Shadow Minister: How Can We Justify Bonuses?

August 18, 2015

“Hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses with no accountability is doing nothing to improve the state of tourism for our people,” Shadow Tourism Minister Zane DeSilva said, asking “how can we justify bonuses like we have seen paid to the BTA executives, when all important air arrivals are at their lowest in 48 years?”

These comments follow after the Bermuda Tourism Authority released the 2015 second quarter statistics, as well as their financial results and details of their staff’s salaries and incentive payments.

Mr DeSilva said, “The Progressive Labour Party continues to be concerned about the lack of progress in the Tourism sector. Today, once again, the BTA have announced that air arrivals are down from 2014.

“We have now hit a new low, as these arrivals are below the 48 year low seen in 2014. Who from the OBA or BTA will be held accountable and when?

“The General Manager of the BTA, Bill Hanbury said that the BTA would own the 2015 numbers. The Progressive Labour Party wants to know what will the BTA do to reverse this trend? Platitudes & promises are not enough.

“We need to know what the strategic plan is for the BTA to reverse these record low air arrival numbers and how it will be achieved. These numbers show that tourism is in crisis mode and answers are required.

“Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell has been a staunch supporter of Mr. Hanbury and the BTA, but how can we justify bonuses like we have seen paid to the BTA executives, when all important air arrivals are at their lowest in 48 years?

“Something is not going right at the BTA and as the Opposition we will hold the BTA and the OBA government to account. Why is the BTA paying more for staff costs & bonuses than they spend annually on advertising Bermuda overseas?

“How do we expect to see the numbers increase when the top heavy BTA isn’t designating the required funding to market our island sufficiently?

“A Progressive Labour Party government would invest the $11M gained this year from the increase in tourism taxes into tourism marketing & development.

“In the mid 2000’s we increased tourist air arrivals by investing in marketing and associated resources and air arrivals in 2007 were 36% higher than they were in 2014.

“The PLP focused on maintaining our airlift and marketing our destination and the figures that are 36% higher than the figures than the BTA are producing are proof that with proper allocation of funding to developing and marketing Bermuda we can succeed.

“The One Bermuda Alliance must get serious about Tourism in Bermuda. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses with no accountability is doing nothing to improve the state of tourism for our people.

“It’s not about us, it’s about our children and our children’s children,” concluded Mr DeSilva.

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Comments (63)

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  1. Skink says:

    at least we all had some well fish sandwiches

    • ReALLyBettty says:

      Mr. Hansbury and others at the Tourism Authority are laughing all the way tooooooo the bank…….no performance measures………….no success with tourism………………yet they still get huge Bonus……..Mr. Richards cried out “money does not grow on trees” to our Seniors, and “look in my pocket”………yet others are force to take large pay cuts…………..I mean really, really, really…………..what next………….outrageous ……….

      • Ringmaster says:

        Cheaper than $40m for Global Hue. Before someone says arrivals were the highest, provide facts and separate out visitors; those visiting family and friends and business. Only the first count. Remember this was peak time for business and work permit holders.

        • Bleep Bleep Beeep says:

          Globalhue???? Ahhh yes the PLPs own Jetgate that they don’t like to talk about. $40M and lets not forget the contract was renewed a second time without even going out to tender!

          Guess what Premier took a ride on a college friends private jet, handed him a contract worth millions of dollars of the PUBLIC’S money, extended it! Google it! Yet Zane or anyone else associated in the PLP didn’t see a problem with that!? Why , how?!

      • Betty Boop says:

        Aww, Betty, you must have listened to Zaney’s reply on the news, cause that’s exactly what he said, what, you can’t think for yourself? oh yeah, you’re just one of those people who believes everything PLP says, without examination, HUH?

  2. aceboy says:

    What is your plan Zane? Pour more money into a golf course and golf tournament that had negative RIO? One is which certain people benefitted from untendered contracts and stuff?

    We heard about the Platinum Period for many years. All we got was our money taken from us with no results.

    The OBA have brought the AC and all the surrounding events here. Those benefits will be seen shortly. Just sit down and watch. Stop making noise.

    • Bermudian to the core says:

      Hey Zane, where’s our $20million on Port Royal. Unless you’re gonna talk about that we don’t want to hear anything you have to say. Wiesel

    • Bleep Bleep Beeep says:

      Dont forget the PLPs other Tourism bright ideas like Beyonce $4M concert, Faith Based Tourism, Global Hue, Diaspora Trail? What did we get out of those!

  3. Justify? says:

    They get paid because they are professionals who are working very hard (against sustained pressure and a “hate campaign”) and care deeeply about Bermuda and have taken a difficult job to try to turn things around from a model that was not working—Honourable Shadow–you get paid for your work in your real job–these folks are no different

    Give them time to execute their strategy–instead of a sustained campagin of complaining and misinformation, it would be refreshing if those in Opposition would be constructive, offer solutions and work together toward a common solution.

    The Honourable Shadow states, its about our children–the PLP is not the GVT–its opposition—when/if the Opposition is back in power it can execute its plans–until then–please try to be part of the solution and stop trying to create hurdles and road blocks–

    “THE PEOPLE” are getting fatigued of the hollow arguments!

    • Russ says:

      Those in the ‘dreaded private sector’ get paid for the value they deliver. The BTA has delivered a net negative result.

      The person responsible for the genesis of this mess is the one who negotiated (and I use he term very broadly) the contracts with the BTA staff. I do not know which political party was in power but they are the incompetents. The argument that you have to pay for quality is quite dated. Only the old and rich resort to this fallacy. The rest of us know better.

  4. sebring says:

    visitors are down, and some fool wants a new airport ?? them again probably one of those that before the agreement starts for the new airport gov spends on all new fencing so that nothing shows on the books after the deal starts.??? could I be right ? Is the flight from the uk only making a stop here with final destination somewhere else?? I have never been to Cuba but I am sure no one would care when they arrive for vacations if the airport compares to ours..

    • ABS says:

      what you could get in Cuba for 1 week $ spending including Hotel wouldn’t cover 1 day in Bermuda. Who on this Island would work for a $ a day and provide 5 star 5 Diamond service.

      • Vivir la vida says:

        I just spent 5 days there for $485.00, which included room, eating food all day and all the drinks I wanted both alcohol and non alcohol and employees that were happy to be of service……

        No comparison

    • Ringmaster says:

      I think your comment is misplaced. A new airport was planned in 2007 if not before. Remember that period? The PLP were in power. Shame Bermuda can’t even replace Longbird Bridge after 12 years because there is no money.
      Bermuda, a jewel in the Atlantic until 2006. Now an overgrown, derelict and neglected piece of rock. Thanks PLP.

      • sebring says:

        I could not agree with you more! but we are getting screwed from all ends past and present . but I was trying to say why build a garage with no fancy car?

        • sebring says:

          and to the point the ta should have targets to meet or we are no better off! that was really my point sorry .

    • Bleep Bleep Beeep says:

      You do realize the PLP had plans in place for their own airport? Or you lookin thru dem Green Glasses!

  5. Kangoocar says:

    Here we go again??? The shallow plp tourism Minister zaney neglects to state the real facts, I will!! The plp/zaney once again is spreading nonsense, the plp PAID $ MILLIONS to airlines to fly here at a time the economy worldwide was doing well ( forget the fact that it was all through building massive debt that the world was doing well ) and money was easy to come by with travelers!!! But what is more important to remember is that, all the $$MILLIONS paid by the plp to get new airlines here was a total waste of money!!! Everyone of those NEW airlines that zaney is crowing about ( except west jet at a reduced flight schedule because they are still being subsidized by OUR tax $$$ ) is now GONE!!! Once again we are being inundated with FALSE BS from the plp for their own personal gain!!! May I suggest zaney be A LOT more vocal of the massive COST overruns at Port Royal for starters, if he is so worried about our children’s future??? Get real plp/zaney, your dailey nonsense is now way past the point of being NUASEATING!!!!!!

    • Sheila says:

      Zane worried about our children’s future Bermuda pay attention he is a teakettle calling a pot black get over it zany

    • Maddog says:

      There is nothing false about over inflated bonuses…FOOL..BLAME THE PLP FOR THAT!!!!!

    • Acegurl says:

      This is nothing whatsoever to do with the BTA getting bonuses for a ‘job not ‘done’. Have we learned nothing from throwing good money after bad and wasting taxpayers money? Whether you like or dislike Zane is neither here nor there. He is entitled to his opinion. Does he speak out of both sides of hismouth ,’YES’. Are we never going to learn from our mistakes? Let’s look at why Mr Dodwell can continue to justify this debaucle. Please let us get proactive and less reactive and allow Zane to continue to bleat!

  6. Eve says:

    Can Bermuda afford the Tourism Authority?? Not any longer!

  7. gwan says:

    Wow , by the amount of manic outpouring by the PLP and their faithful , something big must be coming down the pike , tick tick tick .

  8. They can’t justify jack, no more then I can justify why I would like to take the entire O.B.A, down to the flag pole and flog every last one of them with cat of nine tails.I have a real issue with them sc______ng the life out of us, but I hope they are ready when the tables turn on them.

    America’s cup is the second biggest joke behind the BTA, and both are given it to us in the rear.

    • gwan says:

      You should be used to that after the PLP . You are one of those who made out inna .

      • The P.L.P have nothing on the O.B.A, We knew what to expect from some of the P.L.P, but the O.B.A is turning out to be more dishonest in less then the time it took us to loose heart with the P.L.P, the O.B.A also have really shown really early where their allegiance is and to whom, and it definitely is not to the Born Bermudian regardless of race.

        A bunch of deceivers and manipulators is what they are turning out to look like.

    • steve says:

      I am grateful to the PLP. They lowered my standard to such a level, that I find the OBA a mediocre political party.

  9. pot stirer says:

    How you justify that price for the port royal golf coure. Should think a little before you make statements.

  10. Just a matter of time says:

    For those OBAers always touting the efficiencies of the private sector model which presumably and supposedly the BTA follows, I only hear crickets or deflective comments on this matter. Nothing else. The question is simple. How are these bonuses ranging from $1000 given to the lowest level employee (I could use a free $1000!!) on up to $88K to the CEO plus $20K to each BTA Board member a year justified amidst the declining tourism data? Performance based on what?? Yet Min Richards says money doesn’t grow on trees. In the meantime our seniors haven’t seen an increase in their pension benefits (a separate fund by the way) since the OBA came into power, they cut scholarships for students, provide no accounting of AC 35 expenditures to date and want to give away our precious airport profit center, including all of our departure tax revenues to a foreign company for a new airport that is clearly not needed at this time. Yet money doesn’t grow on trees. Uh huh. Crickets… The OBA show time and again they are not for the average Bermudian.

    • Hmmm says:

      Costing you and me less than the DOT.

      Zane is disgusting talking about our children. He and his cronies are responsible for thei futures being stolen under the PLP, the OBA are working hard to turn that around.

  11. Nicky says:

    I fail to understand how a bonus could be given when there are fewer tourists. Someone was a sleep at the wheel when Mr Hansbury contract was written. Justifying his and other bonus by bringing up past mistakes is ridiculous. I thought he owned 2015 numbers?

  12. Terry says:

    Shadow Ministers.

    Get it?

  13. Rockfish #1and #2 says:

    It is beyond ridiculous to employ people who simply roll out of bed, report for work, collect a relatively obscene salary, plus an unearned bonus to boot.
    This coupled with poor performances, is an embarrassment, and the Government should be ashamed of themselves. This would not happen in the private sector period.
    We must understand the taxpayer is paying for this costly overstaffed empire.

  14. Bullseye says:

    We actually have numbers. I havent seen those in a long time. Whilst I do not like them I am very happy to see them. We now have a foot in the ground as a taxpayer to see where this goes.

  15. Spotty says:

    Y’all ain’t know what y’all’s talking bout. Huge bonuses ain’t gibbon out in de public secta.

  16. shutthemdown says:

    tick tick tick

    Time grows short UBP/oba

  17. Shush says:

    “It’s not about us, it’s about our children and our children’s children,” concluded Mr DeSilva.

    And the money you got from the Port Royal certainly secured their future, eh Zane? And now you pretend to be concerned over a Government who are turning things around. Stick to tyres. Oh, you lost that too in competition?

  18. Coffee says:

    For the people who received those bonuses …. Please give the money back . It was totally unearned . However , I’m willing to cede that the OBA are gullible at this time . But don’t take advantage of them just because they are desperate , have a heart , give the money back .

  19. cole says:

    The Caribbean islands are inundated with sargassum seaweed right, driving away tourists. We should be letting people know our beaches are clean and beautiful! Would be foolish to miss this opportunity.

  20. Oh,I see now says:

    Stop deflecting with what the PLP did or didn’t do in the past the BTAs performance TODAY is a reflection of what they haven’t done to earn that money.Still you all have the audacity to bitch about civil servants as they appear to be an easy target or is there another reason.

  21. Northshore says:

    Until Zane Desilva puts up the numbers of the Port Royal golf course in its entirety and we see what the ( bonuses ) were and who got them, well then this guy Zane should not speak to anything to do with numbers that are shown!

  22. Kim Smith says:

    I also disagree with the payment of bonuses unless specified targets are met, especially when the base salaries are generous in and of themselves.

  23. Rockfish#1 and#2 says:

    The BTA has grown into a large overstaffed and overpaid empire. In a recent television interview, Hanbury became visibly annoyed when asked about the salaries and bonus scheme. He then asked Carla L to answer the questions, she made a half hearted attempt to do so, but also became defensive. Additionally, she admitted this bonus scheme is new to Bermuda.
    It is scandalous for the BTA employees to simply roll out of bed, show up for work, collect generous salaries and a bonus without earning it. What will they receive if the numbers increase?
    When the BTA becomes self supporting, these financial matters will become less important, but until then, the Bermudian taxpayer is being taken for a ride.

    • Starting Point says:

      fixed some of your typos….

      “The civil service has grown into a large overstaffed and overpaid empire. In a recent television interview, the union’s became visibly annoyed when asked about the salaries and bonus scheme. we then asked Furbert to answer the questions, he made a half hearted attempt to do so, but also became defensive. Additionally, he admitted this scheme is not new to Bermuda.
      It is scandalous for the government employees to simply roll out of bed, show up for work, collect generous salaries and a bonus without earning it. What will they receive if the numbers increase?
      When the government becomes self supporting, these financial matters will become less important, but until then, the Bermudian taxpayer is being taken for a ride.”

    • Clueless says:

      Do you know anyone who works for the BTA? They work their butts off. Please try again.

      • Rockfish#1 and#2 says:

        If you are asking me that question, I most definitely know a number of BTA employees. As a matter of fact many of them are well known to several Bermudians, aka taxpayers.After all, they are not exactly strangers who appeared on our shores last week….right?
        They do not”work their butts off”. What is the job title of such a person?

  24. I would compare common sense to deoderant…those who probably should use it…rarely do….

  25. James says:

    Two wrongs don’t make anything right! Both parties have issues and supporters of these parties are turning a blind eye to the unfathomable foolishness that is happening. We as a people need to stand together and hold every politician accountable for the scandalous behavior that is going on. At the end of the day, both political parties seem like they could be doing shady under the table dealings.

  26. somuchless says:

    Bill. Get cracking.

    B etter
    T ry
    A gain

  27. just an observation... says:

    How can we say we love our country when we give the politicians who are supposedly representing our interest when we constantly give them free passes? Or is it we love our opinions and those whom we use as mouth pieces for those opinions(the folks we vote for) better? I’m sick and tired of the folks from either side basically saying, “I don’t want to hear about the dirt my guy is involved in because your guy looks dusty too”! Where are the folks with common sense??? If someone ran into a building and shouted “FIRE!!!” what would you think of the person who stood there and wanted to debate the moral creditability of the one shouting the warning? How many of us debate paying duty at the post office because the mail man might be benefiting somehow by delivering the notice? That’s exactly what we (OBA and PLP supporters) do when we ignore the warning because we don’t like the messenger. Just imagine how different our politicians would carry out the people’s business if they knew they’d be held responsible by their own folks. The politicians are the only ones benefiting when we blindly support their shenanigans… we’re essentially condoning their mess. We as the voting public know which of our politicians are slippery, are prone to financial incentive, or are only in the game for sort of other personal interest… but we only call it out when it’s “them” or “those people”. We all need to get over who is wearing what lapel pin at election time and get down to what’s honest… what’s fair… and what’s right and get over ourselves because until we do some of our grandstanding politicians (on both sides of the isle) are getting over on us.

  28. Starting Point says:

    “Why is the BTA paying more for staff costs & bonuses than they spend annually on advertising Bermuda overseas?”

    Lets follow the oppositions standards and set a max % of budget that can be spent on salaries for any ministry, department, Quango or government as a whole……. remind us again how much of the government budget is spent on civil service salaries?

    As always Zane and the opposition are selective hypocrites, don’t cut the service, don’t reduce government salaries but lets have a different standard for those programs and service that we perceive as, shall we say, less than ‘Bermudian’ (based on the PLP definition of Bermudian).

  29. Ruthless says:

    How hard is it to get rid of the BTA, take all that money and by free tickets to Bermuda up and down the east coast of the USA. They can then bring their family members or secretaries

  30. stunned... says:

    B – Biggest
    T – Trainwreck
    A – Around

  31. sadday says:

    I’m sorry, just for clarification… is BTA not now a private company? If so, why does the government (or any of us) think they have a right to comment on or dictate bonus levels? They can’t dictate that for any other local ‘private’ corporations. I’m not saying they deserved the bonuses, the numbers were not fantastic, I’m just saying that if it’s a private company it’s sort of their own business how they run it. We are not all here commenting on whether the insurance company or bank employee bonuses were appropriate this year…. just saying.

    • mj says:

      @saday—the bta is Suppoaed to be private but are still goveernment(taxpayer)funded ..they were given a handout til they get on their feet, soo the public have EVERY right to question where their taxpayer dollars are going and why further I object to all forms of bonuses… awards are given to children who do not work so they get a feel for being rewarded for works… If everyones job is important to the running of the country then no One particular sector should be benefitting through any bonuses.. Hotel workers used to get tips and THAT was taken from them, replacing it with a gratuity system that began to be shared tips sooo lets just get this straight!!! people that are at risk jobs such as Belco, telco, Health workers(nurses aides housekeepers ext) who come in contact with chemicals, airborn disesases and such should be more compensated then anyone else whose job doesn’t put their health in jeapordy.. We really need to revisit our payscales and job descriptions so that it is equitable to all!!Essential service workers are prolly the only ones who deserve a bonus for going above and beyond the average call of duty which is between 9-5, 8-4, ect…

  32. Spotty says:

    Aint nuffin dat nunya gots to say gunna make no difference…stop ya noise and go get joabs all of ya

    y’alls is jes actin hateful and like y’aint got no joabs and dat makes ya dumb an stoopind an an and resentful spiteful.

    bettah yet go play a video game

  33. Bermuda Jake says:

    It’s amazing how quickly we can deride our own. Most of the BTA employees are Bermudians and are skilled at what they do. They face an uphill battle in that other jurisdictions have far more investment being piled into them and have better hotel stock. Atlantis in the Bahamas for example. They are marketing what we have.

    The other trend is that numbers for flights are dropping but we KEEP pushing more cruise ships. This is insane. For every tourist who wants to have a ‘Bermuda’ experience there is now a cheap option which cuts Bermudians out of the deal. Accommodation, entertainment, gaming, food, beverage, retail,taxes, electricity, and import duty – none of that is paid by cruise ship passengers. They pay for taxis and tee shirts. That isn’t enough to drive our economy.

    Our tourism industry is challenged by two facts – we have strong competitors, and we have service providers (cruise ships) with greater power than we have. You cannot blame Bill Hanbury and the BTA for those two stark realities.

    • mj says:

      and thats exactly why their payscales are ridiculous because we are not bringing in the amount of dollars to justify given those salaried, working hard without results is not commendable, this job could have been put in the form of a national competition and then we could keep track of the figures. the Bta is not justified and do not work any harder than anyone else, if they did it would be evident without so much explaination.

  34. Clueless says:

    Does Zane forget that there was a recession in 2008?

  35. Oh,I see now says:

    Head of the BTA flustered and annoyed last night heh heh times that by the Bermudians who are being choked by the government and trying to make a dollar out of fifteen cents.

    Oops! I hope I don’t get taken to court.