Terry Lister: Budget Puts Us In Holding Pattern

February 23, 2014

“Rather than bringing a post-SAGE implementation Budget, the Minister is still yet to tell the country which SAGE recommendations he will take on though he did explicitly tell us which departments are now on a hit list for some form of privatisation,” Independent MP Terry Lister said.

Yesterday [Feb 21] Finance Minister Bob Richards delivered the 2014/15 Budget in the House of Assembly, detailing the Government’s financial plans for the coming fiscal year.

The Minister announced that there will be no changes in tax rates apart from a 5% biennial adjustment of most Government fees, and subsidies currently in place for the hospitality, restaurant and retail sectors will remain in place for the next fiscal year as will tax initiatives.

Minister Richards also said that, “Further reductions in costs after 2014/15 will not be achievable without either staff layoffs or the outsourcing of non-core functions through mutualization or privatization. Remaining as we are, with the current number of civil servants, will not be possible.

He gave a list of Government departments they are considering for “mutualization, outsourcing, or privatization” including Airport Operations/Causeway, Emissions and Vehicle Testing, Aircraft Registry, Ship Registry, CITV, Waste Management including Tynes Bay and Garbage Collection, Vehicle and Equipment Operations and Maintenance, GEHI and Health Insurance Department, Parks Maintenance, Water and Sewage, Department of Social Insurance, Highway Maintenance, and Conservation Services.

In response, Mr. Lister said, “The Minister of Finance has seen fit to have a Budget that has put the country in a holding pattern by having a Budget that projects small increases in revenues without any new taxes or tax rate increases of any significance while reducing expenditures by some $70M.

“These figures are a long way away from what is needed to reach a balanced Budget and to stop annual increases in Bermuda’s debt load. In fact, the Budget Statement indicated that there is a projection of $216M increase in debt for the coming year while the overall Budget deficit is some $260M.

“There are those who will see this as a responsible Budget in light of Bermuda’s economic state, which the Minister described as fragile. However, others will be disappointed that the Budget did not go far enough towards reducing deficits and the elimination of new borrowing.

“For me the concern is ‘the devil is in the details’. Rather than bringing a post-SAGE implementation Budget, the Minister is still yet to tell the country which SAGE recommendations he will take on though he did explicitly tell us which departments are now on a hit list for some form of privatisation.

“The financial impact of these decisions has not been factored into the Budget and the actual Budget could be strangely different from predicted depending on what measures of privatisation takes place.”

“So instead of marches around Parliament next Friday we will now engage in a cat and mouse game of which department goes along with the accompanying charges of whose friends and family are benefiting by the sale of the entities being sold. Stay tuned!”

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Comments (34)

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  1. Black Soil says:

    You said nothing while the PLP drove us on the rocks. Explain that while you’re in a talking mood. Min Richards is trying to navigate HMS Bermuda to safe waters. While you’re at Church today, thank God that Burt is not at the helm.

    • Al says:

      He did. During his leadship bid he was the only one in the PLP to have the integrity to admit that there was a problem.

      • Right Stuff says:

        I agree with you. Mr. Lister did speak up at times, sadly for us they heard him but never listened to him.

    • Impressive says:

      So you have seen fit to not address what he is saying, but playing the childish game of why he didnt say it when another party was in power, than you go on to sarcastically make reference to the fact that he is in church?? Don’t know what that is all about and how that helps this particular situation, and then you end by attacking Mr. Burt whilst all the time not addressing any of the points he raised.. I tell you buh,, the childish, immature, irrelevant comments continue.. mercy me.

    • BETTTY TRUMP says:

      Mr Lister, just as I said to someone…NO PRAISES YET TOO SOON…THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS…which UBPoba are often short on. THanks for highlighting some key facts.

  2. Jus' Askin' says:

    “…which department goes along with the accompanying charges of whose friends and family are benefiting by the sale of the entities being sold.” A select few will capitalize on these privatizations. This is not the way to a “Better Bermuda for All Bermudians”

    Questions that continue to go unanswered for just the Bermuda Tourism Authority (the replacement/killer of the Dept. of Tourism):-
    Who owns BTA now?
    Who will own BTA when it is privatized?
    How is it tax payer dollars are used to start and fund a business, that a select few will receive returns from once it goes private?

    Bermuda will not be for Bermudians much longer. The relaxing of the 60/40 rule will see Bermuda owned by none Bermudians. I support the ‘Buy Bermuda’ campaign but this is something totally different.

    I continue to feel OBA is outsourcing their responsibilities to others while still being paid quite well for doing next to nothing. They come across as highly paid contractors than government officials ;-)

  3. Our Past says:

    Makes sense!

  4. Kangoocar says:

    The last paragraph pretty well sums it up!!! The OBA are obviously trying to reduce the amount of marches around town by the miss informed!! Heck there is only so much room on the streets and currently the law breaking union has the streets full of marchers already, there is only so much room!!! The OBA ” Min. Richards ” have in fact put together the best possible budget under the circumstances!!

  5. Vote for Change says:

    Dear MP Lister,

    You are absolutely right – budget puts us in holding pattern, not unlike the situation with your Constituency and what will happen when the next election is called.

    Vote for Change I say

  6. HeyBye says:

    Since when you have become a fiscal expert? Had fourteen years but did a hack job of the economy and grew the civil service to a bloated non performing social welfare system.

    • Robert says:

      The man is a certified public accountant, do your homework before you run your mouth!

      • somuchless says:

        That’s not the point HeyBye is making fool. He/she is saying they had tons of time to do things while his party was in power.

        • Impressive says:

          whats up with the fool comment???

        • me says:

          the former government did accomplish much just at a high expense since they just happen to be the government whenthe recession hit.the Oba especially Bob said he could fix it..so far we still don’t know exactly what was under the hood.

          • Me says:

            The PLP did not ‘just happen to be the government when the recession hit’. OK, the global recession is bound to impact us but the fact remains that they managed to take an economy that was thriving and completely and utterly destroy it. If they had stuck to THEIR OWN BUDGET we would be rolling in it now. Instead, they managed to put us millions and millions of dollars in debt in a very short time. If you look at the numbers it is quickly apparent that our economic ruin at the hands of the PLP began long before the global recession was even on the cards, due to sheer, complete and utter financial incompetence. The damage that they did to our economy will take GENERATIONS to repair, IF we can manage to keep competent people in power long enough to do so.

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        Just because he has the papers does not mean he has the ability.

        Everyone has a drivers license but look at how many cannot drive.

    • Issues maybe? says:

      Such ignorance, once a partner at one of the Big 4 accounting firms! Smh! Folks know SO much and really know nothing at all.

      • Kangoocar says:

        Ummm, your the one that knows nothing!! It is a well known fact that accountants make lousy business persons, I as a business owner can tell you that!!! Bean counters are only good at telling you what something is now, not what too do with it!!! The government whether you know it or not is a business!!

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        The operative word there is “once”. Pick the bones out of that one.

  7. Coffee says:

    Thank you MP Lister . As I’ve stated before ,” the only thing certain about this budget is a very uncomfortable uncertainty for those whose lively hoods maybe directly affected .

  8. swing voter says:

    Lister did stand up to Doc and it got him kicked out of cabinet…he is one of the few that took on Doc while the other plebs stood by and did nothing. Too bad he won’t cross the floor, but he’s in a safe seat for anyone last name Lister, even his pet can win

  9. Just Wondering says:

    Interesting take on things and make sense, but just so i’m clear he is calling for job layoffs and tax increase or am I reading too much into it?

  10. nuffin but the truth says:

    You did nothing when the plp were the government and now you want to preach to us..go away.

    • swing voter says:

      he did everything he could but the other MPs were either too scared or indifferent collecting their undeserved salaries while Doc n his circle of benefactors, groupies, Fanatic hangers-on worshipers brought this island too its knees jus as he promised. Guys like Lister tried to save the PLP from the inside. Guys like Doc tried to ruin it and the island in one 4 year swoop…I can’t believe supporters can’t see this for what it is

  11. Take it Easy! says:

    The PLP NEVER followed a budget for the past 8 years! Min. Richards stated that “the books haven’t been looked at since 2005″. So when the PLP talk about a budget they are all pie in the sky budgets! Right Mr. Burt? He was one of the man in the PLP that did say stuff but threw him on the way side just for telling them the truth and PLp faithful took offense to it. While Mr. Bean gained leadership! Do u see any irony in this situation? The Plp’ s motto is “every man for himself” NOT “standing strong”!

  12. Jus' Askin' says:

    “…which department goes along with the accompanying charges of whose friends and family are benefiting by the sale of the entities being sold.” A select few will capitalize on these privatizations. This is not the way to a “Better Bermuda for All Bermudians

  13. Walter Burgess says:

    @ MP Lister, -

    Your entitled to your opinion regarding the new OBA budget.

    Here’s mine:
    After 14 years of extremely poor fiscal over-site and spending like a drunken sailor by the PLP, I expect the OBA finance minister has more fiscal holes to plug than fingers, not to mention servicing of the national debt.

    OBA Math – $0 from $0 = $0

    PLP Math – $0 from $0 = borrow more $$$ and spend twice as much…….

    Get the picture Mr Lister…….

    -FWB Jr

  14. Impressive says:

    Is it too much to ask for people to actually address the point and issues being made in the articles in an objective and logical manner. I am not going to sit here and say that I am perfect and at times I tend to lean a certain way, I am human after all. I come here to read the articles because I appreciate what Bernews brings to the people, not to mention the fact that it allows us as citizens a means to express our thoughts and views on matters that involve us all.

    However, the points that Mr. Lister made are his views, and as an elected member of parliament he has not only the right, but the responsibility to give his opinion on matters, and I appreciate that Political freedom and it should not be taken for granted. Why is that so many comments that are made by persons who make a comment or state a position that is contrary to the OBA view is always greeted with personal insults, and comments such as “the plp did it”, “it was worse under the plp”. etc.. That doesnt make it right for the OBA to make the same mistakes, and there is no book that says that everything the OBA does is perfect..

    I will be the first to say the PLP made a hell of alot of mistakes during their time in office, as any government does. I am not going to sit here and say that they shouldn’t be criticized, but for God’s sake, can we have objective, logical comments that are always not designed to disregard or disrespect someone’s views??

  15. Impressive says:

    Rant over, breathe in, breathe out, woosa,

  16. Gotham says:

    I will always respect Mr. Lister for reading and calling EFB for exactly what he is, just about the only one in the whole PLP caucus to do so. I think what he is saying here is that Minister Richards needs to get on with it and I fully agree: but in future Mr. Lister, please say it with less opaqueness and more directness in case some people have not yet figured it out (like say those folks down at the ferries), just as you did with EFB.

  17. Valirie Marcia Akinstall says:

    I am surprised? The first post does not critique his analysis of what is being stated, but rather an indirect attack upon him as a former PLP minister.

    And, surprisingly not one post criticises the former minister of finance, but rather why he (Lister) did not do more to protect Bermuda? But how could he have been of help when he was NEVER given the opportunity to run the country’s finances. Paula Cox was an insider’s favourite once her father died and the Cox family ruled the country’s finances for 14 consecutive years of power – it’s unstop.

    There is a saying, don’t hate the player, hate the game. And the PLP needs to seriously change the game (inside rules of the Party) as the PLP hierarchy almost destroyed this country financially.

    London, England

    • Impressive says:

      Thats the norm around here Mrs/Ms Akinstall, the points that one raises, no matter how valid, are only a side show nowadays. This is the new Bermuda