Initial Look At Auditor’s Report

Well, I’ve had an initial glance over the auditor’s report, as per the link provided by VexedBermoothes. I’ve also briefly read over some of the statements in the RG.

I want to stress that I’ve never looked at an auditor’s report before, so I am definitely not familiar with what they should look like, you know, what the layout and writing should be. I have to confess that I consider myself first and foremost a student of Biology, and I am more familiar with scientific report writing styles here, you know, state what the problem is you’re investigating, then move on to the methods you’re going to apply to investigate it, then give the results, follow it with a discussion of the results and then a conclusion. Thats kind of what I expected to see in the report. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to have the same structure.

My first reaction to it was that the Auditor seems to be quite subjective, or perhaps emotional, would be the better word. There is a lot of exclamation points and other such emotional-type writing in the report. That surprised me quite a bit as I thought it would be more appropriate to just state the facts and then ask questions based on them. Alot of the exclamation points would have been better rendered as questions in other words. To that degree I did find it rather unprofessional, but again, I’ve never read an auditors report or such thing before, so maybe I just had the wrong impression of them. Its just that these emotional-type statements struck me as something that would be more appropriate as handwritten comments on margins than actually typed incorporated text.

Having said that the questions that the report asks are, to me at least, some rather serious ones that need to be more adequately answered by Government. For example, I do not understand how Lisgar/LLC, whatever, recieved the contract in the first place. It looks to me as if their application was insufficient and should have been disqualified. I can understand using Government tenders as some sort of wealth redistribution mechanism, you know, help support and develop new entities that would otherwise struggle in breaking into the market versus established monopolies and the like. Thats fair and all, and there is a definite argument in favour of increasing diversity and competition within the existing framework. But just like Pro-Active with Berkely, where this seemed to be the case, I think its better to dole out these tenders (which have the goal of developing diversity and competition) to smaller sized projects so that they can develop expertise and knowledge-by-doing as it were. Handing out large projects to new entities risks biting off more than they can chew in a manner of speaking, and effectively leads to setting them up to fail and having a counter-productive result to that desired, as well as leading to public criticism of the initial decision. One wonders if that was in fact the case with this situation. And it does seem that alot of the other problems highlighted in the report as regards the Police Station/Magistrates Court project are directly related to the initial decision to award the contract to them when the initial review suggested they should not win the award.

The issue over the Auditors legal remit to investigate the MoW&E just strikes me as bizzare and I wonder what the legal advice that the Ministry based its statement on was. Either way it looks to me like a big red flag being shoved in the face of a bull (and yes I know bulls are actually don’t react to red but to movement, etc., but you know what I mean). In other words it looks like it was designed to draw the ire of the Auditor, so I don’t know what the thinking was that led to it. Just bizarre.

As for the part on the MoTourism, I am particularly concerned about the contract structure, in practice if not in theory, with GlobalHue. I don’t know anything about the company or its owners relationship with Dr. Brown, and any comments on that really verge on subjective interpretation that I think would be difficult to hold up in court (and I’m not saying the auditor alleges anything here, but I’m sure people would all the same), but the mark-ups and apparent lack of refunds for not producing the expected product at all, those concern me, and look like we’re being ripped off by the company. I think we certainly need to clear up the ambiguities there, and consider a new company instead. The issue about whether the Director of Sales & Marketing was ‘bought off’ is one that more information should be provided for, but I think the allegations are more circumstantial than anything else. I note that the Ministry has cleared up some of the discrepancy in the pay and I think the Auditor did make a mistake there, but not enough seems to have been done to clear up any misperceptions that the Director was indeed bought-off.

One issue that this bit does highlight, and indeed is, in a way, a red thread throughout the report, is an apparent perception that Civil Servants had felt pressured to comply with Ministerial decisions, although, and the report I think notes this too, it is not clear whether Civil Servants perceived they were being pressured to comply or that they truly were being pressured. I believe the PLP Chairman Mr. Burt made the statement that in politics you either define your opponent or your opponent defines you. In a way it can be argued that this phenomena of being pressured is more perception as a result of the PLP Government being defined by various sources (i.e. media, UBP) than fact. This means though that the PLP Government has its work cut out for it still in addressing this perception, and I am not sure really how they can combat it other than accelerating the Freedom of Information Act.

The issue of the Berkely Bond does seem to be particularly unproffessional in my reading. Not the issue itself, but the style that the report is written. I honestly don’t know all the behind the scenes info on Union Assets Management, but if it is true that its a shell for the BIU, and that the BIU used its property as a guaruntee for the bond, this strikes me as monumentally stupid of the Union. It would be of great irony if the PLP, as Government, succeeds in managing what the UBP and Forty Thieves failed to do, that is, break the BIU. I’m not saying thats the case, but without other information it does leave it opne to question. I am not implying that that was the intended result at all, nor do I think that it would happen, but its certainly unfortunate.

So, as I said, thats just my initial thoughts on the Auditor’s report. I do agree with the official PLP response that the report comes across as unprofessional in its writing, but there are some questions asked in it that need to be answered more adequately. And failure to address them will only lend support to those who would think the worst, and leaves supporters scratching their heads. If there’s anyone out there familiar with audit reports, please let me know if I am mistaken in thinking that the writing style was unprofessional, becasue I simply don’t have any experience in them. And if thats what passes as professional, I certainly think the profession needs to raise its standards.

Anyway, just my thoughts.

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107 thoughts on “Initial Look At Auditor’s Report

  1. Pingback: Auditor’s Report

  2. the opposition has failed to get answers from this administration…the system is broken with no chance of reform…time for royal commission on auditors report….also time for a no confidence vote in this system time to disolve parliment and call for a general election and have the govenor run the country

    call in the biu bond and bankrupt them….no need to protect them…the new union will take better care of the workers.

  3. why do we so often elect lying, unprincipled leaders, and why they in turn create huge crises for the secret purpose of increasing their power and control. Did you ever stop to wonder why most governments – no matter where on earth you look, or what time period you consider – tend toward being dishonest, predatory and tyrannical?

    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=91407

  4. Jonathan
    “My first reaction to it was that the Auditor seems to be quite subjective, or perhaps emotional, would be the better word. There is a lot of exclamation points and other such emotional-type writing in the report.”

    Interestingly enough I made very similar comments myself on Everest’s show this afternoon. I too thought that the Audtior was more subjective than objective. But, I guess that’s his style.

    As far as your questions regarding LLC, it is my understanding that the Minister is to make a Ministerial statement tomorrow. I will send it to you.

    I’ll also forward to you the Ministry of Tourism’s response tomrrow.

    It would be inappropriate for me to comment on the Berkeley bond for obvious reasons.

    By the way, one thing I did learn today while listening to the Everest DaCosta show, there was a period of five years during the tenure of the UBP that there were no audits done at all.

    SoO,
    “call in the biu bond and bankrupt them….no need to protect them…the new union will take better care of the workers.”

    The “new union” does not have to wait until the BIU is bankrupt to get people to join up, they can start now. You can put your name forward as the General Secretary and encourage your friends to run for other office. Only time will tell if the new union will take better care of the workers. Why don’t you stop by the BIU tomorrow and pick up a copy of “The History of the Bermuda Industrial Union” and see if it would be a wise decision to bankrupt the Union, or if indeed, they are “bankruptable”.

  5. As far as your questions regarding LLC, it is my understanding that the Minister is to make a Ministerial statement tomorrow. I will send it to you.

    I’ll also forward to you the Ministry of Tourism’s response tomrrow.

    Why can’t the average Joe have access to these statements?

    It would be inappropriate for me to comment on the Berkeley bond for obvious reasons.

    Is the union going to honour their fiscal and fiduciary obligation?

    By the way, one thing I did learn while listening to the Everest DaCosta show, there was a period of five years during the tenure of the UBP that there were no audits done at all.

    When, exactly?

  6. Having only read the RG report and Jonathan’s comments (is there a BDA Sun report?), I am very keen to hear a non-emotional government response to the AG. Mr.Brown’s comments as recorded in RG seemed like very typical political deflection with no comment on the financial problems highlighted (“don’t look at the actual issues raised by the AG – he just doesn’t like the PLP so you must disregard his opinion…”)… emotions running high on both sides it would seem.
    However, Ms.Furburt indicates we’ll get more from PLP HQ soon, and I hope it deals with the actual issues (gotta give government time to formulate a good response, I guess – AG had a nice long gap to put his stuff together).
    I’ll settle for a response both emotional AND factual (like the AG’s report, it seems), as long as we get some FACTS.

    Gary

  7. AG had a nice long gap to put his stuff together

    … and the Government were well aware of the report contents in advance (via the two PLP representatives who sit on the corresponding Audit Committee which reviewed the report prior to its presentation) and also chose to drag their feet and be uncooperative (i.e. Burgess refusing the AG’s staff access to documents and Don Coleman, close friend of Dr. Brown, similarly refusing to provide supporting invoices) during the information gathering exercise.

    Dr. Brown’s (prepared) speech that was read in the House by another MP spent more time attacking the messenger (as usual) versus refuting or promising to address the many problems highlighted in the report itself. This recurring Chewbacca Defense proves the kleptocracy’s public relations repertoire is as barren as Tatooine.

  8. 32n64w,

    Don’t you think it would be inappropriate for the 2 PLP members of the audit committee to give information to their fellow members? Also, what makes you think that they had privy to the Special Report of the Auditor? The rest of your first paragraph is hearsay, not fact.

    You obviously do not have access to Dr. Brown’s “prepared speech”, if you did you would know that he refuted much of what was inlcuded in the Auditor’s report.

  9. 32n64w,

    Ministerial statements are posted both on the government website and the PLP website after they are read in the House. Generally they are published in the RG as well, however sometimes not in full.

    SO to answer your question, you do have access to them.

  10. 32n64w

    Also the government did give the Auditor Gen information about his queries in advance of his report being tabled, and he chose to ignore the information given to him and to write exactly what he wanted to write.

    It is obvious to even Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder that there is no love lost between the government and the Auditor General. ANd it is obvious to me that the Auditor General will target this administration until Aug 31 and then probably even after. Even a UBP supporter should be able to see that. I am not saying that every single thing he has said is wrong, or is a lie. I honestly don’t know. But i do know that his bias is so evident that his credibility has gone out the window.

    That can be said for so many people. They have allowed their hatred of the PLP government to cloud their judgment. They hate the PLP so therefore every single thing the government does is wrong. Which is absolutely untrue. I am not a supporter of the UBP but i would never say that EVERY single thing they did as government was wrong.

  11. BERMUDA- ROYAL COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO POSSIBLE CORRUPTION

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/bermuda–royal-commission-of-inquiry-into-possible-corruption-or-other-serious-dishonesty-in-recent

    Target:
    UK Foreign Affairs Committee
    Sponsored by:
    Bermudians for Open, Responsible and Honest Government.
    In recent years there have been many allegations of corruption by members, and affiliates, of the elected members of the House Of Assembly.

    These allegations and more are exacerbated by a lack of information, transparency and accountability within the public sector; including intimidation of the Auditor General, media and anyone who dares to speak out on perceived irregularities.

  12. 32n64w

    Why can’t the average Joe have access to these statements?

    The Average Joe can have access to these statements. Attend the House of Parliament (or go there and request a copy), read them on the PLP’s website, request them from the Department or Communications & Information, or demand that island’s only daily newspaper print them in their entirety.

    Is the union going to honour their fiscal and fiduciary obligation?

    It would be inappropriate for me to comment on the Berkeley bond for obvious reasons.

    Tryangle writes…..”Mr.Brown’s comments …..” I would suggest that you do some further study on Bermuda history and find out why Dr. E.F. Gordon changed his named to Mazumbo. And that happened over 60 years ago. Are you S.S. Toddings reincarnated?

    32n64w,

    How do you know that Don Coleman is a close friend of Dr. Brown? Is this another tidbit that you picked up from the Royal Gazette? Or, are you the Royal Gazette (personified that is)?

  13. Unfortunately, absent a Royal Commission, the taint of corruption will remain with this government. Except for a few hard core supporters (those who will unquestioningly follow their party no matter what) everyone will continue to believe that something is rotten in the state of Denmark Bermuda. [As an observation that belief is not restricted to Bermuda – I’ve already had someone pull the plug on what could have been a substantial operation here over exactly that suspicion – the decision was actually made a few days before the Auditor’s report so we can’t blame Mr. Dennis for that one although the report did guarantee that there is no possiblity of reopening those discussions.]

    But I’m sure even LaVerne would have to agree that a Royal Commission would clear the air and prove the Ewart et al are squeaky clean. Or not.

  14. the opposition has failed to get answers from this administration…the system is broken with no chance of reform……time for royal commission on auditors report….also time for a no confidence vote in this system time to disolve parliment and call for a general election and have the govenor run the country, until a bottom up democracy is formed…banning political parties.

    f*** tha ubp n plp 2 sides of tha same coin.

    “These allegations and more are exacerbated by a lack of information, transparency and accountability within the public sector; including intimidation of the Auditor General, media and anyone who dares to speak out on perceived irregularities”

    very true @ bill……the formation plp secret police…who go after private citizens is proof of the intimidation and proof of their fear.

    the people must go to the govenor n demand a royal comission.

  15. I personally do not think that it is necessary to call for a Royal Commission – I think our domestic systems are more than appropriate, and it appears that the Govenor himself is, at least publically, not of the impression that events are serious enough to warrant such.

    SoO, you realise that, without outright revolution and a unilateral declaration of independence, we cannot just change the constitution? That would require a summit in the UK akin to the one from which our current constitution originated. Of course, there is no reason why people cannot start building the foundations for bottom-up democracy.

  16. I think our domestic systems are more than appropriate,

    If that were true we wouldn’t be in the position we’re in right now.

    And people outside of Bermuda definitely don’t believe they’re working – otherwise my US associates wouldn’t have pulled the plug on their Bermuda plans.

    Stripped to its fundamentals the problem is very simple. Too many people believe that this government is corrupt and that people are busy lining their own pockets with public moneys. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not. Perception is reality and people (read IB) will act according to their own beliefs. The only way to prove those allegations wrong is to have an independent inquiry run by outsiders [i.e., a Royal Commission]. Anything short of that will not be believed.

  17. Blankman,

    I personally do not see the need for a Royal Commission. According to Wikipedia “Royal Commissions are called to look into matters of great importance and usually controversy. These can be matters such as government structure, the treatment of minorities, events of considerable public concern or economic questions. Some critics accuse Royal Commissions of being little more than a way to end public criticism of government inaction without actually doing anything.”

    Having said that, the last time there was a Royal Commission in Bermuda was after the 1977 “civil disorders” that occurred after the hanging of Larry Tacklyn and Erskine “Buck” Burrows. The purpose of the Commission was to look at the underlying causes of the “civil disorders”, which many believed happened because of the blatant racism that existed in Bermuda at that time. In my opinion, the practice of racism in Bermuda is no longer blatant, but still very much in existence. Hence I agree with Wikipedia when they say that Royal Commissions actually do nothing.

    As I see it the “taint” of corruption will remain with the PLP as long as there are people who will continue to accuse the Party of being corrupt, in spite of the evidence that shows otherwise.

    Are you sure that “someone pulled the plug on what could have been a substantial operation” because of “the taint of corruption”, or was that the excuse they gave you? There seem be lots of other companies setting up business in Bermuda. I’m sure you will agree that Bermuda has good credit ratings according to Standard and Poors, etc.

  18. I tell you, I’m getting worried here. I read this person Smoking Gun calling for the burial of Ewart on Bda Sucks and you SoO calling on the “govenor” to do certain or entertain certain things I am taken aback.

    I suggest talking to your MP and see what their reaction is and mabe combine the responces if any and work from there.

  19. political corruption is like drunk driving. Guilty to proven innocenct. The Police takes us to the station and we takew a soberity test.
    wa we need is a political corruption test ie,
    Annual audits of the bank activity of all cabinet ministers to see if kickbacks can be traced.
    Gimme the contract.

  20. Hi Blankman,

    I believe our domestic institutions are proving quite robust as it is; what I would like to see though is the accelerated introduction of the PATI/Freedom of Information Act, and I do support publishing Parliamentary transcripts as well. My argument isn’t that wrongdoing has occured, but rather than there has been an insufficient move to reduce infratructural flaws that contribute to a perception that wrongdoing has occurred.

    The current situation does allow for perception to accumulate and lead people to question the integrity of the system, and that needs corrected.

  21. exactly blank man…..if our domestic safegaruds were workin none of this would be goin on.

    Pigs has a point…all bank records of mps need to be examined….other “less modern” nations to our south look @ their mps bank books as policy.

    The premier has made this a an issue…his letter read in the house is grounds for the people to call for a royal coomission, to find out exactly whos tellin tha truth n whos lying.

    LMAO…cahow..MPs dont have the balls and are spinless pussies to challenge the premier…they will be fired …like all others who have even in the slightest way opposed him. This is the problem with having yes men around you.

    this is the 40 thieves all over again…..time for royal comission

    People who are resisting the call for a royal comission have something to hide.

  22. Blankman,

    I see you, or someone else has already started the petition. If I was a betting woman, I would say that 95% or more of those petitioners have signed every petition that has been created since 1998.

  23. BERMUDA- ROYAL COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO POSSIBLE CORRUPTION

    Target:UK Foreign Affairs CommitteeSponsored by: Bermudians for Open, Responsible and Honest Government.In recent years there have been many allegations of corruption by members, and affiliates, of the elected members of the House Of Assembly.

    These allegations and more are exacerbated by a lack of information, transparency and accountability within the public sector; including intimidation of the Auditor General, media and anyone who dares to speak out on perceived irregularities.

    With the announcement today that the Auditor General has found serious irregularities with the Court/Police building project and in the Ministry of Tourism, combined with the allegations that a minister has ordered civil servants not to cooperate with the Auditor Generals Department, we call upon the Foreign Affairs Committee to convene a Commission of Inquiry to investigate these grave concerns, with the recommended terms of reference set out below.

    Terms of Reference
    To inquire into whether there is information that corruption in relation to past and present elected members of the Bermuda House of Assembly may have taken place in recent years.
    (a) Initiating criminal investigations by the police or otherwise
    (b) identify any indications of systemic weaknesses in legislation, regulation and administration
    (c) any other matters relating thereto.
    In relation to (a), the Commission is directed to refer such information and/or evidence it may obtain to the Bermuda prosecuting authorities.
    “We are the change that we seek” Barack Obama

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/bermuda–royal-commission-of-inquiry-into-possible-corruption-or-other-serious-dishonesty-in-recent

  24. LaVerne, for the record, I had nothint to do with starting the petition.

    And I don’t know what your point re 95% of these petitioners is.

    As I said, the only way to clear the air is to have an outsider render an opinion. And the only way for that to happen is a Royal Commission.

  25. MINISTERIAL STATEMENT

    SPECIAL REPORT OF THE AUDITOR GENERAL
    FEBRUARY 2009

    The Hon. Derrick V. Burgess, JP, MP
    Minister of Works and Engineering

    Friday, 13th March, 2009

    Mr. Speaker, I rise this morning to offer comment in response to the public discussion that is taking place with respect to the Special Report of the Auditor that was tabled in this Honourable House two days ago. I shall address, in particular, comments in relation to the ongoing construction of the Magistrates’ Court/Hamilton Police Station situated at Church, Court and Victoria Streets in the City of Hamilton.

    Mr. Speaker, I rise this morning with full understanding, respect and value for the Office of the Auditor General as set out in its Mission Statement: “……to add credibility to Government’s financial reporting and to promote improvement in the financial administration of all Government departments and controlled entities for which the Government is accountable to Parliament.” I fully understand, respect and value also the constitutionality of the post of Auditor General.

    Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding and respect for the constitutionality of the post of Office of Auditor General that underpins the enormous concern that I have for many aspects of the Special Report, aspects that, in my view, are affronts to fairness, objectivity and good governance. I shall address these concerns as my Statement unfolds.

    Mr. Speaker, during the past forty-eight hours, local newspapers, radio and television news programmes, talk shows and man in the street conversations have been flooded with comments related to the Special Report. Some of these comments have been thoughtful and rational. Others have been highly emotional and at times hysterical. Such reactions are hardly surprising, given the content and conclusions set out in the Special Report.

    Mr. Speaker, since the inception of the building works at the Magistrates’ Court/ Hamilton Police Station site, I have had occasion as Minister to make a number of decisions. In most cases, these decisions required to be made within a shorter period than is generally permitted by the normal demands of governmental activity. This will always be the case in respect of large building projects. My efforts to keep this project going in the face of some very formidable obstacles have borne fruit and I make no apologies

    Mr. Speaker, I have been particularly mindful always that, so far as this Honourable House and the people of Bermuda are concerned, the buck of responsibility for what transpires in the Ministry of Works and Engineering stops with me. For this reason – and again, I make no apologies for this – I have been, and will continue to be as “hands on” a Minister as the law will allow. While always staying within the confines and boundaries of the Ministerial Code of Conduct and Financial Instructions, I have often had to navigate the murky waters between strict adherence to these rules, and ultimate responsibility for projects and activities within the Ministry. This is not always easy. However, I can say without fear of contradiction that I have acted in accordance with the law and in furtherance of my duties and responsibilities as a Minister in the Bermuda Government. While I accept that the court project remains a work in progress, I am particularly proud of both its progress and the quality of work done to date. It is interesting to note, for example, that with all his criticism of the contract change which I authorized in respect of the project, the Auditor General prefers to ignore the fact that there was a corresponding reduction in the amount of over $1 million in the contract price.

    Mr. Speaker, I shall table this morning for the consideration of Honourable members my formal reply to the Special Report of the Auditor General, with the hope that the eventual debate on the matter will be characterized by fairness and objectivity and devoid of the oftentimes uninformed utterances that we have heard from the Opposition and some members of the community during the past two days.

    Mr. Speaker, a copy of the Special Report in its final form was received by the Ministry of Works and Engineering on 10th March, 2009. I note in its final form to emphasize that the Ministry had been provided with two draft versions of the Special Report, the first on 16th February, 2009 via e-mail from the Office of the Auditor General and the second on 25th February, 2009 when a copy was handed to my Permanent Secretary, Mr. Robert K. Horton, and me during a meeting of the Government’s Audit Committee held on 25th February, 2009.

    Mr. Speaker, on 19th February, 2009, my Permanent Secretary and I met in my office with the Auditor General and two of his staff in order to comment upon the draft of the Special Report that had been received at the Ministry on 16th February, 2009, having been invited to point out any factual errors contained therein. During that meeting, the Auditor General and his staff were handed and asked to consider a comprehensive document entitled Special Report of the Auditor General: Errata Identified by Ministry of Works and Engineering. That document identified six significant aspects of the Special Report that the Ministry found to be erroneous and sought clarification or offered comment with respect to additional aspects. In a number of cases, the Auditor General agreed that errors had been made; in others, he defended the position as set out in the Special Report.

    Mr. Speaker, on 25th February, 2009, my Permanent Secretary, Construction Administration Architect, Harold Conyers, and I were afforded the opportunity to make representation on the Special Report during a meeting of Government’s Audit Committee. During that meeting, at which time we received the second draft of the Special Report, we distributed for the Audit Committee’s consideration the document entitled Special Report of the Auditor General: Errata Identified by Ministry of Works and Engineering, modified slightly [two additions] from the document that had been handed to the Auditor General and his staff six days earlier. The Ministry team, mindful of one of the Auditor General’s principal criticisms that “there was insufficient appropriate documentation or approvals to support payments”, explained to the Audit Committee in great detail the vetting process that was in place to ensure the legitimacy of payments made to contractors. In fact, the meeting with the Audit Committee included a full and detailed discussion canvassing virtually every paragraph of the Special Report.

    Mr. Speaker, we left the meeting of the Audit Committee with some degree of confidence that both the Audit Committee and indeed the Auditor General himself had appreciated the validity and force of at least some of our representations and that significant changes would be made to the draft Special Report, if only in the interest of accuracy. However, the final version of the Special Report that was tabled in this Honourable House on Wednesday is, in almost every respect, identical to his draft Report which was considered by the Audit Committee at the meeting of 25th February, 2009. Many inaccuracies were, without doubt uncovered, yet many remain in the Special Report.

    Mr. Speaker, of great concern also is the fact that in many cases the Auditor General seems to have reached conclusions without having engaged in the simple and professional courtesy of interviewing the individuals directly involved. While he does not say so in terms, the Auditor General appears to be giving the impression that the Audit Committee agreed with the entirety of his Special Report. The inconsistencies and inaccuracies contained within the draft Special Report have clearly been carried forward, either directly or by implication, into the final Report. I shall leave it to the Members of this Honourable House and the people, of Bermuda reader to reach their own conclusions.

    Mr. Speaker, there are four principal aspects of the Special Report that I wish to address in some detail during this Statement:

    l. The assertion that documentation to support progress payments on the construction project was inadequate, an assertion reflected in the hysterical and misleading headline ‘Millions of public dollars spent without proper controls’ that greeted us in yesterday’s edition of The Royal Gazette;

    2. Alleged removal of “technical control” from the manner in which progress on the construction site is reported to the Permanent Secretary.

    3. The concern about an advance payment of $600,000 to LLC Bermuda Ltd.

    4. The statements with respect to the withdrawal of Ministry cooperation.

    l. The assertion that documentation to support progress payments on the construction project was inadequate.

    Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General appears to be greatly exercised regarding an alleged failure in the new contract in terms of how it manages the general contractor’s monthly requests for payment.

    The new contract with LLC Bermuda Ltd. does not ‘fail’, as both the old and new contracts use the AIA A201 General Conditions of The Contract for Construction. The old contract uses the 1997 version and the new one the 2007 version. Both define in clear language in Article 9 how payments are managed. Also, the method of progress payment deployment in place is contractually compliant.

    Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, it is misleading in the extreme to state in any form or fashion that invoices are an apt or best means of validating a payment request, as there would be an unacceptable risk to either a public or private sector project of this size being managed retroactively on the ‘cost-and-charge’ basis implied by the ‘payment on invoice’ terms type of contract seemingly preferred by the Auditor General. For most construction projects, especially large ones, fixed costs are defined at the start by way of lump sum competitive bids for each element of the work and the work and values implemented into the project each month are drawn down against these fixed costs. Cash flow, product and resource allocations are all dependant on this and contractual paperwork support is provided for each monthly payment request. For the Auditor General to state in this section that $6.5m under the new contract has been certified without validation is simply wrong, as the project record reflects that all certified requests for payment have been supported by work and or material in place and or material stored off site and dedicated for the project.

    Mr. Speaker, in addition to the ‘paperwork’, the real and arguably best test, as is being applied, is the validation of a payment request and its supporting documentation by physical site inspection. To this end, the Ministry has installed the following system of checks and balances:

    • The Owner’s Designated Representative is on site daily and is fully engaged in the works, particularly in terms of how the contractors’ element of work payment schedule becomes bricks and mortar. He can speak with absolute real-time information about what is and is not valid on the payment requests.

    • Conyers & Associates Ltd., are on site and viewing the progress daily and are able to draw conclusions about the validity of a payment request before testing it against that of the Owner’s Designated Representative.

    Having made the point that submission of all invoices are not contractually required by the contract, a point that seemed to gain general acceptance during the Audit Committee meeting on 25th February, 2009, we requested that LLC Bermuda Ltd. submit detailed invoicing with all future Payment Certificates in order to comply with the Auditor General’s recommendation. I have in my hand, Mr. Speaker, Payment Certificate No. 11 that was received at the Ministry only yesterday; it will be seen that it contains the kind of supporting documentation recommended by the Auditor General, although not required by the contract.

    2. Removal of “technical control” from the manner in which progress on the construction site is reported to the Permanent Secretary.

    Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General speaks about changes in construction progress reporting, expressing the view that “technical control” has been removed from the manner in which progress on the construction site is reported to the Permanent Secretary.

    Upon the signing of the new contract, a project team replaced the overseas architects, consultants and some Ministry technical staff — Mr. Eddy Henri as the Owner’s Designated Representative and Conyers & Associates Ltd. as the Project Architects. Mr. Henri brings to his new role some thirty years’ experience and expertise and enjoys an outstanding reputation in the local construction industry. Similarly, Mr. Harold Conyers and his team at Conyers & Associates Ltd. have a record of proven excellence in the local building industry. These representatives work in close collaboration with the general contractor, LLC Bermuda Ltd., and its subcontractors to ensure absolute contractual compliance on behalf of the people of Bermuda. I am therefore confident at this time that the Magistrates’ Court/Hamilton Police Station building will be completed satisfactorily and in accordance with schedule.

    Mr. Speaker, the Owner’s Designated Representative and Conyers & Associates Ltd. have contractual job descriptions to fulfill with respect to all aspects of the projects’ management, including the construction progress reporting mechanisms noted in the report and more. This is a powerful and working system of checks and balances as evidenced by the site progress and confidence that has been built in a short period of time.

    Mr. Speaker, regarding the process as it stood, the so called ‘technical control’ noted in the report was not nearly as effective as it needed to be and this had to be improved to avoid further risk to the critical path of construction. The industry standard and market proven changes in contract and management have led to the much improved situation that we have today. Again, the evidence of this is the obvious progress on site since the change in management personnel and form of contract. On this basis, I find no grounds to support the criticisms of the Special Report in this regard.

    3. The concern about an advance payment of $600,000 to LLC Bermuda Ltd.

    Mr. Speaker, it is true that a sum of $600,000 was advanced to LLC Bermuda Ltd. to assist with cash flow. We were of the view that there was a very real likelihood that the project would experience significant difficulty, or falter altogether, in the absence of the cash advance, so we approved it. It is to be noted, however, that the advance payment of $600,000 made under the new contract was within the gross contract sum and is being amortized at the fixed rate of $30,000 per month back to the Ministry. Therefore, there is ultimately no net effect on the new contract sum. It was a contractually compliant solution and one based on proven means to move a project forward. Significantly, already some $120,000 of that amount has been repaid.

    At this juncture, Mr. Speaker, let us not forget the $2,000,000 bail-out that the former Government provided during the construction of Westgate Correctional Facility some fifteen years ago, about 5.4% of the total cost of the project. That $2,000,000 – quite a large sum, I might add — marked an increase in the cost of Westgate, unlike the $600,000 or 0.77% of the total cost of the project advanced to LLC Bermuda Ltd. which does not increase the cost of the project one cent.

    There is no doubt in my mind, Mr. Speaker, that we made the right decision in this regard.

    4. The statements with respect to the withdrawal of Ministry cooperation.

    Mr. Speaker, among the most misleading and indeed disturbing aspects of the Special Report is the Auditor General’s account with respect to the withdrawal of Ministry cooperation.

    When I met with the Auditor General on 19th February, 2009, I made the point that his statements as they stood with respect to the withdrawal of Ministry cooperation were misleading and arguably irresponsible, as they left the reader to conclude his or her own reasons for the decision to do so. The facts follow.

    During mid January, I was advised that staff of the Office of the Auditor General were contacting Ministry staff with questions about the Magistrates’ Court/Hamilton Police Station construction project and other projects managed by the Department of Architectural Design and Construction and the Department of Operations and Engineering within the Ministry of Works and Engineering. Fully cognizant of the requirement of an annual auditor’s report on the financial statements of the Consolidated Fund, I understood fully and had no concerns about the enquiries underway.

    On 28th January, 2009, whilst I was abroad, I was informed by my Permanent Secretary that he had received from the Auditor General a letter advising that, in accordance with provisions of section 12 of the Audit Act 1990, he was conducting a “value-for-money” audit relating to the Magistrates’ Court/Hamilton Police Station construction project.

    I immediately requested that my Permanent Secretary advise the Auditor General that the Ministry would comply fully with the audit process. My Permanent Secretary wrote to the Auditor General the next day advising that the Ministry agreed the terms of the audit engagement as set out in his, the Auditor General’s, letter of 28th January, 2009.

    However, Mr. Speaker, on the morning of 4th February, 2009, I was shown photocopies of returned Landmark Lisgar Construction Ltd. cheques from HSBC Bank of Bermuda Ltd. that had been discovered in the files of the Ministry of Works and Engineering, one cheque made out to ‘Dr. E. Brown’ and the other made out to a ‘D. Burgess’. As I have stated publicly on numerous occasions already, I was astonished to see these cheques, as I knew that I had received no funds from Landmark Lisgar Construction Limited. Within the next two hours or so, I had proven that I was not the ‘D. Burgess’ whose name appeared on the cheque. By this time, I had also learned that many days earlier the Auditor General, having seen the photocopies of these cheques, had informed His Excellency the Governor, yes, His Excellency the Governor, among others, that I was indeed the ‘D. Burgess’ whose name appeared on the cheque. I was unable to understand then – and I not understand now – the Auditor General’s failure to confirm the authenticity of the cheques.

    Mr. Speaker, I felt that my integrity had been impugned, not only as a Minister, but as a citizen of this country. I felt that my family had been insulted. I felt justifiably outraged. Consequently, I questioned the motive and credibility of the Auditor General in the entire “value-for money” audit process. Having sought and received legal advice regarding the matter, I instructed my Permanent Secretary to write to the Auditor General advising that “ certain matters had come to the Minister’s attention that have caused him to instruct that the Ministry should not cooperate any further with his audit until satisfied that he is properly authorized to conduct it.”

    Mr. Speaker, it had been my intention to seek the views of the Attorney-General’s Chambers regarding the decision to instruct non-cooperation on the part of Ministry staff. Having seen the Auditor General’s e-mail of 6th February, 2009 to my Permanent Secretary in which he threatened criminal proceedings unless all impediments to the conduct of his audit were immediately removed and having received the advice of the Attorney-General’s Chambers, I requested that my Permanent Secretary advise the Auditor General that the Ministry would resume cooperation with the Office of the Auditor General with immediate effect. That communication was sent to the Auditor General on 10th February, 2009, the day preceding his stated deadline.

    Mr. Speaker, this section of the Special Report causes me particular discomfort and concern. During our meeting of 19th February, 2009, my Permanent Secretary and I met with the Auditor General briefly after his staff had left my office. I explained in detail the reason for the instruction to withdraw Ministry cooperation and made the point that fairness and objectivity demanded that the Special Report should set out that reason. The Auditor General stated that he understood my reaction in this regard, noting that had the same thing happened to him, he would have done the same thing!

    However, Mr. Speaker, that section of the Special Report remained unchanged in the draft that I was given during the meeting with the Audit Committee on 25th February, 2009. During that meeting, the Ministry team, supported, I believe, by the Audit Committee and others in attendance at that meeting, made the point that the reference to withdrawal of Ministry cooperation should be removed altogether from the Special Report or, failing that, the reasons for the decision should be included. Disturbingly, that section of the Special Report remains unchanged in the document that was tabled in the House of Assembly on Wednesday.

    Mr. Speaker, I have set out in some detail the circumstances of the withdrawal of Ministry co-operation to underscore my recognition of the seriousness of such withdrawal and in the cause of fairness, objectivity, and good governance, surely the expected underpinnings of any Special Report or any other Report emanating from the Office of the Auditor General.

    Mr. Speaker, it is in the cause of fairness, objectivity and good governance also that I have offered observations on other aspects of the Special Report.

    Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

  26. So reading the paper, I see that it is indeed true that Derrick Burgess told his ministry not to cooperate with the AG’s investigation, because of his view that the fradulent checques had taken away the AG’s authourity to act.

    This is such a wonderful example of why some members of the public get annoyed with the way the PLP leadership continue to govern. So Mr. Burgess was annoyed at the false checques, fine. Insulted, fine. I think they’re insulting too, and a disgrace. But he doesn’t have the authourity, he is not in a position to then decide not to comply with the AG. That is outside his remit. It’s a bit like me getting a letter in the mail from government I don’t like, then refusing to pay my land tax. Our legal framework sets up channels that are the proper way to deal with issues like this. Becoming personally affronted and therefore believing oneself so damn important that you don’t need to use them is the new way to act. I have no doubt this trickles down into all parts of Bermudian society, and it’s part of the greater malaise affecting our country.

    Yes, Mr. minister you are important. No you shouldn’t be unduly subjected to character assinations. But you don’t have the right to do what you did. And no matter how much you stamp your feet and point your finger, that doesn’t change.

  27. It is amazing Financial assistance audits poor people for fraudlent grants but poor people cannot audit politicans for corruption. There were ten people at the office this morning only one interveiwer. The Mirrors programme had all these boothes island wide its elite bill cosby programme but know staff for financial assistance applicants who need desperate help.

  28. SoO,

    You have raised this matter of auditing the bank accounts of MPs and you say it is done in countries to the south of Bermuda. Please name the countries about which you speak for I am certain the countries you refer to have an income tax regime which require its citizens, all citizens to disclose income. How do you propose to audit anyone’s bank accounts in Bermuda where there is no requirement to disclose one’s income.

    Are you also agreeable to personal accounts of all residents of Bermuda being arbitrarily audited?

    Becareful what you ask for because you may end up getting it.

    I do believe that unlike to the ordinary citizen, MPs are required to disclose their personal ownership or interest in companies.

    32N64W,

    I believe Government accounts were unaudited under the UBP during the periods 1991 to 1996, if memory serves me correctly, actually, they may have stil been unaudited when the PLP won the seat of Government in 1998.

    While I agree that Larry Dennis owns it to the people of Bermuda to be diligent in his review of Government operations regardless of which party is in power but the question remains why he was never as diligent with the UBP when audits were outstanding. He did express concern but never went after the UBP the way he goes after the PLP. Maybe under the PLP his office has simply become more efficient, who knows, not that its a bad thing but surely you can understand questions of motive.

  29. SmokingGun over at Bermuda Sucks is vetting the online petition, (Royal Commission into alleged coruption by the PLP Government) to see if I have the cohones to sign. For the record Smokes, it is not a matter of me having the cahones, it is whether or not there is any substantial evidence to support a Royal Commission. As it stands now there is nothing more than speculation and due to the cost of a Royal Commission there needs to be more than speculation in order to justify the cost of having a Royal Commission.

    If and when there is sufficient evidence that there is wide-spread corruption than I would gladly sign such a petition and would do so without reservation.

    I will readily admit that I am disappointed in mahy ways in how the PLP is dealing with these constant allegations. For the betterment of the country I think it is long overdue for the PLP to publicly address the allegations that are circulating even if it is just to “clear the air”. Addressing and quelling the allegations, in my view, is important as to remain silent on the issues and simply attack the messenger(s) does smack of there being something wrong. So I would hope that the PLP Government would step up to the mic to address these matters and answers questions from the public openly and honestly, after all, it would be refreshing for Governments to refrain from arrogance and put the views of the people first and foremost.

    For the record, I wonder why SmokingGun thinks I have any influence over these matters, I am of no more importance than any other born Bermudian so what would it mean for me to sign this petition? Does SmokingGun realy believe that if I sign the petition the PLP will all of a sudden say, “Oh my God, Guilden has signed the petition, we are really in trouble now”. Smokes, you give me way too much importance in all of this and I have no idea why.

    Further, I am no blind supporter of the PLP, far from it, and will publicly criticise when I believe criticism is warranted but I am not going to be critical just because SmokingGun or anyone else thinks I should be critical. So far there have only been unsubstantiated allegations made and alegations do not equal fact. If and when these allegations become factual than I will stand tall beside those who wish them to be fact and demand that the PLP adminsitration call a snap election and would support them being voted out of government. Sure the allegations are serious ones but still they are, at this point nothing more than allegations, there has yet to be any proof provided.

    The PLP has made many mistakes and will make many more but until there is a viable alternative, which the UBP is not, then the PLP, in my view, will continue to hold the seat of Government.

  30. I have just read some of the comments let with the online petition for the Royal Commission and what I have found is that this petition should not be geared towards a Royal Commission, it should be geared toward PATI legislation. From what I have read most people simply want more openess and transperancy, with which I fully agree. A Royal Commission cannot force a Government to have debated and passed PATI legislation so instead of of a petition for a Royal Commission there should be a petition for the introduction and enactment of PATI, which will bring about the transparency that people want from the Government.

    I will say this though, I find it frustrating that the PLP Government has talked of introducing such legislation but has yet to do so. Surely Bermuda would be better served in having the Government (The People’s) Business conducted in an open and transparent manner. On that point I wholeheartedly agree.

  31. gilbert….ya logic on private citizens bank boooks being opened 4 public review makes no sence to me…u need to explain your point a lot better. private citizens dont have the ability to embezzle funds frm the public purse nor enrich themselves via political position, or set up companies while in office to benefit via their posotion.

    the countries to our south that do examine the books of politicians dont investigate the population

    again i dont get ya connection

    explain yaself better

    ill add that a royal comission needs to be done on the wider issue of broad systemic reforms…which will include pati gay rights conscription universal healthcare decrimilization of weed, and the other various reforms that have taken place in the uk, that should have been adopted by bermuda at the same time.

    its unfortunate that the call for a royal comission is not broad raneged on that level.

  32. Guilden – Seems we are in cahoots again. My view is very much in line with yours. I think that the energies should be directed towards the implementation or demand for PATI legislation before any calls for a Royal Commission. Like you I feel that the PLP has not handled a lot of things they way that I would like, and think it’s high time that transparency and accountability become the order of the day. I think that the present government have lost sight of the fact that first and foremost they are accountable to the people of Bermuda, and there are a lot of people searching for answers.

    I was happy to see the AG talking about the PATI legislation today in the paper, however it’s high time that we pay more than just lip service to the legislation.

    I also wish that we would stop with the T&C references. The Governor himself came out publicly stating that Bermuda is no T&C. It is IMO misleading to keep making the refences barring any evidence of such wrongdoing.

  33. as i said b4…gilbert i aint got all de answers….trinidad aint got income tax…but they investigate their politicians n civil servents bank accounts.

    as for other places who do the same I dont know if they have income tax…..n even if they do….that has nothin to do with income tax being set up in bermuda, in order to ensure transparency with people in office.

    id like some updates on various criminal investigations, that are supposed to be goin on

    the bullet in the mail to premier
    the fake checks

    public purse and criminal matter:

    the 400 plus k in faith based tourism did curtis use this money to set up his non acredited investment company…has he done a made off with our tax dollars?

    public purse matter:

    the money from the bereley institue job……..costs over runs and accusations of contractor theft
    and this trust set up with new court building….tax payer money means trust partners need to be named.

    If the opposition was doin their job i wouldnt have to ask these questions. if the plp reformed the system the opposition would be more effective

    lotta reforms are needed in this system….to bad theres a lack of will to do anything

  34. I agree with what Guilden and Casual Observer have said to some extent.

    The only problem I have is with the PATI legislation. Thefts or corruption in my view would not be covered by this. A Royal Commission would expose if any items and would be liable under the commission.

    Of course I stand to be corrected on this.

  35. SoO,

    You need to check your facts before you open your mouth or put pen to paper. Trinddad does indeed have income tax. Income tax in Trinidad is levied on income above TT$60,000 or approximately USD 10,000.

    The point I am making is that unless a court demands it as part of a criminal trial, as long as there is no income tax no one can be forced to open their accounts to a public audit, this includes politicians.

  36. lavern if no one is corrupt in plp upb government n civil service auditor general etc…then there shouold be no objection to a borad sweeping royal comission to confirm that and silence every one who does not agree with you….;)

  37. Mabe I am being a smart ass here Guilden but I am sure that Politicions make more than $10,000. But I’m just trying to sort wheat from chaff here.

    But that would not apply here because all MP’s and Ministers and top level holders make much more than that.

  38. i had a feeling gilbert was gonna do something like that with this topic…like i said im not a know it all….nor have i professed to be….im quite sure that thoese who want to spend all types of time researching exactly what country does what will find the info gilbert is lookin for.

    my point still reamins oversight is needed to ensure persons in power are not abusing their power to achieve economic gain…bank account review is a most effective method, and this does not mean the introduction of income tax, to bermuda nor does it mean private citizens be subjected to the same oversight.

    The auditor general can do it…i think the govenor needs to take a look @ expanding the auditors powers….im gonna drop ye ole govenor an email on that 🙂

  39. Amen to that SoO. We really need to deal with these allegations once and for all so that politicians and their so-called cronies can have their names cleared and so that the people of Bermuda can move forward with confidence in their government.

    At the same time I agree with GG and CO that we need PATI and other measures to ensure these sorts of allegations do not occur again. Some have been suggested for the Turks and Caicos that make sense to me. Check out one of Vexed’s recent posts for details.

  40. You all probably don’t remember that $70 million was lost from the Government pesion Fund. The guy that lost the money is now in jail. There was no enquiry on how the hell he lost $70 million and the involvement in his appointment and the Bermuda entities that facilitated that including administrators, lawyers and auditors and politicians. We do know how he lost $250 million for Pennsylvania and its not pretty!
    Anyone remember AIG allegations about their activities in Bermuda. No enquiry?
    Anyone seen the KPMG report on IPOC?
    Anyone seen a Bermuda investigation of LOM?
    Where is review of corruption law in Bermuda?
    How many white collar crimes in Bermuda over last 30 years?
    Waht about the 9 guys who have come forward after being stitched by BoB?
    Where is report on BHC fiasco?
    Tell me again why Bermuda supported a party at Playboy Mansion that EB attended!
    Is the list of politicians interests kept up to date and is it accurate?
    Why do we have a fraud squad when there are no major frauds to speak of?

    I think we need a Royal Commission into the whole damn lot!

  41. SoO,

    Do what you can to assist “those” people to get a Royal Commission going on. For the record, it’s not about silencing me. I’ll only be silenced when I can no longer speak, or choose not to speak. Check my record brother!!!

  42. Cahow,

    SoO said that we should be able to audit the personal accounts of polticians, I responded that because there is no income tax in Bermuda, which means that income and source of income (except for KYC requirements) does not have to be disclosed. This would make it very difficult, if not impossible to require such an audit. He claimed that Islands to the south of Bermuda do it, I stated that maybe those that have income tax but not thoses that do not. He claimed that Trinidad did not have income tax yet conducted personal account audits, I was simply pointing out to him that he was wrong and that there is income tax in Trinidad on earnings above TT$60,000. I was not referring to the incomes earned by politicians, I wa sonly referring to the point at which payment of income tax was applicable.

    I trust this clarifies for you.

  43. No 1 is tryin to silence u lavern….as if any one could….lol

    but u keep tryin to silence every one and any 1 who says anything anti ya party or levels any form of critisism towards da government.

    who are “those people” that u refer to? funny how u lot tryin to to create a conspiricy theory surrounding the peoples right to have this mess over their tax dollars straighted out via a royal comission…..the people have lost confidence in this system…a royal comission could clear u lots name or confirm what many fear.

    If u lot brought the reforms to the house that the plp opposition was fighting to reform back in da day..the opposition now would be more effective in being the watch dogs and we the people wouldnt have to call for the uk to step in and fix u lots messes

    So my only logical conclusion is that thoese who fight against and speak the loudest against a royal comission to confirm or refute what auditor is saying, are people with something to hide……if that were not true……the attitude…the excuses of a ubp conspiriacy and attempts to tie any persons who are critical thinkers and hold no party affiliation to this plp thought up conspiracy theory would not be goin on.

    u lot are paranoid and your paranoia is makin u look more and more guilty of the accusations….and therefore makin the people and the business world less confident in your ability to govern….this is simple common sence.

    submit to the royal comission and ya names could be cleared.

    we the people are following the laws that exist with us being a colony…laws ment to protect us. Your attempts to subvert the process is in itself corruption…..

    we should invite the govenor to blog in here.

    gilbert…..the system i speak of does indeed exist in other nations…Ie politicians being monitored to ensure no funny business is goin on…I have some1 makin a list of these nations, once i get it ill post it up.

    time for reforms has long past…we voted for a government that would usher in reforms back in 98…no reforms yet…reforms and modernization will end a lot of the bullshit goin on.

    tha sad part is…while all this fighting over this is goin on…the people who need help in bermuda are still being ignored by government.

    government is allowing seniors to suck the life out of this country via all the economic assistance given to them en mass… while many seniors owne like 10 houses…and dont need econmic assistance frm the people….while the people in the community who really need financial help have to jump throu hoops.

    the rich elderly dont need tax breaks…future care…n free lisencing for their cars.

    public assistance and universal health care are only for the poor….jamaica takes better care of its poor than bermuda does….thats really fuckin sad!

  44. SoO,

    Let me make it clear, I strongly believe that sitting politicians and those running for political office need to give ful disclose of their sources of income but attempting to audit personal accounts is not the way to do it.

    I would suggest that Bermuda adopt what is done in the Bahamas, when a candidate in an election is nominated he must present his statement of net worth. What this does is allow electorate to monitor, if you will, the changes in the net worth of this person from election to election, if there is a huge up-turn in his net worth from one election to the next that cannot be substantiated through personal legitimate business interest can trigger an investigation or at the very least it could cast aspersion on him and his credibility.

    This is something I would readily agree with and support but I will not and cannot support the arbitrary “audit” of someone’s personal accounts just in case they are doing something wrong or unethical. There has to be some just reason for demanding such an audit.

    Additionally, anti-money laundering legislation has a Know Your Customer (KYC) provision, therefore, if there is reason to believe illegal or unethical activity is causing a person’s (poltician or private citizen) personal accoutns to grow which are no supported by normal income the bank or financial institution must notify the authorities using a suspicious transaction report. So there are measures in place to detect any out of the ordinary financial activity.

  45. indeed truth…….time for the UK to take control of this place like they did with turks n cakos and modernize bermuda…since the native politicians lack the vision to fix the system on their own.

  46. since the bermuda politicians have not acted to modernize bermudas legislation..the people need to place a no confidence vote….give power back to the uk….inorder for the system to be reformed….then the people vote via referendum on the best way forward to proceed with bermudas continued self governance, after a period of national education on the options.

    the choices would be:

    continue under the divisive party system thats been the root cause of race…social and other issues within our nation,

    or form a bottom up democratic system with each parish electin an individual who will sit on a governing council of elected persons from each parish. Each of whom will deal with the various parish based issues, while the council as a whole deals with national based issues..with the assistance of national referendums on national issues..thus gettin rid of ministries and a lot of the dead weight of top heavy government.

    people need to stop being pussies and stand up against these old people who are in the way of progress and equality.

  47. “I’ll only be silenced when I can no longer speak, or choose not to speak.”

    Well that’s esay enough. Just ask her to answer a question truthfully for once. Guaranteed silence right there!

    Also, who are you referring to when you say “those” people? You really are a liabiltiy to the betterment of BDA and the reconciliation of its peoples yuo do realize that right. And if you think for minute that black Bermudians aren’t worried about Bermuda’s circumstances especially in light of the inevitable recession which will worsen over the next few months, then I suggest you come out of your comfort zone and away from all the “yes people” which you surround yourself with and ask the average PLP supporter on the street. When I say average, I mean the individuals who are dedicated to the PLP but are also not afraid to question events. Not everyone thinks like you, and not everyone is atraitor, Uncle Tom or white supremacist that decides to practice their democratic right and responsibility to quesition the Government and demand greater accountability.

    I also find it quite amusing that Minister Burgess cherry picked the allegations during his rebuttal. He conveinently forgot to answer numerous other points. And the most serious allegation (intereference with teh audit) his answer was “well my feelings were hurt so i didn’t want to play with him anymore.” This is a Minister in in charge of millions of OUR money? Jokes.

    So if the Government refuses to refute the allegations and just go on a chilidsh rant of attacking the messenger, then what other chioce is there then to appoint an outside commission of some sorts to get to the bottom of this mess. If nothing is wrong then what would the problem be? If the AG has falsified information this will also be revealed and he should be duly punished for his actions. What is the problem?

  48. Along with auditing politicans in Cabinet house as anticorruption legislation. Voter registration fraud needs to be punished. How does a millionaie live in an unfinished house in Narrow lane St.Georges?

  49. Urchin – I viewed a few of the recommendations made with respect to the T&C and there are a few of them that i think should be adopted here as well, if merely for the sake of good and transparent governance. Some of the highlights for me were as follows (note these are expanded on in the actual preliminary report)

    (12) Integrity in Public Life:

    (13) Maintenance, Publication and External Audit of Political Parties’ Accounts:

    (14) Effective use of the Government’s Web-Site in the Interests of the Public:

    (15) Disqualification from Public Office:

    (16) Criminal Trial by Judge alone:

    (19) More effective auditing:

  50. col burch needs to to more than name n shame n give a warning to bermudian companies who abuse workers..thats an insult…they need to be hevaly fined and sanctioned by loosing government contracts if they hold them.

    every one claims they want law n order but certain crimes are punished differently than other crime in this country…white collor crimes and crimes against constitutional and human rights are not punished with the same level as violent crimes or petty theft.

    this is bull!!

    Col burch needs to follow the same level of action that he said the police must use on criminals.

    CRIME IS CRIME….arresting people who break one set of laws but give warnings to other types of law breakers is also a form of corruption, in the form of preferential treatment and doubble standards.

    The employment act is LAW and its been allowed to be broken for many decades now as far as the proper wages that are supposed to be paid by LAW.

    20plus yrs ago workers in the labour sector were making much more money than they are now…..how is this correct or legal.

    Comapnies who have been requiring their staff to work beyond 40 hrs a week, have been able to steal billions of dollars from staff who have not recieved the outlined rates of pay in the LAW.

    These illegal actions have given bermuda a bad international reputation..breaks human rights, and had created the population of the working poor….very few if any workers are making above minimum wage.

    this is a vast casum of a switch from what existed a mere 20 yrs ago.

    politicians, unions, human rights orginazations have been dropping the ball on this trend for decades…..

    deliberatly i conclude!

    no one could be that incompitent to not have identifyed and stop white collor crime sooner.

    The human rights comission is a sham of an office and human rights abuses eed to be tried by the courts. The human rights office has been accused of a history of ministerial interference..also a form of corruption…

    so much so theat the previous head of the human rights comission resigned when the call to government for reforms by makin the human rights comission an free standing body, were not addressed.

    So is julian hall representing andre curtis?…..thats interesting.

    julian i see this as a conflict of interest….your a highly paid consultant paid by tax payers dollars…..now defending a client who has potentially embezled tax payer funds via the faith based tourism “product” to build n promote the company hes been accused of illegally operating.

  51. Royal Commisions are very expensive and highly, highly disruptive for the government and the people.

    It should always be the last resort and Bermuda is nowhere near that yet.

    Although Bm could do well with looking at some of the Commisions recommendations, with shoring up against undue influence on civil servants. The influencing of a minister for the civil service to disrupt the work of the AG is a clear sign this is occuring in BM.

  52. the premiers accusations on the corrupt activities of the auditor general vs the contents of the auditors report, has created the environment of doubt within this country on whats really going on with the public purse.
    Since the system has failed locally to give the people answers to its various questions on public purse activities, since the govenor is the only one in charege of the auditor generals office, the most efficient and unbiased second pair of eyes needed to confirm either way that the auditor is right or wrong about his reports, and to clear the plps name.
    The second pair of eyes will come in through the govenor…via the uk….in the form of a comission of inquiry….
    weather it be royal comission or any other means. The govenor has to act to clear the plps name or clear the auditors name.
    its laughable how the plp is attempting to spin the peoples genuine concerns into another “symptom of race problems” and “UBP plots to retake control of government”

    This was the spin that aired all day on hot 1075..the governments radio station.

    from my perspective this has nothing to do with turks n cakos, and thoese who are attempting to attach our local situation to theirs is damaging the argument for a royal comission to be started in bermuda on the auditors offices findings, to clear the plp and on the rate of reform and updating bermudas outdated lays and systemic policies in order to help the plp modernise governance.

    10 yrs in and not many reforms have been made to the system.
    when the plp was elected into office in 98…did they have a plan that outlined their path for the social and systemic change that they were promising to deliver if they were to take office?

    If a doucment like that exists id like to view a copy….if it doesnt exist…..wow.

    even a basic business plan must be made to run a company…spanning a 5 yr future outlook.

    1 would expect a national development plan spanning at least 5 yrs would exist for a nation.

    no plan = you plan to fail

  53. Creg, we’re far beyond the point where a Royal Commission is needed. The only way to refute the various rumours of corruption is to have an independent third party investigate them.

    We’re at the point where a significant percentage of the populace and a major chunk of the international business community, here and abroad, believe that something is rotten in the State of Denmark Bermuda. It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not – we are rapidly developing that reputation and it has to be defused if the island is to continue as a major IB center.

    PATI, unless retroactive, won’t begin to do it and, even if it’s retroactive it will still require an independent body to investigate everything which brings us right back to a Royal Commission.

  54. Burch is giving contracts to construction firms who dicriminate against Bermudians itself. Corriea construction, D&J, Trinity construction. this man is the biggest joke in Government. now he wants dirty cops to do his bidding. The people of Somerset have many suspects running free. Shadue Jones, Tekle Mallory shooting at party Jones Village. Godfather politics. Now the Burch and his dirty cops want more cover up power.

  55. Ghost,

    Having grown up on Narrows Lane, St. Davids (st. Georges Parish) (from about 1974) and knowing that there are only 14 houses on the lane and none of them is unfinished, I am keenly interested to know which milionaire you are referring to and which house in particular.

    There is another house which can be reached from Narrows Lane which has been unfinished since before my families move there and I can tell you categorically that nobody is living in the house as there are only walls, no roof, windows or doors. Additionally, the current owner of the house is a distant relative of mine.

    Please enlighten me.

  56. SoO,

    I hear you on the radio all of the time, you are so out of touch with reality, it’s unreal. I hear you asking questions, and the answers are already there, like census data, the Employment act and all kinds of other stuff. Do your own research, don’t expect any of the talk show hosts to answer you questions. They love you because they think you’re trying to out the government.

    By the way, trying to compare Bermuda and the Turks & Caicos is like trying to compare loquats with bananas. They’re both fruit, but that’s where the similarity ends.

    I continue to say that most of you who post on this site, and other sites (including SoO), glean your information from the Royal Gazette and the Mid Ocean News, hence you don’t have the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Few of you do any other research.

    As far as the “new” petition is concerned, all they need to do is write the introduction and submit all of the names that have signed every other petition that’s been submitted to the Government since 1998. The names remain the same.

  57. Ghost has me on that one too. I know the one your talking about Guilden, just to the north and east of yur dads place. Thers another one thats a bit delapadated on the Dollys Bay south side but thats about it. Of course, Henry H. does live “off” of it but thats another story.

  58. I continue to say that most of you who post on this site, and other sites (including SoO), glean your information from the Royal Gazette and the Mid Ocean News, hence you don’t have the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

    Laverne,

    You repeatedly say that we don’t know the truth and then refuse to tell us “what really happened”. Either put up or admit you have no idea.

  59. u keep trying to infer you know who I am as if thats supposed to frighten me…I dont know wa ya point is by trying to tell me that you know who i am….whats ya point furbert? your planning on using your great influence to bring some form of harm to me? or to the person that you think I am? is this some form of veiled threat?

    I would have thought stuart haywood telling you about yaself over the evert decosta show, based on your attempts to get personal with him n talkin bout his momma, via your newspaper…..better watch ya step….the BIU cant afford a lawsuit!

    so exactly why am i out of touch with reality? what comments have u heard from the radio that disturb you so much that you attempt to spin to to be an attack on the government? I thought u loved to be the provider of correct info…..what were the questions you heard off the radio?

    whos sayin the turks n cakos situation is comparable to bermuda? I wrote completely the opposite.

  60. u totally lack the ability to debate…..n this is why ya party is failing cause they sadly, are old like u n think like u.

    n this is exactly why the party system in bermuda must end nothing but old stagnation.

  61. Blankman, who’s calling pots and kettles black here? “We don’t know the truth” ? If you know the “truth” why ask Laverne?

    As for “put up” mabe you should ‘put forth’.

    I’m not a fan of the lady but this shit is for the birds.

  62. “I continue to say that most of you who post on this site, and other sites (including SoO), glean your information from the Royal Gazette and the Mid Ocean News, hence you don’t have the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”.

    Well yes Ms Furbert – you do continue – adnauseam in fact.

    In addition to what Blankman has rightly said, I don’t think any of us are quite so naive as to believe that the RH/MON etc, have it totally right. To suggest they do is rather naive in itself.

    But – to continue to be so condescending in the way you continuously remind us that we all either, know nothing, that we were not there or that we are too young to understand, and thereby imply that only you and the Govt know anything is ridiculous in the extreme.

    If Govt played it straight rather than spin then, and only then, you might see a falling away of reliance on the RG and others.

  63. I continue to say that most of you who post on this site, and other sites (including SoO), glean your information from the Royal Gazette and the Mid Ocean News, hence you don’t have the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Few of you do any other research.

    What your post conveniently omits is the fact that this government has a comparatively massive Department of Communications and Information (print media), CITV (televised media), Hott 107.5 (radio media), as well as gov.bm & plp.bm (web-based media) for delivery of the “truth” … yet they still can’t convey their ‘message’ to an able, educated and information starved electorate.

    Blaming the RG or MON is nothing more than a knee jerk reaction and/or misplaced frustration for an inept collection of failed communicators whose kleptocracy, even with million dollar budgets and access to all forms of modern communication, can’t relay their political message.

    I’m sorry, this isn’t a Bermuda Press (Holdings) Ltd. problem … it’s a PLP all the way, all the way PLP one.

  64. You know this just gets my goat at times. Why do people post a quote and link too something without making a comment. Hell, we can all read. And if we did’nt even have the internet that would cover what I just said or by word of mouth.

    How about, ‘after reading this on line or at the RG etc’ this is my opinion.
    Ostrasize others but forget you never really read “Tom Sawyer”.

  65. It would seem sensible that the AG’s response to the Govt’s comments put an end to this issue.

    Since Mr Burgess seems to be standing in a hole at least partly self dug, there seems little point in him having yet a further shovel to dig deeper.

    Amazing.

  66. u keep trying to infer you know who I am as if thats supposed to frighten me…I dont know wa ya point is by trying to tell me that you know who i am….whats ya point furbert? your planning on using your great influence to bring some form of harm to me? or to the person that you think I am? is this some form of veiled threat?

    I would have thought stuart haywood telling you about yaself over the evert decosta show, based on your attempts to get personal with him n talkin bout his momma, via your newspaper…..better watch ya step….ya loosing your journalistic ethics a bit there, the BIU cant afford a lawsuit!

    so exactly why am i out of touch with reality? what comments have u heard from the radio that disturb you so much that you attempt to spin to to be an attack on the government? I thought u loved to be the provider of correct info…..what were the questions you heard off the radio?

    whos sayin the turks n cakos situation is comparable to bermuda? I wrote completely the opposite.

    u totally lack the ability to debate…..n this is why ya party is failing cause they sadly, are old like u n think like u.

    n this is exactly why the party system in bermuda must end nothing but old stagnation.

    u cant even say who the infamous “thoese people” who you love to talk about are.

  67. 32n64w,

    You are quite correct “government has a comparatively massive Department of Communications and Information and CITV (televised media) well as gov.bm.

    Hott 107.5 is not a government entity and you should know that up until a few weeks ago “Hott Information” came directly from the Royal Gazette. Further, their new news person gives little government information.

    plp.bm is not a government entity, although they do dessiminate much of the information coming from Government ministers, i.e. press releases as does gov.bm.

    However, as unfortunate as it is, many people in Bermuda believe that if they read it in the Royal Gazette, it’s the truth. I know, and you should know, that the Royal Gazette does not give the whole truth and nothing but the truth. DCI can churn out thousands of press releases a day, but if local media chooses not to share those releases with the public, what is the government to do?

    I am not blaming the RG or MON, they have a job to do and are doing it quite well. My beef is with those Bermudians who believe everything that they read in those newspapers.

    Martin, who told you that Government “spins” it? Have you ever been to a Government press conference, talked to a government minister, sat in the House of Parliament? Bill Zuill and his “journalists” are the masters of spin!! They spun you because you believe everything they write.

    By the way, why did the Auditor not produce any reports for five years running – 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 and 19988? Did you hear any outcry from the editor of the Royal Gazette about that?

    SoO, If that’s not you who calls the radio, I apologise. The person who calls and talks about the same things that you write on the blogs must read the blogs and then call the radio shows. By the way, you don’t have to own a phone to make a phone call.

  68. I think your last sentence sums it up quite well LaVerne. After all that speil you talk about ownership of a phone. More spin on your part and quite frankly misleading.

    The phone has shit to do with it. It’s all about who is on the other end and if they take your call or hang up, which seems to be the ‘dial tone’ of today.

  69. By the way, why did the Auditor not produce any reports for five years running – 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 and 19988? Did you hear any outcry from the editor of the Royal Gazette about that?

    Actually yes – but that was about the auditor not doing his job, not about government’s behaviour.

    But the problem we’re faced with is not one of spin, it’s about a qualified audit report. The first one in eight years. If anyone is truly bored they can find previous reports on the gov’t website

    http://www.gov.bm/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=235&&PageID=352&mode=2&in_hi_userid=2&cached=true

  70. And LaVerne, can’t you come up with something better than a variant on “the UBP did it too”? After all, the PLP have been in power for ten years and the topic of discussion is today’s audit which just happens to be heavily qualified and raises serious questions.

  71. Ms Furbert,

    Which bit of what I said (see below) did you not understand?

    “I don’t think any of us are quite so naive as to believe that the RH/MON etc, have it totally right. To suggest they do is rather naive in itself”.

  72. Hott 107.5 is not a government entity and you should know that up until a few weeks ago “Hott Information” came directly from the Royal Gazette. Further, their new news person gives little government information.

    I agree that Hott is not (directly) owned by the Government, however, the owner(s) and many of the on-air personalities are in fact PLP MPs, Senators and/or Members so I don’t think it’s an illogical conclusion to presume that the party’s (and the Government’s) message is in fact disseminated over public airwaves by party insiders.

    Understandably I’m not an avid listener of Hott 107.5 (any more … in fact I used to tune in but the overt bias became so overbearing I was forced to turn it off) but your remark that the RG was used as their news source (as is sometimes the case for VSB and ZBM/ZFB) is both interesting and ironic to say the least. I can remember certain front page RG stories being conveniently ignored by Hott, while other radio broadcasters (feeling the matter deserved airplay) read (word-for-word) RG articles as their lead story.

    As far as I know there are no UBP MPs or Senators working for the RG or MoN as editors, staffers, journalists or reporters so the presumption that these papers form some sort of combined opposition is both laughable and completely hypocritical when considering Hott’s intimate and inextricable link to the PLP. If anything I would say Hott and the PLP are in fact combined at the hip.

    plp.bm is not a government entity, although they do dessiminate much of the information coming from Government ministers, i.e. press releases as does gov.bm.

    This is completely inappropriate. All information that is generated by tax payer funded resources should be distributed by Government channels (at least in the first instance). Using a private website as a platform for the selective dissemination of public information is a misuse/abuse of public resources.

    However, as unfortunate as it is, many people in Bermuda believe that if they read it in the Royal Gazette, it’s the truth. I know, and you should know, that the Royal Gazette does not give the whole truth and nothing but the truth. DCI can churn out thousands of press releases a day, but if local media chooses not to share those releases with the public, what is the government to do?

    I completely agree that neither the RG or (especially the) MoN has a perfect track record for delivering the “whole truth”. Who does for the matter? Having said that I think it’s unreasonable to expect every single news story to be 100% accurate all of the time and where they really screw up we have an existing legal system to address these mistakes.

    However, where the government is responsible for creating an information vacuum, whether willful (i.e. refusing to respond to media enquiries) or through incompetence (i.e. inability to disseminate news releases through the many mediums available to them), attempts to blame the mystical combined opposition are nothing more than misplaced frustration for their own incompetence.

    I am not blaming the RG or MON, they have a job to do and are doing it quite well. My beef is with those Bermudians who believe everything that they read in those newspapers.

    I agree with you 100% … as I hope you would with me insofar as those Bermudians who listen to Hott 107.5 are concerned (or read plp.bm for that matter) who take as gospel the opinions disguised as facts that are delivered on a daily basis from these biased media outlets.

  73. 32n64w,

    I used to get annoyed when HOTT read their news directly from the Royal Gazette, but they’ve corrected it now. I also think it’s lazy and stupid when I hear Jim McKey (in particular) saying “according to published reports”, as if the published reports are indeed factual. The same goes with VSB, who I note don’t do it as much as ZBM.

    You are correct, there are no UBP MPs or senators working for the RG, but they and some senior civil servants are the RG’s main source of anti-government news.

    How would you know that the Government refuses to respond to media enquiries, unless of course you are a journalist?

    By the way, do you know who the shareholders are of Bermuda Press Holdings Ltd, DeFontes Broadcasting and Bermuda Broadcasting Co. Ltd.? If you do, please share that information with me.

    I find it interesting, but not surprising that you make no mention of the UBP’s website.

  74. 32n64w – ive never heard any of hott 107s personalities try to disguise an opinion as fact. what the different djs do is tell people what they think about an issue and invite conversation.

    if people believe them, thats not because they were misled into thinking the djs opinions were fact. the rg, on the other hand, presents itself as an arbiter of truth.

    comparing an entertainment talk radio station and the only national daily newspaper seems dumb. especially since like laverne said, hott 107 has only had a news reporter for a month.

    they do different things. it’s like getting angry at steve harvey because he doesnt do what dan rather does.

    that is nonsense.

  75. “plp.bm is not a government entity, although they do dessiminate much of the information coming from Government ministers, i.e. press releases as does gov.bm.

    This is completely inappropriate. All information that is generated by tax payer funded resources should be distributed by Government channels (at least in the first instance). Using a private website as a platform for the selective dissemination of public information is a misuse/abuse of public resources.”

    32N,

    All statements etc from Government are not posted to the PLP website UNTIL they have been distributed to the entire news media. I can assure you of that fact. The problem comes when the other media tend to ignore receipt of these statements. it doesnt mean that they did not get them. The first reading of these statements is always in the House or in a Press conference. Then once they are emailed out to the RG, Bda Sun, VSB, and many many other journalists and news sources, it is only then that they are posted to the PLP website.

  76. Ms Furbert

    Given your gushing condemnation of both the RG and MON, I would presume that the paper which you publish or of which you are the editor?(Workers Voice?) must be a bastion of truth and honesty. Every article that you publish contains the whole truth and nothing but the truth and is entirely unbiased in its reporting. Is that correct? Just wondering.

    Pitts Bay

  77. The Workers Voice is too partisan and nondevelopmental.
    Issuses are dealt with historically instead of with vision.
    Calvin Smith writes pure elitism as does Ira Philip. Alvin Williams writes too personal and his lacl of african political understanding is exposed.
    During the Cuban revolution rents were fixed geared to a 37 hour work week and the own more than one house was outlawed.
    In Bermuda they are calling for geared to income renters to save money to by a house after five years.
    Issues like this need to be debated in the Workers Voice.
    Geared to income should be a formal Rent Control law.
    Not something to punish the unfortunate that come to Government for help. How does Cuba allow these greedy Bermuda politicans to enter their island without arresting them for crimes against poor people?

  78. Cahow
    32-64, you sir are no Harry Viera.

    Having had the pleasure of knowing Harry for many years I’m well aware of that. Nonetheless sir (and I use that term very loosely) you are no rare bird.

    Mrs. Furbert
    You are correct, there are no UBP MPs or senators working for the RG, but they and some senior civil servants are the RG’s main source of anti-government news.

    I suspect this may very well be due to the information vacuum I referred to above. Nonetheless, what is wrong with obtaining information from non-PLP sources? If I recall correctly the whole BHC scandal was initially met with skepticism by the then Minister. Should the public expect the media to rely only on what the PLP tells them?

    How would you know that the Government refuses to respond to media enquiries, unless of course you are a journalist?

    I’m not a journalist, however, I don’t have to be to see interviews on the evening news and/or listen to Hott 107 to witness Colonel Burch mentioning on numerous occasions that he refuses to respond to media enquiries, especially those from the RG or MoN. The Premier has also utilised his “plantation question” defense to avoid responding.

    By the way, do you know who the shareholders are of Bermuda Press Holdings Ltd, DeFontes Broadcasting and Bermuda Broadcasting Co. Ltd.? If you do, please share that information with me.

    As you may be well aware the share registers of Bermuda companies are available for public inspection. Accordingly feel free to visit the registered offices of any entity mentioned above to answer your own questions.

    I find it interesting, but not surprising that you make no mention of the UBP’s website.

    Not sure why you would (unless you’re just trying to be contrary). They aren’t the Government of the day and therefore not directly responsible to the taxpayers for how their tax dollars are spent. But I suspect you know this already.

    Yours.

    ive never heard any of hott 107s personalities try to disguise an opinion as fact. what the different djs do is tell people what they think about an issue and invite conversation.

    If I recall correctly … they invite conversation in accordance with a “frame of reference” which they choose to define. That immediately biases any further “conversation”.

    if people believe them, thats not because they were misled into thinking the djs opinions were fact.

    I agree. DJs, much like politicians, have their own biases and if discerning listeners can’t tell the difference that’s their problem (although I’m sure both politicians and DJs will tell you that it’s nice to have a captive and loyal audience).

    the rg, on the other hand, presents itself as an arbiter of truth.

    I disagree. I would say they consider themselves, at least to the best of their ability and resources, an arbiter of facts. You and Mrs. Furbert introduced the concept of truth, which, until absolutely all of the facts are known, is an elusive thing (and even then one person’s truth isn’t necessarily the same as everyone else’s). In my view the PLP continue to stumble when it comes to disclosing facts and as a result this “truth” you speak of is a continually moving and shrinking target.

    comparing an entertainment talk radio station and the only national daily newspaper seems dumb. especially since like laverne said, hott 107 has only had a news reporter for a month.

    The comparison was meant to be in regard to the direct and indirect biases of the various media outlets contrasted with the PLPs “combined opposition” catchphrase which is just a convenient way of ignoring/deflecting bad press (i.e. blame the messenger syndrome). Additionally, for the PLP to in the one hand lump the RG in this “combined opposition” pot and yet simultaneously rely upon their reporting either as a resource for Hott 107 newscasts or links to the plp.bm website just smacks of hypocrisy … and “seems dumb”.

    they do different things. it’s like getting angry at steve harvey because he doesnt do what dan rather does.

    I agree Hott 107 is not in the news business, however, whatever the DJs decide to discuss is reflective of their own points of view … and most of the time this just happens (no surprise) to be pro-PLP. Again, if listeners can’t tell the difference that’s their (and Bermuda’s) problem … much like those idiots who believe every word that comes out of Rush Limbaugh’s mouth as gospel.

    I’m not angry at Hott 107. They are in the business of making money (which I suspect is in no small way assisted by the numerous Government ads they run – presumably not for free). My displeasure lies at the feet of the PLP Government who seem to actively withhold information/facts from the electorate.

    that is nonsense.

    Yes, obfuscating the “truth” is nonsense.

  79. Ken

    All statements etc from Government are not posted to the PLP website UNTIL they have been distributed to the entire news media. I can assure you of that fact.

    Ok, Ken I hear you. If that’s the case then why does the plp.bm website include numerous quotes (i..e cut and paste jobs) from PLP MPs and Senators extracted from statements they’ve read in the House?

    http://plp.bm/blog

    … and yet the most recent matter addressed on the Department of Communication & Information homepage (which any right thinking person would consider the clearing house for all Government information) is the Club Med implosion from 25 Aug 08 !?

    http://www.gov.bm/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=431&PageID=0&cached=true&mode=2&userID=2

    Furthermore the http://www.gov.bm homepage makes no mention of either Mr. Dill’s or Mr. James’ formal remarks from 24 Mar and 23 Mar, respectively so exactly where does the public turn for information?

    If the PLP complain that their message is not getting through why are they not properly utilising the tools which we, the taxpayers, have bought and paid for to the tune of millions and millions of dollars?

  80. 32n,

    I did not say all of the postings are available on the government websites. They perhaps should be, and that is an issue for the government webmasters etc. My point is that they have all been disseminated into the mainstream media and are therefore fair game.

    Thats the last i will say on this topic.

  81. The big issue is real estate. 30% drop in value while the government financial assistance is up 53%. If it wasn’t for government the real estate value would drop 60%?
    Under full employment evry foreigner added to the GDP or tax revenue collection plate.
    Now with greedy contractors hiring foriegners are responsible for the drop in real estate value. Why? Unemployed Bermudians cant pay their rent,mortgage etc.
    Government contractors should be banned from government contracts if they do not hire Bermudians. Writing letters to a po box for a blue collar job is criminal. If you want a government contractor you must hire on site or list a phone number in the newspaper. All contractors sleep at night. Stop devaluating your real estate by hiring foreigners. Stop causing robberies by hiring foriegners.
    $79000 a year in prison is the price you gonna pay anyway. Ya not gonna enjoy your profits in peace. Trust me.

  82. 32n64w
    “If I recall correctly … they invite conversation in accordance with a “frame of reference” which they choose to define. That immediately biases any further “conversation”. ”

    those are the mechanics of every public conversation started by any individual. its not specific to hots product. you know that. since its a normal, inescapable, even necessary part of the dialogue process, why make that point now when its self evident? it seems like your just trying to justify your disdain for that station. its ok not to like them for any number of reasons. you dont need to mangle logic to do so or convince others to share your perspective.

    32n64w
    “I agree. DJs, much like politicians, have their own biases and if discerning listeners can’t tell the difference that’s their problem (although I’m sure both politicians and DJs will tell you that it’s nice to have a captive and loyal audience).”

    exactly. so if its rightly up to the listener to weigh out the ideas and evidence, and noone at hott pretends to hide their biases(unlike the rg), why is this strain of commentary even necessary?

    32n64w
    “I disagree. I would say they consider themselves, at least to the best of their ability and resources, an arbiter of facts. You and Mrs. Furbert introduced the concept of truth, which, until absolutely all of the facts are known, is an elusive thing (and even then one person’s truth isn’t necessarily the same as everyone else’s). In my view the PLP continue to stumble when it comes to disclosing facts and as a result this “truth” you speak of is a continually moving and shrinking target.”

    youre right, i shouldnt have said that. truth is subjective. facts are not. headlines that are not reflective of the facts contained in the stories below are neither true or factual. hots hosts dont pretend to own the facts. they just tell people what they think. not what to think. unlike the rg.

    32n64w
    “The comparison was meant to be in regard to the direct and indirect biases of the various media outlets contrasted with the PLPs “combined opposition” catchphrase which is just a convenient way of ignoring/deflecting bad press (i.e. blame the messenger syndrome). Additionally, for the PLP to in the one hand lump the RG in this “combined opposition” pot and yet simultaneously rely upon their reporting either as a resource for Hott 107 newscasts or links to the plp.bm website just smacks of hypocrisy … and “seems dumb”.”

    if you think the combined opposition catchphrase is inappropriate, then basing a comparison on it is equally silly. especially when you have to compare the only daily newspaper and an entertainment talk radio station to do so. also, ive heard hots staff say over and over and over again that they were not happy to base their news on the rg, but that they had no other option at the time.

    reality is much less absolute than you seem to need to make it. george w is a constitution shredding warmonger that dedicated more american resources and energy to african anti-hiv research than any other president. or, to keep with your theme of message uniformity, i heard stuart hayward on hot the other morning promoting his community advocacy workshops for 20 minutes. one truth does not obscure the other. my point is sometimes the rg prints a story that the plp may be comfortable with. their overarching theme though is one of bias against the government despite infrequent deviations from that position.

    being a hypocrite sometimes is just part of being a functional adult. deal with it.

    32n64w
    “I agree Hott 107 is not in the news business, however, whatever the DJs decide to discuss is reflective of their own points of view … and most of the time this just happens (no surprise) to be pro-PLP. Again, if listeners can’t tell the difference that’s their (and Bermuda’s) problem … much like those idiots who believe every word that comes out of Rush Limbaugh’s mouth as gospel.”

    shouldnt this conversation be over after the first half of your first sentence? if hots not in the news business then, again, comparing them to the rg in terms of expecting factual objectivity is just dumb. and much like the idiots who believe every word that comes out of keith olbermann’s mouth as gospel or elizabeth hasselbeck or howard stern or mike malloy or tavis smiley or any media pundit. stop trying to make this an issue of principle. if you agreed with hots people politically you wouldnt have a problem with what they do.

    32n64w
    “I’m not angry at Hott 107. They are in the business of making money (which I suspect is in no small way assisted by the numerous Government ads they run – presumably not for free). My displeasure lies at the feet of the PLP Government who seem to actively withhold information/facts from the electorate.”

    every other station has government ads running on them with regularity. no more than hott does, as far as i can tell from listening to power 95 and kjazz and everest. your displeasure with the plp is a separate issue, obviously. stop conflating the two if you want to be taken seriously on either.

  83. “Has anyone heard an update on the investigation into the falsified checks?”

    Not as of yet. But hopefully the release of this information will be released with an update on the “bullet in the mail” scandal…hmmmmmmmm

  84. your displeasure with the plp is a separate issue, obviously. stop conflating the two if you want to be taken seriously on either.

    Yours
    The ‘combined opposition’ conflation is a PLP convention/invention, not mine. Accordingly I would suggest you take your own advice and discontinue its use “if you want to be taken seriously.”

    My point (which apparently has left a stream of mangled logic along the way) is that the PLP have failed miserably at utilising the millions of dollars and resources/media outlets available to them to keep the public apprised of what their Government is up to.

    If you don’t see that an information vacuum exists in Bermuda I would suggest you must be either a party insider/senator/mp who has access to unreleased/unpublished facts/data/info/statistics or blindly loyal. The rest of us (being the majority of the population) don’t fall into either of those categories. So how do we “deal with it”?

  85. 32n64w
    “The ‘combined opposition’ conflation is a PLP convention/invention, not mine. Accordingly I would suggest you take your own advice and discontinue its use “if you want to be taken seriously.” ”

    i didnt use the combined opposition conflation. in this conversation, you did and then extended it to justify your irritation with hot 107. i only quoted you.

    32n64w
    “My point (which apparently has left a stream of mangled logic along the way) is that the PLP have failed miserably at utilising the millions of dollars and resources/media outlets available to them to keep the public apprised of what their Government is up to.

    If you don’t see that an information vacuum exists in Bermuda I would suggest you must be either a party insider/senator/mp who has access to unreleased/unpublished facts/data/info/statistics or blindly loyal. The rest of us (being the majority of the population) don’t fall into either of those categories. So how do we “deal with it”?”

    i dont disagree with your point. the governments main problem is communicating. if you cant tell people what your doing then you look incompetent at least immoral at worst. i believe they are neither based on what ive read, seen and heard but they dont communicate that well at all.

    all ive ever said was you can make that point without lying about what hot 107 does. again, stop conflating both issues if you want to be taken seriously on either.

    also, i notice you didnt respond to anything else i said. in the absence of any further clarification im going to assume thats because you admit you were being silly and feel no need to explain. that seems the most plausible explanation.

  86. also, i notice you didnt respond to anything else i said. in the absence of any further clarification im going to assume thats because you admit you were being silly and feel no need to explain. that seems the most plausible explanation.

    Not at all. I just feel you may be too close to the matter to appreciate another point of view.

  87. 32n64w –

    “Not at all. I just feel you may be too close to the matter to appreciate another point of view.”

    what? im a real fan of hot 107(and good friend of miss thang if you must know) and a plp supporter and voter. nothing else. if you think thats enough to taint my ability to assess your even more disingenous than i thought.

    shameful.

  88. I see you all chose to ignore Guilden’s post about there being no Auditor General’s reports for five years prior to 1998. I would also suggest that you read his Special Report of 1998(prior to the PLP Government) on the Tourism Department and compare it to his latest “Special Report”. Maybe you’ll get some insight as to why some of us feel the AG politicises his reports.

  89. By the way, Guilden, I’m in total support of your suggestion below:

    “that Bermuda adopt what is done in the Bahamas, when a candidate in an election is nominated he must present his statement of net worth. What this does is allow electorate to monitor, if you will, the changes in the net worth of this person from election to election, if there is a huge up-turn in his net worth from one election to the next that cannot be substantiated through personal legitimate business interest can trigger an investigation or at the very his net worth from one election to the next.”

  90. 32n64w –

    “it’s simply a matter of objectivity.”

    im not objective because i disagree with you? foolishness. ive explained what i think and why i think it in detail. but because you say im not credible im not credible. whatever man.

    that is ridiculous and the world can see what youre doing. i urge everyone to read our exchange, think for themselves and see how disingenous your argument is.

  91. i urge everyone to read our exchange, think for themselves and see how disingenous your argument is.

    ditto.

  92. LaVerne Furbert said
    March 29, 2009 at 5:04 pm
    By the way, Guilden, I’m in total support of your suggestion below:

    “that Bermuda adopt what is done in the Bahamas, when a candidate in an election is nominated he must present his statement of net worth. What this does is allow electorate to monitor, if you will, the changes in the net worth of this person from election to election, if there is a huge up-turn in his net worth from one election to the next that cannot be substantiated through personal legitimate business interest can trigger an investigation or at the very his net worth from one election to the next.”

    Good idea gilbert

    so ms furbert r u goin to put that forward to the central plp delegates n central comitie? will this be adopted? This will go a long way to reduce concerns of conflicts of interests that the UBP did…actions that up to this day have not been proactivly stopped by setting up the various reforms needed to prevent politicians from financially benifiting while in office via their position in office.

  93. I see you all chose to ignore Guilden’s post about there being no Auditor General’s reports for five years prior to 1998. I would also suggest that you read his Special Report of 1998(prior to the PLP Government) on the Tourism Department and compare it to his latest “Special Report”. Maybe you’ll get some insight as to why some of us feel the AG politicises his reports.

    I don’t think anyone is ignoring it. The fact is that this is simply a variant on “the UBP did it too”. [And there were complaints at the time.]

    But this is ten years later and the question today is not whether or not the AG was doing his job then but rather the specific issues that he’s pointed out. As much as you may want to complain about his choice of language he’s raised legitimate questions and the public deserves answers (ad hominem attacks don’t cut it – frankly they’re getting tiring and undermine whatever arguments you’re making).

    And you can’t ignore the allegations re the new courthouse – they simply serve to reinforce the statements made in the Audit report. It sounds like Berkely all over again. 😦

  94. Blankman,

    SO are you saying that whenever facts about the UBP are raised it is a “well, the UBP did it” defense?

    I did not raise it as a defense of an offense, Someone, I believe, LaVerne, mentioned that there had been a number of years where the UBP did not have audited accounts. I simply stated that this was fact and put forward the years I recall it occurring.

    Contrary to position that you and others put forward that some of my comments are “well, the UBP did it” that has never been nor will it ever be my position. I do not care what the UBP did or did not do, if what the PLP has done or not done is not in the best interested of Bermuda they need to be called on it. I think it is poor, poor management for any Government not to be able to produce audited reports, it is a requirement and one that the electorate should hold the Govermnment accountable for.

    So please stop with the crap about the “UBP did it” especially when referrign to my comments because that is not how I present my arguments and you know that. Bark up another tree.

  95. Guilden, I’m not referring to your comments – I’m referring to LaVerne’s. I’m well aware of the points you’re making and I’m not addressing them. I’m addressing someone else’s post (which I quoted).

    Having said that the issue we’re faced with is not what the auditor did or did not do ten years ago. Nor is it what the UBP did or did not do ten years ago. It’s the statements made in the audit report which regard the actions of the current government.

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