Just as a quick update to yesterday’s post concerning the Rebecca Middleton documentary, I’ve been forwarded a pdf of a Ministerial statement from Minister Fahy.
It’s available here if one wants to read it. Ministerial Statement Middleton Film Crew Denied Work Permits
Essentially though it is highly critical of the RG’s reporting of the story and seeks to rebut what it considers misinformation in the original article, notably that:
- The Minister disputes that he ‘denied work permits’ and says the crew hadn’t applied for them in the first place;
- The crew did not have letters from the Ministry saying they had permission to work ;
- Instead, the crew did have a letter from the Ministry of Tourism welcoming them to Bermuda;
- The Minister says he hasn’t sought to sabotage anything;
- The Minister insists he didn’t ‘intervene’ on the Friday (March 21st);
- Instead the Minister was made aware of the issue on March 20th and determined they needed temporary work permits;
- These temporary work permits require a ten-day lead time;
- The Minister sought to stress that the BTA doesn’t get to vet work permits but, rather, is ‘consulted’ ‘as a matter of courtesy’.
While this does clear some things up, it also raises additional questions.
And it doesn’t really address the main thrust of yesterday’s post, that of the democratic deficit in that the BTA can act pretty much with impunity in dishing out contracts using public monies – and that this makes it very much at risk of being a vehicle for corruption, a la ‘friends and family’, be it OBA (now) or PLP (hypothetically in the future).
The more immediate concerns it raises to me is that there seems to be a communication breakdown within the Government, specifically between the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Home Affairs.
This isn’t particularly surprising, seeing as the problem of Government silos has been around for far too long.
It is concerning all the same, especially in light of various questionable actions by the Minister of Tourism and the OBA government itself – it adds to the sense of a sense of entitlement, an arrogance, and dysfunction within the government.
Further, this incident highlights the very poor communication/PR abilities of the Government itself, but also very much the BTA.
I don’t know who’s handling the PR for the BTA, as they haven’t been exactly forthcoming in volunteering such information, but one feels that they – and by extension all of us (as it’s using public monies) – are not getting a good return on the investment, by far.
It also raises issues about the quality of the daily newspaper as well as the question of who’s telling the truth here – the media or the Minister – and what are the consequences for this going forward?