Video: Zane Desilva On Roof Slate Shortage

November 5, 2014

MP Zane Desilva, who also owns a major construction firm, has spoken out about the roof slate shortage, calling on the Government to take action to assure a supply of slate is available so that homeowners who suffered roof damage in either Tropical Storm Fay, and Hurricane Gonzalo can get their damage fixed.

Zane Desilva says, “I’m very disappointed in the OBA, starting with the leader, Premier Michael Dunkley along with Works Minister Gordon-Pamplin and along with Planning Minister Fahy. Why am I upset? It’s now almost three weeks, some people in this country have had no roof and have had tarpaulins put up to replace the roof they lost during the hurricane and the storm. It’s not good enough…

“When you have people in this country that made out, they’ve reached out to the Premier himself, who is on record – I have it on good authority that he’s on record as telling one of, certainly a few of our slate cutters that they must go through the process. You then had Minister Fahy saying he’s going to fast track it.”

Bermuda Roof Slate Stone Quarry Cutting, November 4 2014-6

“What’s fast track in Minister Fahy’s mind…..a month? Does Minister Fahy have a roof on his house? Does the Premier have a roof on his house? Is Minister Pamplin’s house now dry after losing her roof, while others are still looking at fighting the elements?

“We understand that the weather’s going to be bad this weekend. We have some of our people that have tarpaulins up on their roof, and if we have heavy rains, that tarpaulin will probably not hold. Now instead of someone having a couple of thousand dollars worth of damage in terms of replacing slate, they may have tens of thousands of damage….

“I’ve personally been in some of my friends’ and some of my constituents’ homes that have been damaged by the hurricane and the storm before that. I can tell you, I feel sympathy, deep sympathy for some of these people who have lost their furniture, they’ve lost windows, they’ve lost their dining room sets, mud all throughout the house…..yet here it is, they may have to go through that again? This is not acceptable.

“Michael Dunkley needs to lead this country. He’s a Premier, he’s quick to go out and thank BELCO and thank everybody for the hard work, that’s great, but you also have to take leadership roles in other areas. Make a decision, put these….we have six people that were on TV last night, six of our stone cutters who are begging and pleading to cut slate.”

Mr. Desilva continued, “We hear Minister Fahy talking about we have to go through a process? What is this? We have our people. This is disaster time. Our people are suffering.”

“You need to put all those planning things aside, get these six people working, get the planning inspectors to work with them, go and inspect a site. If they’re worried about dust and noise, go talk to the neighbors. I’m sure that they’re humane enough to say, look I can put up with a little noise and a little dust for a couple of weeks until we get everybody closed in. Get the roofs closed in.”

“Stop being so inhumane and irresponsible. Come on OBA. You got elected to lead this country….” Mr. Desilva added. “Let’s get our people’s roofs on. Let’s not leave our people out for the elements for another three, four, five weeks.”

“It’s been reported we have about 200 homes that have lost portions or large portions of their roofs,” Mr. Desilva said, saying that if you take 200 and multiply it by 500 slate, that’s 100,000 slate so “we need to get on with it as quickly as we possibly can, get these roofs covered.”

“Let this be a lesson to all governments, whether it’s a PLP government or an OBA government. Let it be a lesson that we should keep a large amount of slate in stock for the people of this country,” added Mr. Desilva.

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Comments (60)

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  1. Unbelievable says:

    What’s the matter, Zane? Haven’t issued many invoices?

    • Kunta says:

      De ship will be in this weekend with plenty Dura-slate, and don’t forget de Fast-track for employers to bring in workers for Hurricane related issues.
      This Govt. is an off-shot from de Tea Party that discredits Obama.
      O.B.A/ubp = Republicans !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • hmmm says:

        No PLP is the republican Tea party. They are right wing. they have the Plumber Joe in Famous and Zane trying to get his re slate. Demand contracts go to certain contractors despite being advised against by the Civil service

        The OBA are very much closer to the Democrats.

      • Unbelievable says:

        Kunta, you don’t know what you are talking about.

      • Double D says:

        No one is importing slate.

        You need to get off the …..juice…tends to rot the brain from the inside/out

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        You really do wear political blinders, both parties have a fair mix of both Democrat and Republican notions in their mixes, but only the PLP truly embody the Tea Party mentality in our politics

    • Tough Love says:

      I bet you have a roof over your head to make that comment.

  2. Could this be “more of a personal interest” Zane than one of a public concern? I say this for the simple reason isn’t it true you also have a quarry near Baileys Bay Cricket Club (Sea Breeze) that can be utilized even further and ultimately making you, Mr. Zane DeSilva more $$$$$ ?


      I htink regardless of his reasons, he still has a point regarding the slate.

      My neighborhood is on a hill and several houses within it are roofless due to the storms. We are all ready to go, but no slate can be found!

      • hmmm says:

        So he is either looking after his own pocket whilst pretending a different motivation.


      • serengeti says:

        But it degrades over time, as you pointed out below. Any attempt to hold a large stock of slate would be futile, as you yourself point out.


          Yes I did say that, but now the storms are past so someone somewhere should start cuttting slate, don’t you think?

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        The question has to be asked, why hasn’t applied to produce slate, we are over 2 weeks out from Gonzalo and only 3 applications have been submitted. The department can’t expedite what hasn’t be submitted.

        On a similar note, post Fabian had a massive slate shortage as well, there were far more roofs with damage then and by Xmas, there were still tarps on roofs. Was there no procedure set up then for quarry permit expedition, that could be replicated now?

        Frankly, ZDS is only blowing a load of politically and personally motivated flatulence at the situation for cheap points and as a ‘wannabe a government minister again’ he should not be making ridiculous statements that the whole quarry permit process should just be thrown out. He should know as well as anyone that it is there to protect the interests of Bermuda as a whole from some who might abuse it and endanger surroundings interests if left unchecked.

  3. Strike fund says:

    If I owned a construction company in a hurricane risk area, I would have loads of tiles in stock. I wouldn’t be blaming the Ministry in Charge of Wholesale Supply of Building Materials.


      That may be true, but slate left to stand looses is white luster and partial integrity due to its thin size when left to stand over a period of time. Thats why no one on island has slate stocked up and ready to be sold as you are indicating.

      • Politricks says:

        Then why is he bitching at Government?

        And the hurricane was over 2 weeks ago…so what is Zane’s quarry producing now?


          BEcause the slate now needs to be cut and no one is cutting it obviously

      • serengeti says:

        So you’re saying that it would have been futile for a construction company to have attempted to hold a large stock of slate, because it degrades.
        Similarly, it must follow that it would have been futile for the government to attempt to hold a large stock of slate.

        Any defense you apply to Zane’s construction company must also apply to the government.


          Not defending, simply saying that slate should not be kept in stock for a long time. However, in light of the recent storms it would be wise and franly common sense to start getting slate ready for those in need.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Oh really! And who is supposed to finance all of this stock of product as it sits, possibly for years, before it is needed?

      Slate must be free in your world & dry storage space is free too.

    • Onion says:

      They don’t store well. There is no economical way to warehouse them.

  4. watching says:

    why are the comments attacking MP Desilva?
    The main issue is why is government red tape preventing common citizens from receiving slate for the roofs? WHy not waive the official process and let the slate cutters do what needs to be done?

    • hmmm says:

      Quality of the slate.

      Prevention of Bermudians being ripped off and future roof collapse causing injury or death.

      Health and safety…to prevent quarry injuries, deaths.

      I’m sure there are many reasons, but you would rather worship Zane who is out to try and turn a quick buck for himself.

      • Unbelievable says:

        @ hmmm… are 100% correct. See most people here (PLP supporters) have agendas.

        • Tough Love says:

          Because there are no OBA people with agendas ever, right? Just pure and holy the lot of them. Smh.

    • haha says:

      Because everything in the world has a process to follow n go through regardless of what happened. Everywhere in the world….

      • Tough Love says:

        Actually, not true. In times of disaster many things like supplies to survive are issued out to save the people. The ice storm in Atlanta, the police were taking stranded people to hotels and putting them up, etc. There was no line to expense the hotel and police escort costs. They just helped the people FIRST.

        Whether or not MP DeSilva stands to gain from the construction work, is not an issue. The issue is folks with open roofs at the start of winter. Why can’t people see that? Have compassion for those who are still exposed from the storms. The Bermuda I know would be concerned for all the residents who aren’t covered instead of playing this game of guessing motives, ESPECIALLY when the actual motive is obvious!

  5. Cow Polly says:

    err Zane…….. I lost part of my roof in Fay and another part in Gonzalo. My contractor just finished the repairs and said there was plenty of slate, it’s manpower that we’re short of. Most homeowners don’t want cowboys doing their roofs and are prepared to wait until their regular contractors are free. So put your guns back into their holsters Sheriff.

    • hmmm says:

      There you go, proof that Zane is talking nonsense.

      It would make sense there are limited builders who can do the work.
      It would also make sense that claim adjusters and insurance approval and securing a contractor would need to be done before any work could be scheduled.

      Perhaps there is something preventing large building businesses buying up all the slate, so all Bermudian builders get the chance of work. Maybe he is angry at something like that.

    • Bermudian Momma says:

      @ Cow Polly… I also lost parts of my roof during both storms. We finally managed to get the additional 60 pc of slate we needed. (We already had 150 pc before the storms.) I have a cousin who also lost a substantial amount of her roof. We are still trying to secure slate for her repairs. She has her contractor lined up and ready to go. So please – tell us who to call to get the slate that your contractor says is plentiful.

    • You may have a relevant point “Cow Polly”. When we see, (on T.V.) Govt. workers repairing roofs of bus shelters there’s got to be adequate slate available and the public’s homes should (would) I do believe come first…

  6. serengeti says:

    So it appears Zane wants to open a quarry.

  7. jt says:

    Duraslate. I have it. Works great.

  8. Transparent says:

    Zane,trying to be important and trying to act like he cares!

  9. mercy says:

    What is your construction company doing in effort to assist people, Mr. Politician? Something tells me if you were in thier seat this would pan out the exact same way.

    • hmmm says:

      Don’t worry he’ll club together with some folks to have a bouncy castle and give away some rulers.

      Trinkets and smiles to buy people

  10. aceboy says:

    Why is he blaming government for a lack of roof slate? Are the quarries government owned and run? Even his?

  11. Stoned says:

    How would Zane like it if the man with the portable slate cutting machine set up shop on the property next to his house – dust for days.

    • His answer was, “close your windows” :-( What about roof tops Zane, and the water in everyone in the neighbourhoods tank?

  12. San George says:

    It just has not rained enough. Let it pour for a few weeks, then see how the OBA stands-up to the interference they are notorious for.

    Slate cutting is a very marginal business. These men do not have huge capital resources to cut and store slate. Also the price is fairly inelastic which does not help them either.

    Let it rain baby! C’mon man!

    • Politricks says:

      Notorious for?

      Didn’t realize the Dept. of Planning and Planning Permission has onlt come abuot since 2013.

      Zane leases the Bailey’s Bay quarry and he has lots of capital resources. Instead of visiting damaged homes maybe he should divert just a miniscule of his capital resources to provide some relief to his friends and constituents. Hahaha…don’t worry my last sentence made me laugh too…hahaha

    • hmmm says:

      if it were price inelastic, then that would help the slate cutters.

      I think you got confused

    • aceboy says:

      Your sympathy for those without roofs now is lacking. At least Zane made a pretence of caring. You want to see these people HURT further so that you can blame the OBA. (why it is that the OBA is at all to blame is still beyond me)

      Ask Zane if HE has a roof!

  13. HeyBye says:

    Zane wanting Gov to get involved in a private sector issue.
    Like telling Gorhams to restock something after they ran out.

    He is really pulling at straws here.

  14. Starting point says:

    LOL at least Zane is transparent even when he is trying not to be.

    • SMH says:

      Ha…that’s a good one. Zane is the most transparent Minister in Government. Ha at least now we finally found something he’s good at

      • SMH says:

        Come to think of it Jamahl’s even more transparent. Maybe they should organize a new Transparency party

  15. SMH says:

    Everybody knows Zane isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed but this is low…even by Zane’s standards

  16. Micro says:

    I recall a quarry owner seeking permission to dig deeper a while ago, which was denied due to the outcry from area neighbours.

    Don’t the hardware supply stores and other private companies in the business carry roofing tiles that are ready made and mimic tradition stone slate? Why isn’t Zane getting on those companies for not bringing in supplies? It’s not like people don’t have other options.

  17. Wombat says:

    This is nothing to do with Government. Provision of slate is private sector, and DeSilva knows it. The problem is the support he depends on comes from those who believe what he says, doesnt matter whether its the truth.

    • Tough Love says:

      Minister Fahy said that slate cannot be cut without a permit. Who issues the permits? The government!

  18. AD says:

    It’s been said that ALL govt. properties uncluding bus stops were to be repaired first using the slate from govt quarry…if this is true…then I have a problem! I did however hear that some people are having issues with contractor availability. I think the big picture is to STOP wasting time pointing fingers and lets all try and work this out together. As for ZANE…he’s really good at pointing fingers and being disappointed lately now isnt he – get off your high horse sir ZANE!

  19. Juice says:

    I understand the situation that homeowners have, but why are we still relying on limestone slate these days? The stuff is far inferior to the fabricated materials that are available today…. albeit at a higher cost. Hmm, a business opportunity beckons…

    • Tough Love says:

      Our water system actually needs the limestone. Go to the aquarium. It shows the process there.

      • Longtail says:

        BS…. if rainwater comes into contact with limestone slate you have a problem – it is called a leak. Mildew, fungus, etc can result, let alone water in your house. A properly constructed and maintained roof does NOT let water come into contact with the limestone slate.

  20. swing voter says:

    The Minister/OBA made himself an easy target. He should have pulled those guys aside (after the TV sound bites) and told them get your collective acts together, here are the application forms, fill them out now, I’ll push them through and have my technical officers on your work site tomorrow… everybody loves Mike!

  21. Seen says:

    What short memories we have. How many months were there tarps on roofs following Fabian? Did anyone at that time make it political?

  22. Unbelievable says:

    Why is Zane striking out all the time with these statements? He comes out screaming, arms flailing and then the Minister just responds with the FACTS and it’s all over.


    • I’m also of Portuguese decent and do not mean to offend others like myself. It’s true, most of us do speak loud in conversation while also waving our arms to and fro erratically. This is somewhat the norm. But for Mr. Zane DeSilva, I totally agree he tears the a$$-out-of-it! :-)