PLP: ‘OBA Reversed Themselves Once Again’

January 17, 2016

The “OBA have reversed themselves once again” and “it should come as no surprise that the OBA would mislead the country to say that they are correcting an error,” said Shadow Minister of Finance David Burt. with Senator Diallo Rabain saying,”While I am pleased that the OBA have reversed their ill-advised tax increase on our Seniors, it is disappointing that the OBA cannot own up to the mistake and are now calling it an ‘error’.”

This follows after the Government said that Minister of Finance Bob Richards will take changes to the Land Tax Amendment bill to Parliament to “correct an error” which the Ministry said “would have unintentionally impacted Bermuda’s senior citizens who are land owners,” as the bill stated an incorrect value for the maximum ARV allowed for seniors.

Government’s Statement

Earlier this week the Government said, “The Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance, E.T. Richards will take to Parliament changes to The Land Tax Amendment bill, which was tabled on 16th December 2015.

“The Minister said today that he will take action to correct an error in the bill which would have unintentionally impacted Bermuda’s senior citizens who are land owners.

“The Land Tax Amendment Act 2015 stated an incorrect value for the maximum ARV allowed for the exemption afforded to Bermudians 65 years and older, as per section 3A of the Act.

“The corrected ARV limit for the seniors’ exemption is $42,000, NOT $29,000 as tabled.

“Based on the new land tax rates which were also tabled in the amendment, the maximum dollar value of the exemption provided for seniors is $1,569 annually which is in line with the previously existing exemption of $1,566.

“Therefore, although the ARV value has been lowered, the dollar value of the exemption provided to seniors has been maintained.”

PLP Comment

Shadow Minister of Finance David Burt said, “In the midst of a bye-election, when faced with anger on the doorsteps from the seniors of this country whose Christmas present from the OBA was a Land Tax Increase, the OBA have reversed themselves once again.

“However it should come as no surprise that the OBA would mislead the country to say that they are correcting an ‘error’. This was no ‘error’, this was an intentional act by the Minister of Finance to shift the burden of taxes in Bermuda to those who can least afford it, our seniors.

“When pressed by myself in Parliament in December about his now aborted tax increase, the Minster defended the OBA tax increase on seniors by saying, ‘the exemption has been changed so that the amount of money collected by Government from that group [seniors] remains the same.’ However, now Minister Richards is singing a different tune saying the exemption will remain in place – and saying that he made an ‘error’.

“Errors like this do not happen! There are nine stages that a Government Bill goes through before it is tabled in Parliament, including being approved by the Cabinet twice. This reversal is not an ‘error’, it is a change in Government policy on the eve of a bye-election as the tax hike on Seniors was not being received well on the doorsteps of Devonshire North Central as most recently evidenced at the Age Concern forum held last week.

“While the OBA has made this change, I encourage them to look to correct the ‘error’ of why they have raised the cost of living for seniors in this country by increasing their taxes and fees. I also encourage Minster Richards to look to correct the ‘error’ of why he hasn’t given seniors a pension increase since the OBA took office.”

Senator Rabain said, ”While I am pleased that the OBA have reversed their ill-advised tax increase on our Seniors, it is disappointing that the OBA cannot own up to the mistake and are now calling it an ‘error’.

“The voters of C-13 have told me on the doorstep that they are very concerned about the cost of living and making ends meet. They have seen their health care costs rise, their health insurance has skyrocketed, their fees have been raised, and they have yet to receive a increase in their pensions from the Minister Bob Richards.

“While this change from the OBA on Land Tax is a victory for seniors, there is much more that we need to do to ensure our seniors can live their lives in dignity. I will continue to be an advocate for seniors and look forward to continuing to share the PLP’s vision for our seniors on the doorsteps of C-13.”

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Comments (62)

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  1. Zevon says:

    The could just have done what the PLP did. Leave mistakes in the laws, pretend they’re not there, are try to sort it out years later.

    • LPL says:

      I’m not a political buff by any means so please excuse my ignorance. But don’t the PLP vote on these bills as well? Wouldn’t that mean that they missed the error as well?

      • Give it a Rest says:

        The bill hasn’t been debated yet – you are grasping at straws!

        • Purple Koolaid says:

          So they’re complaining about a bill that hasn’t been passed yet? – They’re the one’s grasping at straws.

          • lowe says:

            No they are being a good opposition.

            • hmmm says:

              What? Running to the press instead of dealing with matters in the house.

              • lowe says:

                OBA supporters aren’t so transparent as I thought..hmmmmm

            • Build a Better Bermuda says:

              A good opposition in that they are trying to lambast the government for fixing an error on a bill before it passes?? A good opposition comes up with viable… let’s repeat this critical word ‘viable’, options to matters that they don’t agree with. Not run a constant electioneering campaign of smear politricks and fairy tale fantasy ideas (including ones that were debunked by their own studies during their administration) in an attempt to destabilize the government and country just to get back in power. 14 years of failed economic policies and flawed bills that they failed to correct, and they still haven’t learned from it.

            • serengeti says:

              um, the government spotted the mistake and announced they would rectify it prior to the law being passed.

              And only then the PLP say anything at all about it.

              How is that being an ‘effective opposition’? They didn’t do anything. It’s not like they made the government correct the mistake. They didn’t even know about it until the government announced the correction.

      • Black Soil says:

        May God protect us if the PLP were ever govt again. I pray that my people do not fall for their lies.

    • Give it a Rest says:

      You really don’t believe that Bob Richards made a mistake do you.

      This is an attempt to deal with the backlash they were getting from seniors while canvassing!

      • Precisely!! Backlash it is!! Do not believe any thing coming out of any of the obaUBP’s mouths. Lies!!!

        • Jus' Wonderin' says:

          And we’re supposed to believe the stuff that comes out of the PLP/UBP/BIU mouth? LMFAO greatest joke ever!!

      • Zevon says:

        Nah. The PLP didn’t even read laws, they just passed them, then tried to “correct” their “mistakes” years later. Amateurs.

    • Expected by SpongeBob. He looked under the Hood and still trying to Hoodwink us again.

  2. Up D hill says:

    This arrogant PLP need be taken to task on the disgusting way they conducted business during their reign of being Government! Do not let it happen again Bermuda.

    • rubbish- to up D hill’s comment.

      • Sunfish says:

        Why don`t you do just that , “HAVE SOME BACKBONE” and open your eyes. Read current events and stop with your hear say. Truth hurts don`t it !!!

      • Brian says:

        Plp sunk the island into debt that we are slowly crawling out of. Oba isn’t much better, we are arguing amongst ourselves just like the parties. Oba and Plp need to work together just like we need to do, this senseless arguing is getting us nowhere. If you want to make more on taxes then increase the percentage that you take from people who make more then $100,000 a year. To take more from the people making more modest salaries will only make it harder for them to live increasing crime rates.

  3. swing voter says:

    if only the peoples party had listened to the ones that put every thing on the line to win 1998, Never in the history of the party has one man caused so much loss to so many…… 2B to be exact

  4. Marge says:

    OBA you made a big mistake on trying to make the seniors pay for land tax (shame on you )We all know why the finance minister is going to adjust this disgusting decision .it was because of the “gray parade ” that attended the meeting for the up coming by election….politions you all should be ashamed of your selves…..when are you pathetic so called politicians going to do what is best for us …. not what will benifit for you ?

    • Sunfish says:

      Seniors should have never been able to not pay land tax, should have never been free bus rides and ferry rides! None of that BS worked, look where you are now!!! Why don`t you go and thank Ewart Brown for all this mess you are in now!

      • lowe says:

        You are blaming $220 dollar deficits on the above?? That was funny though.

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        I guess you are planning on never getting old. If you are you are currently busy saving & investing & getting a very high rate of return so that in your retirement years you will have money for those exorbitant health insurance rates & to pay all those people to do the house maintenance work that you used to be able to do yourself.

        That little taste of Government ‘give back’ will mean nothing to you.

    • hmmm says:

      There was a mistake in the draft, that has been addressed. Hasn’t even been debated yet.

      Grey parade?????? What are you on about? that was a session set up by Age concern. Quite insulting that you would call them a grey parade.

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        You get old. You turn grey. What is the problem? Grow some thicker skin.

        • Walk in their shoes says:

          or, go with a term that’s probably more pleasant to deal with all-around. Not about political correctness or thick skin or whatever, just showing some thought and consideration… else we’d be talking about fatties the next day, or drunkards, or whatever else.

  5. Coffee says:

    Proof yet again that the finance minister Bob Richards is capable of making serious miscalculations while working under the hood . That , unfortunately , is pretty much a constant with all of the minister’s in the UBP/BDA/OBA cabinet .

    • Hard Hat says:

      Finance Ministers under the PLP reign of terror, lost $800 million and put us $2 billion in debt. I would rather have a minister that will correct an error , or rethink an bill than another PLP minister that didn’t keep an eye on the public purse.

    • Zevon says:

      So the PLP wants to complain about the things it thinks the OBA might have done but didn’t. That’s clutching at straws.

  6. Navin Johnson says:

    Another PLP waste of time

  7. Triangle Drifter says:

    Oh PUHLEEEZE! The PLP can’t find something more substantial to make a noise about? Where were they over a week ago when the whateveryouwantocallit was brought up on social media & news media & got a suitable amount of displeasure hurled back at Government?

    It doesn’t really matter. Honest mistake or they thought they might get away with something. It is fixed in short order & everyone is happy.

    Everyone that is except David Burt who is late to the party. So late that the party is over & there is nothing to talk about.

  8. moonbeam says:

    At least the OBA (unlike the PLP during their reign) have admitted their mistake — and have corrected it. That shows transparency. The PLP need to realize that “people in glass houses should not throw stones”. David Burt is nothing but a ‘rabble rouser’.

    • Widget says:

      @moonbeam. I Couldn’t have spelled it out any better.

    • smh says:


    • James Rego says:

      My thoughts exactly.
      If the plp were such a great government, they wouldn’t be the opposition now!

  9. steve says:

    Hey PLP maybe you are right and the OBA made a bad move and aren’t about to admit it. But please let me hear it from an independent or a concerned person on the street cause the politicians in your party are to insecure to ever ever admit to anything ever ever. Grow up or shut up.

  10. Ringmaster says:

    If it was tabled on December 15 2015, it means the bill was basically public knowledge (at least to the OBA and PLP) then surely the error was known to all? Maybe not debated but definitely known to the PLP so how is it they didn’t say anything before the OBA publicly admitted the mistake and corrected it? David Burt is showing how the PLP missed this error and is now trying to make it into something it’s not to try and sway votes. Not surprising considering how split the PLP is based on the resignations within the PLP Shadow Cabinet.

  11. Sooooo says:

    Is an error not a mistake?

  12. jt says:

    The PLP have become the poster child for transparency. Truly.

  13. Build a Better Bermuda says:

    So the OBA fixed a mistake on a bill… if only a PLP finance minister (or junior finance minister) had fixed all the mistakes that we’re going on during the PLP administration, there wouldn’t have been so many millions of dollars lost to maladministration… if only, then maybe we would have such a damning and shaming reports from the Auditor Generals. I mean it’s not like they didn’t know these mistakes were going on, they were being told even during the PLP administration.

  14. Kim says:

    Didn’t I say how long they knew this was a mistake and now you want to cover it up with an error… go PLP we knew it was done deliberately and PLP don’t have the power to reverse this bill. Remember its less PLP MPs that can vote against the UBP/OBA they knew what they were doing…SMFH

  15. Kim says:

    That’s right seniors stand up for yourselves cause these SWINGERS don’t really know the struggle you’ve lived it and could speak on it… my hats off too you(seniors)

  16. bluwater says:

    Burt is running for leader, I guess. BTW. A mistake and an error are the same thing. Fail

  17. Oh,I see now says:

    It had nothing to do with correcting an error because if there wasn’t a silver fox backlash the decision to raise those taxes would have stood.Bob would have continued to sleep like a baby and smile in the face of the first senior he greets the next morning.In the end OBA you will not be remembered for the decisions you made but by how you went about making them.

  18. John says:

    When you hear these fools yakking everyday what a Hell On earth this country would be with them in power again .

  19. A few queries says:

    If bills have to go through so many stages of checks and revisions how did the PLP get the drunk driving and PRC bills wrong then?

    So apparently errors do happen Mr. Burt.

  20. Strong Oba Supporter says:

    Sounds like canvassing Works and the government listens to its people

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Looks like they have an eye on social media as well. There is no excuse for not knowing how the public feels these days.

  21. Cow Polly says:

    Damned if you do ………… damned if you don’t!

  22. John E. Thorne says:


  23. Sincerious says:

    The irony is likely lost on most who do not actually listen to the debates in the House and read the bills past.
    Funny enough in 2010 the government of the day made impassioned speeches in the House on how they were going to make the corporations pay lots of land tax for the property they owned. The reality is the legislation had a flaw – is that error no not a mistake surely; in that neither corporation pays any land tax owned or occupied prior to that date.
    So it seems those that speak in the House rely too much on those telling them what the words mean rather than checking for themselves.
    And those that check the legislation need a checker that did not write it.

  24. hulk_too says:

    in all honesty people are not going to forget what transpired under the PLP watch -no more than they forget about what their own mother /brother /daddy done. This leaving room for asinine comments/reactions and no room for growth… So sad as a country, a village /a community/ an individual …that we cannot come together to agree to disagree in a mature fashion and really help , but only causing discord and separation wow incredible just incredible. and we call this paradise. Not want to visit hell if this is paradise. some hell.
    We all see what is transpiring around us,

  25. La-Verne S says:

    It is the same when your government mentions matters and the bill hasn’t been tabled yet. Idiots!!!! The same old same old crazy writers!

  26. Joe Bloggs says:

    Umm, let me try to get this straight.

    ‘“Errors like this do not happen! There are nine stages that a Government Bill goes through before it is tabled in Parliament, including being approved by the Cabinet twice. This reversal is not an ‘error’, it is a change in Government policy’.

    Does that mean the the 14.2% (or 2¢ in every $1) tax increase from 14% to 16% in 2010 was intentional and it was designed to drive business and jobs from Bermuda. Is that what Mr. Rabain and Mr. Burt are really saying?

  27. LEGALEAGLE says:

    Seniors have been badly treated by both Parties-who think they can-because unlike Unions!Seniors have’t yet united to protest/vote as a block! As the Senior population grows,that’s going to CHANGE!! Unlike Crockwell’s 25pct increase to taxi drivers (who’s gas expenses drop by the day),no increase in SIS pensions for 5yrs -but increased healthcare premiums our 5yr static pensions can’t afford–so many seniors now lack ANY Health insurance-as Atherton flys 1st class to Conferences!! We now go to Church Lunches a/o charities just to survive!! Disgusting!! Beware polititians from both parties at the next election!!’Grey power’ is getting angry!

  28. 32n64w says:

    “There are nine stages that a Government Bill goes through before it is tabled in Parliament, including being approved by the Cabinet twice.”

    Are these the same nine stages that were in place when the PLP Government made changes to the Immigration Act resulting in status grants for PRC holders? Is Mr. Burt now admitting this was an intentional outcome resulting in “thousands” of residents being granted the right to vote?

    • serengeti says:

      Yep. Plus the nine stages and approvals that changes to the Road Traffic Act went through under the PLP whereby it became impossible, due to the way the law was drafted, to convict someone for DUI. I guess that was intentional as well.

  29. Pro-fash-nulls says:

    “it should come as no surprise that the OBA would mislead the country”

    words of a true childish unprofessional with his head in the clouds

    you want people like this running the country under PLP? HA!

    God knows how much the PLP sucks, he hates them!

  30. ALVIN WILLIAMS says:

    An error? I don’t think so not with this crowd; that tax increase was what it was a tax increase. That grim looking senior audience at that recent meeting finally rang a bell with this OBA government; a loud political bell. I doubt if this by-election was not in the offering whether this finance minister would have batted an eye; not by the statements he has been making with his money decisions.

  31. PPamplin says:

    It is most unfortunate that the Shadow Finance Minister would lie in order to justify their rhetoric to misrepresent the government.

    Minister Richards, as agreed by the Shadow Minister, indicated that the net effect to the tax payers would be neutral. That position has not changed. The number required to give effect to that neutrality had been advised to be $29K,when in fact it was $42K. The Minister does not do the billing, but rather, sets the policy. The policy has not changed, contrary to Burt’s and Rabain’s assertions.

    This press release is indicative of the lack of character and principle of the PLP spokespeople on this issue, and is sad indeed.