Corporations Become Quangos Or Dissolve?

February 11, 2019 | 39 Comments

Should the Corporations of Hamilton and St. George be changed into quangos while “increasing the Government’s oversight over key initiatives” or should they be dissolved, and have their functions integrated into the “Government’s administrative structure.”

Those are the two options being presented in a public consultation regarding the future of Bermuda’s municipalities.

A Government spokesperson said, “Following public consultation throughout 2018 regarding the future of Bermuda’s municipalities, a policy document has been created for consideration by the public.

“The document, posted on the Government of Bermuda Citizens Forum [https://forum.gov.bm/], invites the public to comment on the two options which Government is currently considering as they move forward with reforming the municipalities in order to ensure their growth and development – a 2018 Throne Speech Initiative.

“The two options are:

  • 1. “Change both corporations to Quangos, leaving each organisation intact as a corporate body but increasing the Government’s oversight over key initiatives.
  • 2. “Dissolving the corporations, repealing the Municipalities Act and integrating the corporations’ various functions into the Government’s administrative structure.

“The Consultation period for this will run from February 12 until February 22.”

“It must be recognised that the City of Hamilton and the Town of St. George play a critical role in the economic health and wealth of Bermuda,” explained Minister of Home Affairs Walter Roban.

“The City of Hamilton is the engine that feeds the life-blood of Bermuda’s businesses. Meanwhile, the Town of St. George is the historical and cultural centre of Bermuda.

“Both cities must be rejuvenated into becoming vibrant entities in order to attract more visitors and greater investment opportunities for our island and its people. At present, both entities have crumbling infrastructure and empty buildings that do not reflect a thriving city and town that is attractive to both visitors and investors.”

“The public may recall that, in March of last year, an Act was passed in Parliament to defer ordinary municipal elections for a year [until May 2019], to allow the Government time to consult with the Corporations of Hamilton and St. George as well as the residents and ratepayers in each municipality; and then determine the most appropriate method to strengthen and modernise governance of the municipalities for the benefit of Bermuda.

“Subsequently, meetings were held with the Corporations of Hamilton and St. George and, in addition, three meetings were held with the constituents of the municipalities. A survey was also conducted in order to obtain feedback from the public.

“Following this consultation, the Government has produced a clear vision for the two municipalities:

“For the City of Hamilton, the vision is a “smart city” infrastructure with a thriving residential centre and entertainment hub with distinct districts to touch all aspects of city living, including a tourism interface.

“In order to achieve this vision, the following needs must be met:

  • “The development of a multi-faceted waterfront;
  • “Increased city living;
  • “Increased use of vacant office space;
  • “Effective traffic management using “smart city” technology;
  • “Encouraging the development of “districts”, e.g. financial, entertainment, restaurant, etc.

“For the Town of St. George, it is envisioned that there will be a mega-yacht port and marina with enhanced infrastructure, amenities and activities.

“In order to achieve this vision, the following needs must be met:

  • “A sustainable management plan for the world heritage site with the appropriate legislation and funding that will give the municipality the ability to effectively implement any recommendations that are identified;
  • “A sustainable year-round [non-seasonal] industry;
  • “Infrastructure and amenities to address the needs of the community, including its businesses;
  • “General necessary infrastructure upgrades.

“At present the municipalities are responsible for mainly infrastructure,” said Minister Roban. “The available evidence suggests that neither Corporation has the financial and other means to achieve and sustain the vision to rejuvenate the cities. It is also evident that Central Government has greater access to the resources and expertise needed to achieve the vision.”

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  1. Ringmaster says:

    Minister Roban says “It is also evident that Central Government has greater access to the resources and expertise needed to achieve the vision.” False. Central Government is propped up by billions of debt and no way do they have expertise or vision. Keep the egos of Central Government well clear.

    Leave the two Corporations as they are and stop interfering and taking away their income streams. They have done well for many years and just need to be nurtured, not bled to death by Central Government leaches.

    • Donderered says:

      Lol, what vision?

    • legalgal says:

      It’s a cash grab. Although given that Hamilton pretty much has all the islands international business assets there does need to be some input. (And previous behaviour leaves much to be desired and needs oversight, other than by the courts!)

      • Pork & Bean says:

        Mr. Robain,

        Ask yourself this one question! What government Ministry or Department operates within budget, is efficiently managed and provides better service than the Corporation of Hamilton or St. george. C’mon Robain and PLP supporters. Name just one!

        Here are some services that are managed by government and you tell me how they rank against how the COH or COSG is run!

        Transportation Board – Bus & Ferries
        Garbage Collection?
        Immigration?
        Customs?
        Post Office?
        Education?

        Before you try to improve something, fix your own mess and clean up your own house!

  2. Rocky5 says:

    “Both cities must be rejuvenated into becoming vibrant entities in order to attract more visitors and greater investment opportunities for our island and its people. At present, both entities have crumbling infrastructure and empty buildings that do not reflect a thriving city and town that is attractive to both visitors and investors.” Has ANYONE looked at the PLP’s TRACK RECORD of REJUVENATION – “couldn’t organize a piss-up in a Brewery” comes to mind!!!

  3. DeOnion says:

    Why isn’t one of the questions about maintaining the status quo?

    • Ironic says:

      That is my reaction as well. So it’s a foregone conclusion that they will dissolve the corporations, yet I don’t recall that being mentioned in the throne speech. Follow the money…

  4. One more thing…who ever owes Mexico MIF money should pay it back.

    • Curious Mind says:

      Mr Smith have you not read any of the stories. The corporation never borrowed a penny . The developer borrowed the money from MIF and then could not repay. The corporation was silly enough to guarantee the repayment of monies they did not borrow. Turns out they could not as they had no authority to do so.

  5. John Lee says:

    The COH should be given less power. They are taking away parking in the city without any feedback, surveys, or input from the general public

    • Sandgrownan says:

      Lol… someone else moaning about parking! There’s plenty, you just have to pay for it now.

      Park in Bulls Head … great value at $5 a day

    • frank says:

      6 bays gone in front of the mall on reid street da

  6. PANGAEA says:

    Is that not the same as putting all the eggs in one basket ?

  7. MB says:

    OK all sounds wonderful, however,
    Wedco certainly has done well and we know why but
    the BLDC is foundering and done
    basically nothing for the East End or St David’s…talk about vision, there has NEVER been one. so if government can’t get that right with all that real estate and commerce opportunity, how can they revive st george’s and do all they say in Hamilton?
    I think the CoSG Corporation has plenty of vision but lacks funding mostly because government took it away and in a certain era,
    treated the Old Town poorly.
    CoH I agree 100% with Government taking it over, they lack structure, vision, collaboration, love red tape etc. And I am sorry but they cannot be forgiven for the disappearing $18mln fiasco, regardless of which admin is at fault.

  8. WarwickLizard says:

    “Increased use of vacant office space”…. until a few years ago Hamilton was pretty darn full. Then, a few years of PLP economic mismanagement later and the overseas companies have pulled out enough to cause a serious drop in office rental prices as buildings struggle to keep themselves full.

    Want to make Hamilton more full? Put the OBA back in power.

    That said, whichever option will generate more Civil Service jobs is what will be done. I think the PLP “Vision 2020″ is about making at least 30% of the working population in the government so they never get booted out of power.

  9. Question says:

    It’s a pity central government can’t run the buses or trash pickup isn’t it. Even with 25-11 they’re unable to get things done.

  10. Boing Boing says:

    part of the great PLP money grab and an avenue to spend more millions for their friends. KEEP their greasy hands OFF. Vision? it is difficult to see out of ones a”" when ones heads are stuck up there.

  11. Kevin says:

    Here we go again the plp want ” Control” really they want the revenue so they can feed their friends and family program…this is getting to be a repetitive state of i’m the boss i’m in charge …plp are in a sad state of affairs..they have no resources to generate revenues they just got slapped back on rental tax ….they are coming and they want money ….these guys cant operate a bus schedule a trash schedule time to resign
    I didn’t vote for them

  12. chocolate coins says:

    plp looking for more ways to get money as they have already spent everything else.
    If people allow this to happen under the plp then Bermuda will become worse than Haiti.

  13. So wildly obvious says:

    Unbelievable. Leave these entities alone. Hands off. It’s obvious that the current government has wanted to get their hands on these assets for years.
    Nothing is run better under an inefficient government.
    As a tax payer in Hamilton, I would strongly revolt and be happy to march in protest.

  14. Rotten Onion says:

    Walter, baby steps first. Lets get a working bus schedule and work on the deficit that your government is running and then maybe we can talk.

  15. 2 Bermudas says:

    All an attempt to grab more assets that they can borrow against to fund lucrative deals to friends and family. The Pee El Pee can’t be trusted!!

  16. Retro says:

    Lol, how about giving the corporations more independence like their own immigration laws. I can’t believe that the bureaucrats think they can rejuvenate Hamilton and St. George’s when they are the ones that have been killing them for years. Control freaks.

  17. Um Um Like says:

    Better idea: The government dissolves and the Corporations take over.

  18. Sandgrownan says:

    Why is it an either or choice?

    The PLP have had a hard on for both corporations for years. It’s part of the get even cash grab,

  19. Comfortably numb says:

    We’ve already seen what happens when the PLP run the COH: remember the Nightmayor and his crew with their new IPads, new suits and, of course, the Black Mayors’ Conference?

  20. Rise says:

    @Sandgrownan So what’s wrong with leveling the playing field?

    • Sandgrownan says:

      I don’t think that’s the question. The issue is PLP interference and they don’t exactly have a good track record do they?

  21. Triangle Drifter says:

    Fingers, round two, trying to get their hands on what does not belong to them.

    The corporations are run by people who have a vested interest in the towns. The way it should be.

  22. Joe Bloggs says:

    Both cities represent a source of wealth and power and the governments that wealth and power

  23. aceboy says:

    More missing funds in the future

  24. Inquiring minds says:

    I want to know where the money is coming from to purchase the city land. The ratepayers of the city own the land and if the Gov dissolves the CoH then they have to buy it and distribute to the ratepayers of which 99.6%was paid by commercial ratepayers.
    There are ample legal opinions to show Gov the error of going this route.
    Stay with the WEDCO model and leave the assets alone.

    • Kevin says:

      you are right but you know ….there is no cure for stupid …and guess who that is referring to …they tried their very best to sink the corporation of st Geo ….and failed …but the brainwashed plp believers in the east end want to belive it never happened the 2 plp mps are wallowing away in never never land they don’t have any thing to give and cant do anything they need to resign and lets give people with vision and enthusiasm an opportunity

  25. Mark says:

    Onion Juice will probably be Mayor. Fourth World status here we come. Stock up on Pedigree and old tires.

  26. Curious Mind says:

    If the Goverment chooses to dissolve the municipalities then I want to know where they will be the funds to compensate for the land and infrastructure in both that are the property of the city ratepayers, not the public of Bermuda nor the Government of Bermuda. The commercial ratepayer in the city has paid 98+% of the taxes to buy, build and maintain the roads , sewage lights etc etc. They will need to have the funds distributed and that is a real dogs breakfast. Probably why they chose not to do so with the GLC when Maggie Thatcher tried it on.
    The easier less legal issues would be to use the WEDCO model and continue to have the more efficient city run under their own management with Government oversight .
    THe city has a functioning Asset management programme and a Fleet maintenance management programme along with tree policies etc etc. The Asset Management was required by the central government in 2014 /2015. None of these exist in the central government so I do not know who is writing the releases for the Minister but they did not do much research.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      Now, now. The Government has recently agreed to pay compensation to people who are alleged to have broken the law, but when has Government promised to pay compensation for taking property away from people?

  27. Ringmaster says:

    Following this consultation, the Government has produced a clear vision for the two municipalities:”For the Town of St. George, it is envisioned that there will be a mega-yacht port and marina with enhanced infrastructure, amenities and activities”.

    Correct but that has nothing to do with Government and all to do with the private sector, in this case led by Mark Soares. How may years has he been pressing for permission? Why doesn’t he have the planning permission to complete this, because Government has been in the way that’s why, but now want to take credit for their vision.

    Government should stick to Fintech where they know they have no clue as evidenced by today’s announcement. A glaring example of their failed vision.

  28. just wondering says:

    lets see…. Heritage wharf, Lois Browne Evans building, port royal Golf course renovation, fintech, gaming (and I could easily go on) with a track record like this its breathtaking that the Government has the gall to suggest they could do a better job in “taking over” the Corporations!! They have taken more than 17 years to even sort out a bus timetable FGS!!!!!

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