By Christopher Famous
Privatization, mutualisation and outsourcing -- OBA newest catch phrases
Since May 2013, I have written numerous columns in the Bermuda Sun, warning that the OBA will attempt to privatize and outsource many government departments and services here in Bermuda. This was confirmed by OBA Finance Minister Bob Richards on February 21 when he tabled the 2014/15 OBA Budget.
Christopher Famous is a Caribbean real estate developer and business owner. Raised in various Caribbean islands such as; Bermuda, Jamaica, St Eustatius and St Kitts and Tortola. He has a weekly social and political column in The Bermuda Sun. Feedback to: email@example.com
In his statement, he outlined OBA's plan to introduce legislation before the end of this session to enable the government to “abolish, merge, modify or transfer government” functions to “an entity such as a company, a public service mutual, a registered charity or a trust body.”
Fear or Facts?
“We understand people’s fears about change. Change can be difficult. Change can be uncomfortable… We must not fear change!” OBA MP Sylvan Richards, House of Assembly, February 28, 2014
If MP Sylvan Richards had any real connection with the people, he would understand the tension building from Bermudians, who now understand the OBA’s real intentions.
“Perhaps living on a small island in the middle of the ocean means the fear of being overwhelmed by outsiders is in our DNA. Those who want to hold on to protectionist rules appeal to that fear,” MP Bob Richards, Budget Statement, February 21, 2014.
Yet another OBA MP belittling the Bermudian people and painting them as xenophobes stricken with unfounded fear. It is becoming very common for the OBA to dismiss the concerns of the people as unreasonable scaremongering.
Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing
In 2012, MP Bob Richards insisted that privatization “was not part of the plan.” OBA continues their habitual pattern breaking promises.
OBA’s promise of collaboration has proven to be a farce as, without any collaboration, they:
• abolished term limits
• attempted to close the Lamb Foggo Clinic
• scrapped the referendum
• engage in the ongoing Jetgate Scandal
“So the sources of the calls for the retention of the 60/40 rule are most ironic.” MP Bob Richards, Budget Statement, February 21st, 2014.
With disregard to Bermuda’s future generations, MP Bob Richards announced that OBA will be relaxing the 60/40 rule to allow foreign owned companies to have access to economic opportunities that should be reserved for the Bermudian people.
Privatization, mutualisation and outsourcing are all very complex processes. Given that the OBA is incapable of writing an unbiased referendum question, how are Bermudians to trust the OBA to manage selling off sections of government in a fair and transparent manner?
Before the OBA tables the Public Bodies Reform Act, they must reveal their proposal in full detail and engage stakeholders in real collaboration.
After listening to the Budget Debate, most Bermudians realize that the OBA plans pose a real threat to the working and middle class people of Bermuda.
OBA ministers are making close to US$200,000 per year and running up US$200,000 travel bills, yet have no hesitation to cut the jobs of Bermudians earning US$50,000.
In fact, each OBA MP stood for 20 minutes justifying why a party full of rich persons are going to sell off the Bermuda government, piece by piece, to other rich persons.
These questions must be asked:
• Who is able to purchase Airport Operations or TCD?
• Why is the OBA selling off profitable government operations?
• How many Bermudians will lose their jobs?
The OBA is no friend of working and middle class Bermudians.