OBA’s Susan Jackson On Govt Consultants

May 22, 2023 | 6 Comments

[Updated] The Premier “read out an extraordinarily long list in terms of both the number of consultants and salaries for a population of sixty thousand people,” MP Susan Jackson said, with Ms Jackson asking “how on earth is the Premier condoning high paying contracts for MPs.”

Ms Jackson said, “The Premier and Minister of Finance revealed in the House of Assembly on Friday 19 May just how broken our civil service has become. A list of consultants/contracts, paid for by the taxpayers, included Burt Administration friends, family and Members of Parliament.

“How on earth is the Premier condoning high paying contracts for MPs and their spouses, worth thousands of dollars a month on top of their MP salaries?

“MP Ianthia Wade collecting $5,000 a month from the Office of the Public Guardian, MP Derek Burgess earning $1062 per month from the Cost of Living Commission, and the list doesn’t stop there.

Audio extract of the Q&A in the House of Assembly

“The answer provided in parliament is a financial instruction which allows individual government departments to request approval from the Head of Public Service without any proof of hiring practices like advertising, interviews, or competitive selections from a pool of job applicants.

“Consultancy services both for ad hoc and, in some cases, long term contracts, are an inconvenient truth to meet every government’s needs, but the Premier read out an extraordinarily long list in terms of both the number of consultants and salaries for a population of sixty thousand people.

“Case in point, the recently exposed $29,000 per month salary for consultant Christopher Warner of Cyberdine. A non-Bermudian consultant hired without evidence of competitive hiring for Bermudians or local companies.

“It’s been revealed to me that many consultants are hired in this manner because no professional wants to accept the civil service employment salaries and this is one way the PLP government is circumventing civil service hiring. The civil service posts remain empty and the consultant fills the vacancy at a higher pay.

“It seems this is also how friends, family and MPs are also quietly receiving perks behind the backs of the hard-working citizens.

“The Progressive Labour Party has been consultant happy since 1998. It’s bad practice and needs to stop.”

Update 1.10pm: Premier David Burt said, “Sadly, the Opposition is grasping at straws to stir controversy.

“MP Burgess served as the chair of the Cost of Living Commission. His remuneration for this role was equivalent to that of a Junior Minister $946.62 per month.

“I am grateful for MP Burgess’ work which led to an agreement with grocers to provide a 10% reduction on a basket of staple goods last year during a time a record global inflation providing relief to Bermudian families.

“Both MP Burgess’ and MP Simmons-Wade work were fixed term work to advance items critical to the Government’s agenda. That work has concluded.

“The public should be reminded that MPs take home pay is only $3,280 a month.

“There were over 70 different contracts that were shared in the House, and the fact the Opposition only could highlight two MPs, who were remunerated for additional work to advance important matters, such as reducing prices at the grocery store and ensuring that our seniors are protected. This sadly shows how desperate they are to try to stir controversy.

“I’m personally disappointed as I took time to discuss with MP Jackson at the lunch break the mechanics of these contracts and how and why they are used to support critical matters for the Government.”

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Comments (6)

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  1. Gwan says:

    29K a month? I don’t care what skills you have. No job is worth $29K a mont, and if it is why hide what the job is? For someone to authorize without going thru the proper channels is just borderline criminal.

    Say what you want about the OBA but when they were in power they even shared their travel expenses with the public to critique. The current government is a disaster. A few that had associated themselves with the party have had the courage to stand up against them, and few have quit. However, most would rather be a part of the problem and look the other way meanwhile keeping their hand open. Karma.

  2. watching says:

    So if certain MPs have a knowledge base or are able to provide support outside of the remit of their MP responsbilities, are they supposed to provide this pro bono?

    • kevin says:

      easy where you tread ” watching” exposing a fact that some MP’s have a knowledge base is stretching it. What we have witnessed over the period of 18 of 23 years would confirm a different picture

      Almost all of the MP’s are receiving pay for sitting on the bench doing nothing so maybe yes they should be doing something without expecting further compensation.
      In the real world many of us are doing it but then again this is the plp and its their playground. you get what you vote for

  3. Lol - the real one says:

    The real question is why government employees do not have the skill sets to do these jobs. Silly me but what are government employees getting paid to do?

  4. Neil says:

    Does he even have the qualifications and experience to make $29,000 per month? He’s not well qualified! Did the CIO check his qualifications and experience before asking the Head of Public Service to approve giving him such a high priced contract without even trying to see if there were better qualified consultants available for much less money? Did the CIO mislead the PLP and Head of Public Service? Guess it isn’t the CIOs money so he doesn’t care.

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