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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.”

New Cabinet! November 1, 2010

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The new Cabinet appointees at Government House today

Paula Cox has appointed an interesting new Cabinet. Not a real surprise that my predictions were way off. I had a feeling that we might see Dame Jennifer Smith return from the backbench. I think that she will make a fine minister, although by judging her history of lavish spending while she was Premier makes me wonder if she’s going to have the balls to cut the education budget. I hope she doesn’t, I am totally against cutting education, it would be a huge mistake to do so.
I think that some of the new cabinet posts are improvements. Having a Business Development Ministry is an important one, especially because retail is struggling so hard. Kim Wilson’s new post also sounds interesting, Economy, trade and industry. Looks like she will be the one to tackle the international business troubles. Not sure what the Public Information Services Ministry will cover? Wasn’t there one of those in No.1 shed? Sounds like they’re making Neletha Butterfield a librarian, it might just be a bad name…
The Colonel’s new post as Minister for National Security is well suited for him, but do we seriously need a National Security Ministry? I guess it depends on what is meant by “national security”. If it means combatting gun crime, I’m all for it, but if they mean it in the American sense; looking for terrorists, that might be a little silly.
So what’s missing? A sports ministry. Not sure if the gazette forgot to print who was Sports minister, or whether there is simply no sports ministry.
Also missing, Dale Butler. It seemed certain that he would serve in Cabinet. This may be proof that he no longer has a place in the PLP. From my perspective, Dale is one of the few in the PLP that has modern, progressive social views, so it is sad to see him not included.
I guess we will hear detailed descriptions of these new ministries in the coming days. I am excited to hear what they have planned.

Monday’s Agenda. November 1, 2010

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Check back later today for reflections on cabinet choices and perhaps a little more 🙂

Paula’s Cabinet Predictions October 31, 2010

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Okay, so I was a little hard on Paula Cox in the first couple posts of this blog. I’m sorry for that, I am optimistic about this new administration’s future and hopefully it will not be business as “ewshul”.I’m just hoping my assessment of her was right; that she was just waiting for her Premiership to take some bold action.

Without too much intimate knowledge of the PLP’s inner workings, it’s hard to predict precisely who will be in her cabinet. However, the chat is that she will aim to rid herself of the unpopular ministers that sat in Dr.Brown’s cabinet, I believe this will be true. It’s clear from her speeches thus far that she is eager to rid herself of the Brown legacy. The only person who I’d like to fire for sure is Glenn Blakeney, who has really just done an awful job with his portfolio. Whether it’s clashing with BEST or the Athlete of the Year and Pool controversy, he was probably the worst of the Brown cabinet. Look for El James or Michael Weeks, the newcomer, to pick up the Sport portfolio. As for the Environment portfolio, we really need someone willing to work hard for environmental protection instead of undermine it. I’m pretty passionate about the environment, and this guy, in my mind set us back.

Other cabinet positions seem pretty safe. Zane DeSilva is questionable, a hardcore Brownie tied very closely to the cronyism that took place under the last administration. But they may think that it’s important to have a white guy in the cabinet. I think he’d be well suited for the Transport portfolio.

Keep the Colonel. He’s a hard worker, and if steered in the right direction, I think he can do some good things.

So Tourism and Environment are up in the air. Dale Butler would be a decent choice for tourism as long as someone was guiding him. He’s passionate about Bermuda’s culture and a really nice guy. I just worry that he may not have the kind of drive, say that Dr.Brown had. Marc Bean will get tourism I think.

However, I believe that Dale’s a natural for the social rehabilitation post. You could see in his speech to the delegates that he was very concerned about the social issues and was very passionate about the need to pass certain social legislation, like banning discrimination against homosexuals and combatting homelessness and poverty. So I’m for Dale getting into social rehabilitation. But PLP conservatism may stop his social agenda short. Ashfield DeVent may get that one.

That leaves Terry Lister, who was pretty well suited for the finance job, but Paula’s not letting that one go. Perhaps he will end up in one of his old posts? There are apparently new ministries being created as well. What do you think they will be?

Any predictions? Comment is free.

Of course it would be a dream to think that we could be mature enough to handle a couple opposition members in Cabinet. Maybe 20 years from now.

Post-Platinum Tourism October 30, 2010

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Regardless of who is appointed as Minister of Tourism on Monday, there is no question that Bermuda’s tourism strategy needs to be re-tooled. I’ll give Dr. Brown credit for laying a good foundation for Bermuda’s tourism. Cheaper airfares, I think, is his greatest achievement as the minister. Every other “accomplishment” has felt a little half baked and hollow.

We need to start spending money on initiatives that translate into real results. Now, I don’t fully agree with sentiments of Bob Legere on the PGA Grand Slam, but he addresses the platinum period dilemma; Do we get anything out of these promotions and events? On the one hand, it is great marketing for Bermuda as a golfing destination. However, at the same time it’s not such great marketing. Do any golf fans even give a shit about the Grand Slam? It’s basically in golfing’s off season, not near any majors or when anyone is paying attention. It will be interesting to see how many viewers turned into the coverage on TNT. I think with a little more marketing and promotion on the PGA’s part, the PGA Grand Slam could be worth it.

A “sporting” event that is much more valuable is the Newport to Bermuda sailing race. The public gets to enjoy the parties while reaping the benefits of a comprehensive tourism event. It fills the hotel beds, gets people in the restaurants, buying drinks, into shops buying stuff and paying their taxes on their flight out of Bermuda. We need more events like this, attracting big numbers onto the island. The PGA Grand Slam gets 4 golfers, a TV crew and PGA execs on the island and might the two golfing fans that were watching TNT in the middle of a work day.

We need to spend money on initiatives that physically get people on the island. Seeing a golf tournament on TV doesn’t get you on a plane. Neither does a Beyonce concert. Low prices get you on that plane; seeing internet banners, ads in big magazines and newspapers. I’m talking about a massive ad blitz in the North-East US. Those baseball nights were good promotion, but we need more than that if we want to get people down here. An American living in the northeast should not be able to get through his/her New York Times or Wall Street Journal without seeing an ad for Bermuda.We can’t leave it up to the airline to promote cheap flights to Bermuda. We have to get out the message that it is no longer wildly expensive to get down here, only wildly expensive to stay here.

a related sidenote: I recently started watching the show “Mad Men“. They’ve mentioned Bermuda several times as a tourist destination. I know that they are a show that partners with companies to do a sort of mutual promotion, which have apparently been quite succesful. Perhaps there could be an agreement to shoot a Bermuda episode? I’m saying this more as a fan of the show, I think it would be cool. However, I guarantee Mad Men gets more viewers than the PGA Grand Slam ever will.

Also, let’s bring back college weeks please?

Thanks! October 29, 2010

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Many thanks to New Onion, Catch a Fire and Bermudaisanotherworld for plugging the site. Thanks to you guys, I might get some readers!

Well… October 29, 2010

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Empty Victory

Last night a new Premier was chosen by 150 people. Congratulations to Paula Cox on winning the little PLP poll.

I have a very big problem with how the Premier is chosen and has been chosen in the past. While I understand that this is the way things have worked in a Westminster style democracy, the whole thing seems very, well, undemocratic. Keeping this system in place 150 people deciding the fate of the country? Fucking ludicrous. Although to be fair that’s probably about the size of the BDA membership. They could at least open up voting to all party members.

In the brief leadership campaign we saw three very different campaigns. Terry Lister wins the award for running a campaign that was completely open and addressed to the public, hoping that somehow his concern for the public opinion would translate into delegate votes. An ill fated campaign strategy, but I commend him for trying. Had this have been a US primary campaign, Terry would have won. Dale wins the nonstarter award, spending most of the campaign sitting at home. At least he was realistic about his chances. Two vote Dale? Time to switch to the BDA.

That brings us to our new Premier, Paula Cox only spoke to delegates. I guess that makes her the smartest candidate. Doesn’t this sound like back room dealing? We should get rid of this shitty undemocratic delegate system and open the whole process up to party members. This will allow a little thing called blowback to enter the PLP arena. That way we won’t end up with a leader that is only trusted by the hardcore party elites.

Also, Dale Butler’s choice of hat for the conference, awesome!

Please, Please, Please not Paula! October 28, 2010

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Tonight, Bermuda receives a new Premier, everybody knows who it’s going to be. We are just pretending that it will be a surprise. She has been waiting for her coronation for years and tonight, the PLP delegates will choose her over two other equally qualified candidates. I will make a last minute appeal for the delegates not to “coronate” Paula Cox.

My main issue with Ms.Cox is her complete lack of responsibility. Her “cog in the wheel” comment says it all. Under her control of the public purse, we saw every single government project overrun it’s cost by quite some margin, sometimes doubling or tripling in price. Her statement regarding the TCD cost overruns was a complete cop-out and failure to take responsibility for her and her ministry’s actions (or inaction). It was honestly pathetic. Her inability to take tackle the Government’s spending shows two very important things. Either, one, she’s a wet noodle and was unable to say “no”. Or two, she’s been biding her time, waiting for “her moment” (tonight), not making any enemies within her party, simply because she wants to be Bermuda’s next leader. I think both are true.

Either way, those qualities are not what one should expect from anybody wanting to be the leader of our country. Why should we reward someone for doing a shitty job? Someone who may have deliberately done a bad job so that she could be made Premier. If we’ve learned anything from her role as Minister of Finance, it is that she cannot make difficult decisions and will take the easier route of political expediency.

So please, pick Terry or Dale (Dale would be the better choice). Don’t reward Paula for her irresponsibility.

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.