Live Updates: Finance Minister Delivers Budget

February 20, 2015

[Updated] Finance Minister Bob Richards is set to deliver the 2015 Budget in the House of Assembly this morning [Feb 20], which will set out the Government’s financial plans for the upcoming fiscal year.

This will be the third budget devised by Minister Richards since the OBA’s victory at the polls in 2012, following after the 2013/14 Budget [coverage here] and the 2014/15 Budget [coverage here].

The budget speech will be carried via radio beginning at just past 10.00am, and we will also provide text updates as able, as well as the full document, highlights, reactions and more.

Live updates have concluded, updates are shown below:

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Comments (99)

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  1. Serious Though says:

    Bob, Save the country

    • Um.... says:

      Party politics aside, I hope he does. We should all want the OBA to produce a fair and balanced budget of cuts and revenue growth. That is what we need. Not racial politics and this public vs private sentiment.

      • SMH says:

        Budgeting revenue growth is always a dangerous game because there are no guarantees and can sometimes be nothing more than wishful thinking which we can’t afford right now.

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        Balancing of cuts and revenue is a lot tricker than spoken, cuts are easier to predict with their outcome and the government has been doing everything it can to prevent job cuts as they know that increasing unemployment will both decrease revenues and increase government expenditures in other services. Developing revenues are a great deal harder, what is far too often thought to be the simplest and quickest is increasing taxation, however, if done without foresight and clarity to consequences, it can often result in a greater loss of revenues than gains. If we tax higher incomes that are here because of our lower and easier tax structure, they can leave, then what is the point of increasing this taxation if nobody is here to pay it. If we remove the tax reliefs to struggling industries, we threaten their ability to stay afloat and if they go under, well then we have increased unemployment expenses and decreased revenues further. Minister Richards is blunt with words, not the greatest communicator, not the most charismatic personality, but he exhibited the greatest sense of foresight of any finance minister in the last couple decades.

        • outkasted says:

          So what ya saying is don’t tax the wealthy, we can keep going on down this same road. Continue the current cuts , trim civil service etc… but buy your own observations is that this may or may not work either. So basically we are F….

          • cromwell says:

            We are the statistical wealthy!

          • Build a Better Bermuda says:

            What I am saying is that if you try and over tax the wealthy, you end up with less wealthy to tax and in a worse position with less revenues. Can’t tax people who aren’t here. I have previously discussed the pitfalls of just trimming the CS through anything but attrition, so I don’t advocate that. It will be a hard road back, but thus far, Minister Richard’s plan has been working for the most part, while we are not gaining ground, we have lost very little in comparison to the policies (or lack of) prior to him. There has still been some losses, but given the track we were on before, there could have been a great deal more. Some like to spout out many pretty little ideas that make for great sound bites, like they could provide us with some kind of quick relief, but the reality is a great deal more complex than those pretty little notions, especially when you have to tackle the logistics and legislation to implement them, the reality of what they can produce to our economy and whether they even have a viability to them in our economy.
            When our economy is working, it has proven that it can sustain all who are willing to work for it; and it can do again, there just isn’t any short cuts to get there. We cannot be shortsighted to this. The fact still remains, government has to make cuts to become viable and sustainable again because we are not like most other developed nations’ economies, in many aspects this way Bermuda still is another world.

    • New_Source_of_funds says:

      I see hundreds of thousands of dollars paid out to Bermuda directors/trustees for retainers and fees relating to Exempt companies and Trusts.

      These funds are free to the recipient and not taxed as salary. They are not disclosed to Govt. The fees are paid to an elite few who appoint each other to the positions. (Is this why they are not taxed?!!)

      These funds are excess to the needs of the recipients who have usually retired from leading positions.

      An excellent source of taxation revenue from largely ‘unearned’ income. The funds do not trickle down but are used to buy yet another investment home overseas, for example.

    • MAKE MY DAY says:

      It will NOT be easy and it will NOT happen for many years!! What the PLP “buffoons” did to the economy of BDA for 14 years – through sheer incompetence and maybe some other factors – will take years to get under-control!!

      If this “highly paid” Tourism Board do NOT fulfill it’s expectancies – then it is going to be even more difficult and many more Bermudians are going to be hurting!!

      Tourism used to be the life-line for thousands of Islanders – because they do not have the qualifications to work in the IB sector!!


  2. Yes I says:

    I don’t know why, but “For the love of Money” by the O’Jays just keeps playing in my head after seeing this headline!

  3. Um Um Like says:

    I hope the OBA have found their balls!

    You can’t spend what you don’t have. Cut cut cut!

    • MAKE MY DAY says:

      Cut – cut – cut is a 2 edged sword… Simply because more people are going to lose their jobs and incomes!! You can’t have it both ways!! BDA has NO one but the PLP /BIU to blame for-this-mess!!

      Still think that E. Brown and his “crony” regime had the Islands interests at heart – for those 14 years?? You hopefully have learned a very BIG and difficult lesson!!


  4. San George says:

    Bob will be sure to remove the have and have nots wording this year. The words in that Budget last year were a work of art – opps!

  5. Weibull says:


  6. T says:

    Gird your loins everyone… I can’t watch (hand over face, but peeking through fingers)

  7. Coffee says:


    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Oh really?? Who voted us into this mess over & over? You now have the results of what you voted from 1998 till 2012. Don’t blame the OBA. Go look in a mirror. You will find who is responsible for this mess looking at you.

    • SMH says:

      Small guy alone? Well that’s rich coming from someone that supports the party that make us poor in the first place. YOU owe and apology to me and the rest of we “small guys”. SMFH

      • Hurricane says:

        @Triangle Drifter & SMH……..I suppose you think the state of the world economy is the fault of the PLP.


        • Triangle Drifter says:

          Still drinking that stuff? Have a look around. Canada went through the recession like nothing happened. The US is on the up & up in spite of Obama. Our main competitors are doing much better than us.

          The view must be pretty good with your head up……

        • SMH says:

          You mean how the US’s not still in a recession and we are? Like that

          • Hurricane says:

            Oh, yes and when the USA begins to show signs of recovery we should too, simultaneously. I got it now.


            • FDR says:

              You should view the GDP growth chart on the Deloitte article.

              You will see the US economy has been growing for the last 6 years, while Bermuda has gone in the opposite direction.

              At some point this global recession myth must be put to bed. Our recession (depression?) is largely our fault.

            • You don't get it says:

              You can’t blame a global recession when many countries were barely affected and most are out of the woods. It wasn’t the global recession that caused the deficit, it was the PLP blowing up the civil service.

        • enough says:

          the state of the world’s economy has noting to do with the PLPL but the state of Bermuda’s Economy does. Strill waiting for an explanation of millions of unaccounted funds, could put that towards oue loan……………

          • Mockingjay says:

            Well you called Scotland Yard, you want to call the F.B.I and C.I.A. too ??????????????????????????????????????

  8. Serious Though says:

    Car insurance
    Payroll tax
    Sin taxes?
    Airport duty [individual claims]
    Hotel taxes
    pay for the bus?

    add your bet…

    • SMH says:

      Land Tax
      Cutting charitable services

    • Micro says:

      They should reinstate student bus fares during out of school hours, say weekends and weekdays between 6PM and 7AM.

      • animallover says:

        Yes, I agree with you, charge them a dollar each way and lets start there.

  9. watching says:

    Do Jeff Baron and the Premier have to be together all the time? I mean really.

  10. Ed Case says:

    PLP-people will be upset and blame everyone but themselves.

  11. bdaman441 says:

    It’s a new day…stop looking back… they did this they did that. Past Tense. How about we get on with the work that needs to be done.

    • aceboy says:

      All very well, except hard decisions have to be made BECAUSE of what happened in the past. Everyone needs to understand that.

      Example: Looking forward the PLP and their supporters want more social programs to be in place.

      Answer: There is no money available for that.

      Why: See my first sentence.

    • Sara says:

      That will never happen because nobody takes responsibility for mistakes made in government.

  12. Serious Though says:

    10.26 am : like the way the minister is preparing the country for a good punch >>>
    wait for it , wait for it ………..

    • Serious Though says:

      New Ministry of Debt; Annual Budget $170,000,000

  13. Somerset Girl says:

    Sounds like we are broke……

  14. Axelrod says:

    Forget about so termed “net debt” of $ 2 billion. Tthe island has a liability of near $1.4 billion(which will convert to debt each year by about $50 mil/yr at current rates)which is owed in the future by BDA Govt to Government employees and the members of the legislature who will retire (pensions) and spend health care dollars from next year forward…$1.4 billion!

    Also, the govt. has a liability to pay for the hospital ( yes a long term liability obligation is the equivalent of debt, Jamima!)..that is worth about $500 mil in current dollars.

    Finally if the gov’t builds that dumb idea of a spending project known as the new airport terminal, via PPP financing like the hospital, it will take on an additional liability that will increase the countries indebtedness by about $350 mil in current dollars. Also Assume a deficit of $150 mil per year going forward as interest rates rise (interest cost will by 170 mill a year going forward)

    So….$2 bill + $1.4 bill+ $500 mill + $350 mill + 300 (deficits over next two years) means that by 2017 WE will be well on our way to owing other people $4.5 bil. That is close to 100% of our entire economic activity!!

    Wake up Bermuda. We need to cut the size of gov’t by 20%, and reduce the gov’ts pension and health care liabilities… now!!.. not later.
    Bermuda is near bankruptcy!

    • WillSee says:

      I agree with you and We will have to introduce new taxes like VAT ect.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Cut Government by 20%???!!! Heck no, cut it back to 1998 laevels, which were high. That would be 50% reduction in size for starters.

  15. nok says:

    Now go ahead and blame the PLP!!!GO ahead OBA paid bloggers start now. Ready set go!!!

    • aceboy says:

      Nobody pays me to post on this blog. This IS the PLP’s fault.

      • Silence Do Good says:

        I abstain from party politics but yes the PLP mismanagement put us in this position and the OBA is proving not to be able to get us out, only causing a further downward spiral.

    • animallover says:

      You’re an idiot, and quite blind if you cannot see what happened to us while the PLP were in. What does it take for you people to open up your eyes, yes the PLP over-spent on everything they touched, that’s why the Civil Service is over-sized. And if the present Government try to cut it back you babies cry WHAWWWWWW. all over the place until the Government has to bend to get those p.i.t.a. back to work!

  16. campervan says:

    Recent mergers of Re companies will equate to approx 200 less jobs on Island as it currently stands.
    There may be more to come too.
    There is not much that can be done about it and Bermuda will have to absorb this body blow.
    Its unfortunate that we didn’t save for a rainy day when things were rocking but thats in the past now.
    We must cut our cloth accordingly and do everything we can to retain the new streamlined businesses that remain as well as doing everything within our power to attract new businesses in.
    If not, they will go to our competition and be contributing to their GDP’s while we struggle to pay our bills.

    • Joonya says:

      Yep, we in the private sector will continue to bear the brunt of layoffs and expense cutting, but not with Govt employees. Why not??
      Why have they become exempt from this? Can someone in PLPiu please explain this to us tax payers?? We cannot sustain this and I am in desparate need of suitable explanation. If I am not able to pay payroll tax, land tax, etc etc, then they will not have enough to pay your Govt salary.

      • Jonah says:

        I absolutely and totally agree.

        We need to send those 20% ( govt workers ) on work permits home.

        • Strike fund says:

          But those 20% do about 80% of the actual work.

        • Joonya says:

          Yeah sure.. and continue to support the a large part of the 80% to continue with taking unrealistic amount of sick days and playing the overtime game when they come back to work.
          Cheez man xenophobe much?

      • Clear View says:

        Just incase you did not notice, these companies are not merging because they are struggling. Have a look at the earrings from the companies that recently announced a merger.
        They do it because of greed, and their overwhelming need to get more and more earrings. Some companies have had record earrings this past year, yet they do not increase hiring.

        • .... says:

          Why would they increase hiring if they’re making record profits as is?

          Are you going to buy more milk then you need just because you have extra money in your budget?

        • Triangle Drifter says:

          Why should they do any more hiring? A company does not exist to hire people.

          Like it or not, when you work for a company you are part of the machinery that makes it work. You are a ‘cog in the wheel’. Now where have I heard that one before?

          The difference between a private company & the CS is that a private company tries to stay within budgets & be as efficient as possible to maximise profits. The CS does its best to spend all of its budget & some in an effort to hire even more for the following year so that its director or PS can feel even more important.

        • Voter (original) says:

          What does jewellery have to do with it?!

  17. Terry says:

    We did save for a rainy day.


    Thanks to Ewart and Paula.


  18. Ameboa says:

    Bob would have made everyones day if he opened the budget with a statement like this. We the serving MPs and backbenchers will be taking a 90% pay cut. I would be able to absorb some of the rhetoric escaping his mouth

    • Joonya says:

      Go to your boss and suggest that..

    • Joonya says:

      You should change your name to parasite, more appropriate.

    • serengetiperson says:

      This would mean that the only people who could afford to be MP’s would be the independently wealthy. That’s what you want, is it?

    • WarwickBoy says:

      We do want qualified and capable individuals holding important positions in the Govt, yes? They are performing jobs that largely require them to cease their private employment activities. Should they take the hit in lost income from their previous positions in the private sectore and also donate their time for public service? I fully support paying qualified individuals an appropriate salary to attract them. They work hard and deserve to be paid.

      And, anyway, the budget for the Legislature, covering the Govt members and the Opposition members is about $5.2 million. Pay them zero and you still have a budget hole well north of $200 million. What ideas do you have to fill that remaining hole?

      • Concerned says:

        I think they should get paid according to days they are actually present in the House/Senate – unless travelling on Gov’t business if they should be in ruling party. Other than that and sick and I dont mean like the bus operators

        • Varied says:

          Remember though that MPs also have tasks like serving on committees, having site visits if they’re in a Ministry, etc. It’s not just sitting in the House and having debates.

  19. outkasted says:

    What I see is cuts. Ok Bob you have now cut. You have done your job and you can step down. Can we now have someone with some ‘creative vision’ for our country moving forward while we are licking our wounds. O wait…”you can’t eat vision…apparently we can’t eat cuts as well”. At the end of the day if this America’s Cup tanks the economy we know who will take the blame for that. If it’s successful (which I truly hope it does), i’ll be more than happy to give you kudos for a job well done. But for now excuse my skepticism.

    • hmmm says:

      That would be overseas foreign investors…. !!!! Duh !!!

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      And what would you suggest to be done that is viable? Oh, I know what it is.

      “SOMETHING”. Yes, that is the answer. SOMETHING…Don’t have a clue of what but SOMETHING needs to be done.

    • Trulytruly says:

      You must have missed the section about $930million of lined up inward investment. Does that help you out?

    • Joonya says:

      blame?.. blame?.. really?!
      they’ll just borrow that teflon coat that the PLP was been wearing..

    • Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

      lets see if we can settle this ac situation once and for all…the ac will NOT pull us out of the hole BUT the EXPOSURE to the world in a new light MAY be our savior…the only thing i see that will destroy that chance is YOU!! civil unrest…negativity bounding from every direction…*itchin’ & moaning all the time does not provide a satisfactory back drop for investment…no one wants to hear your personal problems, they’re your problems so you fix it…friends and family will carry you through until THEY get tired of you too, sooooo keep chasing your tail and let us know when you catch it.

      we are not yet finished our descent…much more dire, trials n tribulations will be added to the burden you carry now soooo…all i’m sayin’ is…some of us will not survive…those that resort to crime because unemployment will only be met with the new super security systems being implemented world wide piece by piece…(pssssst)…wake up people.

  20. SMH says:


  21. Terry says:

    Burt has no clue.

    And Marc Bean talks garbage about getting Bermuda out “of the storm”.

    Who the hell created the storm Mr. Bean.

    Get in your Mini and go to Britain where you will get it all.

    Mr BEAN.
    What a comedy show.

  22. Axelrod says:

    Ok here it is, PAY ATTENTION: PlP spent a lot of money on capital projects for sure. Stop crying over it because, from an economic pwerspective, its 6 of one thing and half a dozen of another:

    1.)Dock Yard Cruise ship Berth (without which our cruise business would have disappeared totally!)
    2.) Silva Richardson Rest Home (Conversion of 100 year old barracks into a modern comfortable rest home for seniors needed as our old 50 yr old parish rest homes fell apart)
    3.) Lois Brown Evans Court and Police buildings – New courts and Hamilton police buildings, and upgrades to Prospect buildings for police. Court and police facilities where overdue for replacement since early 1980′S!
    4.) Rebuilding of Berkeley Institute and several other govt. schools (Spice Valley, Clearwater, West End, Sandys Middle) that had fallen in disrepair. Many had buildings well over 50 years old.
    5.) New Desalinization Plant in Devonshire.
    6.) Port Royal and Ocean View Golf course renovations. Both were sub standard for attracting golf savvy tourists.
    7.) John Smiths Bay, South Road Smiths and Cause Way wall/supports rebuilding after hurricane
    8.) major resurfacing of Airport Runways and Radar repairs
    9.) Major refurbishment of the incinerator
    10.)Redevelopment of the TCD facilities on North Street.
    11.) Baselands buildings redevelopment into office space and housing.

    And there are others I have not listed I am sure. Point is that is a billion dollars worth of spending. And…..if the PLP had not spent any of that money Bermuda would have been in the recession we lived through from 2010 to 2014 by 2005!!! But all that spending only adds up to just over $1 billion. Where was the rest spent? It was…and still is…. being spent to provide subsidized pensions and health care to YOU the people of Bermuda!!

    Stop crying about the past and hanging on to your race-based judgments about the economic situation in Bermuda today. Every country in the world is in exactly the same situation and going through the same debt-based economic contraction. The government borrowed money to spend… AND… many of us borrowed money during the same time frame to over-expand and renovate our homes and appartments, and to travel and spend. We all must share on the blame. We are lazy and greedy just like the government! The economy has contracted because Bermuda as a whole has borrowed too much, not just the government. Now take your medicine and shut up!

    • Terry says:

      More garbage.

      Get over it?
      How much the PLP pay you.
      Or are you the money handler.

      Guess you got yours.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Yeah, yeah, yeah, heard it all before. Mostly small stuff & over a 14 year period really not much to show for it at all.

      Now for the few big projects. What a mess every one of them were. Not a one was anywhere near on time or close to budget. Hundreds of millions have gone unaccounted for. Stories of materials dissappearing off of jobsites abound.

      All in all a 14 year experiment that failed miserably.

      Now we are having to pay for it.

      • Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

        that 14 year experiment did not fail miserably at all…it was quite productive and successful for the “team” of “experimenters”…i think it’s quite safe to say that “you” weren’t on that team.

    • Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

      me personally…rather be broke BUT debt free, than be broke and OWE.

    • Ace girl says:

      O.K. Let’s start with the Lois Browne Evans Court Building which I visited the other day. Never have I seen such wasted redundant space as there is in that building. Staircases a mile wide, corridors a mile wide!!! Empty space that generates absolutely no revenue but has to be cooled all summer long. What were the architects thinking about? In addition, there could have been more consolidation of services and upper floors could have been rented as an ongoing source of income for government coffers. Did nobody read the drawing before they cut the first sod. Maybe mr. Burgess could answer that question.

    • Voter (original) says:

      St George’s golf course club house razed to ground, and golf course gone to ruin, because Bazarian (who had not yet out one to appear) demanded it before he would sign to develop the Club Med site (look how good an effect THAT has had on the east end)

  23. Mutual Respect says:

    Right now all I know is that after taking a pay cut at work and having to take on more responsibilities to cover people the work of other people who were made redundant, I now have to payer payroll taxes…so that civil servants so have to take a furlough day? Something’s VERY wrong here.

  24. San George says:

    No layoffs – more creative tax.
    Junkfood/sugar tax
    Cut rental subsidies – let rents find their own level
    Higher fuel tax
    Increase/double cell phone tax

    Much rather pay more tax and have work, then to see people without work.

  25. Common sense says:

    Bermuda’s economy got hit by a double whammy. The recession and the incompetence of the PLP. We could probably come out of either relatively unscathed; but to have both may be too much for us.

  26. Common sense says:

    Axelrod, You forgot to mention Grand Atlantic!! Why? These other projects were good; but did the taxpayer get value for their money? We all know the answer to this; and this is why people are upset with the PLP

  27. Bermuda123 says:

    Well done Minister Richards for spelling it out so clearly and scarily. With the very limited options currently at your disposal, this is an excellent budget. I hope the Public Sector workers who are no longer having furlough days are squirming in embarrassment – how many of you have unemployed or underemployed neighbors from the private sector? Feel good do you?

  28. Y-Gurl says:

    I guess We need to do something to finance the five thousand underworked civil servants, looks like this is it!

  29. somuchless says:

    Take my advise to help safe money. Get rid of that W&E Patroit white tinted vehicle. There is no need to have someone driving around in that. Unfair and a waste. The guy who drives around in it can drive a van or something else or buy the vehicle himself if he wants to continue to have a luxury. This is very unfair to the public.

  30. more than enough says:

    uniformed officers will be responsible for paying %50 of their health insurance. in line with other public servants. what about the un-uniformed officers? and what of the civil servants and the politicians how much of their insurance are they responsible for? %50 percent i hope. wtf?

  31. Ace girl says:

    The critics in the PLP need to close their mouths. Bob did a masterful job in pulling together a country on the brink of bankruptcy, thanks to whom? Bob pulled no punches, told it like it is and all the PLP can do is criticize. Mr Burt your last set of figures did not add up, so what gives you the right to criticize this Master Plan. Not one civil servant made redundant. A national expense which we all know needs paring down. Why would you not give credit where it’s due? Is it perfect, that remains to be seen, but for once can your party not set aside its criticsm and come together FOR BERMUDA? Too many egos getting ahead of progress for this country.

  32. college student says:

    have W&E staff make 9-2:30. After all, they commence road work after rush hour and finish mid afternoon, while being paid for 8 hours of work beginning at 7:30.

    Monitor the performance of all during normal business hours. if unproductive, don’t allow the individual to do overtime, better yet, fire them for incompetency…it’s that simple

  33. JUNK YARD DOG says:


    We Locals have only have so much money in the cookie jar and most of that goes to food and mortgage payments.

    I have yet to see a poor man smile !

    Money has to come from over there, not over here. It is called foreign exchange.

    Bermuda only saving grace is to ” Go INTERNATIONAL”.

    The key words are SPORT and ENTERTAINMENT, through visitor activity and participation in all its various forms ,Bermuda will return to its former glory.

    The one thing that most people look forward to is a vacation and to have a good time they scrimp and save for it, some even bend their credit card.

    Our potential Visitors, initially need to have a justifiable reason for coming here in the first place, we have the sun and the beaches, we need to give them other reasons by way of an INVITATION.

    It is not enough to say we are hospitable other destinations are also hospital.

    Everybody from across the pond has their favorite sport or activity, I for example happen to enjoy Running.

    Bermuda needs to become the Olympic Village of the West catering to soft sports like Dancing, Music, Chess, Bridge and hard sports like fishing, sailing, deep see fishing and so on.

    Who has got the record for climbing the light house.

    We have to do what they do down South ,but do it better.

    This sounds crazy ! INVITE the New York Yankees to play cricket against the best of Somerset and St Georges. NY will stay in the best to have to offer.

    Just imagine the frenzy when the NY tell their fans they are going to Bermuda for a game of cricket.

    The list of activities is endless,for example the marathon and PGA are classics along with the fun of the non mariners race.

  34. stunned... says:

    you need to have a chat to help out Bill…the guy on $450k annual salary and benefits.