Marc Bean at a press confrence on Wednesday where he outlined his Ministerial priorities  following Premier Paula Cox’s Throne Speech earlier in November. *Photo by Raymond Hainey
Marc Bean at a press confrence on Wednesday where he outlined his Ministerial priorities following Premier Paula Cox’s Throne Speech earlier in November. *Photo by Raymond Hainey

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 16: New Environment Minister Marc Bean is to review a controversial decision to allow a warehouse development on Devonshire Marsh.

Mr Bean said: “I have just received the file and we will be reviewing the file, the processes and procedures. I’m not in a position to make any further comment because I’m not fully informed about it.”

On his last day in the job, former Minister Walter Roban upheld an appeal by a firm controlled by Health Minister Zane DeSilva — ZanZara Trust — after planning officials rejected the application.

Mr Roban has since moved to be Minister of Public Works.

The successful appeal angered the Bermuda National Trust, which registered an objection to the original planning application and the One Bermuda Alliance Opposition, which demanded an explanation why Mr Roban had ignored the views of his experts.

Mr Bean was speaking after he outlined his Ministerial priorities following Premier Paula Cox’s Throne Speech earlier this month.

Mr Bean said that the drawing up of an infrastructure strategy, which will outline plans for growth and replacement of existing facilities and draw up a timetable for national projects to be completed was well underway.

He added that — to create investment in Bermuda — the ministry could look at the regulatory system, the tax system and the roles of the public and private sectors.

Mr Bean added that the redevelopment of the Hamilton Harbour waterfront was a key component of the infrastructure plan.

He said: “The city waterfront presents an excellent opportunity for us to demonstrate a necessary but delicate balance between economic, social and environmental concerns.

Mr Bean said other key targets included reducing electricity consumption and increasing the amount of power produced by green technologies.

And he signalled a look at the fuel adjustment rate — a tool designed to allow utilities to pass the impact of price fluctuations in fuel on to consumers.

Mr  Bean said: “As the supply of fuel decreases and the demand for fuel increases, we can expect the Fuel Adjustment Rate to continue to have a major impact on the our cost of electricity.

“In conjunction with our efforts to reach our Energy White Paper targets by the year 2020, we will also investigate a way forward with regard to the Fuel Adjustment Rate.”

Shadow Environment Minister Michael Fahy branded the silence from Mr Roban and Mr DeSilva over the row as “unacceptable” and “disrespectful to the people of Bermuda.”

Mr Fahy added: “Too often, there seems to be an attitude that if no response is given, the story will simply go away. That is not good enough.

“The Ministers are ultimately responsible to the public. In other jurisdictions, ministers have been forced to resign over much less.”

Mr Fahy said: “The OBA is very much in favour of a comprehensive overhaul of planning laws, rules and regulations to streamline the planning and appeals process, but also to curtail the ability of Environment Ministers to make such strange decisions.”