- The following statement was released by OBA MP Sylvan Richards, Shadow Minister of Home Affairs on Tuesday, February 26, 2019
With the Government’s public consultation period for the proposed changes to the Corporations of Hamilton and St. George now closed, it is apparent that the Government is going to have a hard sell on its hands in order to convince the public that it is best positioned to maintain the infrastructure and to set the economic agenda of the two municipalities.
According to the Bermuda Government’s online forum, the public consultation resulted in four being in favor of turning the Corporations into quangos with 164 against, while four were in favor of Government subsuming the Corporations with 172 against this proposal.
These results are not surprising given that both municipalities are currently managed by people who have a vested interest in running the two municipalities and who have traditionally done a better job than the Government at maintaining infrastructure and serving their respective constituents.
So once again, the question must be asked – why is this Government so dead set on tearing apart the municipalities? There is a prevalent thought that the Government has already made up its mind regarding this matter and that the Hamilton waterfront is the real prize to be had, with the corporation of St. George being mainly collateral damage in all of this.
Have promises already been made by the Government to the Corporation of St. George to increase its funding for various capital projects in the Old Town if they remain mute regarding the changes being proposed by the Government?
If Government decides to forge ahead and ignore the prevalent public sentiment against the two proposals and either turns the municipalities into quangos or takes full control of both municipalities, it will be interesting to see how quickly a bill will be tabled in parliament.
Drafting complex legislation usually takes months to work its way through the drafting and legal vetting process, therefore if a bill is tabled soon after Government makes its final decision it will be quite apparent that it had made its decision prior to the just concluded 10 day public consultation period and that public consultation will have only been a sham.