I began probing national finances in 2009. Since then, I’ve learned much, discovered even more, and, along the way I’ve had several comic moments. Right now, I’m having a series of tragicomic moments. I’ll share them with you. Perhaps, like me, you’ll be sadly amused. Or, perhaps, you’ll just get angry.

If you’ve been following my thoughts, you’ll know that I’ve been saying that between 2000 and 2008, Bermuda’s Residential Population [ResPop] rose and reached something between 66,000 and 68,000. Then, between 2009 and now, ResPop fell to somewhere around 60,000 to 61,000; which is lower than Bermuda’s population as counted (62,059) in Census 2000 – thirteen years ago.

The Ministry of Finance does not agree. As late as July 2013, the Ministry of Finance reported that between 2000 and 2013, Bermuda’s ResPop rose steadily from 62,131 to 65,002. So the Ministry of Finance and I disagree. The Ministry is saying all rise, and no fall. I’m saying rise then fall. This is a clear and specific disagreement.

The Registry General is responsible for recording all births and deaths in Bermuda report.  Annually, this department reports on Bermuda’s ResPop. 

The Registry General reports that between 2000 and 2010, Bermuda’s ResPop grew steadily from 62,310 in 2000 to 66,105 in 2010. So the Registry General is reporting that in 2010, there were 1,868 more people in Bermuda than the 64,237 counted in Census 2010.

When it calculates ResPop, the Registry General uses a standard formula. I do not know what that formula is, but I do understand that this formula will show – as the Ministry of Finance shows – that between 2000 and 2013 Bermuda’s ResPop has risen steadily. That there has been no rise then fall.

When the Registry General finally releases its now two year-old information about ResPop in 2011 and 2012, I expect to see the Registry General saying – like the Ministry of Finance – that there was only rise, rise, rise. No rise then fall. As with the Ministry of Finance, the Registry General and I will disagree. 

And this is where the tragedy and comedy begins.

Having asked, I am fully aware that the Registry General has completed the annual reports for 2011 and 2012. However, the Registry General will not release that non-secret two year old and one year old public data until – as they say – the reports have been ‘tabled in the House’.

In the plainest language, they will keep this now stale public information as a Civil Service departmental secret until after November 8th, 2013; after the next Parliamentary session has commenced. 

It’s like a three-year-olds ‘nanny-nanny-boo-boo’ answer to another three year old nursery school playmate.  The Registry General is saying: “Nanny-nanny-boo-boo, I’m not gonna’ tell you.” Until later.

Why the secrecy?

Why can’t that non-secret public information be released soon after the report is completed? Why weren’t the two completed, and now late, reports ‘tabled’ when the House was sitting between February 2013 and September 2013?  Why wasn’t the 2011 report ‘tabled’ during one of the twenty-five Parliamentary sittings between February 2012 and November 2012? Why are two ‘paid for’ reports that are ultimately intended for public consumption being concealed as though they are Iranian Government nuclear secrets?  Why?

It’s the spectre of mature $150,000 a year Department Heads playing “nanny-nanny-boo-boo” that is so tragically amusing. 

But is the Minister who is responsible for that Department aware that the Department is playing “nanny-nanny-boo-boo” with simple, non-secret, but vitally important ResPop data?  

Why is that information important? ResPop is the most important information. 

Bermuda’s total $5bn-$6bn national economy is based entirely on the on-Island provision of goods and services to on-Island persons and corporations – Tourists and International Business.  But especially and mostly IB.

The local and foreign residents who live and work in Bermuda create 99% of all the on-Island demand for all the goods and services that make up Bermuda’s national “economy”.  Lots of residents, lots of demand.

If ResPop is growing – which is what’s been happening consistently since 1923 - then Bermuda’s economy will grow. However, if ResPop falls, then Bermuda’s economy consequently must and will fall.

All that I know and have recently been saying is that since 2009, Bermuda’s ResPop has been falling. This ResPop fall – now somewhere around 11% overall - is what’s underpinning Bermuda’s now fifty-eight month long recession.

The Registry General is playing “nanny-nanny-boo-boo” with vital formation. Is the Minister responsible – perhaps unwittingly - playing the same childish game