Sign of discontent: Several marchers in the Labour Day Parade on Monday showed their displeasure with the OBA Government. *Photo by Nicola Muirhead
Sign of discontent: Several marchers in the Labour Day Parade on Monday showed their displeasure with the OBA Government. *Photo by Nicola Muirhead

It was a hectic week for the OBA, with zero transparency or accountability.

MP Bob Richard claimed OBA’s responsibility for the creation of 226 jobs during Q2 2013.   “We put the incentives in there and these people got hired.”  (Royal Gazette, August 23, 2013)  

However, he refuses to provide unemployment figures so that the public could obtain a true picture of employment levels. Mr Richards also neglected to mention that 33 per cent of these new jobs were in the seasonal based hotel, restaurant and bar sector which already received tax concessions by the PLP.

MP Richards’s statement was in reaction to both the Bermuda Employers Council predictions of a decline of approximately 700 jobs by December and statistician Cordell Riley’s estimated loss of 2,400 jobs for 2013.

“We’ve had international business formations the highest they’ve been since 2006,” proclaimed MP Richards. How many actual jobs were created? Zero.

In the same RG article, Mr Richards claimed: “….the long contraction is ending. The nightmare is almost over.” 

This contradicts the opinion of  Chamber of Commerce president Ronnie Viera who stated that, based on Government’s own data, we should not expect a  turnaround for at least another year.  

Internal Conflict 

Last week, Mr Richards questioned whether attracting investors for hotel development was directly linked to gaming.  “We really have to do our homework on this other than make some shallow statement like that.” (RG August 26, 2013) 

This contradicts Shaun Crockwell’s statement: “…it is imperative for our tourism revival that the referendum is supported.”  (RG June 3, 2013)

Putting Bermudians first?

Sen. Nalton Brangman is supporting the new Saltus / CedarBridge  sharing services of a financial controller. Yet he refused to reveal how much of your tax dollars Saltus will be pocketing. Is this a case of OBA friends and family in full effect?

On Tuesday of last week, it was announced that controversial American Dr Edmond Heatley would be Bermuda’s new Education Commissioner, over an impressive list of qualified Bermudian applicants. The move was fully supported by Education Minister Brangman, and permanent secretary Warren Jones, who dismissed the wave of the Bermudian public’s concern and stated “Get over it”.

The Education Minister said: “There are going to be those that will never agree with Mr. Jones. “But he is not going anywhere, as long as I have something to do with it.” (RG Aug 30, 2012)

Well, so much for Sen. Michael Fahy’s promise that the government was “committed to preserving, protecting and providing jobs for all Bermudians.” (RG August 15, 2013)

On Wednesday, Minister Fahy avoided answering direct questions from Shadow Minister Walter Roban, after admitting on ZBM, that 33 per cent of work permit holders had not signed the waiver by the April 30 deadline.  

Broken Promises

Early Wednesday, a Facebook leak exposed that the Department of Tourism was going to be disbanded. Civil servants were told no one was guaranteed a job in the government funded Tourism Authority. Does Tourism Minister Crockwell recall promising “consultation with the Bermuda Public Services Union to discuss any concerns they may have in relation to their members” regarding the Tourism Authority?  (RG, January 3, 2013)

Saying the OBA has had a bad week, is an understatement. No wonder they were so nice at the BIU Banquet  last Friday. These guys are doing better PR for the PLP than we expected. Keep up the good work!

Wonder what next week brings?

(Rubbing hands)

Christopher Famous may be contacted at carib_pro@yahoo.com