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Your Government is Hiding March 10, 2011

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The PLP government has become increasingly vague, recently. I cannot help but see their defense of past problems as hiding behind half truths. The whole political game of speaking in platitudes is becoming so un-constructive it’s pretty clear that they are unfit to handle the practical solutions that Bermuda needs for today. When the opposition makes its case with numbers and facts, the response that they get is just BULLSHIT.

Last night’s parliamentary debate over the Wharfage Fees in Hamilton is a prime example. The opposition essentially questioned the wisdom of this whole scheme.

“One wonders why have we gone though all this palaver for such a small fee. The former Premier spent $800,000 on lawyers to get this thing done. They spent all this money for the takeover, the net is less than a million dollars. One wonders what it’s all for.”-Bob Richards

PLP Response:

“The idea is not to take all revenue from the Corporation. History will show that the move and the amendment, and this adjustment to the way the affairs of the Corporation are handled, was good for the City, it was good for democracy and therefore it was good for Bermuda.”- Michael Scott

“When you talk about net spend, if it could have cost $3 million or $5 million to get that Act changed and get democracy in the City, it would have been money well spent”. “When I think of the poor Bermudian families that have been disenfranchised, if we had to spend millions of money on that, it would have been money well spent.”- Zane Desilva

“Government backbencher Walter Lister stressed it was about democracy, while Ms Cox concluded: “This isn’t about the money. Really it’s about the fact we had a principle at stake.”

Is Bermuda in a position to spend money fighting for a principle, which frankly not many people care about? Furthermore, if this legislation was truly about the principle of democracy, it could have been done without the price tag. If it was really about democracy, the government could have pressured the Corporation into changing it’s voting system. The government is acting like they’ve had some huge victory for democracy, but what is the point if people are struggling to meet ends meet? What could that $800,000 gone to instead of this legislation? How about sending struggling households in Hamilton a cheque for a piece of that money? If that were the trade off, I dont think that anyone would give a flying fuck about democracy. The legislation doesn’t provide any social benefits, provides a very small chunk of cab fare for the government and provides everybody in Hamilton with the right to vote in a Corporation that no longer has any power. So was it worth it? Absolutely not. Zane Desilva and the other PLP members are taking a position similar to neo-conservatives in the US, that you can’t put a price tag on principles like democracy and freedom. But the problem is, there is a price tag, whether we like it or not. Bermuda is not in a position where we can pay such a high cost for small principles, especially something that could have been done for free. The PLP needs to get a grip on reality and stop hiding their financial stupidity and abuse behind platitudes and buzzwords.

bermudashorts Redesigned February 17, 2011

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I made some changes to the appearance of the blog today. If there is anybody still out there, look for some fresh posts coming your way soon.

 

Party Crashers January 13, 2011

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Bermudians tend to make mountains out of mole hills. That is exactly what is going on with these former UBP candidates switching over to the PLP. Is it shocking? No. Does it really matter in the scheme of things? Not really. I think that Maxwell Burgess and Gwenyth Rawlins see an opportunity to claim a seat. The PLP will wipe out the opposition in the next election, except for Paget. I don’t think they’re switching for idealogical reasons. At least for Mr. Burgess, there is a place for him in the PLP and I believe he will do much more good there than in the UBP. He will be able to get his opinions heard and wished granted.

Let’s see how far he can get up the ladder before falling off again.

Who Knew LaVerne was a Buddhist? December 9, 2010

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“Ignorance is bliss” they say and Laverne Furbert is living that mantra to the fullest.

Ignoramus of the Season

I was dumbfounded by her comments in the Senate yesterday. She just may have won the prize for Bermuda’s most ignorant politician of the year.

I think that it’s a widely accepted fact that poverty in Bermuda today is getting worse. Just because LaVerne Furbert’s grandchildren have their own bedrooms and computers does not mean that things are any better than they were before. Like our former weatherlady said, “We have parents with children growing up in parks. We know that”. But at least they shit indoors, right LaVerne? Senator Furbert’s comments sound similar to an old fool saying, “You know you kids have it so much better than we did, our lives were so much harder, back in the day”. But some of the problems that she pointed out, still go on today. However, some things are better today. Today we have great organisations like the Coalition for the Protection of Children.

Sheelagh Cooper has worked tirelessly for Bermuda’s needy children and Senator Furbert simply dismisses her as being “sensational”? It’s absolutely absurd. She went even farther to insult the work that Mrs. Cooper has done, by saying that giving breakfast to schoolchildren is misguided and that we should be teaching parents how to cook.

I agree, that would be great; but frankly, that’s nearly impossible to do. Not to mention that a lot of parents are working two or three jobs, so they probably don’t even have time too cook breakfast for their kids or potentially cannot afford to put food on the table. That is precisely the reason why Mrs. Cooper’s organization is feeding schoolchildren breakfast. So they may not learn how to cook omelets or bacon and eggs since they are getting breakfast at school, but this is ensuring that no child comes to school feeling hungry. To me, that is something to celebrate. Kids are going to have better nutrition, learn better in school and get into a great habit  of having breakfast everyday. When that time comes, where they no longer get breakfast in school, they will be prepared to want to make breakfast for themselves, even if it’s just a bowl of cereal.

I raise my glass to Sheelagh Cooper and the Coalition for the Protection of Children. They are doing some excellent work in our community and we should be thanking them, not insulting them.

As for LaVerne, she should get her head out of her ass and take a lesson from Sheelagh Cooper about what service to the community is really about.

Walton Brown’s Reefer Madness November 24, 2010

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I’m still struggling to understand Walton Brown’s editorial in the Royal Gazette today. He mentions that “We have to first listen and better understand young people before we can begin communicating with them on this issue.” so why don’t we start right here…

Mr. Brown firmly states that he is not in favour of legalisation or decriminalisation. Yet, one of his main ideas for marijuana policy is decriminalisation. He believes that people should not be given criminal records for posession. That is decriminalizing pot, Mr. Brown, I’m not sure why you think otherwise?

The one thing he got right in this editorial, “smoking anything is not good for you”. Correct, smoking is not the healthiest practice. However, smoking weed is a lot less harmful than smoking cigarettes.

I’m not sure whether his portrayal of the pro-legalization arguments are misrepresented on purpose, or out of misunderstanding.

He states that the “juvenile” juxtaposition of alcohol’s legality and weed’s illegality is unfounded. He argues that moderate amounts of alcohol have health benefits while smoking weed has none. I suppose that is true if you put it that way. However, the “juvenile juxtaposition” is based on the idea that alcohol is more dangerous than marijuana, which it is. Alcohol can make some people angry and violent, and it goes without saying that drunk driving can be lethal. When you compare that to the only “dangerous” effect of smoking marijuana (its bad for your lungs), this argument makes a lot of sense. If someone smokes a lot of weed, chances are they may eat an extra bag of Cheetos or fall asleep and will probably be too lazy to even get behind the wheel of a car. If our government does not want to “validate the use of something that so clearly destructive” they had better outlaw alcohol, cigarettes and ban all cars with combustion engines.

He also does not buy the argument that legalization and taxation would earn revenue for the government and end the profitability of the illegal trade, which I don’t quite understand. If the government grows, taxes and regulates the selling of weed, chances are the price of what you pay for say an eighth would go down dramatically. The government has the ability to put any person growing a bunch plants in their closet, out of business via economic strangulation. There is also not just tax revenues to be gained, but huge savings in the police, prisons and court system. Money that can be better allocated to fighting real crime.

He mentions that he’d like to lower demand, much like the demand has lowered for cigarettes in the past 30 years. People have stopped smoking cigarettes because they are extremely bad for you. Everyone has seen the anti-smoking ads where they list the different harmful chemicals in cigarettes. Your average joint doesn’t have those. People won’t stop smoking weed for the same reason, mainly because it is less harmful than smoking cigarettes. Truth be told, there is no way to stop people from smoking weed.

If Mr. Brown want’s a meaningful conversation with young people about weed, he’ll have to understand that most young people enjoy getting high and don’t want to be fed a bunch of lies about marijuana’s ill effects.

ps. I suggest that Mr. Brown go and pay a visit to California. Although they didn’t pass Prop. 19, weed is practically legal anyways.

Correction November 18, 2010

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Okay, so false alarm. There will be no PLP primary to challenge Dale Butler.

Ha-hah! November 3, 2010

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Very happy with the story on the front of the RG this morning. To see my related post in tourism, click here

More thoughts on Cabinet November 2, 2010

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With a little more time, thought and information. I’ve had a couple of revelations.

1. While the breaking up of the Finance Ministry is good for the most part, there are problems with Customs and Immigration.

The creation of the Business Development and Economy, Trade and Industry (ETI) Ministries will hopefully bring more focus to tackling Bermuda’s troubles in all of those fields. However, I have a feeling like Customs and Immigration are going to end up being massive clusterfucks. The subdivision of Customs into Finance and National Security doesn’t make too much sense. You are separating a department that works together, in doing so you create the risk of non-communication, more bureaucracy and nobody being in charge. Same goes for the “work permit regime” going to ETI and “border control” going to National Security. Work Permits and Border Control also need to work together, so again, separating them seems unnecessary and holds the same risks as Customs. I may be over hyping the relationship between all these departments, someone tell me if I am. I just think that separating will further confusion instead of decreasing it.  Hopefully, the Premier has thought this out a little more than I have, and I am wrong. I would love to be wrong.

2. Glenn Blakeney

I expressed in an earlier post that I think Glenn Blakeney should be out of Cabinet. I believed that he should not have  control of Sport, who he’d screwed in the last administration. Unfortunately, it falls under the Youth and Families Ministry (the social rehab and youth and sport ministries zombie). So I reiterate my desire for him to be out of control of Sports. My first reaction to him being Youth and Families Minister was, “huh? the guy with his own family troubles?” But after thinking about it a little more, he may be the perfect one to tackle our social problems, he has witnessed first hand how guns and violence tears a the social fabric of our nation.

3. Ministry of Public Information Services

Still not explained.

4. There’s a rumour circulating that Zane DeSilva got picked for Minister of Health because he will be building the new Hospital. That’s laughable, I think there is enough space between the BHB and government if anybody is seriously worried about that.

 

FYI Government Press Release November 2, 2010

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This explains my questions in the earlier post today

“Premier, The Hon. Paula A. Cox JP, MP unveiled significant changes in the composition of Ministries today. In the Finance portfolio retained by the Premier, HM Customs has been streamlined to permit a newly styled Minister of National Security to have responsibility for border control and interdiction while the revenue collection function remains within Finance.
Signaling her clear intention to tighten controls on spending and project management, the Premier also assumes responsibility for the architectural design and construction section formerly within Works and Engineering and it is joined with a new division of contract and project management to form a Procurement Office.
“I promised to reconfigure and reshape the way we do business and these changes deliver on that promise,” the Premier said.
“The heartland of Government’s care and concern for the people…” the Premier said in describing the Ministry of Youth, Families and Community Development. This new Ministry will administer the transformational Mirrors programme and combine the “helping” services of Financial Assistance and Child and Family Services. Youth, Sport and Recreation and the Department of Human Affairs round out this community-based ministry. “Minister Blakeney will forge key partnerships in a continuum of care catering to all aspects of making our communities stronger and empowering our youth and families”.
Under new Attorney General and Minister of Justice Michael Scott, the portfolio combines the Department of Corrections, Department of Court Services and the Department of National Drug Control. “The administration of justice must be cohesive and providing one Ministry will all the elements to prevent recidivism is key,” the Premier continued.
Two new Ministries among those created demonstrate a keen focus on the Island’s economy. Sen. Kim Wilson becomes Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, which assumes responsibility for the work permit regime as well as “the natural synergy” between Labour and Training.
The Ministry of Business Development and Tourism sees a return to Cabinet of Mrs. Patrice Minors who will be tasked with heading the development and growth of the Island’s existing twin economic pillars: International Business and Tourism. “This is an exciting area,” the Premier continued. “There has long been a desire to better align these two sectors and combining these responsibilities with an emphasis on development will instill confidence in Bermuda and our future in these two areas.”
A clear and sharp focus on public safety issues is evidenced in the new ministry of National Security. Lt. Col. David Burch will now add border control elements of Customs to his portfolio and retains the Police and the Bermuda Regiment. “Combining these critical functions under this experienced Minister will result in a stronger interdictive force against the scourge of drugs and guns in the community. This flows from the Gang Task Force joint initiative and will strengthen the efforts of our uniformed, front-line services,” the Premier indicated.
“This Cabinet unites significant experience with fresh faces and we are committed and well equipped to meet the challenges facing Bermuda today.”

The logo October 28, 2010

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Apologies to Bermuda Dept. of Tourism for the logo choice, but due to the name of the site, it’s a perfect temporary logo.

UPDATE: Modernized the BDOT logo. I got rid of the pleats. Who wears pleats anymore anyways? This is the 21st century.