real

          • Curious says:

            That isn’t an answer to the question BT.
            Spell it out for those of us that don’t understand the history ND economic impact.

          • 32n64w says:

            Betty I’ve read the bill. Unlike yourself who simply parrots other people’s words. Please list EXACTLY how this is a backward move. Exactly. With facts. Not opinions.

            But you know this is really just a rhetorical question as any sane person knows you lack the ability to string together a cohesive and informed opinion as is evident from everything you post.

            You are repeatedly asked to support your many statements and you NEVER do which only serves to confirm you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. None. Zip. Zero. Nada. Zilch.

  2. Truth(Original) says:

    Shouldn’t the civil service be “an administrative body with limited powers” anyway?

  3. Sandgrownan says:

    Another positive step forward from the Government. Incremental changes…..

  4. San George says:

    The Civil Service will bankrupt the country if changes are not made. However the government must allow self-dermination and opportunity if people are going to leave the CS and do for themselves.

  5. 32n64w says:

    - The BPSU said, “The Draft Bill 2014 is proposing to grant the ‘Efficiency and Reform Authority’ sweeping powers to reduce the number of public bodies and bring greater accountability, transparency and efficiency to the public sector.

    - the intention and the appearance to relegate the Civil service to an “administrative body” with limited powers”

    How are these bad things? There is at present little to no accountability in the public service.

    • Bettty Trump's Fact Checker says:

      Really, and you think what is written is gold and it will be successful…..for real…you need to do some research on countries who attempted to the do the same thing..to day they are going back to the traditional model of doing business…. wake up … it impacted upon the average citizen the most, and they were left in a poorer state of living then ever before…that is why this government is merely and only for a certain sector of our community…their core voting base….OOH REAL.

      • 32n64w says:

        List five countries who have adopted similar approaches and the resulting impacts. Just five. Go ahead. List them.

  6. cromwell says:

    Its clear they (the Civil Service) want the bill defeated because it reduces their power as running an unelected civil service that governs this island within their select elite self recommended hierarchy.

    Unfortunately for the people the more regulations the civil service government promote and administer the less and less individual freedom trickle down to the average Bermudian.

    This seems to me the new battleground for who will impose their will, set the agendas and run things.

    Who will actualy run this country, the OBA elected political apparatus or the unelected Civil Service the Unions and what some call the puppet Civil Service Commission.

    They think they know what best for us and believe they can manage our lives better under the rules they make.

    The first political reform this country needs after eliminated the partisan political parties is to make senior civil servants elected or approved by the Cabinet.

    Accountable to the people.

  7. Bettty Trump's Fact Checker says:

    “Privatization, Outsourcing, and Mutualisation” will benefit and profit only a few business man of wealth, not all. Blacks population in Bermuda, of the lower and middle class will not benefit. They will be the population which will be impacted the greatest by this bill.

    The equal distribution of wealth will never take place under this model. Do not be fooled. It has not been successful in other countries. Those wealthy business man will be the ones who are likely to profit greatly, and once again the wealth would be in the hands of a few only. Shared Profit making is merely a gimmick under this UBPoba government.

    Bermuda this is a backward step and action by this government OBAubp. This government cares little if NOTHING for its PEOPLE..WAKE UP FOLKS….

    • Noncents says:

      What about the white lower/middle class?

    • Steve Davis says:

      ‘Equal Distribution of Wealth’, I assume you are referring to communism as you Utopia.

      It is a fact that 80% of our tax revenues are eaten by Civil Service wages alone. It is a fact that the Government are currently having to borrow money to support a bloated and over employed Civil Service and if this is not addressed then the country will become bankrupt and widespread poverty will be the result.

      The Private sector pays the wages of the Civil Service, they are the ones that are propping this country up. Yet the the PLP/BIU if you are the working in the Private Sector then you are the enemy!

  8. Meeee says:

    Oh dear, how we avoid reality by looking and picking at small stuff.

    Look, in 2012/13, Government’s total revenue was $866,577,558. Total revenue.(All figures are from Government’s audited financial statements.)

    In 2012/13, Government’s total spending on Employees was $600,948,726.

    So about $267 million was left over to spend on “everything else”. That’s far too low. That’s why Government borrowed $333 million and then ended up spending about $600 million on “everything else”.

    With Employee costs eating up $0.69 out of every one dollar that comes in, it should be and it must be obvious that there is a huge problem with the Civil Service and its total costs.

    Cut the people or cut the pay!

    For the next two years, is there a real third option?

    Is every body blind? Are people in the Civil Service unable to do simple arithmetic?

  9. Coffee says:

    They say that until THE BERMUDA TOURISM AUTHORITY is in a position to generate self sustainable income , than the people of Bermuda , meaning you and I will be responsible for funding that PRIVATE ENTITY , WITHOUT OVERSIGHT . Meaning, millions of your tax dollars need not be accounted for , hell we have been told to our faces that the compensation of Bill Hanbury is not our business … Really , but we pay his wages and the wages of his cronies . Funny thing is this , Mr.Hanbury realizes that this practice is wholly unacceptable and maybe construed to be illegal in his home country . However he has no problem conducting himself in the clandestine OBA way .. He has no shame !
    As mentioned above , those who buy , mutualize or by any other means obtain public bodies WILL GENERATE PRIVATE WEALTH FOR THEIR INDIVIDUAL AND COLLECTIVE FAMILIES FOR GENERATIONS …. Do Not Allow This to happen !
    We either swim together or sink together ….. If money can be found , earned to fund a private enterprise , than the same money also exists for the continuation of a more efficient government controlled business model .
    This is a classic friends and family set up , reminds me of the land grab of the 1920′s