Ministry Provide Further Details: $31K Travel Cost

September 22, 2016

In providing further details on the $31,566 cost for the trip to the Rio Olympics, the Ministry confirmed that the Minister and Permanent Secretary traveled business class, said that during events like the Olympics the cost of travel increases to these destinations, and also noted that the Government “created and implemented a Ministerial travel website in the interest of openness and transparency.”

“Government Ministers are mandated to always look closely at travel costs. However, due to the lateness that these travel plans were made it was difficult to take advantage of any early bird costs,” the Ministry added.

Bernews asked for clarification when we printed the initial story one week ago, and in a response this morning, a spokesperson said, “The Minister of Social Development and Sports and the Permanent Secretary attended the Rio Olympics to officially represent the Bermuda Government. Accreditation was arranged by the Bermuda Olympic Association.

“As is customary for the Minister responsible for Sports, Minister Richards attended several events in which Bermudian Olympians were competing, in order to cheer them on and encourage them to do their very best. The Bermuda Olympic Association organised a special reception for Bermuda’s Olympians and Minister Richards.

“This Government created and implemented a Ministerial travel website in the interest of openness and transparency. Minister Richards travel costs were posted there. It is noted that during events like the Olympics the cost of travel increases to these destinations.

“The Bermuda Government and the Minister support our Olympians and being present at the Olympics in Rio was an important part of showing this support. Ministers responsible for Sports have attended many Olympic Games over the years.

“Government Ministers are mandated to always look closely at travel costs. However, due to the lateness that these travel plans were made it was difficult to take advantage of any early bird costs.

“The Government cares deeply for and supports all of our athletes as they are ambassadors for the country. At the same time, we are also mindful of travel costs and do whatever we can to keep these costs down.”

click here travel cost listings

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Comments (38)

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  1. Reality says:

    “…due to the lateness that these travel plans were made it was difficult to take advantage of any early bird costs”

    This is a joke! We have known the Olympics was going to be in Rio for at least the last four years, so why were their tickets purchased last minute? Ridiculous as all these politicians are all the same. No respect for the hardworking tax payers!

    • Stop says:

      Hilarious they are using lack of planning as if it is an excuse.

      • hmmm says:

        To some extent you are correct, but let us put it in context.

        Sylvan minister of Sports from May 13th 2016 (this year).

        Olympics began Aug 12th

        Therefore 3 months until the biggest sporting event. Most people who were going would have already booked up, so there would be a shortage of seats and rooms.

        whilst 3 months isn’t technically last minute, I don’t think on day 1 they’d be arranging travel to the Olympics.

        So from the scale and demand of the event and the starting date of sylvan tenure, we can conclude that this could in fact have been effectively a last minute or late booking.

        where I have a beef is with the use of business class…if it was not necessary, then it should have not been used.

        Sylvan please refund the differential or a contribution back to the people of Bermuda.

    • stunned... says:

      the following excerpt regarding the Bermuda Paralympian Association’s funding issues from august 2016 :

      “As it stands, the Bermuda squad have all had to pay their own way to Rio for the Games, with seven members each owed $1,227.67 for economy flights…”

      granted the Minister/PS didn’t travel to Rio to see these Olympians perform, still, the $31k spent to be spectators seems to be misplaced. i could be wrong.

    • Expat says:

      I do agree that the costs are high but perhaps the exact schedule of when the Bermudian athletes would compete wasn’t available?

    • Eyes wide open says:

      If you’re voting for Richards in 2017, raise your hand!

      NOW USE IT TO SLAP YOURSELF. YOU’RE AN IDIOT. :)

  2. Jus' Wonderin' says:

    Ok flights may have been high, but WHY did he need to bring his PS with him and where the hell did they stay for that much?! Ridiculous!

  3. dick francis says:

    “However, due to the lateness that these travel plans were made it was difficult to take advantage of any early bird costs,”

    what a joke! I guess our (so-called) sports minister and his PS didn’t realise that the Olympics happen every four years and that it was a nailed on certainty long before Rio that at least some of Bermuda’s athletes would qualify.

    Oh boy – this is turning into a farce. Where’s my popcorn.

  4. In thevery near future (as soon as permissable), and taught in school,we will be able to astrally project ourselvea anywhere…without ever really leaving home…

    • stunned... says:

      for now it’s called BBC or any other station covering the Olympics

  5. Thinker says:

    All I (tax payer) am asking is why was this approved????

    Accountability!!!

  6. watching says:

    This is absolutely insanity and the Minister is trying to hide behind his spokespeople. Why doesn’t he have the fortitude to go on zbm with Moreno or on Sherri J and talk about this?
    These funds could have been allocated otherwise to the benefit of more people but here we have the Minister and his PS on a junket to Brazil to party. Very disappointing.
    And the lack of accountability even more so.
    And yet again the Premier says nothing substantial about this. He avoids the bad news like the plague.

  7. Warwick Lizard says:

    I’m an OBA supporter and think this is poor judgement by Minister Richards and the PM. Your making the same mistakes the PLP did for years. Times are tough in Bermuda. Tighten the belt and fly ECONOMY CLASS always. Now step up and pay the difference between your biz class ticket and economy. Be smarter and lead by example.

    • drunken ursula says:

      the OBA is no different…all the same free trips food drinks, Richards never had it so good!

  8. hmmm says:

    Sylvan, I think you need to pay back some of the funds spent…You should NOT be travelling business class.

    Please return the cost difference.

  9. Yahoo says:

    Ok, so it didn’t occur to this minister to book his trip a few months in advance. Incompetence/oversight/laziness, doesn’t really matter.

    However, what is either incompetence or arrogance is not questioning the total cost of $31k BEFORE booking. If he is really desperate to go and get some use out of his club clothes, maybe fly economy and cover some of the cost personally as a show of respect to those who are struggling? Or, better yet, get some good PR that the OBA could desperately use by announcing that the trip was going to cost $31k so you passed and will support our athletes from afar?

  10. Terry says:

    Gotta get the trips and free stuff before the next election and they become a shadow again.

  11. Totally disappointed! says:

    I’m sorry but this is an outrageous cost and an even more outrageous excuse justifying the cost! Shame on all of those who played a part in this, especially the Minister! There was no need to spend nine days in Rio let alone travel business class. Support starts at home also, and you seldom see the Sports Minister at local events. Additionally, the inappropriate pictures he posted of himself looking like any thing but a Minister on Facebook adds to the questionable integrity of this Minister. Who approved the airfares and how was it not stopped by the Head of the CS, the Financial Secretary or Accountant General,…wait they just seems to rubber stamp every thing. Such a ridiculous state of affairs. I do believe Minister Bob Richards should be very annoyed about this and the Premier at the very least should apologize to the public. The above excuses will make it even harder for you to convince the voting public the Government is tightening the spending…clearly this breach contradicts that!!! And by the way, there could have been more economical other ways to show support like setting up a large screen at National Sports Stadium and watching with the people of Bermuda for far less than $30,000+++

    • Fairfax Va says:

      Bermuda is such a bunch of nonsense and both political partiers are no better than the other.

      This idea of a big screen is so passè these days as other countries who have no choice do this regularly and why – because they CAN’T spend the money cause it ain’t there and CAN’T be FOUND like we always seem to do.

  12. Triangle Drifter says:

    Poor excuse. Not good enough. Too little too late.

  13. frank says:

    this trip should have never happened and the minister knows it
    and why does every minister have to travel with a ps
    looks like they had a big party on our money

  14. Ann says:

    Now everybody gets upset, seem to remember a certain Goverment that used Government funds for Victoria’s Secret, where were all of you then? At least the OBA explained, the PLP just thought it was their right. I wish their travel expenditures could be published for their 14 year free ride!

    • Bad move says:

      The previous Gov in charge of the public funds never promised accountability the OBA did. This is good for starters but when you eat the very same words you promised to the very same people that elected you for change you have a problem Capt. The OBA won by 19 to 17 lets not forget.

      • rich says:

        So because the previous Government never promised accountability, they have a pass when it comes to spending like drunk sailors?

        • The Original Truth™ says:

          No, the previous Government shouldn’t get a pass but by the same token the present government shouldn’t get a pass just because the previous did it first. Blind supporters of both sides need to stop looking at these government parties like they are their favorite football team. Democratic governments are supposed to be employed by their citizens and no employee should be spending their employers funds on non essentials no matter who the party is in government. This has been the tune played ever since OBA got in, “The PLP did it first.” I don’t give a damn who did it first. Even when I was in primary school that would never suffice as an excuse. GROW THE HELL UP PEOPLE! They are not football stars they are our employees and they need to know it doesn’t matter who they are in their other lives. As employees they need to know they will be let go if they can’t do the job right.

    • drunken ursula says:

      oh Ann please open your eyes , you so blinded by your support of this Gov’t shame on you!

  15. Hurricane says:

    @ Ann the upsetting thing about all this is that when the OBA was voted in, it was based on a promise of change. As it turns out, the more things change, the more they stay the same. The Finance Minister made it clear that “money doesn’t grow on trees”. Sylvan Richardson obviously didn’t get it.

    Shame on him!

    • stunned... says:

      someone needs a scolding
      someone needs to apologize
      someone needs to offer and pay back a portion of the $31k
      someone needs to convince me why they should remain a Minister.

      excessive spending on travel was never right in the past and it is not right now. end of.

  16. wahoo says:

    Not cool OBA not cool at all. This is the kind off dumb s@#% that we tried to get rid of when we put you in. Stop making this kind of mistake it is soooooo stoopa!

    • Comrad Sinkyboat says:

      well said WAHOO they keep shooting themselves in the foot every chance they get but I guess it beats what we got rid of

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