FRIDAY, MARCH 23: I reckon that the sun will stop rising over ‘Hizzoner’ Kenny Bascome’s beloved “olde towne of St George’s”. There have been so many changes that are not presented as changes that this kind of solar change would be in line with all the flip-flopping that’s been happening.

Flip one: In March 2011, the Minister for Finance agreed a 1.25 percent pay increase for Government’s BPSU represented employees.

Flop two: In April 2011, Government’s BIU industrial workers agreed to a wage freeze until the end of 2011.

Flip three: In August 2011, four months later and four months before the “end of 2011”, those same industrial workers received a 1.65 percent pay increase that was backdated to October 2010. At the same time, white-collar Government workers were also paid their 1.25 percent pay increase. Both pay increases were backdated to October 2010.

Flop four: In January 2012, five months after receiving their August 2011 pay increases, the Minister for Finance asked all Government workers to take an 8 percent pay cut along with a temporary pension adjustment.

So in one eleven-month period:  March pay increase agreed... April pay freeze agreed... August pay increase paid... January pay cut suggested. That is flip-flop-flip-flop.

Flip five: In January 2011, responding to BIU and BPSU/TUC suggestions that Cabinet Ministers should lead the way and take a pay cut, the Minister for Finance roundly rejected the idea.

Flop six: A year later, in January 2012, the Minister for Finance suggested that Ministers and Parliamentarians should take a five percent pay cut along with a 12.5 percent temporary pension adjustment.

Flip seven: In March 2012, the Minister for Finance got a bill passed that said that the Ministers and Parliamentarians would take a 5 percent pay cut.

Flop eight: In a grand announcement in October 2011, the Minister for Finance said that Customs Duty on items carried in by passengers at the Airport would immediately rise from 25 percent to 35 percent.

Flip nine: Three days later, the Minister for Finance announced that this could not happen immediately, but would happen after the appropriate legislation had been tabled and passed.

Flop ten: In mid-November 2011, the legislation to raise the duty to 35 percent is put in place.

Flip eleven: On February 24th 2012, in the Budget Statement, free car licencing for Seniors is revoked. All Seniors are to pay for car licencing if they licence an E, F, G, or H car. Car licencing for A,B,C,D cars remains free.

Flop twelve: Four weeks later, in March 2012, Seniors may not have to pay for car licencing if they own the bigger E, F, G, or H cars. The car licencing matter is now under ‘review.’

Flip thirteen: In the February 2011 Budget Statement for 2011/12, there was a “promised cut of $150 million in total Government spending.” Spending in 2010/11, the year before, was reported as $1,124,172,000. So the promised $150m cut would mean that in the next year, spending should drop to around $975m; but the Budget Statement actually promised a spending drop to around $984m.

Flop fourteen: In 2011/12, spending was reported as $1,072,463,000. This was only $51m lower than the year before.  The actual drop was $99m less (66% less) than the promised $150m cut. Spending in 2011/12 should have been around the $984m that had been projected in the February 2011 Budget Statement {p.8}.

Those are the bigger flip-flops in the baker’s dozen of months since February 2011.

Go wider afield or farther back?  Bermuda College tuition — free/then not free. No Land Tax for Seniors — yes/then no. Real estate purchase tax for non-Bermudian spouses — on/then off. Term limits for Guest Workers — six years/then ten years. There’s more.

If all that flip-flopping is normal and ought not elicit any comment, then our normal Bermuda world is a flip-flop world with all things flipping — or flopping — about.

So it makes complete sense to me that the sun that usually rises over Kenny’s ‘towne’, will flip - or flop.

On Sunday April 1, 2012, the first day of the New Budget Year, I expect that the sun will flip — or flop — and will rise over North Rock.