PLP Calls For Apology, OBA Says There Is No Need

July 11, 2012

The Progressive Labour Party called on One Bermuda Alliance Leader Craig Cannonier to publicly apologize for Senator Michael Dunkley’s comments about GEHI Dental Coverage, while the Opposition Leader said there was “no need to apologize.”

On Sunday [July 8] Michael Dunkley said, “Dental insurance coverage for Government employees has been suspended because the Government has failed to pay the premium for their coverage.” The Ministry of Finance then released a statement saying the insurance plan was not been suspended nor cancelled, and called any commentary to the contrary “regrettable and baseless”.

The OBA then provided documents that appeared to indicate that Government workers insurance coverage was “inactive”, with a note showing that as of July 9 the “customer must contact their employer.” BF&M CEO John Wight said, “GEHI premiums are paid up to date, and all Government employees have been, and will continue to be, fully covered for dental treatment provided under the policy.”

The statement released by the PLP said: “We now know that statement to be completely false, and we call on the OBA to retract the statement and apologise for the unnecessary alarm caused to civil servants.”

“Craig Cannonier claims to be in charge of the OBA and the buck stops with him,” said PLP Chairman Anthony Santucci. “BF&M rejected Michael Dunkley’s false and reckless attack. The BPSU said they’ve heard no complaints.

“The fact of the matter is, Michael Dunkley is so thirsty to regain power that he lied to Bermudians and put at risk the private information of innocent civil servants in the process. This is frightening! The PLP will wait to see if the OBA leader will take his Deputy to task for his irresponsible and reckless comments,” concluded Mr Santucci.

In response, Mr Cannonier said: “There is no need to apologize. Michael exposed a situation in which the insurer had changed the status of government employees dental coverage from Active to Inactive – a very serious issue.

“Within 24 hours of us bringing it up, BFM said the situation was cleared up. This matter was brought to our attention by dentists and confirmed by BF&M sources.

“We saw civil servants’ insurance status brought into question – that cannot be disputed – because of premium payment issues with the Government. So we raised the matter and we did so in good conscience, to make sure working men and women did not pay the price for the action or inaction of others,” concluded Mr Cannonier.

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Comments (53)

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  1. honestly??? says:

    Lieing is something we’ve heard in politics before isn’t it? “We had to deceive you” ring any bells.

    The point is a letter has been circulated so if the PLP were quick to pay the premiums then they evaded the deadly blow. However I wonder where they have diverted the money to pay the insurance from??? No doubt buses won’t have any new tyres for a while…

    Your all a joke GOOG!!!! Get Out Of Government!!!

    • Yes sirs says:

      Well, well, well their leader speaks and its not to be humble and say the deputy is wrong= thought OBA was the answer but seeing thru that they are not leadership material

      • Swing Voter says:

        hahahahah yur stupid….if you put the ‘need to apologize’ on the balance scale, the OBA’s a lightweight compared to Government. What a joke of a response from Alaska Hall…..Oh, and Ms Cox has spoilt herself this time. Never heard of her parents play the race card, and they progressed through hard times

  2. Family Man says:

    John Wight’s comments were very deliberately vague as he attempts to keep the government business at BF&M but there it is in black & white on Bernews. (RG had the colour version) with great big red letters :”Inactive – Customer must contact their Employer”

    That’s insurance talk for “we’re so tired of chasing this deadbeat for payment, after 90 days of getting nowhere your policy is now suspended until the premiums have been brought up to date.” Which is apparently what Paula did by rushing a payment down to BF&M so that the following day both she and John can say “premiums are [now] paid up to date”.

    Of course Paula could be open and transparent and show exactly when each monthly premium was paid to BF&M. Think she’ll operate in the sunshine of public scrutiny?

    If she can show that Government paid their premiums in full, at the time they were due, then Dunkley owes Bermuda an apology. If she can’t then Paula owes Bermuda an apology for putting Bermuda’s financial reputation and employees health care at risk.

    If Paula doesn’t put up, the PLP needs to shut up.

    • Pastor Syl Hayward says:

      Thank you, Family Man, for putting in writing what others are have been thinking. I hate to be so cynical, but it really seems to me that when this National Health Plan was first mooted, and people were complaining that GEHI payments were always slow, that would have been the time to send a quiet memo around to the Accountant General (or whoever is responsible for paying the medical/insurance bills) for them to make certain their ducks were in line so that this type of thing had no possibility of happening. Now, Government needs to make sure that those who pay for their medical care up-front are reimbursed in a timely manner. My elderly neighbour, who is almost 80, has been waiting almost a year to be reimbursed for medical expenses that she had to pay out of her (tiny) pension.

  3. Queen Cox I says:

    Loyal servants! Thou art called upon to drinketh thine Kool-Aid!

    • Bermywan says:

      One does not simply taketh a sip of thy kool aid

  4. We Like says:

    OBA Stepped in it on this one.

    • Barracuda says:

      No, the OBA did their job.

      • OBA just WRONG says:

        The blind darkey stromys can’t see when the OBA is wrong. Like in their mouthpiece the daily media letter stating that they will only share their platform on the door steps because the PLP will steal their ideas.

        IF THEY WERE HONEST AND WANTED TO PUT BERMUDA FIRST, wouldn’t they put Bermudians first and share what its best for Bermuda. that is what each OBA supporter needs to question themsevles about.

        • Bermyman says:

          Share what is best for Bermuda?? What is best for Bermuda is a change in Government. PLP supporters need to ask themselves, is Bermuda in a good position economically and socially under the PLP? Buses and Ferries do not run on time or at all, the cost of living is higher than ever, taxes are higher than ever, we are in more debt than ever, violent crime has been higher than ever and tourism and hotel development is still non existent. The government needs to borrow $300m, just to pay civil service wages with no end to the borrowing in sight. Borrowing money is not free, it has to be paid back or you go bankrupt. That bubble will burst soon. But in relation to this article, the document speaks for itself, the insurance was suspended until the opposition called it out. Then the Government were forced to act. The PLP government is broke and the don’t know how to fix it!!! No one’s property or jobs are safe at the moment as long as the debt keeps racking up. What is going to happen when the Civil Service jobs are slashed!!

          • oba no more says:

            BF&M got the premiums and didn’t log it to the correct account. Some heavy milk drinker ran with the incorrect info to the Milkman and the Milk man in true fashion, saw the opportunity to lash out at the PLP, even though it would of been a civil servant wrong not a governing minster fault. OBA should share what their plan is, if they are truly willing to PUT BERMUDA FIRST!

          • Life says:

            What country is in a good economic position??? Besides Alaska??? It’s a World Wide Issue!!! In Halifax their bus service had been interrupted for months.. It happens, get over it!!! Stop blaming the government for every issue…

            • Bermyman says:

              Alaska is not a country!

              Plenty of nations are in periods of Economic growth at present and the US is no longer in recession. That said it is not the worldwide economy that is the issue, it is the poor financial management and lack of strategy to pull us out of recession that is the issue!

              Our government just borrowed $300m and we had $300m in unaccounted funds and cost overruns from Government projects under the PLP. There would have been no need to borrow the money in the first place if these projects were managed properly and the public purse was not pilfered! This money has to be paid back in future and that means Taxes and loss of civil service jobs. There is no way about it or the country will go bankrupt.

              The Government is voted in power to do what is best for the country, when the country is no longer doing well and there is clear evidence and several examples of ministries that are poorly run, which is the case at present. Then it is time to blame the government for not doing their job.

        • The nitty gritty says:

          Michael d. would not come out with a made up story just to get caught out a day later.
          Even the PLP would not be so stupid……ok I’ll leave that one alone.
          He would have been given this info from the source closest to it.
          He would have checked it and shown the evidence to the newspaper.
          Anyone hear the BF&M diplomat state categorically, ‘At no time before today has the Govt been behind in Premiums and at no time has these accounts ever been listed as inactive”??
          When you owe $1,450,000,000 surely it is possible to be behind in your payments?
          Make a lot of hay out of this while you can but a lot more of it is coming your way soon my brothers and sisters

    • 75 and sunny says:

      hardly!! re-read it – the premiums were not up to date as of july 9 – the problem was sorted out in a big fat hurry, obviously, but what if michael dunkley had not pointed it out? i suspect their would be govt employees going to the dentist today who would not be covered by insurance. plain and simple. why doesn’t paula cox tell us when the premium was paid? i’ll tell you why, because it was paid yesterday….

      • Come Correct says:

        This may be true but the milk man is still wrong…plp fo life! (ironic how my auto correct tried to replace plp with poop lol its the simple things that get me through the day) So when we go independant and crown our new emperor brown/empress Cox are we going to change our name to Bermaica or Jamuda?

  5. Liz says:

    Apologize for what??? Ask some of the smaller business on the island it is no secret the Government are a bit behind on accounts payable and these little business have to fight to collect finance charges. Yet if you have no money to pay your payroll tax and social insurance because you are a bit behind on your accounts receivables they slap on the finace charges and expect them to be paid. Call them up about money they owe and you get the run around yet if you owe them it is a different story.

    • 75 and sunny says:

      exactly. it’s quite incredible, in the true sense of the word.

  6. Ess Dee says:

    I am disgusted and appauled with the OBA on this issue. And yes, Craig and or the milk man lack the humility to publicly apologise. What shocks me is how they are so quick to run to the press without any proof. I guess this is indicative of how they will run this island…..oops my badd, that will never happen! (Smiling all the way to the polls to vote PLP)…

    • WillSee says:

      The fact is Government is/was way behind paying their premiums to Bfm and the accounts would not be listed as inactive for no other reason.
      I am customer of Bfm and know how their insurance systems work.
      The Oba are doing their job.
      The present government payables are WAY OVER DUE to local providers.
      This is a well known fact.

      • Goose says:

        You should probably call BF&M to confirm that you’re listed as “Active” in the web portal. According to John Wight Government is paid up!

        Must be a broken web portal and not a hasty, “We need you to back us up on this or we will look at other insurers.”

    • Malachi says:

      As I repeatedly state, I am neither PLP nor OBA. In this particular case the OBA are correct. If as a Government employee I go to the dentist and am told that I am not insured, it means that coverage has been cancelled or suspended. So why is there a need for an apology? I don’t think you realize that our Government is BROKE!

      Some weeks ago, someone I know received a letter from Government stating that they owed government approximately $200.00 resulting from an underpayment in customs duty, and, if not paid in 10 days would result in them being taken to court.

      (I don’t know how that could happen because nobody gets to keep goods purchased abroad if the duty is not paid on the spot!)

      When questioned as to when this underpayment occurred, the government employee stated it was back in 2008 – four years ago!! So they asked for documentation to support this claim. After a few days, government responded by saying that they had erred, and that the outstanding amount was only $22.00. Again, the relevant documentation was requested to supoort this new amount. After a few days, they received an email stating that there was no outstanding balance and that the whole thing was a mistake.

      I wonder how many other people received similar letters and hurried off to pay the “outstanding” amount.

      When I read some of the comments on this site it is clear that there are those among us who will vote for their PLP party no matter what. The PLP could kill their own children and people would still vote for them.

      Personally, I am an athiest. But if there is a god, then he must LOVE stupid people because he made a lot of them!

      • Bermyman says:

        Agreed! The marine police cannot buy gas for boats on credit any longer because the government still owe vast amounts of money to the gas station. This is a well known fact. They are broke! Hence why they were so desperate to borrow money, a cool 300m to add to the 1bn. Heck of a credit card bill.

      • 75 and sunny says:

        my friend, who is an accountant, got one of those letters saying she owed $50 for outstanding duties from a trip as well – and when she followed it up, she also was told it had been sent in error. you are right, the govt is DESPERATE for money. i don’t know why this scheme of tricking people into sending in these bizarre amounts isn’t being published in the paper.

      • Jazz says:

        OBA Leader out right lied in a stupid attempt to deceive the public …pile of tricks.

    • Betty Swallocks says:

      (then you’ll be a smiling fool – all the way to the polls). I’d ask why you can’t see the facts – based on timelines – for what they really are, but I’d be better off whizzin in the wind.

      You just continue to be disgusted and appauled. It will surely get you far.

      Oweh – Um fowgut to saye ‘Guh Mawhnin’. Whers mye mannahs!

    • Say no says:

      You should not disgusted and appauled by the PLP. If the payments were there and not applied yet then how do you make someone’
      s account inactive. Most companies give you at least 3 months before closing your accout. so why would the insurance company close accounts before 30 days are up. This government needs to stop playing people for stupid.

    • Come Correct says:

      And this is why you don’t smoke crack while your pregnant…

    • The nitty gritty says:

      The only indicator you should be looking at concerning the running of this Island is the $1,450,000,000 you now owe! Craig , The Milkman or Clark f. Kent did not cause this- your mates did! Put ‘em back in and you will see the greatest slow down of spending and wiring of dollars out of here since they sent that block of ambergris out in 1612.

  7. Dee says:

    Why should the OBA/Michael Dunkley/Craig Cannonier apologise? They pointed out a problem with the dental insurance coverage for Government workers – they had proof, did you not see the list of insured persons printed in the media yesterday? Every single one who works for Government had their dental insurance marked as ‘INACTIVE’. How much more proof do you need. This was also confirmed by local dentists.

    If this had not been pointed out and if the PLP Government had not scrabbled together enough to pay these premiums, the dental coverage would not have been returned to ‘ACTIVE’.

    Stop drinking the Koolaid it is clouding your perception of reality!

  8. Gone But Not Forgotten says:

    It’s incidents like this which make one question which party to vote for. OBA seems like a good alternative but it appears as though they are playing “politics”. People of Bermuda don’t want a party which is thirsty for power. I have been a PLP supporter but lately have changed my mind. I don’t think I’ll be supporting any party this coming election. Where are the sincere leaders like Dame Lois Browne and Sir John Sharpe and the like. They are gone but NEVER WILL BE FORGOTTEN!!!!

    • black seal says:

      if you don’t vote you have no say which i believe is what the plp want, also if you don’t vote they shut up when things go wrong as you have no say

      • Gone But Not Forgotten says:

        Doesn’t matter to me. At this point, I don’t believe in either party.

  9. Sandgrownan says:

    I’m not entirely sure why they should apologise. It seems the cover was reinstated only after Dunkley raised it as an issue. In other words, would civil servants still be without dental cover? Quite possibly. As an opposition politician, it’s entirely in his remit to call outi the government for it’s continued failure.

    If anything, the PLP should becapologising to civil servants and offering an explanation. We know this won’t happen of course, humility isn’t in their handbook.

    • LaVerne Furbert says:

      Not only should Senator Dunkley apologise to the civil servants, he should also apologise to BF&M.

      Again, who is lying Mr. Whyte or Senator Dunkley?

      • Come Correct says:

        Uh if you ask me I’d say Mr. Whyte… Let’s get some pliers and go at his teeth, he’s the middle man in this instance, he knows the truth. Why is everything always swept under the carpet? It happened and it only happened one way, only the truth can make sense of it. So now from here, let’s release a receipt for the payment so the PUBLIC can see for themselves when it was paid. No receipt? Well start pulling those teeth until it shows the f@ck up! There is always a clear explanation for everything, if it remains clouded its because someone wants it to be. Transparency now! No please, I pay my taxes and I deserve answers, my vote is far more valuable than you want me to think.

      • Sandgrownan says:

        The government should apologise for not paying until they were called out on it.

    • Amazed says:

      BF&M said the cover was always there so why do you not believe Them?

      • Come Correct says:

        Because they have a big client to lose and money runs the world as they know it…jussayin

  10. Portia says:

    I agree with Family Man and the other posters here who have commented on the fact that Government has been seriously behind in paying its bills.

    The PLP is conveniently choosing to ignore the fact that the OBA submitted documented proof showing that something was indeed wrong at BF&M. Notice that, when BF&M did release their statement, they did NOT say that it was THEIR system that was wrong. John Wight did not say “It was an error which we have now fixed.” Yet, the PLP is saying it was an error all the time. So who is correct?

    If we are believe the PLP, then it is BF&M who actually owes everyone an apology for having errors in their system, not Mr. Dunkley! And BF&M should say “Thank you Mr. Dunkley for bringing this matter to our attention, which we have now rectified.” No, instead BF&M makes some asinine comment about the OBA spreading misinformation to the public – yet the information was from their own records! It just seems to me that something is “rotten in the State of Denmark.”

    I don’t know who is supposed to look worse in all of this, BF&M or PLP, but certainly not Mr. Dunkley, for doing his job.

  11. Argosy says:

    Does anybody recall the Doc apoligizing after admitting that he deceived us?


  12. Fooled Again says:

    Im completely shocked at some of the posts before me!!! the only person that saying there was a problem was Micheal Dunkley… Not the Govt, BF&M, BPSU nor the civil servents themselves found any issues but doth the Milkman sya its true then it must be and there must be some govt conspiracy if they disagree. I can agree the PLP havent been a perfect governementbut to lie and then say we dont have to apologize wreaks of the old arrogance of the past leadership. I was soooo hoping senator Dunkley and Leader Cannonier would man up and say “we got it wrong this time” or “We misunderstood the information” at the vbery least. then i could go to the polls knowing a vote for the OBA would be a vote for a honest party… unfortunately for them this sealed the deal and my vote goes back to the PLP…. i just wonder what would have happened if the shoe was on the other foot…

    • Portia says:

      Fooled Again – If the Govt, BF&M and BPSU cannot see a problem when an account clearly shows as “inactive – customer should contact their employer” then RIGHT THERE is the whole reason why Bermuda is in the mess we are in!

      Go ahead and vote for the PLP – that is your right to do – but if you cast your vote thinking you are voting for them as the “honest party”, you will be unpleasantly surprised! Where have you been the last 14 years??

      Furthermore, who do you think stands the most to LOSE in all this? Govt, by being caught out and suffering yet another blow to their credibility? BF&M, who could suffer backlash from Govt and lose coverage fees for over 7,000 workers, or Dunkley, for a few cheap political points?

      I don’t know, friend, you figure it out.

      • Fooled Again says:

        @Portia… do you not think that they should apologize for putting peoples personal information in the public domain??!!! if i had access to your health insurance record would it not be an issue if i posted it in the daily… lets be real about this for a second… this information came from a portal that wasnt even fully operational therefore the status may have been in error… trust me i know for a fact that errors do occur in the insurance industry having worked in that field for 12 yrs and even for the said company… the only one saying something was wrong is Dunkley himself… no one cam forward and said they were denied coverage due to this glitch…. Mr. Dunkley took this information, ran with it to the nearest editor and tried to score political points!! He said he checked his facts and confirmed his resources… well if BF&M are saying its not true, The govt is saying its not true and the patients themselves arent complaining… who are his resources??!! if Mr. Dunkley were a stand up guy he would tell the people he got it wrong… simple as that… and you say i can vote for PLP if i like bu still wont get an honest government… so you’re saying i should trade like for like???? i thought this was what this election was all about “change” Change of Governemnt, change of thinking, and a change in the way we politic…..

  13. Hi-Liter says:

    The employees have unions that represent them if Mr. Dunkley was trying to help he should have consulted them. Instead he tried to score political points by running to the media. SHAME ON MR. DUNKEY!

    • Portia says:

      Hi-Liter – Dunkley is not a consultant for the unions, he represents the people of Bermuda. This issue was not just about the workers, it’s also about the handling of the public purse. This is tax payer money that was (or was not) paid to BF&M. He was right to call it out.

  14. Rockfish #1 and #2 says:

    Mr.Wight simply has to explain the reason/s behind the information in HIS company records.

    On the other hand if he wishes to keep the contract he will say no more. After all, bearing in mind what happened to the Royal Gazette a few years ago, he must cooperate with Cox to protect his bottom line.

  15. real talk says:

    Thank you BF&M….you put the OBA scare tactics to shame in that little post below. the UBP have been doing this **** for years. They are a wolf in sheeps clothing!! Emphasis on BF&M had not yet applied the payment…

    But BF&M yesterday said the inactive status was only in place because BF&M had not yet applied the most recent premium payment, which was made to BF&M within 30 days of being billed.

    CEO John Wight said in a statement yesterday: “BF&M considers matters between our company and our clients to be confidential, and thus it is the company’s standard policy not to comment through the media on such matters.

    “Having spoken with our client regarding the disinformation in the media, we would like to put to rest any concerns that Government employees have about their dental insurance coverage.

    “GEHI premiums are paid up to date, and all Government employees have been, and will continue to be, fully covered for dental treatment provided under the policy.”

  16. real talk says:

    Also not to mention that NO employees complained about not being covered……

  17. Tolerate says:

    I am neither PLP nor OBA and am watching these issues closely. The PLP has already on numerous times, tarnished their reputation.
    The one person who knows is John Wight. He has allowed himself to get in the middle of this and has made comments that he may have to clarify.
    May he also note, while he may be trying to save himself and Company at this time, he had better remember if he has gotten himself in this and is found to be having information that actually backs Mr. Dunkley…. He better remember this if the OBA is successful in winning the next election.
    If the OBA is running on transparency and true Government, I’m sure they would not want to be associated with an Insurance Company that is neither.

  18. just observing..... says:

    well i do know one thing and that is they need to put my child support in my bank account which is a standing order from his dad and he is a marine and ports worker. I call the court and my bank and I find out that the hold up is from government and there are a few hundred people going through the same thing. I am sick and tired of not getting my child support monies so many weeks and months later. Sort it out government and leave the money alone.

  19. wpplarestupid says:

    lol. white ppl just cant admit when they are wrong.

    OBA is full of crap and now its spilling out from lips