Minister Details BTA Spending On Rent, Furniture

February 16, 2015

The Bermuda Tourism Authority [BTA] spent $178,000 on furniture and spends $18,617 per month for their office space, Transport & Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell said in the House of Assembly on Friday [Feb 13].

Answering questions from Shadow Minister of Tourism Zane DeSilva, Minister Crockwell said that the BTA spent $178,000 on furniture, $52,000 on telephone system, $38,000 on creative services/printers and $65,000 on information technology.

Minister Crockwell also said that the BTA pays a total of $18,617 per month for their offices in the Washington Mall, with the breakdown being: $10,806 on rent, $404 on storage space, $300 on car park, $5,427 on the service charge, and $1,680 on tax.

Audio of part of the exchange in the House of Assembly:

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Comments (48)

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  1. Sky Pilot says:

    all those empty Office spaces and they have to pick really expensive rental places

    • hmmm says:

      That is very reasonable rent for office space !

      Well done BTA

      • somuchless says:

        Sarcasam at its best lol

        • hmmm says:

          So you are not aware of the market for office space…got it .

      • Agreed says:

        That’s actually a good deal on that space.

        Having said that, is there suitable vacant space in an existing government building?

    • Mockingjay says:

      Oh, that’s what they wanted the Furlough days for.

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        Actually they wanted the furlough days so they wouldn’t have to cut social programs. The BTA isn’t an extra expense, it is a part of the ministry of tourism budget.

  2. YEAH SPENDING MORE !! says:

    OBA crys out we are in a finanical crisis and here we have the Minister of Tourism spending unnecessary monies like a drunken sailor…oh I can not believe this accountability and transparency of the OBA

    • Onion says:

      The Tourism Authority has a much smaller budget than the old Ministry of Tourism – by quite a lot.

      • hmmm says:

        The transparency is something that the PLP cronies can’t comprehend.

        disclosing this information doesn’t mean they are on a spending spree, it’s explaining where parts of the budget expenditure are.

        Ths budget being far lower than anything the PLP spent !

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      Your mistake is to assume that the BTA is an extra expense, it in fact gets its allocation from the ministry of tourism budget and that has been reduced. This move has allowed it to be set up so that their accountability is that they are expected to meet results in away that the BDOT never was

  3. Jr Smith says:

    $18k on monthly rent in town?? south side would be a cheaper alternative

    • RU Kidding says:

      This is the OBA we’re talking about. Penthouse is Washington Mall is what you need.. forget spending extra money on actually getting tourists to Bermuda!

      I agree, SOUTHSIDE.. Other Government owned properties!

      • hmmm says:

        So when you meet the visitng industry professionals you want to take them from the plane to a desolate back of nowhere place with zero character….hmmm thank the lord you are not at the BTA.

        They’d be saying NEXT, before you could blink !

        • somuchless says:

          Well they are on a forth floor and building/location is hard to find if you don’t know where you’re going.

          Plus it ain’t as welcoming for tourist as the old office.

          • hmmm says:

            This isn’t the tourist information centre, it’s the Tourism authority offices.

            You are getting mixed up.

  4. YEAH SPENDING MORE !! says:

    “Silence of the Lambs” from the OBA cheerleaders….they will not write much on this article……they support their party right or wrong…..we need to learn this dysfunctional Unity game……

    • John Young says:

      The same can be said of the PLP…you all support your party, right or wrong too! And you still support them after they broke all sorts of promises, spent recklessly, iled to the people of Bermuda “for our own good”…makes me sick that we too soon forget the ills of our past…and because of that you will never learn and will be destined to make the same mistakes. That goes for any political party and the people that support them.

    • hmmm says:

      Why are you using Betty T profile with a changes name ?

  5. Eve says:

    When will the Opposition question the cost of the New York City office, the remodeling and new furniture too?

    • Unbelievable says:

      Oh and that so so so busy Washington DC office. Yeah like that is clearly a great deal.

    • John Young says:

      When will the opposition tell us where all that money went when they were in office????? The opposition is there to ensure the governing party acts morally and ethically and should question their actions…but until they can clear their own PLP name, then I would recommend not calling others out for the same things. The PLP raped my country and left us reeling…and now want to blame other for their own short comings! You’re all nuts…grow up!

      • Jadon says:

        Where did it go ? When the recession hit where did all the money of the world go ??? Do you remember that the PLP lent bank of butterfield 200 million ? Have they repaid that ? Who else did they lend hundreds of millions too ?! YOU are the one that forgets ! I’m guessing the PLP is to blame for the whole world reccession aren’t they ? Living in a smoke screen. OBA

        • Dockyard Lackey says:

          They did not lend the $200 million. It was a surety on the issue of $200 million in Preferred Shares.

  6. Soooo says:

    Got to love it…. ACBDA gets free space and We have complains that they (govt) should rent …. Tourism rents… You complain… Go figure??

  7. arthur conan doyle says:

    You don’t need to be a Sherlock to know that this is being spent locally … so what is the fuss?

  8. Triangle Drifter says:

    The BTA really should have an upper floor harbour view office on Front Street. It is all well & good to be doing the grunt work in less than prime office space but when you are in the tourism business & greeting people who are going to be brining us clients, they deserve & need to be hosted in the very best of surroundings.

    • smh says:

      So instead of 10k a month the Bta should be spending 20k a month? Your comment is border line Idiotic.

    • If ... says:

      If you’d ever been in those offices you’d know that there is a harbour view from one side and a view of City Hall from the other. I don’t know how they’re currently configured so I have no idea if they’re taking advantage of it but it is there.

  9. more than enough says:

    these people never cease to amaze me

  10. more than enough says:

    this is part of the problem in government…why does everything have to be brand new? top of the line everything, ie office furniture and space, vehicles, tools, boots, uniforms, 1st class travel, luxury accommodation, sweet benefits and huge salaries, vacation and sick day coverage, no work on rainy days, ridiculous amounts of vacation, and overtime, lifetime pensions[or whatever it's called], i could continue but i think you can get the gist.
    maybe if we were not in debt i could understand, but with our current economic depression, i do not think this is wise. actually, i believe it is this approach that got us in this position by the previous administration.
    i thought people voted for change.

  11. Creamy says:

    For 60 people these numbers are about rock bottom. It’s a lot of noise about nothing.

  12. Coffee says:

    What families own Washingto Mall ?

  13. Onion says:

    Rent is less than 1% of their budget and yet the same people are on the talk shows who defended GobalHue’s overbilling are now flipping out.

  14. Couch Sailor says:

    What is the service charge of 5+k

  15. somuchless says:

    Since we’re talking about tourism offices. I think it’s crazy that the tourism office in New York is located on the 23rd floor of a building. How are you supposed to promote Bermuda from the 23rd floor? Hang Bda shorts out the window? Lol I really think that office is a waste and they can’t even help themselves let alone people who go there.

    I went for a stroll to get a view for myself and asked the receptionist for a bda magazine to show my family who was with me taking me around nyc and the receptionist said that they don’t have any up to date bda books. I said okay we’ll take anything. Walked out with one old bus schedule. Tacky. No wonder bda is failing in tourism. What are they doing out there?

    • Bye darn de rerd says:

      I live in a town in the East Midlands of England. I would guess that we have about eight travel agencies to serve some 50-60,000 people. I recently made a short tour of some of these offices and was astonished to find no literature relating to Bermuda specifically, just an occasional mention in those of nearby regions. On querying of the staff of their knowledge of your beautiful islands, only one out of five had even any knowledge that Bermuda even existed, never mind as to where it was located. As a former resident of Bermuda, I was pretty astonished at this lack of knowledge; one lady made me smile when she recalled that she ‘once sold a Bermuda vacation to a couple about three years ago.’ Although a basic Bermuda trip can be extremely expensive, much money is being spent on travel from the UK these days and most people seem to find the money from somewhere. Just about everyone knows of the Bermuda Triangle, but I would guess that only about 2% are aware that little Bermuda even exists. Perhaps some of the BTA money might be guided this way.
      In closing, I would suggest that whatever your politics, the whole of Bermuda should get behind this heaven-sent appearance of the America’s Cup which will publicise the islands beyond your wildest dreams. Don’t knock it!

      • hmmm says:

        People book more on the internet these days.

        Thomas cook and travel agencies are usually for package deals.

        If our hotels are not involved in package deals, then there would be little to no exposure in travel agencies (as you described)

  16. Ace girl says:

    Absolutely shocking. Mr. Dodwell, what were you thinking about? What was wrong with Global House? It’s not the building that maketh the results. Granted you want reasonable offices but this whole BTA fiasco has taken on a life of its own. I thought TA’s were the facilitators for independent companies achieving TA’s aims and objectives and when they don’t meet the predetermined goals in a specific period of time, they would be released from their contract and a more effective company hired. This TA is an expensive empire. All of this to say, visitors are down yet again. Was there no accountability clauses built into these contracts. I still say backgrounds in Tourism would have been a major advantage to the players!

  17. chip says:

    If the blind could see and the deaf could hear?

  18. chip says:

    I need a drink called Bermuda on the rocks to no Americans cup and then just wondering were I end up? Smh

  19. serious says:

    Why is the OBA always trying to compare with the other party?
    Do you know that you guys act like a bunch of kids.

    The bottom line is the country is in a crisis, but be cause its not your Money let’s just spend it anyway. Because the next budget is going to be so high that it will pay back everything you are trying to take from your country.

    You guys make good money own businesses, have fancy cars, expensive clothes, but have you ever stop to think they your know better than the next man. Because your not willing to take a pay cut, or even help some one in need.
    So stop trying to dictate to people how that should spend there money when you guys are spending the Money very careless.

  20. Ed Case says:

    You complete fools who think this is expensive have obviously never rented office space in Hamilton. At least this government is telling us how much they are spending. Unlike the PLP who just made money disappear.

    • Agreed says:

      That rent is dirt cheap for decent office space in town.

    • Just my 2 cents says:

      Calling people fools??- who supports outrageous spending by justifying it with transparency…a FOOL! The monthly rent for the BTA is the annual salary of I’m sure some of those civil servants “protesting” for no furlough day…go figure. Global House may not have been ideal, but they could have upgraded the entrance- inside the offices, made it more appealing for less than the monthly rent at Washington Mall! Cost saving…

  21. just wondering says:

    very easy answer to all this – simply have the BTA/Minister state how much they are being charged per square foot for the office space then we can easily see if they are getting good value for money or not

  22. jt says:

    Cries for transparency….here you go. In fact…huge improvements in transparency.
    As for the cost….it’s not ridiculous but I think they could do marginally better.
    Overall the spending has been reduced with the switch to BTA as have government travel expenses.
    More fat needs to be trimmed…wherever it can be found…right people?

  23. Just a matter of time says:

    And the private sector recipients of those funds say ‘Thank You. Keep it coming!’