Video: PLP On Good Governance Initiatives

January 18, 2017 | 50 Comments

[Updated] Implementing a process where Initiatives/Petitions that gather a certain threshold of signatures can be placed before Parliament for debate or to the country via referendum, and forming an independent Commission on Debates to ensure the major issues are discussed in a public forum are two of the initiatives the PLP is committed to when they form “the next Government,” Opposition Leader David Burt said today.

David-Burt-Walton-Brown-Bermuda-Jan-18-2017 77

Speaking at a press conference, Mr Burt said, “We will advance government procurement reform which will finally implement the Good Governance Act to provide for criminal penalties for persons who violate financial instructions.

“Finally, when the PLP wins the next election we will implement campaign finance reform to create greater openness and transparency surrounding financial contributions to political parties and the expenditures of political parties. The people of Bermuda should know who bankrolls our political parties and how those funds are spent.”

26-minute live video replay of the press conference:

Also speaking today was Shadow Minister of Home Affairs Walton Brown who said, “We will implement election spending limits. In order to create a level playing field for political parties it is important to ensure that financial limits are in place.

“Without limits, expenditures could spiral out of control and make election results more about how much money you spend than how the people’s condition will improve.

“Thirdly, we will set limits on individual and corporate donations and require public disclosure of large donors. This issue is intimately connected with spending limits. In the absence of such limits we will remain in the murky area of simply buying political influence as was raised in the JetGate spectacle.”

Update 6.52pm: Premier Michael Dunkley said, “I fully support fair and transparent elections in Bermuda. I will review the statements made by the Opposition. I am willing to meet with members of the Opposition at any time to discuss improving the electoral process in Bermuda. Any meetings should, of course, involve the Parliamentary Registrar.”

The Premier also said, “Opposition Leader Mr. David Burt and his colleagues have yet to explain or apologize for their years of irresponsible, uncontrolled spending that dropped Bermuda into a financial hole that has taken years of responsible management by this Government to fix.

“The dangerous financial situation the PLP Government left Bermuda in is one reason the OBA Government set up the SAGE Commission. We’ve made steady progress but much work remains to be done.

“For Mr. Burt to say Government ”rejected” SAGE is false but also an indication that he is playing fast and loose with facts.

“Government actions to restore control over Government spending are following SAGE Commission suggestions. We are deeply appreciative for the hard work of the Commissioners because they have helped to put Bermuda on a hopeful path.

“It is quite interesting that the Opposition Leader appears to be supporting SAGE when he and his colleagues were extremely critical of the Commission, particularly when the Government was setting it up.

“SAGE Commission recommendations have been and are continuing to be implemented in order to extend and entrench performance accountability throughout the Civil Service.

“It is unfortunate Mr. Burt and Mr. Walton Brown can’t simply address the facts instead of littering their press conference with inaccurate statements and untruths.”

Update Jan 19, 6.53am:: Opposition Leader David Burt said, “In his press statement earlier today, Premier Dunkley did a disservice to the electorate by following his consultants’ election playbook by once again misleading Bermudians.

“In 2013 the SAGE Commission made the following recommendation:

“Form 3 Joint Select Committees of the Houses of the Legislature, giving each Joint Select Committee responsibility for 2 or 3 Ministries. Each Joint Select Committee would monitor the Ministries’ activities on an ongoing basis, calling Ministers and Civil Servants before them to answer for the activities of the Ministries and Departments in the same way as is found in other Commonwealth Parliamentary systems.”

“It is a matter of public record that the OBA Government rejected this recommendation from the SAGE Commission.

“At a press conference earlier today I reaffirmed the PLP’s support for this recommendation by stating:
“We will implement the SAGE Commission’s recommendation to establish three permanent oversight committees which deal with Ministries. The OBA rejected this recommendation.”

“This simple statement of fact was met with the following from Premier Dunkley:
“For Mr. Burt to say Government ‘rejected’ SAGE is false but also an indication that he is
playing fast and loose with facts.”….. “It is unfortunate Mr. Burt and Mr. Walton Brown can’t simply address the facts instead of littering their press conference with inaccurate statements and untruths.”

“Unfortunately for the Bermuda voter, Premier Dunkley is misleading them yet again. No one said that the OBA “rejected SAGE”, but it is a fact that the OBA have rejected and refuse to implement a key recommendation of the SAGE commission to increase the oversight of public spending.

“The PLP has been consistent in supporting this recommendation and has been consistent in advocating for more oversight powers for Bermuda’s Parliament. I would hope that going forward the Premier can resist the urges of his consultants and tone down the rhetoric so we can, as he said, “simply address the facts”.

“As we approach an election the voters deserve reasoned debate on the issues from their leaders. On this recommendation from the SAGE commission there is a different vision for the future; the PLP believes that our Parliament’s oversight powers should be enhanced and the OBA does not agree. It is a clear difference between the parties and it will be up to the voters to decide which is best for the Bermuda.”

Opposition Leader David Burt’s statement

Throughout our history the PLP has always pushed for better governance and better government in Bermuda. Almost every progressive democratic reform that has taken place in Bermuda has been due to PLP pressure while in opposition, or by PLP action while in Government.

During the party’s time in Government, we made the following changes:

  • The PLP in 1999 strengthened the Independence of the Office of the Auditor General.
  • The PLP abolished annual voter registration and introduced single seat constituencies with one man, one vote of equal value.
  • The PLP created the Office of the Ombudsman.
  • The PLP created the Internal Audit Department.
  • The PLP enacted public access to information legislation;
  • The PLP enacted Good Governance legislation, which introduced the office of project management and procurement to increase transparency & fairness in the tendering process, while also better managing capital projects.
  • The PLP enacted whistle-blowers legislation to protect public and private sector employees from retribution should they expose illegal activity.

Our record in improving the way our government works speaks for itself.

Today, true to the PLP roots of pushing for progressive reforms that ensure that the Government serves the people better, we are committing to the following reforms when we form the next government.

These measures will make government work better for Bermudians which will lead to better decisions being made with better outcomes for Bermuda. The PLP’s reform will increase citizens’ participation in our democracy; provide greater oversight which will reduce waste and inefficiency, create an anti-corruption watchdog, and will implement campaign finance reform to limit wealthy donor influence.

An overview of the items that we commit to implementing as the next government is as follows:

A more participatory Democracy:

  • We will implement a process where Initiatives/Petitions that gather a certain threshold of signatures can be placed before parliament for debate or to the country via referendum.
  • We will form an independent Commission on Debates to ensure the major issues are discussed in a public forum and are not just limited to prepared speeches in parliament. Our public discourse does not do enough to enlighten voters about the issues and we must do better. This will also include debates before General Elections.

Greater Oversight:

  • 3 Permanent oversight committees to scrutinize government spending:

We will implement the SAGE Commission’s recommendation to establish three permanent oversight committees which deal with Ministries. The OBA rejected this recommendation, stating that “we have enough oversight already”. It should be clear to all that in Bermuda there is nowhere near enough oversight. Parliamentary questions once a week and a single Public Accounts Committee without a full-time staff member are not enough oversight for our government.

  • We will create a permanent staff member for the Public Accounts Committee to ensure that PAC has the resources to find wasteful spending and hold the government of the day accountable.

Anti-Corruption Measures. The PLP will enact Anti-Corruption legislation which will:

  • Create an independent corruption watchdog; broaden the definition of official corruption;
  • Increase the requirements for disclosure of financial interests for politicians and senior civil servants;
  • Give the Auditor General the power to ‘follow the money’ powers with government contracts
  • Void any contract entered into by the government which has been found to be procured via corrupt practices.

We will advance government procurement reform which will finally implement the Good Governance Act to provide for criminal penalties for persons who violate financial instructions.

Finally, when the PLP wins the next election we will implement campaign finance reform to create greater openness and transparency surrounding financial contributions to political parties and the expenditures of political parties. The people of Bermuda should know who bankrolls our political parties and how those funds are spent. Recent local and global events should serve as a warning that strong action is needed to increase transparency and protect the integrity of elections in Bermuda.

The Shadow Minster of Home Affairs will speak in depth on the matters pertaining to electoral and campaign finance reform.

We are at a crossroads as a country. Division and poor governance have led us to a place where many are losing hope. We have major problems to solve if we are to thrive. Vision 2025 is the PLP’s long term vision for Better Bermuda, but to get there we will also need to ensure that our Government works better.

The OBA made many of these promises in their last election campaign. However, like many of their election promises, almost all remain unfulfilled. Over the last 4 years Bermudians have learned that the OBA are not serious about Good Governance but today they also know that the PLP has the right solutions to improve Governance in Bermuda.

People may ask why the PLP would invite additional scrutiny of their government after the next election, as it is bound to cause embarrassment. The reason is simple: because better scrutiny and better oversight will lead to better results and outcomes for the people of Bermuda.

I look forward to sharing our solutions and hearing feedback from voters when the Opposition will host a Town Hall meeting on Good Governance next Tuesday at 6:30 PM at the Leopard’s Club.

Shadow Minister of Home Affairs Walton Brown’s statement

We strongly believe electoral and campaign finance reform are essential to improving democracy in Bermuda. There are four main areas of reform required and the next PLP government will act decisively to put these in place.

First, we will establish an Electoral Commission. This is a key recommendation of the Parliamentary Elections Committee I chaired and the report was approved without dissent by Parliament. However, the OBA government has not acted on this, but a PLP government will. In fact, the OBA spoke passionately about the need for electoral reform in 2012 yet have done nothing in this area. This Commission will not simply oversee elections but also have quasi-judicial authority to handle matters brought before it.

Secondly, we will implement election spending limits. In order to create a level playing field for political parties it is important to ensure that financial limits are in place. Without limits, expenditures could spiral out of control and make election results more about how much money you spend than how the people’s condition will improve. The OBA approach is to ignore this issue altogether while they quietly raise millions of dollars for high priced consultants.

Thirdly, we will set limits on individual and corporate donations and require public disclosure of large donors. This issue is intimately connected with spending limits. In the absence of such limits we will remain in the murky area of simply buying political influence as was raised in the JetGate spectacle. To date there has been no full and proper investigation regarding the $350,000 donation that the OBA repeatedly denied any knowledge of. Only after the donor himself publicly confirmed the contribution did the OBA admit to the use of those funds in their 2012 election ground campaign. What followed was the resignation of Mr. Cannonier as Premier but we know little more. Transparency requires that the public know who all large donors are and, while the OBA has only paid lip service, we will act decisively.

Fourthly, we will formulate relevant campaign regulations. These regulations will cover a multitude of issues relating to elections. One such regulation will cover campaign donations to unofficial accounts in support of a political party. These too must come under public scrutiny.

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Comments (50)

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  1. After Friday Trump will have de last say.

    • Father Ted says:

      Has Tweed gone yet?

      • Silence Do Good says:

        No he is like a sickness. You think it is finally gone only to flare up again. I had my sign already for his departure but will have to put it in the closest. I hope I will get to use it soon.

        I think we should have a election sooner rather than later. It will definitively show where the people of Bermuda are on if the OBA is doing a good job getting the country back on track or those minority protestors are right that the OBA should go. Either way they will be quite after.

    • Ringmaster says:

      You are right. While the PLP are getting into Election mode, the USA is getting into Protection mode. If Trump reduces Corporate Tax to 15% election funding will be the least of Bermuda’s issues. What plans does the PLP have to counter the likely exodus of much of IB? What does Vision 2025 have to replace the millions of lost tax revenue and high paying IB jobs starting in 2017/18? This is a real, frightening and likely issue.

    • Juice Box says:

      Talk, talk, talk….complain, complain, complain. Show us how by example of what the PLP did better and different than the OBA. You can sxrutinize every trip taken by tge OBA and we know where every penny was spent; even of we dont approve! Under the PLP there was money spent on Playboy mansion parties, many questions about trips taken with no answers, and eight hundred million dollars missing in fourteen years. Dont tell me what the OBA is doung wrong. Show us how you dis better. Truth is, You cant.

  2. Terry says:

    The PLP created the demise of Bermuda
    Shalom.
    Fools.

  3. Politricks says:

    Some good ideas.

    But a little too late for most given the financial shenanigans identified by the Commission of Inquiry.

    Smells like an election is coming.

    Also, the PLP did not enact PATI. They created it and let it sit there, for obvious reasons (see Commission findings). It was enacted by the OBA, Mr. Burt.

    • jt says:

      Clearly means they will support any consequences stemming from the COI. Good to know.

    • Terry says:

      Did Mike tell you this or did Mr. Burt.

      How do you come to a conclusion like that.
      That is asinine.

    • Sorry Sir says:

      Yup!

      The PLP are full of talk!

      They talk and talk and talk, but do they actually do anything and actually make the hard decisions?

      Nope!

  4. Point boy says:

    It always amazes me that these guys can keep a straight face while spewing their hypocrisy. Unbelievable

    • Not exactly says:

      Burt: “The PLP in 1999 strengthened the Independence of the Office of the Auditor General”

      Reality: “the PLP government wait until the Auditor General was off the Island in May 2006, then unceremoniously box up his entire office and move the contents to a smaller space, a space that did not have the minimal telephone or computer connections to allow the office to function. And it was outrageous that in 2007 the Auditor General was arrested for what are now clearly bogus reasons.”

  5. Truth says:

    Blah blah blah blah, blah blah and blah. You didn’t do this before and you won’t do it in the future. Where’s the money?

  6. Juan de Bermudez says:

    This is a joke right!!!

  7. Decent Citizen says:

    These are ALL soft issues (pushed by yourselves). BS! We’d rather hear your plan to:

    1. Generate more revenues/grow the economy/get more jobs for Bermudians
    2. Reduce government costs
    3. Improve education
    4. Support small business

    Generally, what’s the plan to reduce both the deficit and debt; the mess the PLP left us last time around. Hello! The BIG ELEPHANT in the room! Whilst still meeting day-to-day government provided services at a satisfactory level.

    As the PLP made a mess of our economy the last time around…the issues I highlight, in my opinion, are truly the most pressing issues we need to face head on; and now!

    Again, you MISSED the mark by a mile, at least for me! Get out of your bubble! We are in CRISIS mode (at least I realize this).

    We need honest and competent politicians/government!

    Jeebye!

    P.S. I can hear your disingenuous chatter now blaming the OBA for doubling the debt. Nonsense! When the PLP left a structural deficit of +_$300m, the government (no matter what party’s in charge) has but NO choice to burrow money to keep the lights on. That’s where we are now in our history as we attend to the patient, Bermuda Inc!

    I don’t give a damn about which party’s runs the country, as long as they REALLY can provide an execute solutions that will move the entire country forward; solve our major issues.

    Us little guys (small businesses that employ ALL Bermudians) always get screwed by you damn politicians, no matter the party! And so do the employees! Had enough!

    Quite frankly, neither of you seem up to the job based on this garbage today! Not prioritizing and articulating to us ALL the most important issues that face us and how we should focus all our efforts to resolve same.

    Why are you in politics?

  8. the real Terry says:

    December 1998, small debt, money in the bank, jobs for anyone who wanted to work– December 2012, huge debt, 5000 unemployed or underemployed no money to even pay the civil service in January 2013. These guys wouldn’t know good governance if it bit them in the a$$. Talk about credibility

    • Sara says:

      Some people are so emotional that they are blind and deaf when the facts are presented.

  9. Kevin says:

    wow these guys just have no limit on the BS on what they will do ….you have already have caused enough pain and agony … we must continue on the path to economic growth ..something the plp have no clue what that is oh sorry we were going to grow our fishing industry …but no idea how …and we want to enact anti corruption laws now ….really ? well if anyone knows about corruption I guess you should know how to stop it . No …very sorry I’m not about to give you my vote for sure …you already showed me what you are capable of and i don’t want to live in Berm/Haiti.

  10. trump supporter says:

    They need a fire extinguisher or garden hose next to them when there spewing that hot lava.

  11. Onion says:

    Translation: the PLP as a political party are broke and don’t want to be outspent.

    Their record does speak for itself. They created most of the problems they cite for why Bermudians are unhappy including flat wages, lack of jobs, debt, and the Friends and Famil program.

  12. Oh,I see now says:

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha my wife just showed me the video of the guy laughing about the deal he made with Bob on the airport.

    A MUST SEE!!!!!!!!

  13. Acegurl says:

    Good governance and the PLP, now that’s an oxymoron!

  14. Sorry Sir says:

    The last time you guys wanted to implement a good governance initiative you waited 10 years and the OBA had to implement it for you!

    Yeah, everybody remember when the PATI bill was brought up and who implemented it?

  15. 747 Airbus 380 says:

    WANTED!! toilet paper at alaska hall there is a flood of pure BS flowing

    • steve says:

      hey PLP, Perhaps you have changed or perhaps your full of sh@t! When someone shows you who they are, believe them.

  16. Serious Though says:

    OK OBA ……… let’s this sink…….would be back soon…TBC

  17. Alex Madeiros JP says:

    LMAO this group should win an award for best comedy of the year! And it is only Janaury.

  18. Jahstice says:

    What hypocrites the PLP are.

  19. Do you think that votes are not brought and sold in Bermuda ? People are paid to stay at home , that is how elections are won in Bermuda and around the world. Please open your eyes to these facts.

    • Jus' Wonderin' says:

      paid to stay at home lmfao….suuuuuuuuuuuure! if that’s de case how much ya offering?

  20. sid says:

    Election spending limits and disclosure of donors to political parties are obvious anti-corruption rules that almost every democracy has. Bermuda needs these immediately.

  21. aceboy says:

    Yup, this is just like PATI. All Preparation…no H.

  22. Jadon says:

    Movie out called – The Big Short. All of you should watch it. It explains how the “PLP” caused the world wide recession.

    • Bullnose says:

      Does it explain how the PLPs recession lasted 7 times longer than in other places?

    • scoob says:

      Bermuda’s financial troubles were mainly caused by successive years of failing to balance the budget, and hiring hundreds of people into the public sector to mask rising unemployment.

      Poor financial policies have left this island massively in debt.

    • Double S says:

      Explain to me how the deficit spending splurge which began in 2004 Is due to the Great Recession.

      Explain to me how the Great Recession resulted in every capital project initiated by the PLP to go millions and millions over budget creating the massive deficit and debt mountain under their reign.

      Explain to me how the Great Recession forced PLP MPs to override technical officer recommendations to ensure that capital projects went to their friends and family and coincidentally ended up millions over budget.

      Explain to me how all other similar sized jurisdictions and our trading partners experienced a recession no longer than 18 months, but Bermuda’s economy contracted for 7 years or so.

      I have watched the Big Short and still don’t understand how that resulted in the above and more.

  23. Takbir Karriem Sharrieff says:

    Interesting how everytime the P.L.P.have any air time,,,,or media exposure,,,,,O.B.A. chumps flood the remarks with comments designed to block out good comment from P.L.P.supporters.Nevertheless,,,,we will see you at the next election,,,O.B.A.will be dumped in the garbage dump of posterity and history.

    • Northshore says:

      Thats right we will see you at the next election, you have way to much confidence TKS!!

    • aceboy says:

      It is the PLP hypocrisy that everyone is reacting to.

      For example, Dr. Brown’s lawyer stated that rules were bent during their last rein to level the playing field. That flies completely in the face of what is being said here.

      Which is it? Bendy rules or good governance? Nobody knows because of all the mixed messages.

      To have the PLP come out and claim they are all about good governance given the bendy rules they want to see happen in relation to Rev Tweed at the same time is ridiculous, for example.

    • Just the Tip says:

      Pot calling the kettle black

    • Riley says:

      Indeed. Like it or not, good, bad or indifferent, you are looking at the future because the real silent majority in Bermuda are voters who either vote PLP or not at all. And next time, odds are that turnout will be high.

    • blankman says:

      Yep – when the Party Lacking Principles is back in office we can expect to see Bermuda’s economy tank completely. After all, they created the current mess and the OBA is working to clean it up – and the PLP/BIU/PC alliance is working just as hard to stop them from doing so.

    • Sara says:

      I can hardly believe that anyone in their right mind would vote for a group of people that manged to blow through 1.4 billion dollars in Bermuda’s most prosperous time in history. It takes a real group of idiots to mismanage that much money! Good God people you really can’t be that stupid please tell me you are not that stupid.

    • bdaboy says:

      ” designed to block out good comment from P.L.P.supporters”

      There is never any ‘good comment’ from PLP supporters….just look at all of your own posts

  24. Northshore says:

    The PLP has jokes, nothing more! No plan on how to deal with the debt, why,,, because they don`t have one.

  25. UmJustSaying says:

    The biggest unanswered guestion is…Where is the MONEY?
    The country is being held accountable, no one apparently will be held responsible. Am I to
    believe those people running the country are perfect? I apologize, for thinking that
    so called, smart people make the best decisions.

  26. Jus' Wonderin' says:

    “The PLP in 1999 strengthened the Independence of the Office of the Auditor General.”

    FUNNIEST THING UM READ ALL YEAR!! You ARRESTED de guy!!! lmfao

    • aceboy says:

      They list the Grand Atlantic as an accomplishment on their website. It is quite incredible that they have such a lack of shame.

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