FRIDAY, NOV. 2: “The civil service under the Progressive Labour Party has contributed to the Island’s financial troubles, with an extra 1,000 civil servants adding up to an extra $75 million a year running costs for Government. It’s a big additional burden on the taxpayers,” — Bob Richards, RG, May 2011

 

Over the last 18 months, we have listened to the OBA and its members make negative statements about the civil service. Prime example: “I fervently believe the civil service is over-sized and suggest it be cut.”

Recently the OBA has called the tourism department ‘amateur hour” and stated they will create an Independent Tourism Authority and eliminate political involvement. That would mean the elimination of 45 BDOT staff.

“Day of reckoning will come for the bloated public sector”  — Larry Burchall  BDA SUN, June 13, 2012

“Nobody needs unions” Bob Stewart, BDA SUN Aug 31, 2012

This is how some of them view the BIU, which represents many civil servants: “You are in favour of a union that supports wrong, that is hellbent on the loss of jobs for the workers” — C. Anthony Francis, OBA Candidate

The OBA has also stated it will give jobs to private contractors. So that essentially means more cuts in the civil service.

I am wondering how can anyone say this about fellow Bermudians.

The irony is that most, if not all increases in the civil service have been approved by those in the OBA when they masqueraded as the UBP opposition.

The UBP had been calling for increases in the civil service since 1999,  especially in the following sectors; Auditor General, police, auditors, ombudsman, accountants. Now they complain?

Below is a numerical breakdown of the civil service:

• Public Administration  — 4,296

• Bermuda College — 133

• Post Office — 223

• Marine and Ports — 180

• Department of Public Transportation — 232

• Department of National Drug Control — 17

• Airport Operations — 44

• Bermuda Housing Corporation — 42

• West End Development Corporation — 30

• Bermuda Land Development Corporation — 26

• Bermuda Health Council   — 8

• National Library     25

• Archives — 10

• Lefroy House — 67

Total — 5,333 in 2010.

 

So I want to ask you, who on this list does the OBA think is a big additional burden?

Shall we eliminate library staff? Hey, no one reads books anymore, we all download onto Kindle.

Haven’t the OBA said government should  get out of the real estate business? The BHC has been in place since 1980. So homeless Bermudians will become victims of the market under a OBA government.

Ah, Lefroy House. Granny can change herself, innit? What about PTB? Who needs buses? We can all just walk down the street and get a lift from our neighbours by car pooling.

Sixty per cent of the national budget goes towards paying the civil service. The OBA cry about an unbalanced budget. And the PLP is taking the heat for keeping Bermudians employed. They are not just random OBA numbers, they are people. These are our family; cousins, brothers, mothers, sisters.

On the flip side, we are in a contracting economy and there have been layoffs or reduced work weeks in the private sector. There are many calling for the same to happen in the public sector. I am no HR specialist so I cannot speak to how best to allocate man/woman power.

However, I will say that all workers need to value the ability to further their job skills and show their supervisors some initiative. Make time and do not abuse sick leave. Become valuable assets.

Currently, the PLP refuse to engage in massive job layoffs and they are taking the heat — but they should still stand strong.

The OBA claim they won’t let go of the workers. So how can they possibly balance the budget without cutting down the civil service? As US Vice President Joe Biden would say “Malarky!”

To our family in the civil service, we stand with you.

CHRISTOPHER FAMOUS is a graduate of The Berkeley Institute and Bermuda College. He is a self-described “blue collar worker, keen social observer and proud PLP supporter”. E-mail him: Carib_pro@yahoo.com