‘Hello darkness, my old friend

I’ve come to talk with you again’

Simon and Garfunkel


O
n Friday, Finance Minister Bob Richards presented the SAGE Report.

One of the things the report states: “The employees of the Civil and Public Service do not have sufficient leadership skills and capabilities”.

Highlights:

Cut the size of the legislature 

Reduce the amount of MPs from 36 to 30 and Senators from 11 to 8.  This will require a Boundaries Commission to change the electoral boundaries as well as a constitutional change to reduce the size of the House.  

 Reduce Ministries from 12 to 8 and Government departments from 72 to 52.

 Cut salaries of the Ministers & the Members of the Legislature.


Privatization & outsourcing

 7 Departments could be privatized 

 11   Departments could be outsourced


Cut the Post Office 

 Cut over 100 staff

 Close all post offices except one in Hamilton, East and West respectively.

 End mail delivery to homes


Pensions

 Change the scope & benefits of the present pension plan

 Increase retirement to 68

Well, it looks like the OBA may break a few more promises.  Namely, the one they gave to the civil servants two days before the election to not cut jobs.  Not that many believed them anyway.

Here are a few of my recommendations: 

Cut friends & family plan

No one can justify why the OBA actually increased the number of Ministers. Prime example; Minister Leah Scott is a nice lady, but a $106,000 salary is a waste when we have civil servants doing the same job. 

We are paying Don Grearson and Charmaine Burgess a total of nearly $250,000 per year to write speeches and press releases. Yet civil servants are already paid to do these things.

Pay ourselves first

Currently government pays over $13 million per year on renting office space around the island. Meanwhile, Government buildings sit empty. 

We have at least 3-5 large buildings that can be renovated and used as office space. The money used to renovate, will easily be paid back with savings on the rent.

Cut out Clifton

I call total “hogwash” on the idea that the taxpayers must pay to have Premier Cannonier housed at Clifton because he wishes to be five minutes from Hamilton. Ask yourselves this, How much are we paying in electricity, security and housekeeping expenses? What is he sacrificing?

Hybrid pension scheme

The new catchphrase is to convert to “Defined Pension Plans”. There is a second option called Hybrid Pension Scheme. In an upcoming column, I will go further into the details.

Total honesty

Let us all start with being honest about our situation. We find ourselves in this predicament not solely because of “overspending” but because of a decline of revenue from payroll taxes.

“The management consultant said thousands of jobs had been lost in Bermuda due to the impact of globalization over the last 12 to 15 years.” 

— Doug Soares RG Nov 12, 2013

I have just pointed out at least $16 million in annual savings, so let us see who the OBA is really ready to sacrifice. n

‘The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls

And tenement halls

And whispered in the sounds of silence’

— Simon and Garfunkel