MP: Why Was Position Filled Without Advertising

February 25, 2019

[Updated] “Premier Burt should inform the taxpayer why the position was filled without advertising,” MP Michael Dunkley said, adding that “the decision to do so goes against best practice and raises many questions.”

His comments follow after responses to Parliamentary Questions that were asked in the House of Assembly about Bermuda’s new Overseas Office in Brussels, which was officially opened last month, with the Premier announcing that that Dr Renee Webb will serve as the Brussels representative.

One question asked the Premier if the position of Brussels representative filled was advertised, and the reply from Premier David Burt was “no.” Another question was also asked about Dr Webb’s salary, and the Premier replied that it is $156,864.00 per annum, which the Government had previously stated back in January.

The opening of the new office last month:

Brussels Office January 2019 (5)

Mr Dunkley, the former Premier who currently serves as an MP, said, “Premier Burt should inform the taxpayer why the position was filled without advertising.

“The decision to do so goes against best practice and raises many questions,” he added. “It is appropriate that the position be advertised to cast the net as wide as possible and to give qualified Bermudians an opportunity to apply.

“Question two asked for complete details of the employment package and the answer was incomplete as it only covered salary and travel. The questions of housing allowance and any other benefits were left unanswered. Why?

“The lack of complete and comprehensive answers once again shows a lack of accountability and transparency by the PLP as Government and makes one wonder if there is something to hide. This flies in the face of their support for accountability and transparency while in Opposition.

“Finally the budget for the current financial year [2018/19] showed no line item for the Brussels Office. Will a supplementary request for funds have to be tabled in the House or have funds been vired from another area?”

Update 8.06pm: Minister Jamahl Simmons said, “It is understandable that the opposition would seek to talk about anything but the fact that government has achieved the first budget surplus in 17 years and that the national debt will fall this year for the first time since 2003. While that is good news for Bermudians, the opposition is more interested in operating as a political side show.

“If the former Premier had been paying attention in Parliament during the 2018 Budget Debate, he would remember that he had asked about the funding for the Brussels office and was informed at that time that the funding for the Brussels Office had been set aside within the budget for the London Office. The former Premier remarked at that time, ‘…we have vital challenges to face in our overseas negotiations and relationships with people. So I accept that 11 percent increase…”

“Mr. Dunkley has known for almost a year that funding had been set aside for this important initiative and expressed support for it. Why the change of face?

“The OBA’s position has long been that anyone even remotely affiliated with the Progressive Labour Party regardless of qualifications and regardless of expertise is automatically disqualified from using those qualifications and expertise in the service of their own country.

“With the serious threats to our economy emerging from Europe, one would have hoped that a former leader of this country would be able to set aside his political biases and support the appointment of an educated, qualified Bermudian to this role. Sadly, Mr. Dunkley seems more interested in undermining potential investment and attacking the work being done to protect our economy than in doing what is best for Bermudians

“Government determined that Ms. Webb based on her qualifications and expertise was the best person for the job and we stand by that decision.”

The full Parliamentary Questions and Answers follow below [PDF here]:

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Comments (34)

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  1. Enough says:

    Oh be quiet Michael! You can’t stand to see anyone other than yourself and elitist friends be successful. Enough is enough! Hope the sugar tax makes you rethink bringing in all those juices and sodas that are unhealthy for our youth and seniors!

    • truthertz says:

      You do realise that the sugar tax is increasing prices on all food products right?

    • JohnnyB says:

      Well is this not the exact same thing on the other side of the fence? If you are not friends and family of a politician then you are SOL? Are you ok with this type of governance?

    • Questions says:

      If i was Dunkey i would asked why he was the worst leader in history 25 plp 11 obaubp. Now craig who he fired is his BOSS. Jaja thats got to hurt knowing craig and his crew kicked sleeping jean out as the ona leader lol

    • sandgrownan says:

      Maybe the youth and seniors buy something else you twit.

  2. Dready says:

    Answer to the headline question!
    Friends and family!
    The working class in Bermuda is paying for politically connected to feather their own nests!

  3. Concerned Bermudian says:

    Friends and family… this is all the PLP know

  4. aceboy says:

    Its very simple. Dr(?) when did that happen Webb is one of the elite PLP friends. She didn’t make any noise about the SSM issue and she is being rewarded, with our money.

    Ironically she was Minsiter of E Commerce, the Fourth Pillar of our economy that belly flopped under her management.

  5. friends and family!!!

    • Tackle this first says:

      The obaUBP did it for years only difference is they tried to fool my people by changing a name over night. How that work out. You and your bloggers will lose the next 4 election. The people will never vote UBP again you all to dumb to realize it. You know very well why you will not win but every one is afraid to say it. Both parties have a racial divide.

  6. Fishing Line says:

    Dr. Webb has put in her due work in the Progressive Labor Party’s history. She is more than qualified for this very important position in our new Brussels office. I don’t see why as a friend of the party, she hasn’t earned making a salary that is 2/3 times the amount that your average Bermudian makes. You make the right friends in life, you get rewarded for your hard work.

    • JohnnyB says:

      No one is doubting her qualifications. Its just that there may be an equally qualified Bermudian who now does not even get the opportunity to apply for this position.

      • Goaltender Interference says:

        I will doubt her qualifications. EU representative offices are usually run by people with decades of experience lobbying the EU or equivalent diplomatic-like roles. What has she done that even remotely fits that description?

  7. Jobs says:

    The same reason you tried firing person’s without just cost

  8. Paul says:

    They do not have to advertise because they have the power.

  9. Pick one says:

    Dunkley is questioning ONE post for one year but had no problem awarding an airport contract for 30 years without being advertised? The irony.

  10. Cordell W. Riley says:

    I could be wrong but generally speaking are not consultants contracted? It has been the practice of governments to contract the consultants that they need. These posts have never been advertised but that is not to say they shouldn’t be.

    • Lol says:

      Mich and Craig did the samething when they was in charge lolololol. 2 fools these men are pretending to care now.

      • Anbu says:

        And the plp have been pretending to care for almost 20 years. Whats your point?

  11. Terminal Frost says:

    Why do we need an office out there now?

    There was never one there before.

    Broken Government on Ideas to generate money. They know how to spend money when it is not theirs, whilst I struggle here on Island to pay my taxes.


    • Goaltender Interference says:

      I don’t have a problem with setting up an office in Brussels. The EU just passed some very damaging rules to Bermuda businesses. If the BDA Government had a lobbyist in Brussels maybe it would have helped.

      Unfortunately, the person selected for the Brussels office has no lobbying experience. She had been picked for her Government connections rather than her ability to do effective trade lobbying. So this will be a waste of money and may even do more harm than good.

      • Adklee says:

        Your statement implied that these rules came about because the EU didn’t have a Bermudian nearby to talk to. I’m not buying that at all. I tell you what though, I am interested to know if jurisdictions similar to Bermuda also had “damaging rules” threatening their businesses. And which of these jurisdictions have offices set up in Brussels or the wider continent.

  12. Ringmaster says:

    Who is the person shadowing Ms Webb. Has it been advertised or already decided? If already decide is there any connection to Ms Webb?

  13. Jus' Askin' says:

    This guy needs to STOP :-(

    worst Premier Ever :-(

    • Yes says:

      No he needs to continue he makes the plp look stronger, He jealous of the new OBA leader always has always will.

      • sandgrownan says:

        DDS. Dunkley Derangement Syndrome on full display. I love it when he makes comments, as all the drooling simpletons come out of the woodwork.

        It must bite that he presided over the only period of economic growth in the last 21 years.

      • Anbu says:

        Makes the plp look stronger?! Lmfao. U win the internet today. Hahahaha. Plp and strong are two words that can never be used in the same sentence. Hahahaha. Mercy what a laugh. What have the plp done to make them “strong” as u say? Ya they won the government. But what else have they accomplished? Ever? Certainly not a balanced budget, thats for sure.

  14. St.George's Passport and Immigration Control says:

    Not what you know,
    but who you know!

    plp Friends and Family.

  15. Conspiracy Theory says:

    And why do we even need an office in Brussels? Can anyone tell the taxpayer what it is they do?

  16. Merrick says:

    Dr. Webb? Since when did she achieve the distinction of Dr? I know she has a Bachelors from La Sorbonne but this qulification is new. Could somebody please answer: from where, when and what in? I think we have a right to know? Indeed, let’s take a look at her thesis too. I’m genuinely interested.

  17. Merrick says:

    Actually, I trust somebody has told Dr. Webb or she already knows: regardless of where she is paid, if she is in Belgium for more than 180 days, that income is taxable and must be declared.

  18. rodney smith says:

    Friends and Family goes both ways . Sounds like it haves a ring to it . We have given Sovereign Guarantees to one group of supporters while refusing others . M.P.’s are either dumb ,deaf and blind to not know this , but will only admit it after seeing it in the media.. Shame . We have TWO Bermudas . We are fighting so much that soon we will need foreigners to come in and run our country .We can’t stand to see any Bermudian get ahead .