Column: ‘Priority Right Now Is Money, Not Youth’

December 4, 2015

Ryan Robinson Perinchief Thumb[Opinion column written by Ryan Robinson Perinchief]

As a student in the UK, I recently attended the Bermuda-London Office student networking event where Premier Dunkley, Finance Minister Bob Richards, Tourism Authority CEO Bill Hanbury and other senior officials were present. During the reception, the Premier greeted everyone and opened up the floor to questions.

After hearing Minister Richards refer to the current issue of accountability and civil servants, I asked a question on the dangers of a division being created by the government’s public attacks on government workers, and challenged the Minister’s justification for doing so in the midst of the government’s own criticisms on being held accountable.

Minister Richards diverged into government budget figures and responded by saying that ‘there was no time for pussy-footing around’. He then went on to suggest that he and the Premier ‘had a good cop – bad cop act going on’, and concluded by saying that the civil servants didn’t have to like what he was doing because ‘the people that work and pay taxes do like it’.

When another student expressed concern to Premier Dunkley about the government’s reduction of scholarship funds, the Premier’s response was equally appalling.

In the room full of students, he began by stating that the issue of scholarships was “a talking point that people like to harp on” and suggested that there were loads of scholarships that nobody applies for.

He finished by stating that if students were really willing to ‘knock on doors’ and ‘not make excuses’, people would give it to them, and declared to the audience that, until people pick them up, ‘…we don’t have that problem that you think we might have’.

In 2013, the Government cut government further education awards from nearly $900,000 to a cap of $280,000 per year – and it was only four months ago at the Bermuda Government Scholarship Presentation Ceremony that the Minister of Education noted a ‘marked increase’ in applications, at nearly two hundred and thirty. Minister Richards later closed the session by stating that nothing would be “handed to you on a silver platter anymore”.

For many present, the diversionary tactics used by our Premier and Deputy Premier in justifying the government’s neglect of its fundamental duty to engage and invest in its young people and develop intellectual capital were quite disconcerting.

As a result, I later asked Minister Richards aside to express my disappointment with what I found to be condescending and patronising remarks. The Minister retorted that his style of leadership comes from the private sector and as such, he would ‘tell it like it is’ and ‘do what needed to be done’.

I made a point that in the private sector, the core objective was money and profit; and when I began to remind the Minister that the primary duty of the Bermuda government should always be to the people, I was hastily cut off:

“Our priority is money- not people…,” the Minister said, before attempting to justify his remark by asserting that without the money, the people don’t matter.

Overall, I was disappointed with the attitude of the people who claim to represent our interests. The Minister’s response provided a quite telling insight into how the government truly feels.

As Bermuda continues to experience constant controversy in its education system, a “brain drain” with many students not returning home after completing their studies, and many other issues affecting our young people, there is no wonder as to why there has been little focus on addressing them.

Young people would like to see a government that does not simply interact with them for photo-ops, but is also committed to prioritising their concerns in an effective and receptive manner.

But the government’s message is loud and clear: their priority right now is money- not the youth, or the people. It seems we will have to wait.

Update 1.27pm: Regarding the Bermuda Reception hosted in London, a Cabinet Office spokesperson said today, “We were pleased by the turnout, and thoroughly enjoyed the engagement with a group of talented and knowledgeable young people who, although far away, remain connected and committed to their home.

“Premier Michael Dunkley, Minister of Finance Bob Richards and CEO of the Bermuda Tourism Authority Bill Hanbury met and engaged with young Bermudians working and studying in a wide range of disciplines, from the traditional professions of law, accounting, insurance and medicine, to arts, crafts, music promotion and agriculture. The forum is an opportunity for the next generation of Bermuda to have frank and candid discussions with Bermuda’s Leaders.

Premier Dunkley said, “We will continue to provide a platform for Bermudians living in the UK to engage directly with Bermuda’s leading figures.”

- Ryan Robinson Perinchief is studying law at Durham University in the UK. He graduated with honours from the Berkeley Institute where he served as Head Boy, Student Council Treasurer and a Peer Mediator. A former Youth Premier of the island’s Youth Parliament, he won the Alpha Beautillion, an Outstanding Teen Award, and the best youth submission to the SAGE Commission.

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Comments (83)

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  1. Who Cares says:

    If Bermuda has to declare bankruptcy due to a bloated civil service and disproportionate scholarship awards, then none of this will matter. The top priority right now should be reducing the deficit.

    • Smh says:

      Why can’t they focus on more than one thing at a time?

    • @ WHO CARES, Spoken like a true Ox, Your comments are far off from what this young man has said, and I applaud what he has said, and wish that more of of young and up coming next generation who is soon to take over, would give this present administration the wake up call they need.

      The O.B.A may have some hood winked, but not all, it is about their kind and the weakening dollar, that was once known as the Almighty dollar.

    • Proactive says:

      When our young people flee and decide not to come back, don’t be surprised. They’re being neglected. You’ve been warned!

      • LiarLiar says:

        How are they being neglected if they go off to University and decide not to come back home? It is their choice to do so, and a very smart one in my opinion.

        How is that the Govt’s fault?

        Believe it or not many college students decide not to return, straight away, because the experience of living abroad has opened their eyes to the fact Bermuda is only a 21 sq. mile dot in the ocean that doesn’t represent the whole world. Many young Bermudians opt to immerse themselves in different and more tolerant cultures.

        Personally I believe experiencing a different culture, by moving away for a bit, should be compulsory.

        Also, if you don’t attack the deficit and by extension the debt you will and so will any of your offspring will regret it and will only result in even more people leaving these shores and not returning.

        You’ve been warned as well!

        • The Truth says:

          Young Bermudian scholars are being offered more benefits outside of Bermuda than their home would offer them. There are governments that welcome young educated minds and gear their employment laws around them. Bermuda’s government gears theirs around those who are just as one tracked minded as them. Having and encouraging educated citizens in a society makes money for the society. When a government discourages education funding they discourage the next generation means of growing the society’s economy. There are public schools in Bermuda that don’t receive enough funding to supply text books to every student which should not only be a concern to the Minister of Education but Also to Finance Minister who should know each student who goes home without a text book is an potential investment lost.

          • A few queries says:

            What laws are you referring to that do not exist in Bermuda?

            The MoE is the largest budget at $130mn which equates to over $20k per student or higher than the highest private school tuition. The largest budget from memory was in 2010 which was cut by $14mn or 10% in the next budget. Even during the largest education budget the results were just as disappointing as they are today. Within the Mincy Report the researcher stated that the public system was better funded then most other areas they studied in the past. The point being that more money doesn’t equate to more success. It appears that the majority of the funds are expenses on staffing and benefits. The funds need to be better used.

            The author is right in his assertion that govt isn’t like the private sector. But he is also naive if he thinks that we can continue to spend hundreds of millions more than we generate on top of a $2bn debt already accumulated. The debt is real and so are the creditors who expect to be paid back. Do you know what would happen if we defaulted and out credit rating was reduced to junk? Well for one thing we couldn’t borrow anymore so real austerity will be imposed. Another is that most IB companies will have to leave if their rating is higher than the sovereign in which they are domicile. If that ever happened Bermuda would finally know the true meaning of a depression and mass unemployment.

            And posters below are right if we don’t get a hold of our financial future now there will no future to look forward to for future generations. The largest costs cannot be reduced, so the smaller ones have to be sacrificed. Can’t have it both ways.

      • Mario Simons says:

        I am not surprised—then they can justify bringing in more expats ( their friends “business partners” & family from Canada and elsewhere) because “we need people who have the skills and training and Bermudians do not”

    • These so called seasoned politicians got cornered by up and coming politicians.
      How embarrassing.

      • serengeti says:

        An idiot can ask more questions than a genius can answer.

      • jt says:

        Mr. Hill is very intelligent and I like the potential he demonstrates. I hope he is astute enough to look critically the entire political landscape. If Bermuda is lucky, experience and wisdom will combine with his intellect and provide us with a strong leader.

    • Richard says:

      Wow this could be the US, Canada, the UK, Italy, et al.

  2. The Basics says:

    Minister Richards is absolutely correct.

    Without money there is no chance in investing in the ‘youth’ or any other social programs going forward. Without addressing our fiscal issues right now the future will only become bleaker. Debt servicing costs are now our biggest expenditure and is seriously hindering spending in other areas. Something the author of this column fails to acknowledge or more than likely understands.

    Civil service salaries and benefits currently eat up just over 50% of total Government revenues. Couple that with basic operating costs (i.e. stationery, gas, insurance, licensing etc.) and our annual debt interest payments, these comprise nearly (could be more) two thirds of Government revenue.

    That fact leaves little to no monies to invest in social programs, infrastructure and other things for the ‘people.’ We are borrowing over $200mn a year just to pay for basic operating costs.

    So I ask Mr. Perinchief does he see no ‘danger’ in not demanding more accountability from the civil service? Did he not read the recent 300+ page AG report in which it was noted that millions of taxpayers dollars were spent without proper approvals or were duplicated and never recouped? You can worry about the feelings of these perpetrators and the Minister will worry about ensuring that our hard earned tax dollars aren’t wasted by unaccountable individuals.

    Let me ask Mr. Perinchief this, what would happen to Bermuda if we continue to spend $200mn more than we take in every year? Our debt is $2.1bn which doesn’t include off-balance sheet commitments/guarantees or pension obligations which are unfunded to the tune of circa $3bn. Add all together and our true debt is closer to $6bn to $7bn. Do you really think we can continue to pile on the debt and there will simply be no repercussions?

    I see you are studying law, but maybe you should take up a few courses in economics to grasp a basic understanding on how Government’s work and then being to correlate that money is required for investing in the ‘people.’

    Sometimes the truth hurts my friend and no sugar coating and flowery language can hide the basic facts that you and other refuse to acknowledge. Monies are needed for all the things you expect to be granted to you by Government.

    • Wow says:

      ” “Our priority is money- not people…,” the Minister said ”

      WHAT PART DONT U GET?,,

      • The Basics says:

        “Our priority is money- not people…,” the Minister said, before attempting to justify his remark by asserting that without the money, the people don’t matter.”

        Here is the full quote (by the author) which is the absolute truth. Despite the author’s statement there is no need for the Minister to justify his remark as it is 100% correct.

        No money = no ‘people’ investment.

        Why don’t you read the AG report I noted above as well as the one just issued this morning regarding the Dockyard Pier to understand why we are where we are.

    • Portia says:

      “That fact leaves little to no monies to invest in social programs, infrastructure and other things for the ‘people.’”

      Then Government shouldn’t be putting up money for America’s Cup. Plain and simple. You want the college kids to go door to door to fund their education, then fine – let the big businesses put up the $77 million, since Government is broke.

      In economics, smart people always find money for what really counts. You will ALWAYS put money towards what matters to you first. If saving for the future is really important to you, then you will pay yourself first each pay day. If investing in the youth is important to Bermuda, then Government will do so. We spend on what matters to us. The Government is making it very clear what matters to them, and certain groups are taking note.

      • The Basics says:

        The $77mn is designed to stimulate a depressed economy to reduce unemployment and provide exposure of Bermuda that otherwise wouldn’t be available.

        And given the positive GDP growth registered in the first 2 quarters of this year I would say as opposed to the negative GDP growth registered in the last 5 years of the PLP’s reign (which just happened to coincide with the consecutive qualified audit reports received).

        Ensuring people are gainfully employed is also very important.

        The reduction in further education scholarships was moved to basic scholarships which actually increased by $200k this year.

        “In economics, smart people always find money for what really counts”

        Shame you didn’t give this piece of advice to the former Government. They found that it was necessary to spend and overspend on frivolous projects while at the same time incurring six consecutive qualified audits.

        When will you guys acknowledge that our financial position is solely down to your team’s incompetence or worse?

        I mean imagine what the $45mn spent on Grand Atlantic, the $20mn overspend on Dockyard pier, $20mn overspend on Port Royal, the $78.8mn in unaccounted for funds (as per the AG report), the $10mn TCD overspend, the wasted monies on Faith Based Tourism, the $3mn spent on the airport plans, the overspend on the court building etc. could be used for now.

        The $77mn, which is a false figure (as $25 of that is a sponsorship guarantee with some of this figure already reduced)is to be spent on the island over the course of 3 years. As our annual expenditure as of now is approx. $1bn annually this equates to 2.5% of total Government expenditure over the time period. As noted this is being spent on infrastructure upgrades on island and not being given to the AC teams like so many people kike to infer. See the progress in Dockyard as an example.

        • Hmmm says:

          And the money spent on infrastructure goes into back in the economy here.

        • Johnny says:

          The OBA inherited a large debt, there is no doubt of that. But the fact is that through their actions the debt has now almost quadrupled. They continue to blame the PLP’s mistakes but refuse to accept that they have made huge mistakes as well.

          • A few queries says:

            The debt has nowhere need quadrupled.

            The PLP’s last budget had a $408mn deficit! In less than 10 years they increased the deficit by over 2,600%!

            If you think that can be closed within 3 years without massive cuts or massive rise in taxes then you are kidding yourself. If the OBA did do that and closed the deficit there would be protests and the like. Look what happened when they requested an extension on the furlough days.

            So far in 3 years the OBA has been successful in halving that deficit to $200mn odd which itself is quite impressive given the fact that not one civil servant has been redundant. Not one. As someone said below if you can’t cut the largest expense then the smaller ones will be targeted. Don’t forget that this has been supplemented by a rise in taxes as well.

            • umjusayin says:

              Hmmmmm let me see Uncle Bob borrowed $800m in 2013 to cover the anticipated shortfall for 3 years. Two years later and millions wasted as Uncle Bob hedged his bets on interests rates going up when they actually went down; this costs the Bermuda taxpayer millions. Now the OBA have decided to borrow a further $200m, that equals $1 billion in borrowing in 32 months. The 2012 OBA election promise was to reduce the debt instead they have increased, over spent and wasted!! Can’t wait to read the Auditor General’s report on the OBA! Please start with the Airport!!!!! No change, no accountability,no clue!!!

      • hmmm says:

        So the point was NO MONEY = NO INVESTMENT IN PEOPLE.

        Portia thinks that You can just invest in people without money.

        Portia, were you born stupid, or did it take you time to get there?

      • Who Cares says:

        That is the most asinine comment I’ve ever read. Smart people pay off their debts first so that they don’t continue losing money in interest payments.

      • Widget says:

        @Portia. Were you born on a rock. You have no concept of economics and the finance Minister is one hundred percent correct. As for this youg Mr. Hill. Smart and has a bright future. Remember I said young. If I can say one thing to this young man it would be, we all work harder to achieve things in life when we work for it. One is never as diligent when it is just handed to you. God knows there are millions of young people around the world working three jobs paying there way through university. Finally, look in the Bermuda Sun Scholership section and you’ll find hundreds to choose from.

      • Contributions says:

        Portia, the Government is hosting the America’s Cup to boost the economy. Can’t you understand that? We need more of these types of initiatives to get our economy afloat.

  3. Justin says:

    As a person who has never paid a single cent to the tax man you really shouldn’t be talking. Scholarships are a privilege and not a right. I paid my own way through school by working summers, Christmas’s, Spring Breaks, Cup Matches, etc… Get off your a$$ and do the same and stop asking for hand outs!

    • Portia says:

      As a person who will be paying YOUR pension when you turn 65 – I think he should absolutely be talking.

      • The Basics says:

        Hahaha.

        You think we will be receiving a pension? How cute.

        The most recent actuarial report notes that the pension fund is circa $3bn (but not confirmed) underfunded and at the current pay in/pay our rates the monies will run out by 2037.

        The unfunded portion is unclear at this moment because the PLP didn’t find it necessary to audit the funds from 2004 until their 2012 ousting.

        Another perfect example of mismanagement that has led to our financial situation that requires cut backs.

      • Justin says:

        Pension? lol The gov’t pension will be run out before I turn 65 so I just view Social Insurance as a tax. I contribute to my private pension and that’s all I will be relying on which is paid by me and my employer and not him. Try again!

      • jt says:

        Thankfully I’m taking care of my own pension. Those relying on a government pension should be very worried.

      • Hooleh says:

        You won’t. It’s contributory going forward…?

      • rusty says:

        If Mr. Perinchief and his friend are planing on being future leaders of this country then I highly recommend that they take some courses in business management and economics. Both of them are too caught up in party politics and fail to understand how Bermuda got into this situation and the necessary steps that are required to get us out.

        The Bermuda government cannot invest in the people of Bermuda if there is no money to invest with. There is no free lunch. The money has to come from some where.

        “made a point that in the private sector, the core objective was money and profit;” I suggest you learn about Triple Bottom Line and Corporate Social Responsibility. Then I suggest you do some research into which Private Sector Companies (local and international) contribute to the community and how they achieve this. Finally after learning this ask yourself if a private company was making no money would they be able to give back to community? That should answer your scholarship question.

      • Spit Bouy says:

        @ Portia,

        I would bet that he & or his parents absolutely did no talking & objecting when the previous government was wasting the same much needed $$$$ that they now want available for social programmes. SMDH

        If it wasn’t for the fact that it may have meant the probable collapse of our economy it’s a real pity that the PLP didn’t win the last election.

    • Silence says:

      So what you’re saying is, the young people shouldn’t have a right to defend their interests?

      • Justin says:

        What is he defending? Sounds to me like he’s asking for a hand out…

      • Who Cares says:

        What he’s saying is, stop asking for something that you haven’t earned!

  4. Ryan says:

    A naïve column, at best.

    Also, the point the Premier made about scholarships going unapplied for is true.

    • lol says:

      Anyone who thinks that this young man is naive has to be naive themselves..he knows exactly what he’s doing but I think you missed his whole point. Too bad.

  5. Family Man says:

    Clueless, rambling guy.

    • hmmm says:

      ” I asked a question on the dangers of a division being created by the government’s public attacks on government workers”

      Govt hasn’t attacked government workers. That is a lie. government have been supportive of Govt Workers and have praised departments workers.

      Govt has sought an injunction against Unions re: breaching their Union agreed rules as it has a huge negative impact on the country.

      I find it disgusting that someone studying Law would be in favour of breaching agreements and would be against pursuing matters with the law courts.

  6. soooo says:

    Frankly the fact that the prime minister of a country and the finance minister will take the time to visit students studying aboard to talk about issues is quite impressive.

    In fact I would go as far to say that you sit in a seat or privilege in being about to voice your views to them and them to you.

    Interesting, you then do an opinion column based on these private conversations which you had with Minster Richards on the “side”.

    I think you are young and have a lot to learn, keep up the studies and I hope you do well.

    • JaShonae Smith-Tannock says:

      Good Day Sooo

      Your comments speak to the exact mindset my partner in crime Ryan is referring to. Firstly they did not go out of their way to visit students studying abroad they came for a conference for Overseas Territories that for the first time invited students to join. Lets not be so naive to assume they would have taken time out of their personal agendas to meet with the students however never the less the comments made by the Honorable Minister Bob Richards and even more disappointing the Premier were completely unacceptable. Your argument regarding the words spoken in private between Ryan and Mr Richards being “on the side” is unimportant no one should know better than Mr. Richards the importance of knowing that in his position nothing is ” off the record” and you going out of your way to respond to Ryans opinion article almost blaming him and making it seem as though he is the shady one is completely out of order. Lastly i would like to firmly disagree with you on your statement regarding how ” lucky” Ryan and the other students were to be able to voice their views. How ludicrous! Are they not members of our government?! Elected to serve and protect Bermudians morals, beliefs and over all well being. Should they not always be available to hear our views and respond in a professional manner that only serves in benefiting their constituents? If so then in fact it was their privilege to have a young man full of potential and intelligence who will one day be a face in politics come to them hoping to have a beneficial conversation, only to in the end walk away with less faith in our government than he went into the conference with. This is truly a sad day for the people of Bermuda. I only hope when it is our turn to take the ropes our current “leaders” have not completely ruined this beautiful island i call home.

      Unapologetically,

      JaShonae Smith

      Future Leader

      • Double S says:

        Why were they unacceptable? Because they are not what you wanted to hear?

        Would you rather they lied to you and said sure we are in a deep financial black hole and our debt is costing us $400,000 a day in interest, but will simply increase spending to placate you? So you would of rather heard a politically correct answer instead of the truth then?

        That is the main reason we are in the place we are as of now. That is because former ‘leaders’ ruined it for future ‘leaders.’

      • soooo says:

        Really – you don’t see the hypocrisy of your comments? It is very simple to get political when you are young and in turn easily manipulated but lets be clear the current “leaders” not granting funding for scholarship is not going to ruin this island. You are talking nonsense driven by misinformation adnan agenda.

        The fact that Bob Richards was a little rude doesn’t mean anything in the greater context. We have no money, we owe billions – there are people living in poverty and people aren’t getting proper medical care because of the mess the previous “leaders” left us in. That 60 million dollar wharf project for example….imagine that spent on “scholarships”.

        your partner in crime is getting negative comments mainly because his post is clearly politically rather than ethically motivated – same as yours.

        You think scholarships come first and that the Politian’s should agree to your every thought and idea? get a grip. higher education is a luxury even in 1st world economies. I worked nights and weekends to pay for my higher education – I didn’t look for a handout and then emotively attach the lack of scholarships to “ruining the island”.

        instead of just critising why don’t you two set out some cost cutting measures that will allow scholarships to be paid for? watch out though as that may mean cutting the CS…yeah these are grown up problems.

        good luck to you – really

      • A few queries says:

        What was unacceptable about the comments?

        He might have been able to phrase it a bit better but the answer would have remained the same and right.

        In order to invest more into the people it is necessary to firstly stabilize our finances. Continuing down the same unsustainable path will lead to utter financial ruin for the whole island followed by defaults and eventual bail out. If that occurs te real austere measures will have to be implemented that will make these cut backs seem insignificant. Let’s not forget that we are still spending $200mn then we take in each year. Completely and utterly unsustainable for a small island that produces and exports absolutely nothing.

        And as for the Premier’s comments about doing for self, by taking the initiative and seeking opportunities, what exactly is unacceptable about that? All generations before you guys had to do that with much less resources and opportunities. I have noticed that many millennials expect instant gratification with little work done by themselves. Unfortunately for you guys that’s not how the real world works as nothing is ever just handed to you without and or minimal effort on your part.

      • Spit Bouy says:

        “I only hope when it is our turn to take the ropes our current “leaders” have not completely ruined this beautiful island i call home”.

        Current leaders completely ruin???? LMAO

        Sorry lad you’re several years late and you should be directing those comments at the previous PLP “leaders” who completely ruined this beautiful island that you call home.

        Irony much?

    • Jonah says:

      C’mon!!! they went to secure votes – good politics, but let’s not confuse why they went…

      And why is it that students ( that only attend reputable schools – oh my! ) can vote and Bermudians that now live in the UK for instance can’t?

      Fahy’s lame and I mean lame excuse that they, the OBA, would not know where to register these people is simply, well, lame – why can’t they be registered in the same constituency that they were registered in prior to leaving Bermuda?

      I hear the naysayers shouts that they gave up that right when they moved abroad and I ask why is it that? Americans can vote – they must vote in the state that that they resided immediately before they left the US – UK citizens can vote while overseas – and Canada, after being challenged in court, reversed their laws and Canadians can now vote while residing outside of Canada..

      So maybe the answer is for a group of concerned Bermudians to challenge this law in the courts – nothing ventured…

      • A few queries says:

        Don’t see why people who have decided to leave Bermuda and thus contribute nothing to the economy and/or society should retain the right to vote.

        School students are different as during their schooling they are in transit. If they graduate and decide to stay then they lose the right to vote.

        The Americans have a right to vote as they are taxes by the US no matter where they reside.

      • justin says:

        Americans pay taxes while earning money overseas . What’s your point? Should we follow everything America does? Didn’t think so!

        • Richard says:

          Yes, some pay their fare share, but that’s not the point made by the Minister. The fact still remains that Canadians, English and Americans can vote while living outside of their countries but Bermudians will be denied this right. It needs to be challenged!

  7. San George says:

    Well done Mr. Robinson. Your education will help you to keep splitting the veil. BTW Mr. Robinson does not need the money – he is advocating on behalf of those who do.

    Quo Fata Ferunt

  8. nomoremoneybermuda says:

    what else would you expect from Bob. Paula would have told you what you wanted to hear. cant excuse Bob for his bad style, but at least we think he knows how to handle the countries finances for the long term.

    I do think that education should be funded better, regardless of economic reality. I’m sure there is, in fact i know there is budget that is being spent by departments which is still a total waste.

    If you need money, how about crowd funding and social media. Your a media guy now, so use it.

  9. serengeti says:

    The writer of the article regards it as ‘appalling’ that the Minister of Finance wants to hold civil servants accountable for their actions.

    As a taxpayer and voter I hold the opposite opinion.

    • For real says:

      I respect Bob Richards hands down. Would rather his direct style than the double speak of the PLP.

    • Missed it says:

      I don’t see where he said that..from what I got he was referring to the tone and overall attitude that the government has towards people who aren’t big business leaders.

      • Derek A. G. Jones says:

        The writer came face to face with a candid commentator. That’s all. The facts speak for themselves. Bermuda is operating on financial fumes. There are scholarships available through the private sector that go unclaimed. I have student friends here in Boston who snag as many scholarships as they can. I’m sure Mr Richards is as equally candid with business people as he is with students, Civil Servants and everyone else.

        If Mr Perinchief wants to be a future leader then he can start today by offering his services to Mr Richards in helping pool all the private scholarships and having them listed on the Bermuda Government website. That would be a good start in helping the youth of Bermuda.

  10. yes, but says:

    Minister Richards is largely correct in what he was saying, but he needs to install a filter between his financial brain and his mouth that speaks to real people. You can ‘say it like it is’ without being rude and condescending and, as a politician, if you wish to persuade your listener about the strengths of your arguments then that is what you must do. Further, if you wish to persuade people, you should at least listen to what they have to say about their own position. Particularly at a function that was held in order to engage the youth (and future) of Bermuda.

    • Impressive says:

      Just as Marc Bean’s tenure in politics is being called into question due to his irrational outbursts at times, so shall Minister Bob Richards, as he simply doesn’t have the skills to be composed and diplomatic.

      • Hmmm says:

        He is the finance minister…. I don’t want a lawyer with flowerywords, or one that is good at arguing, I want a financial professional.

      • Lois Frederick says:

        Difference is Bob brings it in the finance department and without him Bermuda would be further down the road to ruination. At least with him we are steadying the ship. Blunt he may be, but his competence is unquestionable. He keeps giving us all doses of that bitter medicine that we desperately need. Blunt Bob just schooled that young man. He clearly needed a dose of reality with no sugar coating.

  11. Gogetit says:

    They don’t care about us. Keep up the good work. Nah watch d haters.

    • The Basics says:

      I agree the PLP don’t care about us, hence why they ruined us financially and caused our dire financial situation while others got rich.

  12. Hooleh says:

    “This young fellow sounds very much like some of the folk on the Hill!”

    Again, it’s clear from this article that a large number of Bermudians still do NOT realize the complete financial mess we’re in!

    It’s sad; and irresponsible of us NOT to owe up to our debts.

    I hope this young chap and ALL Bermudians take the time to understand the Minister’s perspective, instead or reporting back home to ridicule his views.

    Our current financial state is a serious matter; and it calls on us ALL to do more for ourselves and rely less on Government.

    Smiths

  13. high road says:

    Sorry Kiddo but the minister/gov have a HUGE mess to clean up. If I were you Id stay in school as long as possible, its a mess out here!

  14. Onion Talkin says:

    I too was also at the event In London and my interpretation of the comments was quite different to yours and I find your article quite naive. It was refreshing to have an honest assessment of the current financial difficulty Bermuda finds itself in and how we have to be honest with ourselves however unpleasant that may be. Where do you think the money is coming from to fund the scholarships? Should something else be cut to pay for that?

    • mj says:

      @onion talking–if the ministers cut their trips abroad that would help accommodate more needy people and better communications ie: send out all available scholarships. There are many ways to cut cost without slicing throats! Sounds like they are on edge, don’t know if they are politicians or cops? There was plenty to put aside (77million) for ac!!!!

    • Curious says:

      And the Premier’s response about scholarships was after being baited by Eron Hill, who asked why scholarship money had been cut from 900,000 down to 40,000. A blatant lie that the Premier responded that Eron needed to check his figures

  15. Starting Point says:

    It sounds like the young man would have preferred for the speakers to placate him by telling him what he wants to hear as opposed to actually having a real conversation. I would assume the government group thought a group of university students would have the intellect and confidence to get real information and a reality check.

    Seems like the young man would prefer to be coddled, good luck in the real world mate.

    • rudy says:

      Wish the like button worked more than once for that one!

      like,

  16. silk says:

    At least the young folks know where OBA Stands when 2017 rolls around.

  17. Quinton Berkley Butterfield says:

    Why can’t it be about money and people?

    Good job Mr. Perinchief

    • Hmmm says:

      You can’t invest money into people without money.

      Simple concept, I think you should be able to grasp it.

  18. swing voter says:

    As a parent and now grandparent, I can attest to the fact that children, pre-teens, tweens, and teens all think that money grows on trees infinitely. Its hard to accept that a college aged individual who should read the Royal Gazette, BerNews, and social media can be so naïve SMDH

  19. But says:

    The youth are our future. Invest in them for a better tomorrow.

  20. So Sad says:

    Our country is going to go down a toilet if we dismiss what this obviously well educated young person has to say. The best companies, Google, Facebook, Burberry uses the ideas of young millennials and pairs it with the wisdom of seasoned employers and partners. Since 1 in four people will be over 65 in 5 years and there is a significant brain drain of young professionals, it would behoove us to take note of what is being said by our youth and collaborate to come up with realistic solutions for the island. Just read the Youth Premier’s Throne speech and you can see that there is a lot of opportunity. http://bernews.com/2015/11/youth-parliament-throne-speech/

  21. Double S says:

    What I find interesting about these articles is the presence of PLPers who come on here to bash the OBA about the need to cut back.

    But not one of you have posted on ANOTHER damming AG report, released today, regarding mishandled tax payer funds under the PLP
    (mal)administration. Today its the Dockyard Pier report, a few weeks back it was the 3 consecutive qualified audits on the consolidated fund while a few months back it was the Port Royal report. And not one of you posted a comment criticizing the waste and misappropriation of tax payer funds.

    But yet you all have the nerve and audacity to bitch and moan on articles like these about a Party that is cleaning up the mess left by your team. And on top of that you would vote the same incompetent (or worse) people back into power and in control over your monies. It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so sad.

    If you actually had a true interest in how our finances got here, and why we are cutting back, you would post your comments on these articles and bash the PLP for essentially bankrupting the island.

    But you don’t care about Bermuda in the end, so you won’t comment. It’s all about Party and power for you guys.

    • Hmmm says:

      Many of rthe PLP folks think that the PLP powers that be give a damn about them. They don’t.

      They wouldn’t have almost destroyed your island if they did.

  22. Yes I says:

    Mr. Robinson Perinchief,

    I applaud you for voicing your concern. You keep studying and keep your ear to the street. You’re going places!

  23. Mario Simons says:

    The comments from the minister were just stupid and shallow. Yes, finances are critical, but int terms of “people” he SHOULD be talking about the reports done by so many experts who highlighted the top heavy civil service (EDUCATION?) It seems in many cases that the Peter Principle has been operative.
    WHY can these folks not have furloughs or be cut by 50%? Why are they “untouchable?”No, it is always the low level folks. It is no wonder there is a problem with motivation and accountability!

  24. David B says:

    You were educated in Bermuda on the Bermuda taxpayer dollar and you are now criticizing the Bermuda Government on how they are trying to reduce the debt deficit by cutting costs in necessary areas! When you get out of the University “bubble” that you are currently living in and come and join the rest of us in the real world you may acquire a better understanding as to why these things are necessary to bettering our country!

  25. Sara says:

    If the budget isn’t brought under control, the youth will be the ones paying for all of us. Sometimes you have to sacrifice certain things to get your head out of the water.

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