Bean: Government Without Financial Conscience

November 26, 2015

The admission in the PAC meeting “from the Accountant General, that permission has neither been requested nor received by the Minister of Finance, to act outside of Financial Instructions, is proof positive that the OBA Government is a Government without financial conscience,” Opposition Leader Marc Bean said.

Mr Bean said, “The admission in the Public Accounts Committee [PAC] meeting on Thursday November 19, 2015, from the Accountant General, that permission has neither been requested nor received by the Minister of Finance, to act outside of Financial Instructions, is proof positive that the OBA Government is a Government without financial conscience, and a Government that is willing to lie and deceive the Bermudian people to achieve its goals at any cost.

“The memo that was subsequently released by the Finance Minister, was a desperate attempt to pull the wool over the public’s eyes. Yes, that memo shows an approval by the Accountant General, however, that approval was for the first phase only.

“For the Government to proceed further, into signing the Airport Development Agreement, approval to act outside of Financial Instructions would have to be sought and the Accountant General would have to sign off on this.

“At the PAC meeting, the Accountant General was clear that this had not happened, and that the Government did not have the appropriate permissions in place.

“It is disappointing that the Premier and other members of the OBA Cabinet have been silent over this behaviour. However, one would think that this admission would at the very least cause the Governor and the Auditor General to become interested in what is going on. Instead, thus far it seems to be business as usual.

“The Progressive Labour Party has articulated our plan to handle corruption in Government and to enhance the standards of good governance. We have condemned corruption in any and every form and have expressed our displeasure, regardless of which administration it appears to be under.

“It is time for the Premier and the OBA Government to deal with speculation about possible corruption within their ranks rather than only referring inquiries to the PLP administration. The people of Bermuda deserve better,” concluded Mr Bean.

Following the meeting last week, a Ministry of Finance spokesperson said, “The Minister of Finance has moved swiftly to refute the assertion in yesterday’s PAC meeting claiming that the Government had failed to receive permission to proceed with the sole source arrangement with the CCC to develop the LF Wade International Airport.

“The Ministry can confirm that in September 2014, after considering the significant benefits associated with the Government to Government approach in relation to the redevelopment of the LF Wade International Airport the Ministry of Finance consulted with the Accountant General, who is responsible for Financial Instructions [FI].

“The Accountant General determined the applicability of procurement rules in Financial Instructions with regard to the proposed relationship between CCC and Government and after reviewing all relevant documentation and considering all circumstances gave his permission to proceed with the project using the Government to Government approach.”

The Sept 2014 memo on the subject of “sole source engagement” of CCC follows below [PDF here]:

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Comments (34)

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  1. Double S says:

    Is he for real?

    This is coming from a Party who:

    - increased the national deficit >2,600% in less than 10 years
    - whose last budget, while in power, recorded a >$400 million deficit
    - whose out of control spending resulted in debt increasing from $15 mn (Eugene Cox era) to >$1 billion in less than 10 years
    - received 6 consecutive qualified audits on the consolidated fund (the OBA’s first audit, in 2014, was clean and unqualified)
    - failed to audit the national pension funds from 2004 to their 2012 ousting
    - received numerous damning Auditor General reports regarding capital projects that cost the taxpayer hundreds of millions of so called ‘overruns’

    Those are all facts people.

    Now, regarding this memo issue, I have read it numerous times and have failed to identify the part where permission was granted for Stage 1 only. Can someone please point out the section confirming Bean’s accusations (strange that the PLP hasn’t highlighted this as of yet).

    • We need to hurry up and get these Dreamers out of Government.

      • Double S says:

        Why?

        Everything I stated happened under the PLP Government and the direct result is our precarious public financial position. Our massive debt, need to borrow and cut expenses stems solely from the PLP’s mismanagement, misappropriation (choose whatever one you like)of tax payers monies (including yours).

        Why would you want to put such a Party back into power? Other than the skin color thing of course.

      • jt says:

        Dreaming like most of the rest of us about how $853 million would be useful right now.

      • hmmm says:

        I agree. Marc Bean and his Visions. PLP had them and plans to plan a plan when they were in power.

      • Rhonnie aka Blue Familiar says:

        And your suggested alternative?

      • Rewind the Spin says:

        Marc, you are asking that we look into possible corruption which is fine except you and your party have a history of this and then we learn that you did the same.

        Remember for example your whole blow up regarding what you called Jetgate. You called for investigations, resignations etc because two OBA ministers were said to take a flight on a businessmans jet. That business was never awarded a contract of any kind and the monies he donated to the OBA campaign cost the people of Bermuda $0

        But then we learn that your very own friend Dr. Ewart Brown did one better! He took a ride on his own friends private jet? What was the result. That same individual Do, a College friend, that owned Globalhue was awarded the Tourism Contract? To make matter worse that contract was awarded a SECOND time WITHIOUT EVEN GOING OUT TO TENDER! Cost to the people of Bermuda $41 million +. The results 35% decline.

        The PLP has NEVER responded to this or even acknowledged it. Even “Onion” is sssshhhhhh whenever this has come up!

        For links to story copy and paste :
        http://www.businessinsider.com/bermudas-ewart-brown-globalhue-and-tourism-2013-5

        http://www.cbsnews.com/news/following-globalhue-campaign-bermuda-tourism-numbers-are-worst-in-30-years/

    • SANDGROWNAN says:

      Don’t forget having the Auditor General arrested.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      I too have read it, and it is right in the conclusion that it is left open ended. The only stipulation is that once the final agreement is developed that it be properly reviewed for value for money before final sign off can be given… they have only just begun to discuss the details that will define the design and costs that thus defines the value for money.

  2. Onion says:

    So the same week the PLP have been exposed for massive financial malfeasance they are accusing the OBA of violating financial instructions despite absolutely clear evidence that the OBA are operating within the rules.

  3. Vote for Me says:

    When we read poetry or look at an artist’s picture, we ‘interpret what we see’, in the absence of the artist.

    In this case the Accountant General stated that he did not grant permission for the continuance of the Airport redevelopment contract. At last check, he ‘was alive and kicking.’ There is therefore no need to ‘interpret’ his intention with the initial approval. The Government does not have his required permission to proceed at this time!!

    It seems clear that something has gone wrong but he has stated for the public record that he has not given Government permission to proceed to the existing phase. No amount of spinning can change that fact.

    It will now be interesting to see what comments Mr. Manders will make as the Financial Secretary and the most senior Civil Servant that works directly with Minister Richards.

    • A few queries says:

      No spin required as the permission is right in front of your eyes.

      Please point out where in the memo that permission was granted for Phase One only.

      I challenge you to do so.

    • jt says:

      I believe you are incorrect. What he said was he gave no permission for soul sourcing. No poetic levity required. The memo produced proved that this was a false statement. When asked to comment on this and on the matter of whether the memo applied to a “first stage” (Burt’s words), he would not comment.

    • hmmm says:

      That is a lie, read the conclusion in the document.

      Facts are Facts, what you spew is Fiction

  4. Ringmaster says:

    Mr Stovell verbally said at the PAC meeting that he had not given permission at any time. The written memo signed by Mr Stovell clearly shows permission was in fact sought and given.

    Despite this and based on the verbal statement at the PAC meeting Mr Bean says no permission has been granted but if it was it was only for the first phase. Could Mr Bean then agree initial permission was given, which conflicts with both his and Mr Stovell’s verbal statements, and also point out where in the memo it states that this is only for the first phase? Transparency and Accountability is needed here.

  5. David says:

    “…the OBA Government is a Government without financial conscience, and a Government that is willing to lie and deceive the Bermudian people to achieve its goals at any cost.”

    I think Minister Bean has been sippin too much tea. REALLY BAD short-term memory.

  6. John E. Thorne says:

    This brings new meaning to the phrase The pot calling the kettle black.

  7. Zevon says:

    The AG permission is for the “airport and bridge projects”. It says nothing about being permission for any particular “phase”.
    Is Bean lying, or it is that he can’t understand what the letter says.

    • welllll says:

      bean will say what he wants (facts are irrelevant) just to get his name in the news!!

  8. high road says:

    If Webster even needs a new definition for Hypocrisy they dont need to look further than this article.

  9. jt says:

    The words “first phase only”, to quote Burt, do not appear in the memo. What phrasing that appears in the memo do you derive the PLP interpretation from?
    in the PAC meetings the AG only said he had given no soul source permission. The memo shows this is not true. When confronted on the existence of the memo and whether it referred to “first phase only” (Burt’s words) the AG refused comment.
    I suggest PAC engage a legal opinion(s) to determine if the memo refers specifically to “first phase only” (Burt’s words).

    As for Bean to comment on “financial conscience” and insinuating corruption I’m sure that will be well covered in these comments.

  10. Vixen Star says:

    Mr. Bean can’t ever speak to other’s failing financial conscience. Ever. He has zero credibility on this.

  11. I Don't Think So says:

    “It is time for the Premier and the OBA Government to deal with speculation about possible corruption within their ranks rather than only referring inquiries to the PLP administration. The people of Bermuda deserve better,” concluded Mr Bean.

    So what this all comes down to is that the PLP dislike being publicly maligned but if they can bring the OBA in too then at least they have company. This deflection against criticism is utterly selfish as is the ‘plan’ to combat corruption. It is all bull and nonsense which amounts to a weak excuse after being responsible for the most corrupt administration the Bermuda Government has ever known and hopefully ever will.

    Many of their members should be disgraced forever for destroying Bermuda’s prosperity as they lined their greedy pockets. This newfound honour and honesty and saintlike demeanor is shameless, particularly since nobody has accepted any responsibility or apologised for putting us all in danger.

  12. Deflection 101 says:

    Is it just me or have the PLP been doing a lot of scrambling since the auditor’s reports came out? Their plan to use the airport as a deflection doesn’t seem to have panned out either…what next? What next? My guess is that it will Immigration policies….look here…don’t look at what we did there…..look over here

  13. something stinks says:

    10,000 comedians out of work, and he wants to be a comedian.

  14. Vulcan Trash Cleaner says:

    It’s better to remain looking an idiot than to open one’s mouth and prove it!

  15. Unbelievable says:

    The audacity of the PLP leadership, one can only shake their head. Do they truly think that the Bermuda public is dumb enough to buy into the rhetoric and deflection strategy they utilize on a daily basis? What happened to not concentrating on the OBA and concentrating on their platform? That was short lived.

    Never mind their lack of conscience and accountability when they were in the charge.

    The PLP owes the public a huge apology for their mis-steps and poor policy making, one which I am sure we will never receive.

  16. Kevin says:

    The past administration continue to want deflect attention and as in the past year thrown perverbial Sxxt and hoping some sticks
    Where is the Wayne and Zane puppet show on the waterfront corruption front and the Bean and Burt comedy routine on transparency and wilson and foggo show on our great education system and UCC
    hoping some version of a real opposition comes together as even i want our government to follow rules

  17. thief says:

    approval was for the first phase only – have we finished the 1st Phase yet?

    • jt says:

      Please show where this is written in the memo. It isn’t.
      Show where, once the memo was brought forward to jog the AG’s memory, anyone other than Burt or Bean has said the memo only referred to “first phase” (Burt’s words).

  18. Just a matter of time says:

    I have read and re-read the memo. Under the section ‘Factors Considered’ the Accountant General stated in the 2nd paragraph and I quote: “At this point I have reservations about the ability of the projects to sustain the related debt, but that will be addressed at the end of the first phase of the engagement when the decision on whether to proceed with development is taken. So I consider the FINANCING ARRANGEMENT (emphasis mine) to strongly support sole sourcing CCC.” NOT development and wouldn’t that be Aecon?

    So the Accountant General will go back and review this arrangement at the end of the first phase which will then deal with the development. He gave permission up to a point in time regarding the financing arrangement which DOES NOT include development. Now if the Minister is using this small caveat to take it all the way to include development by appointing a developer etc then yes, he is contravening Financial Instructions! The Accountant General NEVER gave full permission for sole sourcing from start to finish. End of story. He and Marc Bean are correct in their assertions.

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

    Ya’ll make me laugh when you’re trying to debate or analyse one public document which has been edited to the hilt for public consumption…its feeding time at the zoo…guess who’s doing the feeding..? Lmao!…it’s a shame really…but at least it stops me from crying.

  20. BLOW IN says:

    not even a half baked BEAN

  21. aceboy says:

    Hearing these accusations of a government without a financial conscious right after the release of the Auditor’s report makes me want to barf.