2011 OBA Reply to the Throne Speech – Part Five

Continued Economic Policies

– Cut Ministerial pay;

I am not opposed to this, but it’s not clear how much they propose to cut them by, or if they have an idea of what the maximum salary would be. Of course, this would change with inflation and the like, but I think we could base Ministerial pay on the BPSU pay scale system, the maximum salary of which I think is about $150k. I would think a salary of $120k is more than sufficient for the Ministerial position myself (it should be noted that I would expect all Ministers to be full-time – I also support all MPs being full-time, with backbenchers to earn the average salary of a skilled worker, so, about $70k). I would think we would also want to make a cap on the number of potential Ministries though.

– Divert more resources and energy to the selling of Bermuda (for IB);

Not opposed to this, but what would this involve, different from what the PLP is currently doing? Would this not involve frequent travel and networking opportunities overseas, which the OBA criticises? More detail would be useful here.

– Look at replicating a ‘concierge service’ as practiced in the Isle of Mann and Malta, to actively shepherd our international customers through government services;

I’m not opposed to this idea, but I do note that this would seem to contradict their previous comments on freezing the civil service.

Crime

“An OBA Government will provide Bermuda with security and peace of mind that allow us to once again live without fear of being robbed, shot or burgled.”

– Equip police with resources and [the] support they need;
– Full-time presence of Parish Constables in our neighbourhoods;
– Equip police with advanced technologies, such as shot spotters (these triangulate position of gunshots);
– Develop an expanded CCTV system staffed 24hrs a day;
– Ensure an effective electronic tagging programme;

The first policy is vague, but presumably is just a general opener for the other policies. I am supportive of the idea of full-time Parish Constables, but I would like more detail on this – are they, for example, based on the idea of community policing? As for the shot spotters, I’m not opposed to them, but, like the CCTV system I am concerned about the invasion of privacy (as I understand the technology, it involves a series of microphones geographically distributed across the island). I’m also concerned about their cost-effectiveness in the Bermuda context (do we really need them?). As for the CCTV plan, I’m generally wary of these and question their utility – they seem more useful in pushing crime away to other areas than anything else, but I plan to research this more fully. No opposition to the idea of electronic taggs (which, indeed, have since been implemented by the Government).

– Strengthen the police presence on the roads;
– Activate more speed cameras;
– Support the Government measures to expand the use of breathalysers, increase penalties for drink driving and impose DUI education for all disqualified drivers;

I don’t have an issue with any of the above, although I question the cost (bearing in mind the OBA commitment to reduce the budget) of the above, and I am wary of the speed cameras from the perspective of invasion of privacy.

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