• The following statement was issued by OBA MP Michael Dunkley following the announcement of the opening of the new Bermuda Government Office in Brussels, Belgium

Government has seen fit to cut the ribbon and open the office without appropriate details that are important for the public to know,” said Michael Dunkley following the opening of the overseas office in Brussels.

This after the announcement on Friday, by Premier David Burt on Bermuda’s new Overseas Office in Brussels, to be headed up by Former Progressive Labour Party MP Renee Webb.

 

The former Premier said: “Once again transparency and accountability seem to have gone out the window with the PLP Government.

“This hiring has been rumored for some time and the PLP Government has seen fit to cut the ribbon and open the office without appropriate details that are important for the public to know.

“Any Government should be able to easily justify the need to hire staff and you would expect the net to be cast widely to see who is available, what experience and skill set the person has, and how the applicant can fit into what is required.”

“Many questions need to be answered; what has Government done to fill this position? Have they advertised it? How many applicants were there? What is the job description? What is the length of contract, annual compensation and benefits? What is the annual budget for the office? Will other staff be hired?

“Until these and other questions are answered it seems this could be a friends and family plan part II as it is well known that Dr Webb is a former PLP MP and Minister.”

“”I would hope that the Government has advertised this and taken all applicants into account and not just given it to Dr Webb.”

“We don’t have money to burn, we have significant debt, and the taxpayers demand accountability,” Mr Dunkley added.

“We asked the Government for additional information, and a spokesperson said, “The Hon MD Renee Webb, JP, has been engaged for one year to act as the Government of Bermuda’s representative in Brussels.

“With the increasing threats which Bermuda faces as a result of efforts by the European Union [EU)] to address calls for greater tax transparency, the requirement to ensure that Bermuda’s interests were safeguarded now transcend the use of retained counsel and other consultants only in the Brussels area.

“It was important to now forge relationships and foster a higher level of engagement with the EU, its official organs and its Member States. The funds expended on hourly rate retained counsel would be better spent on a permanent, dedicated resource, in situ on behalf of Bermuda.”