Column: ‘Island Too Driven By Partisan Politics’

March 10, 2019

David Tavares Bermuda Oct 19 2018[Opinion column written by David Tavares]

“Are the Government and stakeholders preoccupied with developing an economy that benefits all at the same time to secure peace?”

Over the years we often hear our leaders use words like growth, prosperity and peace. When political, government and business leaders use these words, I ask myself, are they really interested in overall peace, or are they only focused on their immediate personal interests they represent?

I firmly believe the Government-of-the-day must be totally, together with stakeholders [business and private sector] preoccupied in contributing to the development of an economic system for the benefit of everyone.

Unfortunately, our island home is too driven by partisan politics, with little room for independent thinking, or voice. Parliament is controlled by the political party duly elected, in control of the Government-of-the-day!

Bermuda is too small a community for a two party political system to be allowed to continue without checks and balances that include non political independent oversight, especially in the Senate where there should be a majority of elected independents.

As a matter of fact we did have a body [Legislative Council] that was in place, but the name was changed to Senate with government-of-the-day given a majority representation. This, in effect, gave the party in power the ability to rubber stamp legislation passed by the House of Assembly.

Since party politics in Bermuda, we continue to experience continued division, and, in fact, we have become polarized politically…. no meaningful growth, prosperity, or real peace of mind in the past 10 years, with no end in sight. Why?

According to the OBA, now the UBP/BDA combined, in their response to the Budget, have reminded us why we are in so much debt, because the PLP put us where we are. This is not entirely correct! They too added an additional $1 billion to the national debt after 5 years at the helm.

I do, however agree that from 2007 to 2012 the PLP, mostly under the leadership of Dr. Brown, together with the then finance minister, made a “dogs breakfast” of the economy. If I recall, the narrative was, “it’s time to sow new seed of economic prosperity”. Then it was changed to “Time to reset the dial”, obviously, an acknowledgement by the then Premier Paula Cox of the rampant disregard for the taxpayer’s purse.

For example, I refer to the 2001 Conditions of Employment and Code of Conduct put out jointly by the permanent secretary to the cabinet and the head of the public service commission which stated:

“The greatest asset of the Civil Service is its officers. In order to meet Government’s aim of being the “Employer of Choice”, we will endeavour to provide interesting and challenging work as well as the best resources, accommodations, and remuneration package that the community can afford in exchange for dedicated performance”.

Now, just think about that statement made back in 2001, and still holds true today. The OBA commissioned the SAGE Commission, did nothing about what the community can afford, and now the PLP is back in power and we still cannot afford the Civil Service. In fact they continue to add to cost!!

The PLP’s Business plan will do nothing to eliminate partisan politics. Only to continue with the “status quo” and allowing partisan political supporters to take advantage of the taxpayer’s purse.

- David Tavares


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Comments (10)

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  1. Proven says:

    If the private sector will not hire the Berkley(ites) they will vote for a government that will employ them – pay one way or the other. It will be a disaster! We all have a choice.

  2. Rocky5 says:

    People always vote with their hearts not their heads.

  3. Realist says:

    A great piece which I’ll only add that we have partisan race baiting politics. All of which has become tiresome, ineffective and non-productive. When will we wake up to focusing on issues!

  4. lav says:

    “When will we wake up to focusing on issues!”

    Bermuda thrives on its perpetual race war.

  5. Sandgrownan says:

    Tavares is incorrect again.

    It’s wrong to suggest that the OBA share blame for the debt. They don’t and he’s stupid for suggesting so. Go and read Nick Kempe’s reply to the budget for a chronological look at how we got into debt.

    • newperspective says:

      I’m not suggesting, they are to blame and share the responsibility! You stop and think about it!!

      If there is no money and you borrow to pay undeclared debts, or doubtful obligations, you (OBA) accepted the wrong doing, thus put the taxpayer further into debt!

      And, by the way, the $1 billion wasn’t all undeclared debt, or should I say, part of the “dogs breakfast”.

      The OBA (UBP/BDA), while in power, could have and should have made legislative changes to our financial reporting structure to greatly minimize the rampant disregard of the taxpayer’s purse, lead by ministers, I might add.

      They decided to leave the backdoor open to make life easier for them. In the end, ministers can get away by simply declaring “executive privilege”.

      • sandgrownan says:

        No, you’re wrong. Nice “let’s all be friends” pieces like this don’t wash when you have a) the reply to the budget that lays it out all nicely and b) today’s column on “the tax and spend” PLP is similarly accurate.

        IF you don’t think so, read the statement by BitCoin Dave about the “grace and favour” consulting gigs to friendlies. Sherri J as a consultant? To what exactly?

        And the EU is adding us to their blacklist.

        • newperspective says:

          I rest my case! That is what party politics is all about. Me first, and family and friends next.

          Thank you for reminding me!!

  6. fools says:

    the same nick kempe that runs his family trucking business.
    what does he know

  7. Joe Bloggs says:

    Dear Mr. Tavares, thank you for a well written column. I agree with most of what you said but a few things require elaboration. Fist, the OBA (UBP/BDA) added an additional $1 billion to the national debt after 5 years at the helm. Part of that was undeclared debt that Bermuda already owned but the previous government never told us about. Second, the Bermuda budget was such that Bermuda had to borrow more money just to make interest payments on our debt up to and including 2012 and thereafter. Another legacy of the previous government. The OBA (UBP/BDA) government could have made drastic economic changes in Bermuda but that would have other consequences. Business does not like drastic or unexpected economic changes and Bermuda’s is a business economy, whether we like it or not.

    As for party politics, I wholeheartedly agree with you, but our Constitution guarantees freedom of association and as long as like minded people wish to gather and promote the agenda of the PLP there is nothing that can be done about it.