OBA’s Francis On Planning Review Delay

March 15, 2012

[Updated] Four months after Walter Roban resigned following the planning appeal controversy, One Bermuda Alliance candidate Anthony Francis said the length of time the review is taking “seems extraordinary especially in the light of the controversy that was caused.”

Environment, Planning and Infrastructure Minister Marc Bean is reviewing planning appeals by fellow Cabinet Ministers Zane DeSilva and Wayne Furbert which were originally granted last year by then-Minister Walter Roban.

Mr Roban’s decision was declared invalid because he had already left that portfolio before his Parliamentary colleagues had been notified. He resigned from Cabinet on 17 November 2011 citing the “heightened public criticism” of his decisions as Minister “in two particular matters.”

Mr Francis said, “On Jan 9th – Senator Michael Fahy renewed the call on Minister Marc Bean to address the controversial planning decisions taken by former Minister Walter Roban. It is now March 15th and still no resolution to the controversy.

“I know Minister Marc Bean as a man of action and execution so this delay has me perplexed. Minister Bean understands the “air of uncertainty” and the effect that it has on the public. The calls to the Minister to make a decision should not be viewed as the Opposition attempting to “rush a decision” but as assistance in “clearing the air”.

“Minister Roban resigned because of this issue and the lack of a decision leaves the Ex Minister with an asterisk next to his name that could very simply be cleared. The Environment Lobby Group BEST believes that the ex‐Minister “subverted” the system.

“There have been cries of collusion and cronyism. I think that Minister Bean can remove the asterisk and quiet the cries with a long sought after decision. If Minister Bean agrees with Ex‐Minister Roban then say so. If Minister Bean disagrees with Ex‐Minister Roban then say so.

“As the Devonshire North Central candidate for the OBA, the due diligence process is understood and I appreciate Minister Marc Bean for doing his due diligence, however, if one Minister can review the same information and make a decision, the length of time it is taking for this review seems extraordinary especially in the light of the controversy that was caused.

“Minister Bean obviously knows how to make good decisions in the light of good information as seen by his welcomed change to the Dog Breeding Restrictions.  My request to the Minister is to continue to make good decisions and let the people of Bermuda, in particular the residents of Devonshire, know what the decision on this matter is.”

The Environment and Planning Ministry has not responded to our request for comment yet, however we will update as able.

Update 10.06am: The Ministry responded, saying: “The Minister wishes to assure the public that when
a decision is made, they will be notified.”

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Comments (49)

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  1. no strategy says:

    Hmm, I wonder who wrote that release? Likely Grant Gibbons.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Your point????

      • Have a Cold One says:

        And how many of D Browns speeches were written by him? People that live in grass houses should not throw stones?

    • ap says:

      and you think all of the repsonses by the ministers are written by the ministers themselves? 80% of the PLP ministers cannot even read whats written on that piece of paper properly, let along draft it up. politics is politics mate.. maybe the bigger issue at hand should be focused on, such as building on marshland, illegally, and done my a government minister who was no longer in a position of authority to do so.

    • Hmmmm says:

      We want to knew what is happening with this situation. Do your job Bean and stop procrastinating already. Ps no strategy…speak on the subject, it has far more importance than your impotent agenda based insult of Mr Francis.

    • Iron Man says:

      I don’t normally comment on this website as I’m much to busy running my business in this wonderful Island I now call my home. I employ Bermudians as well as experts from Canada and my country the United States of America where needed. My assets are above the average man and with all my wealth this couldn’t have been done if it wasn’t for the share holders focusing on the task at hand. I sit here and watch your young black men kill each other monthly with no end in site of these vast murders. Stop playing politics with your people over 2 or 3 trees and get on with saving someones son’s life. The One Bermuda Alliance has yet to provided a clear plan and although you were picking up steam, the Progressive Labour Party supporters are starting to notice all the hot air coming from your party. Where there is steam there is fire, but in most situations the fire is blowing out.

      The present Government will win the next election, if the OBA does not focus on the Islands needs. Listen to the people of you beautiful country and understand what they want!

  2. Cancer says:

    Yup! Here we go again with this government – can’t make the decisions and trying to wait it out. It’s all about hooking up family and friends with these guys. Well let’s see how the flipPLoP is gonna spin out of this one!

  3. Cancer says:

    No strategy what does he person who wrote the release have to do with anything? Are you another blind loyalist? You need to stick to the main issue and not get distracted by the unnecessary.

  4. Verbal Kint says:

    And that matters how? What about the content?

  5. Triangle Drifter says:

    The PLP is hoping that “this too shall pass” & the permits can be granted quietly when the public is distracted towards another issue. Standard MO for the PLP. Deception.

    Hope the OBA is keeping tabs on this issue & many more. The forgetful voters will need reminding when the election is called.

  6. kevin says:

    Mr Francis is absolutely correct that this review has taken long. However as a resident of Devonshire I can safely say I have more important things to worry about than this!

    • C. Anthony Francis (OBA Candidate #13) says:

      Kevin, you can contact me at any time afrancis@oba.bm or 294-3213 if you want to discuss our additional issues in Devonshire. Any contact with me will be kept confidential unless you deem it otherwise. I completely agree that there are other issues but this one has long term ramifications if forgotten.

      • Voice of Reason says:

        What long term ramifications? The items are under review and just like when they were first decided they are released to the public. The planning process is PUBLIC, you can’t do things in secret as any objector to any project (BEST) is notified of any decision or overrule.

        Also, did you write the statement above or did someone else write it and put your name on it. In case you did, it’s “Asterisk” and not “Asterix” the latter being a french cartoon character.

  7. Tolerate says:

    Have to agree. It is common for Bermudians to raise a fuss, than let things be. Best bet; let things go quite for a while than sneak in the approval. Is this not the same guy who showed himself recently by ranting and raving about OBA leader Cannonier being only in position because he was black, in the middle of an important debate? Had time to come up this worn out crap, but cannot sort out a royal mess that his colleagues have created.
    Always gave Walter Roban credit for falling on his sword (even if he may have been pushed), but to take over and not update the public to the issue. This really is poor. Yes, take time to make a good decision but don’t ignore the public who have been up in arms over the announcement. This hush, hush can be interpreted as being hand tied to rule against his colleagues, and just postpone it until after the election (of which hopefully they will win) than release the bomb. Let the peasant complain all they want after that.
    I am not an OBA follower or member and I did vote for change in 1998; but damn really? This bunch gives me shivers up my spine in their handling of any situation.
    Not even going to comment on the question of who wrote the release. Personally, I don’t give a damn but I’ve been asking myself the same thing and finally some-one in the political arena has addressed it. Should not have come to this.

  8. THE REALITY says:

    Mr. Francis “Why are you worrying about Walter Robain 4?” He has already resigned! Worry about the OBA!! This sentence right here infuriates me, “There have been cries of collusion and cronyism.” The nerve! Anthony u better take the spec out of your own eye b4 trying to take the spec out of someone else’s eyes. U live in a glass house but ya throwing the biggest bolders. Cronyism is is one of the main premises that OBA/UBP stand 4. Oh and another thing how did u ever think you could work for this Government as a civil servant and come on the local news and Bad Mouth the government of the day.(What were u smoking that day?) What good really and truly were u expecting to come out of that? Did u really expect to keep your job 4 real? Thats like me going on the news tonight and bad mouthing my employer and hoping to still have a job in the morning. It don’t work like dat as you can see and its no ones fault but your own. Its because of ya MOUTH that you were terminated! I’ve said it once and i’ll say it again “the OBA are the UBP just with a different name and a few black candidates that they USE to get the BLACK vote and then do awyay with them afterwards. Ask Gina Spence if you don’t believe me!

    not because of whand you have the nerve to talk about Cronyism

    • Have a Cold One says:

      And how would you classify the PLP…a bunch of black candidates with a few white candidates that they use to get the white vote? REALITY wake up …the race card has been played and abused over and over and over again and nobody plays that game anymore. The race card diversion trick does not work anymore! I see why you call yourself REALITY. You are played out, over rated and the general public is wiser and plain old tired or fake arse REALITY shows.

  9. Cancer says:

    C. Anthony Francis (OBA Candidate #13) – your immediate response to Kevin really impresses me. I wonder how many PLP candidates reads these blogs and would respond directly to a blogger. I hope the people of Bermuda are taking note ESP those persons that are not sure were to cast their vote. Anthony your response shows the OBA have the personal and team that listens and are willing to take Bermuda to higher heights. The PLP have failed this country and it’s time for us all to rise together. Everyone…. be like OBAma – keep hope alive – think and vote OBA! We’re the only team that can do it!

    • YES MATE! says:

      The Pee el Pee pay spashulneedsgurl4 and LaWerne to reply to posts here.

      • Have a Cold One says:

        Lies and Slander!!!!! I don’t believe that for a minute! Doesn’t the BIU pay her to do a job there? She is way to busy with the accounting there to concentrate on such trivial matters! If she did they would be way behind.

  10. Hmmmmm says:

    The release is pathetic and poorly written, but I agree that’s not relevant. After the OBA’s piss-poor performance and drivel during this Budget debate, that’s consistent.So, a Minister rushes and he’s wrong for doing so. A Minister takes his time and he’s wrong for doing so. The mind boggles. Could it be that Minister Bean has asked the independent inspector from the UK to look at this and give him a view and he will act accordingly? If so, that takes some time. Surely you all must be happy if that’s the case; it ticks two boxes you love dearly: independent and British. All hail….

    • Mad Dawg says:

      It’s taken five and a half months, so far. How many months do you think it should take for Mr Bean to review the inside cronyism of his predecessor?

      • Hmmmmm says:

        5 1/2 months ain’t no wait. I’ve been waiting for 40 years to find out how Camden became the Premier’s official residence when it used to be part of the Tucker Estate. Guess we didn’t have an Auditor General in those days. But no matter, that was business; these days its corruption.Sit tight, you might just have to wait as long as me.

        • Mad Dawg says:

          Your reply makes no sense. Roban gave favours to his insider friends. He overturned planning rejections. He had to resign.

          This isn’t a hard case. It’s completely obvious what happened.

          • Hmmmmm says:

            Mind you don’t do yourself an injury jumping to those conclusions. You’re an argument against PATI. Who needs it when from the media you have made your findings.

            • Mad Dawg says:

              What conclusion did I jump to? Everything I said is obviously true.
              he did favours for his friends (other government ministers).
              Planning applications had in each case been rejected.
              He did have to resign because of it.

              It’s inconvenient when the plain facts are out in the open, isn’t it?

            • jt says:

              There is NO arguement against PATI. How long is that going to take, BTW???? After the next election is a certainty – how long? Who knows?

        • I'm just sayin... says:

          Talk about waiting in vain……Really you’ve been waiting 40 years for that answer?

          Camden, along that part of The Botanical Gardens were a bequest from the Tucker Estate to the People of Bermuda.

          Camden House, built around 1714, was purchased by Francis Jones, son of Colonel Thomas Jones of Paget Parish. He lived here till 1796 when he died of Yellow Fever.

          Subsequently the house was bought over by Henry James Tucker in 1823 who was the Mayor of Hamilton City between 1851 to 1870.

          During his time, he also built an arrowroot factory behind the house, which is now occupied by the Masterworks Foundation.

          In 1966 Camden House became a government property open to public with its historic exhibits and treasures.

          Some of the great attractions in the house includes:

          A hand carved cedar panel in the dining room with ‘Bird’s Eye’ and having intricate grains. It took some 30 years for a cabinet maker to complete this and the other cedar furniture in the dining room in the 1800s.
          Cedar Tables and chairs in the dining room with seating provision for 24 persons.

          William and Mary cushion molded mirror over the dining room fireplace.

          Stunning Waterford crystal chandelier in the drawing room. The Sheraton console table (of 1790s) and the cedar chest (of 1750s) are worth noting as well. There are Adam style fireplaces at both end of the drawing room.
          Next to the Drawing room is the study which has cedar bookshelves with lots of local books in them.

          There is a gallery that has many artworks provided by the Bermuda Society of Arts.

          Open Hours
          The curator opens the house for public tours between 12 noon – 2pm on Tuesdays and Fridays, provided there are no official functions taking place. There is no admission fee.

          • Hmmmmm says:

            “a bequest” ? really…….oh ok….proof that he who writes it controls the history……that’s not how i remember it.

            • Triangle Drifter says:

              What happened? That is not the answer you were looking for or want to believe therefore it is not true?

              I was growing up in the neighbourhood, sort of, around that time. Even played on that property on occasion but more often across the road.

              Sorry if it does not fit your playbook but it is as I’m Just sayin is, a freebee to the people of Bermuda just like the land on either side of Trimingham Hill N roundabout & indeed a number of large tracts of land around Bermuda.

              • Hmmmmm says:

                “What happened? That is not the answer you were looking for or want to believe therefore it is not true?” – Hello pot this is kettle !!! (been dying to use that….some other equally jaded blogger uses it all the time) lmao

                • star man says:

                  You just don’t know when to quit; you have been outclassed by the truth. You sound ridiculous.

            • LOL (original TM*) says:

              Dude you were alive then his whole post goes from 1714-1966 wow!!! As I told you once you’ve had a good run time to let the next generation take care of the country..


          • Family Man says:

            I didn’t know that. Thanks.

            And I guess Hmmmmm’s long wait is over. LOL

        • Have a Cold One says:

          Trying taking a visit and ask a question on one of the tours. Check the Library, public records, Achives, Royal Gazette etc…You couldnt have tried too hard to get that answer!

    • verbal kint says:

      If that is what he has done, why not just inform the public of that fact. He has said nothing.

  11. Tolerate says:

    Could it be? We may never know. Don’t treat us as children. I pray this is just what is causing the delay, a truly independent none biased inspectors verdict.
    Wait for it……

  12. Rockfish#1 and#2 says:

    The typical Government response of “it too shall pass” will not work in this instance.
    Bean would be unwise to use that strategy, and deal with this as a matter of urgency.
    He needs to prove himself to we folks in Warwick.

  13. 911 says:

    Dear Mr. Francis,
    Thank you for reminding the general public that the Minister has not dealt with these outstanding issues.
    Please keep up the good work. While some many think that this is petty, right thinking people recognise that it is a sign that we are letting our standards slip.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      “Letting standards slip” ?????

      You are far too polite.

  14. Itsaboutallofus says:

    This guy just loves to talk.

    • LOL (original TM*) says:

      Yea and we (collectively) like to type……………..


  15. Bda Speaks says:

    I will be brief. It’s almost comical to read comments by people like Mr. Francis that seems to have no real understanding of the planning process. Unlike Mr. Francis, I can speak from a position of having to gone through the appeal process on more than a few occasions (some approved, some turned down and upheld by Minister and some appeals dismissed outright)….

    1. The appeals upheld by the former Minister have been declared invalid hence whatever planning permission that was agreed to with the appeal approval does not exist anymore.

    2. There is no time-frame for appeals to be ruled on by a Minister. In fact, appeals are firstly reviewed by the overseas inspector and can take anywhere from a few months to a year to be seen, as he only visits when there are sufficient appeals filed to warrant the expense. Once he rules, the file is sent to the Minister for review. As our legislation is written the final decision is the Minister’s alone and the only way to challenge this is via our judicial system. Is this right, I don’t think so, but it is the law as it is written right now, so I respect it. There have been more than a few “controversial” appeals approved by the former government as well. Why we always feel the goal posts must be moved because a decision doesn’t sit with us personally is short-sighted at best.

    3. When the appeal is ruled on, it automatically become public knowledge and publically available for anyone to review by going to planning and asking to see the file.

    4. The hypocrisy is astounding as Mr. Francis demands these Minister’s appeals be put ahead of another pending appeals and more important matter, seemingly just to satisfy his desperate need for political points for his doomed bid for parliament

    As brief as I can…..

    • Mad Dawg says:

      This wasn’t an appeal process. It was an underhanded favour done by one minister for two other people who are ministers, on his last day as Environment Minister. he later had to resign because of it. You’re now trying to pass it all off as a normal appeal process. It wasn’t. It was, and still is, a scandal. Furbert and DeSilva would benefit financially if they can go through with their plans. If anyone else, their plans wpuld have been declined (as they were in theis case until Roban steooed in and did a favour).

      All 3 of them are tainted with this, and now so is Bean due his ineptitude in resolving it.

      It shouldn’t be Bean’s job to review what happened. It should be an impartial panel, who should look into the whole affair and report to us, the people who elected these people, what happened.

    • C. Anthony Francis (OBA Candidate) says:

      Thank you for your input. My question would be why the Minister has not said this as to inform the public. Why has the Minister not said that this appeal as others will be reviewed by an independent inspector? The Ministry had said that when the review is completed the public will be notified. The Minister has said that he will not let the Opposition set the time table for his decision. If the Minister had been as concise as you have in keeping the people informed then my request would be moot. Again thank you for your input however it is my responsibility to ensure that the little details do not get lost in the mix.

      • Bda Speaks says:

        Perhaps you OBA zealots intent of trying to make soemthing appear more than it is, missed something so I will repeat slower and in smaller words. Sorry MAD DOG, it was an appeal (go up to planning and review the files yourself if you still have issues) and the appeals process is as follows:

        1. An Application is made to planning.

        2. The Application is either recommended for approval or refusal.

        3. If refused the application can appeal the decision.

        4. Once an appeal application is made, both applicant and Planning submit their arguments. Applicant (Why the refusal should be set aside) and Planning (Why Refusal should be upheld)

        5. The appeal process can also go in reverse, where an approval can be appealed by anyone who thinks a refusal should have been rendered.

        6. An independent inspector arrives on island, reviews the appeals, makes site visits, requests additional info, etc in order to have whatever they need to render a decision.

        7. A decision is rendered and referred to the minister for final signature.

        8. The minsiter (as I pointed out) can accept the decision or reject the decision of the indepedant inspector.

        9. There is NO TIME FRAME for when the minister’s decision must be done by.

        10. Once an appeal is upheld or rejetced, it become PUBLIC RECORD that anyone can visit planning, request the file and read. There is no way to make a planning decision a secret. Soory, this is were your boogieman or conspiracy secrets theories fall apart. Please explain, where this can this get lost in the mix if all decisions are public record and viewable by the public?

        As I pointed out, this is the Legislation and has been in effect since the Planning Act was implimented in the mid-70′s. Do i think the process is perfect, hell no, BUT, it is the process we have. Stop crying wolf and let the process work, is all I am saying here. Stop creating a political football out of this for political points. I applaude Min. Bean for standing up to this crap and saying he will render his decision when he renders it.

        • Pastor Syl says:

          @ Bda Speaks: I have a real problem with #9. What is the point of having an independent inspector if his opinions and recommendations can be ignored at the whim of some minister? I hope one of the first things that the new government does after the election is to close that loophole. There are a couple of similar loopholes in other ministries too that need to be closed, where the minister makes whatever decision s/he pleases, without regard for recommendations – but I digress a little.

  16. Prayerful says:

    Give M r. Francis a break. He was only doing what he was told. It appears as if each OBA member is given a specific job to do, to get their name on the record books as having done something, and this was Mr. Francis’ task.

  17. Cancer says:

    Mr Francis… Your too kind – thanks for setting that idiot Bda speaks straight – so let me assist you – as you explained Mr Francis, if that is the situation then Mr bean should just come out and say so! Bda speaks told us about the “could be” process…. So just because he said it, doesn’t mean that necessarily what’s happening! Who is he???? THOSE WORDS NEED TO COME FROM THE MINISTER!