Simons: Govt Continues ‘Unjustifiable Spending’

January 12, 2021 | 18 Comments

Cole Simons Bermuda December 2018The OBA “congratulate the government for how they have managed the pandemic” however what they “cannot thank the government for is their unjustifiable spending during the pandemic that has nothing to do with expenses related to the COVID-19.”

This was from Cole Simons — the Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Finance Minister — with Mr Simons saying, ‘Many will have heard this sentiment echoed throughout the holiday season: ‘Happy New Year and let’s hope 2021 is better than 2020.’

“There is no doubt that COVID-19 caught us all by surprise and knocked us all for a loop, but if we pause and rewind the clock to life in Bermuda pre-Covid, we will find some alarming trends in government spending that have continued, despite the pandemic.

“Before the pandemic, Bermuda’s budget was in critical condition. During the fiscal year of 2017/18, the gross debt for the country was $2.217 billion dollars; and continued to grow.

“The 2019/20 Government Budget estimate initially projected a current account surplus of $7.4MM, but the actual number came in with a current account deficit of $14.6 million.

“This is a negative variance and unplanned spending of $22 million. The projected deficit for fiscal year end 2020/21 is estimated at USD295 million ,without considering the second half of the 2020/21 fiscal performance statistics which has yet to be recorded and presented.

“The untimely arrival of COVID-19 in mid-March 2020 meant that unbudgeted funds had to be spent to keep the economy afloat and help Bermudians. The OBA, like many in this country, congratulate the government for how they have managed the pandemic on behalf of Bermuda.

Covid Related Expenses:

“Government spent $78.8 million in COVID-19 related expenditures.

  • $57.6 million is connected to the Government’s Unemployment Benefit in which we paid benefits to over 10,000 persons;
  • Just over $21 million was spent for other COVID-19 related matters to keep Bermuda safe and secure. This included costs to purchase PPE. To provide for the Bermuda Regiment; to provide for quarantine facilities; to provide for enhanced cleaning contracts; to provide grant funding for the BEDC Business Sustainability & the Continuity Funding Programme.

“However, as the Shadow Finance Minister and a citizen of this country, what I cannot thank the government for is their unjustifiable spending during the pandemic that has nothing to do with expenses related to the COVID-19.

“As of September 2020, the net stood at $2.94 billion, with gross debt hovering around $3.15BLN, which threatens to raise the debt ceiling of $3.5BLN. That’s almost a one billion dollar increase in debt in less than four years. The worst part of that statement is that the second half of 20/21 fiscal year performance reports and statistic have yet to be reported.

“If nothing changes, in an island of less than 65,000 people, Bermuda will be on a glide path to almost $4 billion dollars of debt. That’s Billion with a ‘B’ and the government will likely have to raise Bermuda’s debt ceiling yet again.

Unjustifiable Spending:

“While the government has shown that they will assist Bermudians in an emergency like the current pandemic, they have also demonstrated a systemic lack of unjustifiable spending, for example:

  • In August 2018, the government paid $600,000 to former premier Dr. Ewart Brown’s Brown-Darrell Clinic, Bermuda Health Care Services and the Bermuda Hospitals Board to help ensure CT and MRI services are readily available to the public- from the public purse.
  • More recently, they spent $11 million dollars to cover severance cheques to former employees of the Fairmont Southampton, without making any arrangement to retrieve these funds from their employer, Gencom Ltd.
  • Then there’s the unrecovered unsecured USD $800,000 loan due from Anthony Blakely and Savvy Entertainment Ltd and associated recovery costs and legal fees.
  • Earlier this month we also heard about the increased rent of a government department from $300,000 to $800,000 payable by the Bermudian taxpayer into the pocket of sitting MP Zane DeSilva. The rationale from the government is that they are protecting the children. How is the government protecting our children, when generations of Bermudians will be the ones responsible for repaying a debt of almost 4 billion dollars and it continues to grow?

“While I do not have a crystal ball about Bermuda’s future, in 2021 what I can predict, is that this government will continue to take Bermuda into increased and unsustainable levels of the debt at a time when the country can ill afford it,” Mr Simons concluded.

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Comments (18)

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  1. Unbelievable says:

    And this is why Bermuda will never go independent. With this kind of debt, how on Earth will an independent Bermuda get out of this mess without some help from someone more powerful?

  2. Bermudian says:

    It is easy for any government to spend but where is the plan to generate the economy? All I hear is birds chirping outside of my window. It is going to take Bermuda to be brought down to third world level in order for PLP supporters to WAKE UP and be like…ooops I think we have a problem.

  3. sandgrownan says:

    20 years of incompetence and failure gets you $4bn in debt.

  4. Jay says:

    “More recently, they spent $11 million dollars to cover severance cheques to former employees of the Fairmont Southampton, without making any arrangement to retrieve these funds from their employer, Gencom Ltd”

    First of all Mr. Cole my family was one of the many families that benefited from the Government stepping in to help us. You UBP aka OBA party or whatever you call yourself now are doing the same crap and preaching the same rhetoric that gave you 6 seats vs 30 win. You need to pack it up because you will never win talking like this. The wounds of the UBP will never heal so allow the FDM party to take over or you will be moved out by force next election by your own white Bermudian supporters who have woken up and can finally see the party is a lost!

    If the last election didn’t reveal that white Bermudians are now also tire of the ubp aka OBA failed tricks nothing will!!!!!!!!!

    • Hey says:

      The problem wasn’t that the govt helped, but did it without contracting with Gencom for reimbursement. Ultimately the govt have to get the monies back from individuals, many of who have since left Bermuda. To get money back through courts is expensive. So it costs everyone money and that’s including you.

    • Double S says:

      He didn’t complain about people getting paid whet they owed. What is wrong is the fact that the PLP made no arrangements to ensure that they were repaid by the large corporation that broke our labor laws. They have let this company get away scot free with hardly even a peep of condemnation.

      The workers deserved what they were owed and PLP literally bailed out a large corporation with our tax dollars with no means and/or arrangements to be compensated by the large corporation.

      So he is correct no matter how much you froth at the mouth at the sign of any non-PLP representative having an opinion.

    • Bermudian says:

      What wounds of the UBP? Are you talking about the surplus of money that the island had? Are you any richer since the PLP have been in power? Stop bringing up race, ALL Bermudians become affected by the decisions govt make.

    • Unbelievable says:

      Cole Simons is not criticizing the payment to you or anyone formerly employed at South P. He’s saying that there are no assurances or mechanisms that she’s seen that will see that money come back to Govt from Gencom.
      Your assault and criticism on him is unwarranted and uneducated.

    • Facts says:

      The OBA is finished and cemetery is closedown with no chance to be government again. The few troll bloggers they have left will try their best to defend the OBA and will fail. Every election they fail to win the party will say we weren’t connected to the voters which is the same story Opposition leader Cole repeated recently:)
      We weren’t connected to the voters!
      We weren’t connected to the voters!!!!!
      The fact is the voters will never again connect to the failed UBP experiment again.

      • Unbelievable says:

        Lol so why are you even commenting on the OBA?

        Simons’ comment is about the money that was paid. Is it coming back to Govt coffers? Was there an agreement between Gencom and Govt to get the money back?

        Seems to me that you didn’t read the article and the list of missing money transactions. That money could be useful right now but it seems to me that you don’t care about that. All you care about flipping off the OBA. Blind much?

        • Toodle-oo says:

          “Lol so why are you even commenting on the OBA?”

          Because it’s HIM who is actually a troll .. lol

      • hmm says:

        The oba is trash lets forget this party 4 ever.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      “You UBP aka OBA party or whatever you call yourself … The wounds of the UBP will never heal”

      I hope Papa Doc pays you well for repeating your lies.

      • Truth says:

        So much lies you say but your clowns tried to fool the voters by changing the name to run from a racist past! If that wasn’t the case why change the name at all when things were so much better under the ubp flag?

  5. fers says:

    Yes and that someone will be Bill Gates who has already visited the Island…..he has the wealth to bail Bermuda out and own us then…..this is where we are headed folks….CONTROL OF OUR LIVES!!!!! be careful what you wish for!!

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