The Commission of Inquiry has proven to be a big disappointment. $1 million spent investigating, $2.5 billion in debt and the OBA have indicated they have no intentions of holding anyone accountable. What then was the point? We clearly have serious accountability issues but no one seems to have the will to actually do anything about it. If, ultimately, civil servants are given free reign to do whatever they like without consequence then why do we bother with the charade of electing Members of Parliament (MPs) that serve as nothing more than toothless figureheads?
The one thing that is abundantly clear is that government processes are broken and there is little to no accountability. As independent MP Shawn Crockwell pointed out, what was the point of spending $1 million to rehash most of the information we already knew to ultimately not do anything about it? The best we can do is send people for training? What a gross disappointment.
Former MP and government minister Renee Webb wrote the following rather damning comment on facebook
The Civil Service, particularly the heads, have always been above reproach. When I complained of what I found as a Government Minister at the tourism department regarding staff not following Financial Instructions etc., the tourism department revolted. Staff went to the press and their union.. The then Premier, Alex Scott, asked a civil servant to “investigate my management style”. This was all publicly played out. One Director told me ” you cannot have me fired, Ministers come and go, I will be here long after you”. Many reports have been done on the behaviour of the CS. Premier Jennefer Smith sent some to the Civil Service College in the UK to be “trained”. This was a consequence of a report on the Bermuda Civil Service that the PLP Government, under her, commissioned. This new investigation by the Commission of Inquiry regarding the CS is nothing new, there have been several. The outcome is always the same “training”. Ignoring Financial Instructions has always been rampant in the Civil Service. For people who make up to $200,000.00 to be “trained” for misusing public funds, and not doing their job effectively, is a nonsense. Until people are fired for such transgressions nothing is going to change. Like my Director told me ” Governments come and go”. This Government, unfortunately, is doing the same as the previous ones have done, (UBP, PLP, and OBA): Paying for expensive reports that criticize the Civil Service, and not taking effective action to hold people accountable.
Many people are growing very tired of this and tired of being held hostage. The civil service has not felt the pain that the private sector has. We can’t reduce the burden of the civil service so instead we have to raise taxes. Costs are spiraling out of control and yet every time something doesn’t go their way the first recourse is to disrupt the island. That’s the thanks we get for taking on most of the pain. Heaven forbid anyone is held accountable to understand that this is our money and our future that is being squandered.
This isn’t an OBA problem or a PLP problem, it’s a government problem. There are many great, well meaning and hard working civil servants out there. That should be made absolutely clear. However, there are some not so great ones. A lack of accountability destroys the efforts of those working hard to make a difference. That is an injustice to those who work hard and want to make a positive difference and do the right things. They should be the ones running departments, not those who freely want to throw our money down the toilet.
The people expected the OBA to hold accountable those responsible for running up our massive debts and allowing our future to be put in jeopardy. They’re absolutely failing at it. It’d be a joke if it wasn’t so sad because it is our future that is being squandered. If the civil servants run the government and there’s not going to be any accountability then why not just get rid of the MPs all together. Why waste even more money?
Is there anyone we can vote for that will actually do something about this?