One Hour Video: Finance Minister Bob Richards

December 15, 2016

Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance Bob Richards sat down with Bernews today for a live interview on our Facebook page, discussing a wide range of topics including the airport redevelopment, the recently released Fiscal Responsibility Panel assessment report, and the island’s finances in general.

Speaking with veteran journalist Jeremy Deacon, Minister Richards also touched on the plans for the next budget, local taxes, U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump’s corporate tax plan, the Oxfam report, and much more.

The one-hour live video replay is below:

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Comments (31)

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  1. Reality Check says:

    Good interview Jeremy,

    The Finance Minister seems to have floated off into la-la land around the 35th minute when you dug into the Airport thing.

    The Minister’s explanation of it all was so complex, off-the-wall, and convoluted that it must be clear to all viewers that the Minister blew you away with his complex, off-the-wall, convoluted series of answers. Viewers can see you throw in the towel and surrender to his unassailable complexity, off-the-wallness, and convolution.

    Now I know why Cabinet has gone along this far with the Minister’s Airport plan. All twelve (or is it eleven?) other members of Cabinet have also given up on trying to understand it and see the real numbers. They are all happy to just go public with a script written by Bob the playwright who is masquerading as the Minister of Finance. Or is it the other way around?

    • Rightok says:

      Bob did get a bit on the defensive about the airport. I got the feeling he isn’t really too sure about it either.

      He was confident about being the tax man but when it came to the airport he started to beat around the bush.

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        It think the defensive part comes from the exhaustion of having to constantly discredit the same misinformation that is spread by the opposition, to people who don’t seem to care that what is said in the deal documentation does discredit the misinformation. Something that easily discernible to anyone that actually reads the entirety of the deal documentation and understands how it is framed to deal with the very real issues we face at this time.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      The basic concept of how to finance the airport is simple. Even not much more than a primary school level of education should be able to grasp it.

      The details of the numbers & how they all work are another matter. It is all way beyond the vast majority of the rest of us & cannot be simplified to even secondary school level.

      If the Minister seemed exasperated trying to explain it all, for the umpteenth time, that is perfectly understandable. Tough enough trying to explain something complex to people who want to listen but the subject is way out of their depth. Impossible to explain it to people who don’t want to listen or cannot comprehend anything more complex than a couple of sentences.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      Nice try to subtly discredit the Finance Minister’s airport explanation, the repetitive use of ‘convoluted’ and ‘off-the-wall’ as a means to try and make it seem real to the subconscious of the reader only works if it is spread over a much longer article. To use this basic psychological marketing ploy in such a short statement only serves to bring it up as an over exertion on your part to the conscious mind of a reader.

      You are however correct about the complex part, but that is due to this being a very complex deal, as while it has much of the same base as the PLP’s hospital PPP. But unlike the hospital, this is set up as a self funding PPP payback, while the PLP’s deal still requires taxpayers to primarily fund its payback, and it is this self funding portion that adds the complexity to ensure that the ‘Private’ in the Partnership is paid back the contracted amount for the construction, but is also not over paid, allowing the ‘Public’ in the Partnership to also reap in any surplus funding.

  2. NCM says:

    Having watched Finance Minister Richards today and Shadow Finance Minister Burt last week, I’m far more confident that Minister Richards knows what he is doing and is working in the best interests of all Bermudians. Mr. Burt, however, not so much. Let’s get this airport built!

    • Real Deal says:

      Funny, that is not what I saw. this airport scam is evil.
      Basically they(Gov and Acon) knew there was going to be resistance. so instead of consulting the people first the started the project force the people to have no options in the mater. basically saying to the people :”you already owe money do you want to owe more money if not shut up and let us do the project?” don’t worry Acon you will get paid ether way.

      If we do this airport and it fails they will have to change(re-brand) their party name again.

      What should have happen is they should have fixed tourism first before even thinking about any airport.

      This is like getting a new house before you are in a space where you can afford the payment the bank wont give you the money so you work out something with a loan shark.

      As far as I see our hands are tied now Bermuda. and the funny thing is we can not even make then accountable for it if we lose more money.

      • NCM says:

        What are you on about Real Deal? Evil? This has been the most transparent capital project in Bermuda’s history. There were countless town hall meetings as well as private information sessions to various groups, press conferences, articles, opinion pieces, thousands of pages of documents made public etc. etc. Have you taken the time to educate yourself on this project?

        And in case you haven’t noticed, tourism is growing by leaps and bounds thanks to the BTA.

        Perhaps, if the former government hadn’t spent like drunken sailors and all but bankrupt Bermuda, we might have been able to borrow and build the airport ourselves.

        Also – it’s Aecon.

        • Real Deal says:

          The Real Deal is that they signed over the air port from day 1 and made sure it built up like a freight train so no one could stop it even if they tried. to sign away such an important island assets for 30 years required much more research and consideration than what they did.

          What Next will they sign away the water that surrounds Bermuda Or sign away our people or our control and Freedom.

          people don’t understand how much of a big deal this is and look at it as just an airport.

          If someone else controls the airport they control who come here and who leaves here. if they wanted they could stop Bermudians from traveling like he said if you don’t want to pay then don’t travel. This is a lot of power we signed over like nothing. If their out side politics decide that they want to put trade sanctions on say Russia we will have no say in weather Russian people can use that Airport.

        • Real Deal says:

          “And in case you haven’t noticed, tourism is growing by leaps and bounds thanks to the BTA.” As far as I see the BTA should have been implemented a long time ago when we first saw the transition from travel agents to online bookings.
          Also the BTA is far from being well established we are missing a key thing that is called diversification. and we need this to root ourselfs with reliable/steadily tourism growth.

          What is diversification you might ask.

          When I say diversification i am talking about the market we market in. Right now as far as I know the BTA is only marketing in the USA and UK. In order to have the reliable/steadily tourism growth we NEED, we need to branch out to markets like China ,Russia, Australia ect.. This needs to be done way before we are thinking about anew Airport

      • Justin says:

        In the time it took you to type out this nonsense you should have actually watched the video, because it is quite obvious you haven’t.

      • jt says:

        “….evil.” Stopped reading right there.

        • Real Deal says:

          I am sure that is how you agreed to the airport deal too. “….ubp.” so you stopped reading right there and signed on the doted line. I am sure you are not alone. that is why Bermuda needs to wake up

          • jt says:

            I’m sure that my understanding of the airport deal is much better than those that were led to protest it.

  3. Justin says:

    What was very evident in the video was that Richards was able to demonstrate how much of a finance expert he is because he takes the interviewer to school. Burt on the other hand was constantly on the back foot. The winner is clearly Richards. I pray that this man can serve as finance minister for the next 10 years!

    • Wake up Bie says:

      Nope he has 12 month left.

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        That would be a shame, he has demonstrated a far superior ability to manage our finances than Burt has managed to demonstrate he can even grasp.

        • Onion Juice says:

          So borrowing over $1Billion in 5 years is normal.

          • jt says:

            Laying off an overstaffed CS would be normal. Would you LYAO about that too?

          • Build a Better Bermuda says:

            When faced with a huge deficit, yes, as in order to have stopped the borrowing would have meant an immediate elimination of that deficit… and the only way to have done that would have meant massive layoffs and complete cessation of most government social programs 4 years ago. Because not only do they need to end the deficit, they would also need to get government finances back in the black ink in order too service the already huge previous borrowing.

            The fact that Burt continues to critize the OBA for the current debt shows the PLP’s complete lack of remorse or belief in their culpability as the ones who put us in such a crippling deficit. That and the PLP’s pledges to return uns to such levels of government spending to once again raise us to another unsustainable deficit shows that they actually don’t care about the future of our country for our children. They show that they are actually unwilling to make the real and hard decisions about how to run a country.

  4. BullyBreed says:

    The Brilliance of Bob Richards that man was borne to be a finance minister.And not so for the brilliance of Burt as some say.

  5. Mary Mary says:

    Let me ask this question. If Bob Richards and his posse are so on top of this, why the revelation this morning that 28 million a year wasn’t accounted for in annual lost revenue? Multiply that by 30 years, works out to 3/4 of a billion dollars in lost revenue. But yeah, he our Finance minister. This whole stinks more and more each day. As for some of you bloggers, my guess is that many of you aren’t Bermudian, so what the hell do you care. Its not your a$$es on the line.

  6. Mary Mary says:

    Oh one final thing, I don’t know why this hasn’t been mentioned yet, but take a drive up the airport this weekend and have a look at the clearly mapped out area for the proposed site. WORK HAS ALREADY STARTED.

  7. jiggs bda says:

    I just look at this deal as being a 100% financed mortgage with guaranteed payments from a fixed rental amount.

    I don’t get into the numbers, but i do know that i had a 100% mortgage and was advised that it wasn’t the very best deal, but it worked for me then and continues to work for me now…
    not to mention the equity position that it put me into after several years of payments….
    and yes if i multiply my payments by 12 and by the number of years in my mortgage i end up paying 3 times the amount that i borrowed.

  8. sandgrownan says:

    I dunno, he came across as on top of the subject to me, if not clearly exasperated. Deacon did well too, I thought.

    The difference between Burt and Richards is huge, however, and a return to PLP rule would be disastrous,. The PLP had neither wit nor inclination to revive tourism and spent like kids in a candy store.

    As Bill Hanbury said earlier, “We need an airport, we have no money, if you can come up with a better idea, let’s hear it”

    The simple reality is, that the PLP do not want OBA success or more jobs, failure is what they need.

    • Real Deal says:

      PLP did have the will to revive tourism but I think they did not move on it early enough.

      One of the PLP’s biggest down falls was they thought the same people that was supporting the UBP Gov financially would support them as well. then they wasted a bunch of time trying to expose it to make them comply. Instead they should have expected no support from those foke and built their own connections from the start like they did later on.

      What needs to happen is the GOV needs to stop prosecuting tourist for small amounts of cannabis so that when they leave Bermuda and go back they can say Bermuda was awesome because that is the affects of cannabis it will make anything awesome.

  9. DiscoRoboto says:

    One of the reasons the airport proposal is such a bad deal is that it simply is not free – when future values are considered, in fact it is a complete giveaway of the homestead. Acknowledged that present Government debt cannot carry the cost of an airport terminal (i.e not an airport, the airport already exists – these Canadians are getting a free runway here too), there must surely be a way to organize a local public company or quango that is funded by a share or bond ipo. Therefore, as revenues increase over the years, so does the equity rather than the larder being bled dry.