Minister: BLDC Not Met Requirements Of Act

September 15, 2017 | 25 Comments

The Bermuda Land Development Company [BLDC] has not met the requirements of the Companies Act 1981, Minister of Public Works Lt/Col David Burch said in the House of Assembly today [Sept 15], adding that this is “a serious breach of financial regulations” and he is “astounded by the lack of oversight by the previous shareholders.”

Minister Burch said, “I rise today to inform Members of this House, and the public, about the state of affairs that was discovered at the Bermuda Land Development Company Limited [BLDC] upon assuming office.

“Because this House has oversight of all Government expenditure and because the then Government was so ‘gung ho’ on following every item of previous Government expenditure, I was more than a little surprised to discover that under their watch, there is a Government entity that has not met the requirements of the Companies Act 1981.

“The entity about which I speak, is the Bermuda Land Development Company. The Company, I have been informed, has audited financials for the year 2011; but these financials have not been submitted because there has been no Annual General Meeting [AGM] since 2011.

“The last audited accounts tabled at an AGM are the audited accounts for the year ending March 31, 2009. The auditing of the 2010 and 2011 accounts have only recently been completed by the Office of the Auditor General. Management of the BLDC has since 2011 requested the auditing process be sped up, even offering to pay additional costs to have the audits outsourced, without success.

“To be clear – this statement is in no way criticism of the Board or staff of the BLDC – who in the face of complete irresponsibility by their shareholders tried as best they could to comply with the law.

“I can confirm that the current shareholders will, with a sense of urgency, take the necessary steps to bring the company fully in compliance with the Company’s Act in accordance with the sanction granted from the Registrar of Companies.

“This is a serious breach of financial regulations and I am astounded by the lack of oversight by the previous shareholders but Mr. Speaker, I am equally astounded at the inaction of the Office of the Auditor General – who many will recall quite doggedly went after this Party when we were previously in government but have acted doubly reckless in this regard by not conducting audits over 5 years and then incredibly refusing to allow the Company to seek redress form an outside auditing firm. I trust the Parliamentary oversight committee of this office will conduct a full investigation.”

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to inform Members of this House, and the public, about the state of affairs that was discovered at the Bermuda Land Development Company Limited [BLDC] upon assuming office.

Mr. Speaker, this is a part of my duty that I do not enjoy, but as you will be aware all Government departments and entities must report to this House, whether through their Ministers – or by the tabling of annual audited financial statements.

In fact, it is our responsibility as Ministers to report to this place.

Mr. Speaker, because this House has oversight of all Government expenditure and because the then Government was so ‘gung ho’ on following every item of previous Government expenditure, I was more than a little surprised to discover that under their watch, there is a Government entity that has not met the requirements of the Companies Act 1981.

Mr. Speaker, the entity about which I speak, is the Bermuda Land Development Company. The Company, I have been informed, has audited financials for the year 2011; but these financials have not been submitted because there has been no Annual General Meeting [AGM] since 2011.

Mr. Speaker, you will know that there are 2 shareholders of the Company, the Ministers of Finance and Public Works and I can report that the share transfer from the former ministers to the current ones went smoothly. Sadly, that is all that has gone smoothly.

The last audited accounts tabled at an AGM are the audited accounts for the year ending March 31, 2009. The auditing of the 2010 and 2011 accounts have only recently been completed by the Office of the Auditor General. Management of the BLDC has since 2011 requested the auditing process be sped up, even offering to pay additional costs to have the audits outsourced, without success.

To be clear – this statement is in no way criticism of the Board or staff of the BLDC – who in the face of complete irresponsibility by their shareholders tried as best they could to comply with the law.

Mr. Speaker, upon learning of this situation – in consultation with the other shareholder, the Minister of Finance – we inquired of the remedy to this situation and were advised that a sanction is required from the Registrar of Companies for those years in which there are no audited financial statements.

Such a sanction was applied for and the Registrar of Companies saw fit on August 24th to confer such an Order – contingent upon the said General Meeting being held and a copy of the Minutes being filed with the Registrar within 3 months. I do not know what the Registrar of Companies thinks of this matter, but I do know that the oversight provided by the then Government was not oversight at all.

Mr. Speaker, I can confirm that the current shareholders will, with a sense of urgency, take the necessary steps to bring the company fully in compliance with the Company’s Act in accordance with the sanction granted from the Registrar of Companies.

Mr. Speaker, this is a serious breach of financial regulations and I am astounded by the lack of oversight by the previous shareholders but Mr. Speaker, I am equally astounded at the inaction of the Office of the Auditor General – who many will recall quite doggedly went after this Party when we were previously in government but have acted doubly reckless in this regard by not conducting audits over 5 years and then incredibly refusing to allow the Company to seek redress form an outside auditing firm. I trust the Parliamentary oversight committee of this office will conduct a full investigation.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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Comments (25)

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  1. inna says:

    Although i already know the answer, the learned Minister should also look into who paid BLDC employee salaries last week during the “cleanup effort” down at clearwater middle school, authorized by their boss who is a newly appointed senator.

    Furthermore, i wonder if these workers look around on their way to work and notice how southside St. Davids has looked like a jungle for the past few weeks?

    • spider says:

      Wrong

      Not their boss.

      Why you complaining Belco is going to the Caribbean so are the regiment and your paying for it.

  2. Good Job but... says:

    Good detective work. However, my question is whether or not your position applies to all companies. I seem to remember BIU being 10 years behind on financials same rules for all? We await your reply.

  3. Fisherman says:

    Who are their shareholders? We would love to know

    • Albie says:

      Minister of Works and the Minister of Finance are the only shareholders. I note that the Minister of Finance aka the Premier has not voiced any concern over this matter.

    • spider says:

      There are two shareholders 1) Minister of Finance 2) Minister Of Works And Engineering.
      D.Burch is Minister Of Works & Engineering, Premier D Burt is Minister Of Finance.

  4. Meh. says:

    I find it ridiculous that in this day and age the government can lag that far behind.

    However what is up with Burch’s tone? This is the best witch hunt he can come up with? Yep, auditor general dropped the ball with BLDC…but the OBA came into power in 2012, meaning that the PLP also dropped the ball…not having an AGM with BLDC for 3 years either….Very much the pot calling the kettle…

  5. Bolt Action says:

    Don’t we all remember how Col. Burch treated the Auditor General Mr. Larry Dennis! This is all part of the plan to be-little and marginalize the Auditor General!!!!!!!!

  6. They were too busy catering for an over paid sail boat race and taking people to court.

    • Yes Eye says:

      Overpaid? 4 million for a 2 hour Beyonce that drew (maybe 100 toursists here) was not overpaid, but $70 million for a 5 week event that saw thousand of people and got us worldwide coverage was? But then again we all know you have always been the PLP cheerleader. Unbiasd much are we.

    • wahoo says:

      Your new DUMBEST comment ever….really? Are you that F-in’ brain washed? Do you think that the government taking people to court (I assume I know the cases you refer) was some sort of waste of time? The AC was a lot more than “a boat race” as you so stupidly put it, but that has been explained to you before so I am not going to try again.

  7. really says:

    Sounds like the PLP years put a severe blockage in the process.

    Who was on the board in 2009,2010,2011 and 2012?

  8. Oh the dirt under old rugs says:

    2011… let me just brush this under this rug here…
    2017… oh they never cleaned under here!

  9. Albie says:

    I too am shocked by the sorry state of the BLDC books. One can only imagine the deplorable state of affairs if only recently the 2011 accounts have finally been audited.

    Without question the complexity and apparent lack of financial controls in that organization have caused the delay as I believe that all other quangos are up to date so I very much doubt the fault lies with the office of the auditor general.

    I do recall that audit staff were moved into all ministries in order to avoid just this sort of problem.

    • spider says:

      You don’t have a clue what you are talking about. Do some research before you make unfounded ignoramus accusations about their books.

  10. just wondering says:

    Minister…. any others we can think of?? Any unions or charities perhaps that should also be named??

  11. Albie says:

    If the minister is so incensed over the lack of progress/work in the auditors office what has he to say of the total lack of productivity on the bus stop repairs by Marley Beach. The crew has been on site the whole week and not a thing has been done except to sit down and read.

    I’m sure the workers are ready to do their job so it must be a lack of materials or maybe no one bothering to give them directions? Either way 4 or more men and all their gear are doing nothing all week and we the taxpayer are paying for it.

    What has the minister to say in his defense given he passes that way daily?

  12. Real Onion says:

    “a serious breach of financial regulations”

    is he talking about the plp?

    btw,we don’t care what you think!

  13. MB says:

    Sorry how on Earth can Burch not blame the CEO, staff and board…??? Ludicrous…this is getting stupid. I can see the plp’s game here but can we please worry about the bigger picture, like what exactly is it the bldc has done in a decade, just compare to wedco…and look at the opportunities in Southside and then see what a mess it is and lacking if any vision at all…they should all be fired
    For not doing their jobs TODAY.

  14. Jose says:

    What has he done for marraige equality ?

  15. Ringmaster says:

    Never a good idea to trash the Office of the Auditor General. That position is not political and is outside the control of Government, thankfully. It’s a bit like trashing an Immigration Officer or a Customs Officer. They can make your life very difficult. All this faux outrage that emerged this week will come back to haunt all the Ministers.

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