Disappointing

I have read over the reports in the RG today detailing correspondence and other documents relating to the construction of the new Police/Court building. The information seems quite detailed, and I am afraid they appear ahrd to refute, although I would like to hear the reply to them from the various agents involved in the construction.

I’ve already written in an earlier post that I do not understand how LLC recieved the contract in the first place, as from my reading of the application they should have been disqualified from it. I fully support the idea of investing in new entities and breaking existing monopolies within industries, you know, helping out the little guy and evening the playing field and all that. Thats fine. But I am a believer in approaching this step by step, awarding progressively larger contracts so that the ‘little guy’ has an opportunity to grow organically in both capital and experience to the point that it is able to handle large projects like this one. That can be painfully slow, at least in the beginning. Anyone watching a child learn to walk knows that experience, but they also know that the learning curve only starts of slow and grows exponetially after a certain point. I don’t know the full details of the case of course, but it does look like a case of forcing someone to run when the focus should be on learning to walk well first. The result of that is almost always failure, and reflects badly more on the agents that created the situation than anyone else.

I don’t know what to say really. I’m just really disappointed. I was disappointed by the Berkely project, and it seems that history is repeating itself here, although with perhaps a bit more farce. This situation should not have happened and if the facts as reported in the RG are accurate, and there is insufficient reason given to explain the how’s and why’s of these developments, well, I’m sorry but there’s a little something called accountability that needs to be brought into play.

The PLP has done a lot of good things since coming to power, but there are lots more that should have been done, and many others that should not have occurred in the first place. The Police/Court building should have been built a long time before now, and it should have been done better than it currently is. Other eyebrow raising concerns stem from the handling of the Berkely project, failure to implement minimum and overtime pay, questions regarding Southside low-cost housing, the Faith Based Tourism debacle and the Bermuda Cement Company fiasco. The Party cannot afford to continue making mistakes like these, and there are still some unanswered questions over many of these issues.

Its disappointing, and I hope that these issues are resolved in good order and at double quick time.

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37 thoughts on “Disappointing

  1. “The Party cannot afford to continue making mistakes like these, and there are still some unanswered questions over many of these issues”.

    I think they can Jonathan. Sadly the place appears to be full of people who don’t care. One would have thought after 10 years, that some would be making some noise. Frankly, the silence is disappointingly deafening.

    In addition, I am just waiting for the usual “the RG have got it wrong” remarks.

  2. Jonathan,

    Does it not concern you how the newspaper was able to obtain all of the information that should be contained in Government files? You may not smell a rat, but do. I look at the whole thing as a another scheme, like the “BHC Scandal”. I just wonder who the “chief architect” of the scheme is.

  3. Just Politics. Reporters need to take a break before someone gets killed trying meet the deadline like at Cedarbrigde there was an industrial accident. Definetely need a cabinet shuffle fresh blood or the island can end up like Turks and caicos.

  4. There are many issues that this government has dropped the ball on
    lots of wasted time and political capital in the areas of systemic reforms
    theres simply a lack of vision n too much lip service..and the people will perrish as a result.

    Theres not a real future for many bermudians here…..too much greed…not enough opportunity.

    The working poor will have to rise up in order for change to happen.

    They only make changes after mass civil violence..cause only after that happens they get the message

    The message is that the people are tired.

  5. Hi LaVerne,

    I am more concerned whether or not the reported statements are factual than how they were obtained. Fine, most probably they were leaked for political reasons by anti-PLPers, but quite frankly they shouldn’t have happened in the first place – in other words why give ammunition to anti-PLPers in the first place? Why not just do a good job in the first place? I just don’t get it.

  6. Does it not concern you how the newspaper was able to obtain all of the information that should be contained in Government files?

    Does it not concern you that even if half of what was reported is in fact “true” that the Government is actively engaged in manipulating the civil service for political purposes both to the detriment of taxpayers and the safety of the building’s intended occupants?

    You may not smell a rat, but do.

    If you and the PLP kleptocracy are more concerned about smelling a rat we, the people, have even more to be worried about. Unlike a private company, the Government is responsible and accountable to the taxpaying public. Your “rat” analogy speaks volumes about how the PLP hierarchy view their role in Government; not as a servant of the people but as an opportunistic consortium of power brokers hungry for absolute control of facts, dollars and influence. How sad.

    I just wonder who the “chief architect” of the scheme is.

    Yet again it’s all about persecuting the messenger; not the message. Very sad indeed.

  7. Julian Hall is in charge believe it or not. Even in failure people can learn a lesson. Yesmen cannot perform they just kissup and embarass the government. The people just want jobs and affordable housing. Yesmen are just elite failures in the history books. Personal greed and empowerment is more important than performance. where is Obama?

  8. I would be more concerned about falsified checks than with how information was leaked on a building project. Plus, if the government were open, then information on how the taxpayer money is spent/wasted would not have to be leaked, as it would be public knowledge.

  9. Jonathan,

    I can assure you that the reported statements are not factual. But if you want to assume so before hearing (or reading) the other side of the story. If you are not convinced by now that the Royal Gazette and others who feed them information have a campaign going on, you’re not as politically astute as I thought you were.

    I mean, think about it. The contractors and the Government know that everything they do is going to be scrutinised. so don’t you think they would make every effort to do the right thing? In my opinion the only way the real truth will come, or the other side of the story is for the contractors to take out an ad in the newspapers. Certainly, I don’t expect Matthew Taylor give an unbiased account of what’s realy happening and has happened at the court building.

    I am satisfied that the contractors, engineers, architects, etc. ect. working on the site are all competent people – after all few of them look like me, other than Winters Burgess and his work speaks for itself. Of course most of the labourers look like me, but they only follow the directions of the experts.

    And else for that bit about the working poor – enough is enough. We’re all working poor people. Some of us have just worked harder and longer than others. As I see it, everybody in Bermuda has the opportunity to improve their lot in life. This government is bending over backwards – free day care, free college, more financial assistance, job fairs, etc. etc. etc.

    People in Bermuda say they can’t get work, but that’s a big lie. The other day a young man came to see me saying he was desperate for a job and if he didn’t get one he would be evicted from his apartment. I arranged for him to have an interview, he was late, but I called the people and they said they would see him anyway. I drove him to the interview. He got the job and never showed up for work. And i’ve seen that happen on more than one occasion.

    What more do people want the government and others to do for them?

  10. Julian Hall in charge? Surely you jest. I thought the BBC just fired ( my words) the chief….Bawahahaaaaaa
    Lets keep it simple folks. We all know who is in control.

  11. “Why not just do a good job in the first place? I just don’t get it.”

    but who said they didn’t? People who are out to discredit the PLP. From what i read those issues sadly seem to be the standard for construction endeavours worldwide – this is all political. Wake up johnny – like the rest of us – the plp is not perfect – but does that make them criminal – only if you’re the black govt. in bermuda – your whining is getting tired and a wee bit racist

  12. At Steve & LaVerne, reread my statements. I never said the RG account was gospel truth, and I explicitly said that I would like to hear the rebuttal of the report. My main point was that the reporting comes across as detailed enough to make it appear credible, and that is the perception that it will create. And that leads to the more important point that the Party has not yet developed an effective response to this and THAT is disappointing. We have the technology to get our side of the story out there unfiltered, but the most we seem to do is attack the messenger which is not good enough anymore. I should not have to play detective to defend the Party, and nor should I be privy to special information above and beyond that available to any other citizen. And if the information is not factual, well, to me it smacks of defamation and the parties involved should consider legal action.

    Steve, my ‘whining’ will continue as will that of many Party supporters as long as we continue to see apparent follies like this.

  13. And if the information is not factual, well, to me it smacks of defamation and the parties involved should consider legal action.

    If it’s false, it more than “smacks of defamation”. It’s libel and the parties involved should sue (and demand a retraction).

    This is something that can’t be resolved by any sort of ad hominem attack – claiming the Gazette doesn’t tell the truth doesn’t cut it – especially since, if false (and that’s a big if), this is something that’s simple to rebut – just produce the relevant engineering reports etc.

    And while it’s interesting to hypothesize as to how the Gazette obtained the relevant documents it is worth noting that the majority of the information in question would be found in files that belong to the various contractors and engineers as opposed to government so they’re hardly covered by the Official Secrets Act.

  14. First of all Jonathan, the court building is a “government” project, not a “Party” project. I’m sure you will agree that a responsible journalist would have made every effort to get both sides of the story. Of course the information is detailed because there is obviously a mole in Works & Engineering. I do hope that someone does a full investigation so that the mole can be uncovered.

    I am sure that once the Minister returns, you will see a rebuttal, but as to how much of his statement will be printed in the Royal Gazette remains to be seen.

    It seems to be that the only was that Government ministers can get the truth out is to make appearances on Everest DaCosta’s talk show, and that is said.

    There is a story in yesterday’s paper about changing the 24th May parada route. Minister Butler was quite specific when he called on Everest’s show to say that some people had suggested changing the route, hence he had the Parade Marshall and the Cultural Affairs Officer come on the radio to get feedback from the public. 99% of those who called in said that they were not in favour of the change, yet the Royal Gazette writes that route will be changed.

    Since you’re a party member, you tell me how you think the government can get the truth out.

  15. And by the way, once you find out who the Chief Architect is at W&E, you should understand better how the Royal Gazette gets all of its information.

  16. Hi LaVerne,

    Yes, of course there is a difference between Party and Government, but the Party is in power.

    But the point is not so much about there being a mole, that should be expected. The more serious question is how much truth there is to these allegations. As I’ve said before I am in favour of PATI/Freedom of Information, and this info should be readily available through that, so I quite frankly don’t see the point on focusing on the ‘mole’ when the more serious problem is the factuality of the reports.

    Maybe the Government does post their press releases somewhere on the Gov.bm site, but as I think was pointed out in another thread, they seem to go out of their way to make it hard to find. I’ve been looking for press releases several times and all I find is the video on the Club Med demolition. As such, one of the first things that Government can do to get its side of the story out is to UPDATE & RATIONALISE their government site. The Party itself has a website where the responsible Ministers can give their side of the story as well instead of cutting and pasting from the RG. We do have a Press Officer for a reason don’t we?

    And in case you missed my previous comment I didn’t have time to renew my membership before I left the island, so I am just a supporter at the moment. Upon my return I’ll rejoin again, but as I’m off island I didn’t really see the point – its not like I can attend Party meetings in Scotland! LOL. Actually, maybe I’ll start organising an overseas branch for Bermudian students in the UK…

  17. Hi Jonathan,

    I guess you missed this is Ken’s response to 32N on your website when you posted about the Auditor General’s report. He has it quite correct.

    ken said
    March 24, 2009 at 7:34 am
    “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.”

    ken said
    March 24, 2009 at 7:34 am
    “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.

    ken said
    March 24, 2009 at 7:34 am
    “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.”

    I just went on the PLP website and it’s full of information, so I don’t know what you’re talking about. Again, I say, you don’t seem to understand somethings. The information that is in the Royal Gazette is obviously coming from someone at the Ministry of Works & Engineering. I don’t think that the Party’s PRO has the authority to question civil servants. The informationis out there, just not disseminated via the Royal Gazette.

    i’m telling you that the reports are not factual, but it seems as if you want to believe that they are, so what can I do to change your mind – nothing.

    Sounds to me that you want to believe that PLP Cabinet Ministers are inept and corrupt. Remember, the Works & Engineering Minister takes advice from experts in the field, he is not doing the actual building himself. He is advised by a Bermudian engineering firm and a Bermudian architectural firm. So, if something has gone wrong, that’s who we need to point the finger at – not the Minister. Everything that is done on that site has to be signed off by someone in the Ministry – not the Minister.

    What more would PATI legislation do than is being done now. The Royal Gazette has the truth now, but refuses to print it. Will PATI legislation allow the ordinary Bermudian to have access to all government files?

  18. Hi LaVerne,

    My point is that the Government press releases need to be more readily accessible. My second point, re the PLP site is that the Party can post its own position there, not the Government position.

    I hear you when you say that the reports are not factual, but what I’m not hearing is what is factual then? I am not saying the PLP ministers are inept or corrupt so don’t try that false argument. I’m saying there are a lot of questions and they need answered in order to clear away the perceptions that the PLP is inept or corrupt. Thats all.

  19. The working poor is anyone who does not have $9000 cash in savings. Does not own a house or car to sell in event of a 6 month layoff. According to top economic analysts on CNN news.
    Thesd people deserve welfare checks food stamps and public housing so they have no excuse to rob others who are fortunate enough to have been blessed by God with more than them.
    Otherwise vilgilantees will send them to hell. Free Shuttee!

  20. Ms. Furbert,

    Regarding your comment # 15

    And by the way, once you find out who the Chief Architect is at W&E, you should understand better how the Royal Gazette gets all of its information.

    What exactly are you saying here? It seems to me that you are suggesting that the Chief Architect is the source of the leaks. The logical continuation of that is that you are alleging, publicly, in writing, that the Chief Architect has breached the Official Secrets Act and perhaps other parts of his terms and conditions of employment.

    If I were you I would be very careful about saying things like this. Such statements could damage his professional reputation, put his job at risk, etc. I am not a lawyer but your comment seems to me to be very close to libel, defamation, slander etc.

    You are sailing very close to the wind.

  21. Jonathan,

    You’re still not getting it are you? The PLP’s position is the Government’s position. The PLP is the government!!!

    Ghost, while the government does not issue food stamps, we do have financial assistance and housing allowance and public housing, so I don’t know what you’re talking about.

  22. Hi LaVerne, please refer back to your post, comment #14.

    There are official Government press releases that need to be made better available through the Government website. Then there is the Party that has its policies that it enacts through the State/Government. It has its own website where it can put forward its policy positions and the like.

  23. Gov’t information & events on the Gov’t website — Party events and political opinion on the plp website. Doesn’t that make sense…? There should a BIG difference between Party and Gov’t.

    @ Ms Furbert: We’ve heard it all before. It is getting old. None of your arguments make any sense, IMO. Doesn’t matter where the RG got their information… doesn’t even matter if it’s right or wrong. It OUR dollar paying for the building, so it is OUR right to receive truthful information from the Gov’t at all times. We seem to be moving away from the true principles of democracy faster & faster as each political scandal come to light….

  24. So you’re saying that the Party should have a different opinion from the Government. That makes a lot of sense to me.

  25. Miss Furbert –

    I read the article in the paper regarding the parade route. Nowhere does it state as you have above, that the parade route is going to change. The article states that it is being discussed. Oh. It also states that the Ministry has “been asked several times to comment but has refused to do so”.

    With respect to the court building, like Jonathan, I am less concerned in this instance with HOW the information got out than with the allegations being made. If these do prove to be FACT, then I think the government should be less concerned with smelling rats and more concerned with not creating instances for ‘smelly rats’ in the first place.

    The fact that after a huge disaster like Berkeley, that another huge project would be undertaken with any hint of ambiguity, mismanagement or underhandedness is very, very troubling. It seems like the only thing the Government can build without a huss fuss are bus shelters.

  26. I’m not standing on either side on this one, but are we forgetting that the Government, by DEFINITION, works for us?!? The issue is not who leaked the information (mind, as Blankman said and may have been lost above – almost all of this information is legally “owned” by the contractors and subcontractors and thus is not government information). The issue is whether or not this information is correct. And as a tax paying member of society and a card-carrying member of PLP, hell yes, I’m entitled to know if any damaging reports alluding to unsafe practices and corruption/uinethical behavior is indeed founded. As a resident of Bermuda with friends and family that are expected to work in the building when finished, hell yes, I’m entitled to know that it is a safe building that is constructed in the proper manner.

  27. Jonathan,

    Please don’t try that with me. You will read nowhere where I said “any Government project is akin to a Party project.” The PLP’s position is the Government’s position. The PLP is the government!!!

    If you want to continue to cricticise the PLP Government and Party, that is your right. Go right ahead, you have enough people on this site to support your position.

  28. I guess you missed this is Ken’s response to 32N on your website when you posted about the Auditor General’s report. He has it quite correct.

    Mrs. Furbert I guess you missed my follow up remarks to Ken …

    “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?”

  29. i’m telling you that the reports are not factual, but it seems as if you want to believe that they are, so what can I do to change your mind – nothing.

    So both local and overseas experts in their fields and/or the Civil Service have issued numerous reports on the building process and conditions setting our significant and varied deficiencies but you, as a layperson, apparently know better?

    Sounds to me that you want to believe that PLP Cabinet Ministers are inept and corrupt. Remember, the Works & Engineering Minister takes advice from experts in the field, he is not doing the actual building himself.

    But your remark above would indicate that these reports are not factual. So if the Cabinet Minister is not able to rely upon either internally and externally produced reports what hope do we, the taxpaying public, have in ensuring the work is completed in accordance with both the approved plans and budget?

    He is advised by a Bermudian engineering firm and a Bermudian architectural firm. So, if something has gone wrong, that’s who we need to point the finger at – not the Minister. Everything that is done on that site has to be signed off by someone in the Ministry – not the Minister.

    Sorry that doesn’t wash. The Minister is wholly responsible for the performance and accountability of his Ministry. If not, why have a Minister at all?

    What more would PATI legislation do than is being done now.

    Well for one thing we should be able to see every bit of data to support tourism arrival figures that are being conveniently withheld during the quarterly tourism briefs. For instance we should be able to measure exactly how many (non-business related) visitors are coming to the island versus the efforts and funds expended by the DoT to attract them.

    Will PATI legislation allow the ordinary Bermudian to have access to all government files?

    PATI should allow any member of the public (including the media) to request and receive virtually any information held by government. There are likely to be certain exemptions to the scope and type of information that can be requested. As a starting point the following items were suggested in the PATI discussion paper presented to the legislature four years ago by then Premier Alex Scott:

    – Personal information;
    – Commercial and other third party information;
    – Information received in confidence;
    – Security, defence, and policing;
    – Non-police investigations;
    – Legal professional privilege, contempt of court and matters before the Courts;
    – Health and safety of an individual and/or the public;
    – The protection of the environment;
    – Policy advice;
    – Deliberations of the Cabinet;
    – Management of the economy;
    – Negotiations; and
    – Tests, examinations and audit functions.

    Of course this list may be expanded or contracted to determine what is in the best interest of Bermuda and Bermudians – but that should be for the electorate to decide, not the politicians.

    If you haven’t done so already I would suggest reading the report which will hopefully provide you with further clarity on this matter: http://tinyurl.com/craztu

    The Royal Gazette has the truth now, but refuses to print it.

    Whose truth?

  30. Governments doing a fair job but it could be better. Instaead of waiting twenty minutes for an interveiw more staff can be hired to process more clients also a the office could be moved to the BIU and you can get a cut of the rent. Imagine what it feels like to be a teenage mother today jobless with no baby daddy helping you out. Cant pay the $1000 babystting fees because there is no more room avaibale in the free babycare system. The UBP made too many blacks rich and now they forgot the struggle. Shake off the spirit of Harry Veira and Quinton Edness that we all were cursed with before 1998.

  31. With the MILLIONS os taxpayer dollars spent on the new government tv station, could someone from government not come on and dispel all the lies that the RG prints? That would be the easiest way to “set the record straight” every time the RG prints something false. Does anyone have a reason why this would not work?

  32. Contradicting”….Your a confoozed white boy ah confoozed white boy a confoozed white boy….but whell take yah munny……bawahahaaaaaaaa

  33. Um, LaVerne, I’m not trying anything with you, I’m just pointig out that you contradicted yourself based on comment #14.

    Look, the Party is not perfect, and because of that it should be criticised, not because it can ever be perfect, but so that we can try to be more perfect. Its okay to be criticised. Is alright. People need to not get all defensive and instead just try to look at whether the criticism is valid or not – if it is then we need to correct the problem, if its not valid, then lets see why its not valid. Thats all.

  34. Surely this discussion is just a public sector example of a whistleblower? I thought they were supposed to be the good guys?

    I can’t believe the concern among the current PLP leadership is more about WHO is talking and not about what they’re saying.

    If none of it is true, come out with a press release going through each point with evidence that the article is untrue. It’s not hard, and the government are the only people with this information. If some of it is true, admit it, and say what you’re doing to fix it. Don’t shoot the damn whistleblower! What does that accomplish exactly? It’s like slamming shut your overstuffed closet door before the things fall from the top shelf. It’s fine until you need to open it again…

    As for the plp.bm website: all I can say is that it better remain the website of the party, not my government. Because I would be absolutely ashamed if what is said on there was the official position of the Bermudian government. The blog contributor is an embarassment to right minded people. He is as biased as the most shameless anti-PLP bloggers on the web, the key difference being he writes on the party website. And if you’d like to correct his fallacies, good luck, because he dosen’t allow comments. Actually thinking about it, there’s a microcosim of the current PLP eh?

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