Finance Minister Curtis Dickinson has disclosed that the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission (BCGC) racked up $2.5 million in costs and still there is no Executive Director.
Responding to questions from One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) MP Michael Dunkley in the House of Assembly, Finance Minister Curtis Dickinson told MPs that the BCGC has identified a potential new Executive Director and discussions on that individual’s “suitability for the role” are in the early stages.
The Minister also said the commission “identified the candidate on their own and engaged in conversation on their own”.
The BCGC has been without an executive director since the resignation of Richard Schuetz in December 2017. The commission’s General Counsel Deborah Blakeney took up the post in an acting capacity before she stepped down in February.
The Minister provided a list of figures on wages, administrative costs, consultancy fees, rent and general overheads over a 15-month period from April 1, 2017 through to June 20, 2019.
The total cost was $2.51 million, or $167,545 per month, with six full-time staff as of June 30.
On hearing the Minister’s response, Mr Dunkley said: “The PLP Government need to do better than this as gaming, at this time, appears dead in the water. We owe it to the people of Bermuda; investors who have shown confidence in Bermuda and potential investors, to make progress.”
His Parliamentary Questions were deferred from July 5 until last Friday. He asked for “an update on the progress of hiring an Executive Director for the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission” and “details of the recruitment process…including the dates and contents of any advertising, the number of applicants and if an applicant has been selected for the position”.
The Opposition MP also asked for “details of the costs to run the BCGC on a monthly basis from April 1st, 2018 through to June 30th”, with a breakdown on “the total cost for each month into the following areas; salaries and wages, consultant fees, administrative costs, rent and general overhead and other expenses”.
His third question called for “details of the staff and consultants as of June 30th, 2019 at the BCGC and the remuneration including all benefits of each person”.
In a statement released after the Minister’s response on Friday, Mr Dunkley said: ““From April 1st 2018- June 30th 2019 over $2.5 million has been spent by the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission.
“I questioned the Minister in Parliament on the spending and results over this period of time.
“It seems that there is a glaring lack of progress as no Executive Director has yet been hired, there has been no progress on regulations as they have not been laid and we still do not have any progress on correspondent banking in spite of tens of thousands of dollars having been spent on a consultant to work on this matter!
Mr Dunkley concluded: “The PLP Government need to do better than this as gaming, at this time, appears dead in the water. We owe it to the people of Bermuda; investors who have shown confidence in Bermuda and potential investors, to make progress.