Minister: ‘Expensive Lesson Learned By Police’

July 12, 2019 | 21 Comments

“This has been an expensive lesson learned by the Bermuda Police Service,” Minister of National Security Wayne Caines said in reference to the  sale of the boat purchased by the police for $1.6 million, and sold years later for $69,000.

The Minister was speaking in the House of Assembly today [July 12]  about sale of the Marine Police vessel – The Guardian — which was recently sold for $69,000, after initially being purchased by the police for approximately $1.6 million in 2006.

“After careful analysis it is clear that the police hierarchy did not conduct the appropriate cost benefit and operational analysis prior to purchasing the Guardian 13 years ago,” the Minister said.

“During the past 13 years the vessel has been deployed on a limited number of occasions. It was never fit for its intended purpose as a marine patrol vessel. The operational use of the Guardian required 6 officers and fuel cost of approximately $1,000 per daily deployment. Mooring costs were also approximately $24,000 per year.

“In 2018 the vessel was assessed and it was determined that the value had decreased to between $300,000 and $350,000 under normal market conditions. The BPS was advised that it would cost up to $100,000 in repairs to make the boat seaworthy. Without the $100,000 in repairs, the resale value would likely not be much more than $50,000. Simply put, the BPS could not afford to maintain the boat any longer.

“With neither the BPS nor the RBR having financial capacity or use for the vessel, a submission was made for sale,” the Minister said, explaining that “following the tendering process two offers were received; one for $42,000 and the second for $69,000.”

“Sale was agreed to the highest bid at $69,000 in line with the requirements for disposal of capital assets under Financial Instructions,” Minister Caines said. “The sale of the Guardian was the only sound financial decision when considering the mooring cost at $24,000 per year, exorbitant fuel costs, ongoing maintenance, and the additional $100,000 that would have needed to be spent to make the boat seaworthy.

“This has been an expensive lesson learned by the Bermuda Police Service,” he added.

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker, I would like to provide this Honourable House with some facts that informed the Government’s decision with reference to the recent sale of the Marine Police vessel – The Guardian. Honourable Members will be aware that the boat was recently sold for $69,000. The boat was purchased in 2006 as a new marine vessel for the Bermuda Police Service. The boat was bought for approximately $1.6 million from Australia.

Mr. Speaker, it is important that I note at the outset that operational responsibility of the BPS is the remit of His Excellency, the Governor. However, after careful analysis it is clear that the police hierarchy did not conduct the appropriate cost benefit and operational analysis prior to purchasing the Guardian 13 years ago.

Mr. Speaker, during the past 13 years the vessel has been deployed on a limited number of occasions. It was never fit for its intended purpose as a marine patrol vessel. The operational use of the Guardian required 6 officers and fuel cost of approximately $1,000 per daily deployment. Mooring costs were also approximately $24,000 per year.

Mr. Speaker, in 2018 the vessel was assessed and it was determined that the value had decreased to between $300,000 and $350,000 under normal market conditions. The BPS was advised that it would cost up to $100,000 in repairs to make the boat seaworthy. Without the $100,000 in repairs, the resale value would likely not be much more than $50,000. Simply put, the BPS could not afford to maintain the boat any longer.

Mr. Speaker, the Royal Bermuda Regiment was approached to determine if the vessel could be incorporated into the fleet for the Boat Troop, and later the RBR Coast Guard. The RBR declined the offer as acquiring the vessel presented many challenges. The current maintenance budget for all RBR boats is approximately $10,000. The annual maintenance of the Guardian is much higher, without accounting for the $24,000 annually in moorings fees. RBR currently perform all maintenance on its present fleet. Special training and tools would need to be procured for the Caterpillar C12 motors on the Guardian, and require a financial outlay of thousands of dollars.

Mr. Speaker, if the RBR took possession of the Guardian, based upon the RBR forecast of events and training days, the vessel would only be operated 6-7 times a year for training purposes. This is not practical and does not show value for money to the taxpayers. Additionally, the vessel is not designed to be operated close to shore. The proposed operating area of the RBR Coast Guard is inshore and out up to 12 nautical miles. In short, the Guardian was not fit for purpose within the current Boat Troop or for the developing Coast Guard element. The cost is too high for the RBR operating budget.

Mr. Speaker, with neither the BPS nor the RBR having financial capacity or use for the vessel, a submission was made for sale under Government tendering regulations. Rather than continue to pour good money into a bad investment, the decision was made to advertise the Guardian for sale. Bids were invited in the Royal Gazette on 11th and 13th December 2018. Following the tendering process two offers were received; one for $42,000 and the second for $69,000.

Mr. Speaker, the Accountant General raised no issues with the fact that only two bids were received. As the Accounting Officer of the BPS, the decision on which offer to accept was made by the Commissioner of Police. Sale was agreed to the highest bid at $69,000 in line with the requirements for disposal of capital assets under Financial Instructions.

Mr. Speaker, the sale of the Guardian was the only sound financial decision when considering the mooring cost at $24,000 per year, exorbitant fuel costs, ongoing maintenance, and the additional $100,000 that would have needed to be spent to make the boat seaworthy. This has been an expensive lesson learned by the Bermuda Police Service.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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Comments (21)

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  1. Dunn juice says:

    Last two years have been an expensive lesson, and still going!

  2. Rocky5 says:

    Typical PLP, trying to blame someone else for their huge incompetence

    • Pork & Bean says:

      Mr. Caines. Why no reserve. Even if there was no interest in Bermuda, that boat was large enough to do a trans atlantic crossing and could have been put up for sale in the US. Why wasn’t it?!

  3. question says:

    Don’t you love how he tries to blame everyone in sight except for the government who actually bought the waste-of-money vessel in 2006.
    The 2005-2006 BPS Annual Report has two photographs right at the front. The men who took credit for it. Randy Horton, and Derrick Burgess. The Ministers for Labour, Home Affairs, and Public Safety through that time.
    And the annual report includes the following reminder about who was actually calling the shots on spending money and buying new equipment:

    “In 1977, the Governor, under Section 62 (2) of the Constitution, delegated certain administrative
    responsibilities of the BPS to the Minister responsible for Labour, Home Affairs and Public
    Safety.
    Those delegated responsibilities are:
    • Establishment matters
    • Recruitment
    • Training
    • Equipment
    • General Organisation
    • Finance
    • Community Relations”

    So when Caines says that the people in charge at the time “did not conduct the appropriate cost benefit and operational analysis prior to purchasing the Guardian 13 years ago.”, it’s Burgess and Horton, the PLP Ministers, who he is talking about.

  4. aceboy says:

    LOL

    It was them, not us.

    Laughable.

  5. gizajob says:

    reminds me of the lesson of the Titty Milk comment

    • Dr. Wahoo says:

      How about the lesson learned at Port Royal? Berkley? Grand Atlantic? Not sure about Sandys 360 because I am not aloud to read the report. Did we learn why twice a week trash collection is better than once a week? Did we learn where the $800 Million is? Slowly we are learning that attracting Billionaire yacht owners is a good idea.

  6. puzzled says:

    Typical Wayne.
    Blame it on someone else and deflect.
    Not on his watch but the blame game continues.

    I’ll stop.

  7. Navin Johnson says:

    Purchased in Australia probably got some Government officials a few trips to Australia to check on the boat…more of the hundreds of millions squandered by the PLP

  8. Dollar dave says:

    Please remind me whom was the govt at that time. Y’all bought a pig in a poke, but now it’s the polices fault. Well your give ok it and paid for it but guess y’all didn’t have any nautical expertise in the house

  9. Chauncey says:

    What about the tug/rescue vessel EDWARD STOWE? DREB bought a 50 year old tug for $500.000 and spent another $500.000… $1 MILLION that was WASTED and the vessel still sits at Dockyard… an eyesore.

    The joke was on is There where 5 of these former US Army tugs. The Nigerian govt paid $50,000 for each of the tugs. The fourth tug was sold to an America buyer for $80,000, but the tug had $30,000 of fuel on board. The fifth buyer bought one for $50,000. Put the boat at a mooring and waited for a sucker to come along. Along comes DREB and Marine & Ports and paid $500,000! You don’t believe me. Go to the US Army tug.

    • sandgrownan says:

      No one ever accused DREB of being careful with the public purse.

  10. PANGAEA says:

    Now we don’t have a Navy !

  11. Triangle Drifter says:

    The PLP was in charge when that white elephant was purchased. Who was the police commissioner at the time. More important, who was the PLP Minister who had the final say. Is that person still an MP. If so, does that person hold a position of responsibility?

  12. Joe Bloggs says:

    “The boat was purchased in 2006 …”

    Would someone please remind me who was Premier at that time.

  13. Y-Gurl says:

    Oh come on is this just being written off as an expensive lesson or gross financial mismanagement

  14. Peso Pete says:

    i do believe the pop was in power at the time so one of their bright sparks ok’d concept n signed the check etc. Mr C take some responsibility for ONCE you lot are totally devoid of acceptance tp a fault. Guess what we are ALL human and make a screw up and we have to own up.

  15. MM says:

    When it’s the people’s money , there is less concern , there is less diligence. If there is a shortfall simply raise taxes. As you raise taxes the seniors continue to receive limited service ,and a growing lack of sympathy. If reference to a police station in St George’s house all prisoners at Southside and share office space with the Customs on Ordinance Island or as close as possible to York Street.

    • There you go says:

      The jewelry store needs a safe. Pure and simple! No need to have all of us pay for a new police station! Seriously?

      And after 2 robberies maybe one says to oneself “I should put the jewelry in a safe”?

  16. MM says:

    Did anyone look to see how countries of similar size patrol their waters. and why are we having to pay mooring fees ? I wonder what the Blue Heron back in the 1980,s cost to operate, and if it had met it’s responsibilities at that times

  17. Mark says:

    They can’t blame Papa Doc – he’s still pulling their strings like the muppets they are.

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