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Bermuda Government since July 19 2017

Legislature, Constitution, Executive, Judiciary, Voters

line drawing

By Keith Archibald Forbes (see About Us) exclusively for Bermuda Online

Bermuda Parliament, established in 1620

Introduction

Bermuda is a parliamentary representative democratic dependency. The UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office ( FCO) administers Bermuda internationally but in all other matters Bermuda is a self-governing British Overseas Territory (BOT), one of the 14  BOTS worldwide and the oldest. (The others are - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_overseas_territories). 

House of Assembly, Sessions House 1

House of Assembly, Sessions House 2

House of Assembly, Sessions House 3

Bermuda House of Assembly or Sessions House, different images

Bermuda Government building

UK Statutory Instruments Applicable to Bermuda as a BOT. See http://www.bermudalaws.bm/site_docs/ukstat.aspx 

1957. Bermuda enacted The Parliament Act 1957, see http://www.bermudalaws.bm/Laws/Consolidated%20Laws/Parliament%20Act%201957.pdf

Update after General Election 2017

2017. July 18. The Progressive Labour Party defeated the One Bermuda Alliance by 24-12 seats and will form the new Government. 

Political Parties

Bermuda Government Cabinet members with their Ministry Portfolios

Premier from July 19, 2017:  Hon. David Burt, JP,  MP, 41 in 2020. The Premier decides all Cabinet appointments.

Premier David Burt and family

The Premier of Bermuda is the political leader and head of government. The post of Premier in Bermuda is the equivalent to Chief Minister  in other British Overseas Territories or Prime Minister in politically independent British Commonwealth of Nations. It is the highest political level that can be attained within the British colonial system. The Premier and Cabinet (consisting of all the most senior ministers) are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, to the Legislative Assembly, to their political party and ultimately to the electorate. Phone (441) 295-4623. Email premier@gov.bm. Highest paid Cabinet member, on an annual salary of $224,092 in 2011/2012. Has use of a Bermuda Government car, GP1, a BMW 750Li. Also gets health insurance, a pension, a parking space at Sessions House and a credit card. Appoints other Cabinet Ministers each of whom earns in excess of $171,000 a year plus expenses, gets use of a Bermuda Government car, a Toyota Camry, health insurance, a pension, a parking space at Sessions House and a credit card.

Premier the Hon. David Burt, MP, JP, and his family. Married to Kristin. They have two children. He attended Saltus Academy but left at a young age to seek a fresh challenge, heading to Florida Air Academy and qualifying as a pilot. Later, he attended and graduated from George Washington University, where he obtained a bachelor of business administration in finance and information and a master of science in information systems technology. He was awarded the university’s presidential administrative fellowship. The Progressive Labour Party’s leader had been the Shadow Minister of Finance since 2012 and is a former party chairman. He is a lifelong Pembroke resident and runs an IT and small business consulting firm called GMD Consulting Limited. He has served on the Tourism Board and the National Training Board, and also filled the position of director at the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce and Bermuda Economic Development Corporation. 

November 8 2018 Bermuda Government Cabinet2018. November 8. A Cabinet shake-up will increase the ministerial salary bill by nearly 20 per cent. The new total is $1,338,964, an increase of $221,851 on the $1,117,113 bill before last week’s Cabinet reshuffle. It is also a significant spike compared with the last One Bermuda Alliance administration, which paid about $950,000 to its 12-strong Cabinet in addition to their MP or senator salaries. David Burt, the Premier, said yesterday that efforts to “streamline” the Government had moved forward with a reduction in the number of ministries from 11 to ten. But the new Cabinet now has 12 members. Mr Burt said the changes would bring “greater efficiency and an alignment of responsibilities that reflects necessary priorities. Our aim, in the long term, is to continue to streamline the size of government. We can deliver services more efficiently and a reduction in the number of ministries is a step in that direction.” The new Cabinet is made up of Mr Burt, ten ministers and Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General, who is a senator and the Minister of Legal Affairs. Two of its members were sworn in by John Rankin, the Governor, last week after the new group was unveiled. These included Curtis Dickinson, who won a by-election in Warwick North East only five months ago and became finance minister, a role held by the Premier since the Progressive Labour Party swept to power last year. The change means Mr Burt will still be paid $151,262 on top of his MP’s salary and Mr Dickinson will get an extra $121,010. Mr Dickinson’s additional pay is greater than the $100,841 paid to most other ministers. Zane DeSilva was also sworn in for his return to Cabinet as the Minister of Tourism and Transport. The tourism portion of his portfolio came from the responsibilities held by Jamahl Simmons, who has moved to a new role as Minister without Portfolio. Walter Roban, the Deputy Premier, previously counted transport among his duties but now has the home affairs ministry, which has incorporated the Department of Energy. His ministerial salary is $112,942 and the Attorney-General receives $147,022, in addition to her pay as a member of the Senate. Michael Weeks, who was Minister for Social Development and Sport, returned to the back benches because his ministry was abolished. The salaries for the dozen Cabinet members, including their salaries as members of the House of Assembly and Senate, amount to $1,985,584. The Royal Gazette calculated the figures using information contained in the Government’s budget estimate book. A government spokeswoman confirmed yesterday all ministers were full-time. Mr Burt said the spending and government efficiency commission, set up in 2013 by the former OBA administration, had recommended only eight ministries. He added: “That report recognized that even their recommendations of streamlining offered ‘long-term solutions to duplication, impractical and/or unnecessary programmes’ and not necessarily immediate financial savings. As for the increase in the number of ministers, Bermuda will be well served by a new Minister of Finance who has extensive experience in banking and who will continue the focus on debt reduction and the management of public finances.” Mr Burt added: “In this era of such diverse communication platforms and the importance of effectively consulting and communicating with the public, the Minister without Portfolio will add a necessary Cabinet-level focus on this critical aspect of governance.” Mr Burt explained last week that Wayne Furbert, the junior finance minister, would remain in the role “to assist in the transition of the new minister and through the upcoming budget cycle”. But he added that Tinée Furbert, who was a junior minister with responsibility for the disabled, would be stood down because of constitutional limits on the number of ministers and junior ministers, although she would continue to work for the elderly. The Cabinet is made up of the Premier and a maximum of 12 ministers from the House of Assembly, plus at least one minister appointed from the Senate, but no more than two, under the island’s Constitution. The minimum number of Cabinet ministers is seven. A Minister without Portfolio — Leah Scott — was included by the OBA when it entered power in 2012 but a year later, Craig Cannonier, then premier, cut his Cabinet from 13 ministers to ten to reduce costs. Two members were later added by Michael Dunkley, who took the helm in 2014. Last year, Nick Kempe, an Opposition senator, said the OBA’s 12-minister Cabinet had been made up of seven full-time ministers and five part-time ministers at a cost of $950,000 a year. After the changes to Cabinet last Thursday, Mr Cannonier, now the Opposition leader, criticized the apparent rationalization that the reshuffle reduced the number of ministries from 11 to ten. He said: “The Premier said it was to cut back in the number of ministries, but he took out Michael Weeks and added Curtis Dickinson and Zane DeSilva, which means that he is actually paying more in ministerial salaries.”

The Cabinet to date

The Premier above, plus

Premier's Senate appointments

The Premier appoints five in the Progressive Labour Party of the eleven Senators. The Governor appoints 3 who are independent, not in the PLP or OBA and the OBA picks three.

Bermuda's Members of Parliament in House of Assembly

For salaries etc see http://parliament.bm/about/view/10 

2019. May 20. Premier, Ministers and Opposition Leader Personal Staffs Act 2019. Name change from earlier Premier and Opposition Leaders Personal Staffs Act. Premier David Burt said the Government will be required to publish all appointments and their salaries every year under changes to the act, to demystify the appointments and terms of service of those men and women who bring to bear their talent and expertise in support of ministers and their policy objectives. The Act will see an end to the ‘gotcha’ nature of ministerial appointments by requiring the annual publication of all such appointments with details of remuneration to be tabled in the House of Assembly. The amendments are in line with the ministerial Code of Conduct. The amendments also allow the creation of a ministerial private office to remove some of the burden on permanent secretaries.

Legislature (Salaries and Pensions) Act 1975, as amended.

The House of Assembly, Bermuda's Parliament, first convened on August 1, 1620, in the town of St. George, Bermuda's first capital. Only the legislative assemblies of the United Kingdom and Iceland pre date it. The dress code for all Bermuda legislators was relaxed in July 2000. Now men may wear Bermuda Shorts or safari or Nehru suits and women trouser suits. The Bermuda Government has 9 appointed (not elected) Parish Councils, 2 elected municipal Corporations each with their full slate of aldermen and councilors like much larger cities and towns abroad and 108 Government Boards in which there are 800 part time members (none of them full time civil servants, all reporting to a Member of Parliament).

All elected Cabinet Ministers and Members of Parliament  are required by law to be both Bermudian and British men and women  who are Government or Opposition backbenchers. Their salaries are more than in many places far bigger than Bermuda. They are popularly elected to terms of up to five years by the registered voters of Bermuda - mostly Bermudian. (Some non-Bermudians who were Commonwealth citizens in 1979 were given the vote but are not Bermudian. Since 1979 there have not been any further voting concessions to non-Bermudians, nor have any non-Bermudians been allowed to become Bermudians unless they have qualified to do so by (a) marriage, (b) a wait of 10 years after marriage and (c) have remained both married and living/cohabiting with the same spouse at the time of their marriage at least 10 years earlier).

Cabinet Ministers and Members of Parliament pay at least 12.5 per cent of their gross salaries into The Legislature Pension Fund. Government matches contributions, to make a total of 25%. Pensions are paid out based on a formula pertaining to the number of years in which contributions were made.

The Bermuda Government is Bermuda's biggest employer by far. It employs more than 14% of Bermuda's entire adult working population and is also easily Bermuda's biggest real estate property owner. Many buildings house the legislators and civil service. The Government controls things which in many other countries are privatized. Typical examples are in airports, tourism, transport. All first world countries have privatized them wholly or partly, but not in Bermuda. Government has 38 quangos and public funds.

Bermuda has more politicians per voter than anywhere else in the world.  A Constituency Boundaries Commission, appointed in late 2001 recommended reduction of members from 40 to 36. It was approved and was in place for the July 2003 General Election  Bermuda now has 36 Members of Parliament  in 21 square miles for a total of 43,000 voters, or 1 legislator for every 1,194 voters. In comparison, in the European Union overall, there are 736 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) for 350 million voters throughout the EU, equivalent to 1 MEP for every 470,000 voters. In the United Kingdom, there is massive over-representation (but not nearly as pronounced as Bermuda) with 646 MPs for a population of 60 million, or 1 MP for every 64,000 voters, with 18 MPs in the whole of Northern Ireland. Germany, with a population of 82 million, has 600 members of parliament; Japan, with a population of 127 million, has 470 legislators; Russia, with a population of 144 million, has 450 legislators; and USA, with 293 million, has 430 congressmen and women' Other examples include St. Lucia, with 14 parliamentarians in its 240 square miles; Barbados, also in the Caribbean, with 28 elected members in its parliament and 12 senators, in its 166 square miles and with a population of 266,000.

House of Assembly recently

House of Assembly recently

House of Assembly - about 1985

House of Assembly about 1985.

Bermuda social rank definitions and explanations, UK-style

Short form meaning
** Dame Dame of the Order of the British Empire, female equivalent of Knight (Sir). In the UK, there are various ranks of Dames
**Hon Honorable, solely for current and former Cabinet Ministers
** Sir Knight of the British Empire. In the UK, there are various ranks of Knights
JP Justice of the Peace, not a magisterial post. In Bermuda, they do not dispense summary justice but they can deal with local administrative applications. They can be called by the Bermuda Police to execute warrants. JPs are appointed solely by the Bermuda Government; are not required to have a formal legal education in order to qualify for the office (the vast majority of them do not); and are usually Cabinet officials
MP Member of Parliament (elected)
* OBE Officer (higher than Member) of the British Empire
* MBE  Member of the British Empire, after nomination by Premier
Senator Member of the Bermuda Senate, appointed by Party Leader
Wor. Worshipful, title of Mayors of  City of Hamilton and Town of St. George's

** On recommendation of the Bermuda Government (Premier's Office) to the UK. For government service. Unlike in the UK, in Bermuda there have never been any Bermuda Government-nominated recommendations for a Dame or Knight who is not in government but is instead in international or local private-sector business.

* Also on recommendation of the Bermuda Government ( Premier's Office) to the UK. For government or other service.

Bermuda Vital Statistics

Bermuda size & population 20.75 (Twenty point seven five) square miles in total. 64,268 residents
Resident population density per square mile 3,097 (Three thousand, zero nine seven). Third highest in the world
Government Code of Conduct for legislators None. There is a voluntary code, with no legislative teeth. It is ignored by some. No equivalent of the UK's Ethical Standards in Public Life Act.
Number in Cabinet 13. Same number as USA, equivalent in Bermuda to 0.63 (Point six three) per square mile. They have "The Honorable" before their name. 
Number of elected legislators in House of Assembly and their salaries 36. Equivalent to 1.93 (One point nine three) per square mile. They have "MP" for Member of Parliament after their name. If they are also Cabinet Ministers, they earn well in excess of $100,000 a year, plus unlimited expenses. 
Number of appointed politicians in Senate 11. Also salaried. Equivalent to 0.53 (Point five three) per square mile. They have "Senator" before their name. If they are also Cabinet Ministers, they earn this plus what is shown above under "Number of elected legislators." 
Number of registered voters per Member of Parliament 1,297. On date of last General Election. Contrast this with no fewer than 72,810 and no more than 80,433 per member of parliament in the UK in 2018 and approximately the same in the USA per congressperson and Canada.
Number of Government Boards About 117. All require the approval of the Premier who controls all Public Information. See Bermuda Government Boards separate website shown at the end of this file.
Number of Police About 465, over 20 per square mile. Plus, there are Reserve officers. Bermuda has more police per square mile and per population than anywhere else in the world
Number in Bermuda Regiment 600 members, mostly Bermudian men, mostly part time. Some non-Bermudian men and women from British Commonwealth countries and female Bermudians are serving but on a volunteer basis as conscription regulations do not require enrolment by Bermudian females and non-Bermudian males. Only male Bermudians under a certain age resident in Bermuda are liable to be conscripted, on a selective basis. 
Registered voters who can participate in a General Election About 46,750. Total number of registered voters in the last General Election, about 60% of the entire resident population. Varies from year to year.
The Bermuda Society  

Bermuda Constitution

A written document 96 pages long, it went into effect on June 8, 1968. See 

http://www.bermudalaws.bm/laws/Consolidated%20Laws/Bermuda%20Constitution%20Order%201968.pdf

2020-2021 Bermuda Government Budget - see http://www.royalgazette.com/assets/pdf/RG415606221.pdf

Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission

2018. April 13. The Government is still to decide if betting shops need tougher regulation to block money laundering and terrorism funding as a critical international assessment looms on the horizon. David Burt, the Premier and Minister of Finance, admitted in November that the laws governing the industry were “outdated” and that the island needed to assess the risks to see if new legislation was necessary. But with only five months to go before overseas experts from the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force visit the island to assess whether sufficient countermeasures are in place in the financial sector, nothing has been decided. A government spokeswoman, asked if the risks had been assessed to see if anti-money laundering and antiterrorism funding laws needed to be introduced, told The Royal Gazette in February: “This assessment has begun.” She said at the start of this month there was no change to that response. Betting shops fell under Mr Burt’s brief as finance minister when he made his comments in November but tourism minister Jamahl Simmons told Parliament in February that responsibility for managing and regulating the industry would soon be transferred to the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission. In a Supreme Court writ filed in March by the commission, the regulatory body said its remit had been “widened to embrace the governance and regulation and supervision of the betting industry as a whole”. The BCGC falls under Mr Simmons’s brief. Warnings about the absence of controls to prevent dirty-money transactions within the betting industry have been made repeatedly to Bermuda’s leaders, including by former BCGC executive director Richard Schuetz. In a July 2016 letter sent to Michael Dunkley, then the premier, Mr Schuetz warned that activities in the betting shop industry could “damage many sectors of the economy” by “negatively affecting” CFATF’s assessment. The letter was shared with Mr Burt, then Opposition leader. In his resignation letter of July 2017, Mr Schuetz wrote: “The Bermuda I have come to know has indicated a lack of respect in making a reasonable effort to adhere to generally accepted international standards for anti-money laundering activities within its existing betting products, in particular the betting shops. I have spent a great deal of time and effort over the last 18 months in working to point out the glaring deficiencies in the anti-money laundering regime of this island’s betting sector and am now convinced there is an absence of political will to address these deficiencies.” Mr Burt said in November that the international Financial Action Task Force did not identify betting as a sector that must be subject to anti-money laundering and antiterrorist funding obligations and supervision. “Only casino gaming is named,” said the Premier, adding that FATF standards were the minimum standards and FATF required countries to implement a risk-based AML/ATF framework. He added: “Bermuda must assess the money-laundering risks within the betting sector to determine if AML/ATF laws need to be put in place.” Bermuda has six licensed betting shops. Those applying for a bookmaker’s licence under the Betting Act 1975 have to first get a certificate from the Minister of Finance stating that he is satisfied with the business reputation and financial stability of the applicant. The Ministry of Finance must conduct due diligence before a certificate is issued and only then can an applicant seek a licence from the Betting Licensing Authority. Members of the public can view files on betting licences but the paperwork does not show whether the licensing authority conducts background checks on foreign individuals with a stake in betting shops here. If CFATF looks at the money-laundering countermeasures in place for the betting industry, it is likely to consider whether industry operators are subject to stringent enough suitability checks. The government spokeswoman said: “A preliminary review has begun of the relevant legislation [governing betting shops] to determine what amendments are required.” She said progress on updating the framework for the licensing of bookmakers and betting agents would not be made until an assessment of the current framework was completed. The spokeswoman added that the overall assessment of oversight of the betting industry would include a review of whether the selling of overseas lottery tickets needed to be monitored by the Government. Deborah Blakeney, BCGC’s general counsel, did not respond to e-mailed questions by press time.

2018. March 14. The Chief Justice has revealed why he barred the media and public from a court hearing involving an attempt by the island’s gaming commission to silence its former executive director. The chambers session on March 7 in the matter of Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission versus Richard Schuetz was held behind closed doors, despite a request from The Royal Gazette to attend and report on the civil proceedings. Chief Justice Ian Kawaley said in a decision released on Monday that Richard Horseman, the lawyer representing the publicly funded commission, convinced him there was a “sufficient risk of damage to the plaintiff” if the regulatory body’s application for an injunction against Mr Schuetz was held in open court and if Mr Schuetz himself was aware of it. A temporary injunction was later granted and Mr Schuetz is now barred from talking about his time at the commission on the grounds that he breaches his contract by doing so. The gagging order obtained by the commission, in the absence of any counsel representing Mr Schuetz, bars the former executive director from any disclosure “whether directly or indirectly, and/or to further use the confidential information that is either in his custody, or care or possession or control or he has access to, or at all”. It states Mr Schuetz could be jailed, fined or have his assets seized if he breaches the order, as could “any other person who knows of the order” who helps or permits him to breach it. In his decision on the need for a secret hearing, Mr Justice Kawaley said: “Excluding the press from the ... hearing was, in my judgment, justifiable on the facts of this particular case. The private hearing was reasonably required both to support a claim designed to protect confidential information and to protect the authority of the court. “Whether the right balance has been struck will not always be a straightforward question and this is par excellence the difficult sort of issue upon which reasonable judges and reasonable journalists are likely to differ.” The Chief Justice added: “The plaintiff adduced what was on its face credible and cogent evidence that the defendant had in recent months flagrantly breached [his] contractual obligations and had embarked upon a concerted campaign to undermine the plaintiff’s operations. In part because of this evidence, it was not obvious to me what further contractual breaches might be triggered by giving the defendant notice of the injunction application. However, Mr Horseman eventually persuaded me that a sufficient risk of damage to the plaintiff flowing from further disclosures and/or disparaging remarks was made out to justify proceeding with the merits of the application in private.” The writ filed by the commission against Mr Schuetz was available to the public last week, according to lawyer Jordan Knight, of MJM law firm, who obtained a copy from the Supreme Court. The Royal Gazette has applied for a copy but has yet to receive it. Mr Schuetz resigned from the commission in July and left Bermuda in December to return to the United States. He was an outspoken figure while here and has commented since his departure on the potentially bleak outlook for the island’s fledgling casino industry. In his resignation letter, he said the island lacked the “political will” to address the “glaring deficiencies in the anti-money-laundering regime of this island’s betting sector. From my experience on this island over the last 22 months, I believe that Bermuda should seriously consider not having casinos and other forms of gaming,” he wrote. Neither the commission nor Mr Schuetz responded to requests for comment.

2018. March 6. Regulations for casino gambling are to be introduced “without further delay”, tourism minister Jamahl Simmons told the House of Assembly yesterday. Mr Simmons blamed past members of the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission for delays leading to a “stumbling block” to finalizing regulations. Alan Dunch, the former commission chairman, told The Royal Gazette that the “real stumbling block in terms of moving matters forward was beyond the curtilage of the commission itself”. Mr Dunch said the commission had completed its work a year ago and that he was surprised it had taken the Government so long to proceed. Mr Simmons told Parliament: “Under new leadership, the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission is working with the Attorney-General’s Chambers, via my ministry as the instructing government body, to ensure that these regulations are enacted without further delay.” He added: “In fact, the Attorney-General’s Chambers and the commission have agreed that for expediency and without sacrificing due diligence in the drafting process, the prudent way forward would be to complete the drafting and enactment of the regulatory package, under the negative resolution procedure, in three phases.” Grant Gibbons, the shadow economic development minister, asked why it had taken so long to finalize the regulations. Mr Simmons replied: “Part of the delay was the unwillingness of members to work together to get a set of regulations that both the Gaming Commission and the Attorney-General’s Chambers could agree on. Once we began having a communication between those two bodies, things moved apace.” Mr Dunch resigned as gaming commission chairman last November after Mr Simmons tabled legislation to give himself the power to oust him. Mr Gibbons told MPs: “My understanding was that the regulations that the former government had done were pretty much finalized and were ready to go.” Mr Simmons said: “The regulations that were sent over to the Attorney-General’s Chambers, to the previous government, were not legally acceptable based on their ruling at that time. When we took office, the same position held under the new Attorney-General and their group. There had to be co-operation between the two bodies to move past that. At one point you had the Casino Gaming Commission saying, ‘the regulations are fine, they are perfect’. You had the Attorney-General’s Chambers saying, ‘hold on, these need to be adjusted’. And so that has been adjusted.” Mr Dunch said he found the suggestion that progress had stalled under his chairmanship “puzzling at best. With the exception of the phasing suggestion, there is nothing new in the detail provided by the minister and, indeed, one is left wondering why it has taken a further eight months to progress work that was in effect completed almost a year ago.” Mr Dunch said the commission submitted a draft memorandum with 19 sets of regulations to Cabinet on May 31 last year, that the commission wanted to have “approved and tabled before Parliament pursuant to the negative resolution procedure, as provided for by the Act. The regulations, produced with the help of international gaming experts, were “entirely in keeping with industry standards.  They were presented in a manner which should have enabled immediate tabling before Parliament so as to have a comprehensive regulatory process in place prior to the licence applications process being completed.” He explained that the commission was later asked to prepare a policy document for the Attorney-General’s Chambers that outlined policy considerations for each of the proposed sets of regulations. Mr Dunch said this was completed on June 29, by which time the General Election had been called and Parliament dissolved. He added: “Between the date of the election and the date of my relinquishment of the leadership of the commission, numerous efforts were made to move the regulatory process forward, all to no avail. The last that I heard was that the Attorney-General’s Chambers were reviewing the policy document and that the draft Cabinet memorandum would not be processed pending the review. On any basis, it would therefore seem that the real stumbling block in terms of moving matter forward was beyond the curtilage of the commission itself.” Mr Simmons said in a ministerial statement yesterday that the regulatory framework designed for Bermuda was “in line with industry standards and with industry expectations”. He added the first phase would include regulations that must be completed immediately “for the commission to commence the suitability stage of the licensing process”. The second phase will consist of regulations that must be in force before casino construction can start and the final phase would need to be enacted before construction was completed and the casino opened. Mr Simmons and the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission did not respond to requests from The Royal Gazette for more detailed information about which industry standards were being used as a model for the regulations, what the regulations would contain or when they were expected to be completed. The Royal Gazette also asked when Bermuda’s first casino was expected to open and whether a bank had agreed to back casinos on-island but got no response. Cheryl-Ann Mapp, the new chairwoman of the BCGC, said last month that the BCGC had asked counterparts abroad for advice on alternatives to the island’s three banks, none of which have yet agreed to become involved in the industry.

Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority (BCCA)

Responsible for the regulation and safety oversight of aviation in Bermuda and all aircraft on the Bermuda Aircraft Registry. Previously known as the Bermuda Department of Civil Aviation, which was established in 1931, the new BCAA became a newly formed Authority on October 1st, 2016. Bermuda is a United Kingdom Overseas Territory and though it is regulated by the UK Department for Transport, the safety oversight system is separate from that of the UK. The regulatory requirements are established as the Overseas Territories Aviation Requirements (OTARs), which are in full compliance with the standards and recommended practices of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Bermuda’s Aircraft Registry is extensive and ranks 10th in size when compared to the 191 signatory States to the Convention on International Civil Aviation. The current Registry includes a mix of both private aircraft and commercial aircraft operated under Article 83 bis Agreements.

Bermuda Financial Policy Council

2018. September 13. The former Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados to Bermuda is on the island to meet fellow members of the Bermuda Financial Policy Council. DeLisle Worrell was recently appointed to the council, which was created to advise on the development of Bermuda’s financial stability framework. During his visit, he met with David Burt, the Premier. During today’s meeting, which took place at the Bermuda Monetary Authority, the discussion focused on the current financial climate and other key socio-economic areas of concern. Members of the council include Mr Burt, Sir Andrew Large, the former deputy governor of the Bank of England and Jeremy Cox, CEO of the Bermuda Monetary Authority. Other members are Michael Butt, chairman of Axis Capital Holdings; Dame Amelia Fawcett, chairwoman of the Hedge Fund Standards Board; and Gil Tucker, former Bermuda managing partner of EY, who is on the board of HSBC Bermuda. The council is supported by the Ministry of Finance and the BMA.

Bermuda Government Boards

The over 108 boards of political appointments acceptable to the Premier include, at the top, a reference to the relevant Act of Parliament and all members of that Board. They advise their respective Ministers - who may use his or her discretion instead of accepting their recommendations.

Bermuda Government Debt

2019. February 23. 2019 Bermuda Government DeptThe Bermuda Government is to suspend payments into the sinking fund, a home for money set aside to pay down long-term debt. In his maiden Budget Statement yesterday, Curtis Dickinson, the Minister of Finance, said it did not make financial sense to borrow money in order to set it aside for future debt payments. Not paying the contribution allows the Government to project a surplus of $7.38 million, rather than a deficit of about $57 million if the payment had been made. Mr Dickinson said yesterday that the sinking fund has a balance of $214 million. In the coming fiscal year, $180 million of it will be used to repay maturing debt. “The Government will suspend making mandatory contributions to the sinking fund,” Mr Dickinson said. “This decision has been made in light of the following factors: (i) apart from the private placement notes referenced above, the next maturity of government debt will occur in 2022; (ii) the interest expense associated with borrowing to fund the mandatory sinking fund contributions will be greater than the investment return generated on those funds; and (iii) the Government is forecasting continued operating surpluses which it intends to contribute to the sinking fund or use to make open market purchases of its existing indebtedness.” The medium-term projection accompanying the Budget Statement shows no plans to make a contribution to the sinking fund in any of the next three fiscal years. The Government Loans Act 1978 requires that an amount equal to 2.5 per cent of public debt outstanding is paid into the sinking fund each year. The law gives the finance minister discretion to suspend payments for 12 months or to draw on the fund to make interest payments. As the debt has burgeoned over the years, from $277 million in 2008 to about $2.46 billion today, mandatory sinking-fund contributions have grown with it to a high point of $64.2 million in 2018-19. The last time the Government made no contribution to the fund was in 2009-2010, when Paula Cox, the finance minister of the time also drew on the fund to pay interest on long-term debt. Since then, contributions to the fund have totaled more than $345 million. The repaying of the $180 million in maturing debt in 2019-20 will reduce annual interest costs to the Government by $12.1 million, Mr Dickinson said. The net debt will rise close to the $2.5 billion debt ceiling, but will not break through it, Mr Dickinson said. By the end of March 2020, net debt is forecast to be $2.457 billion. Future surpluses will be committed to paying down debt, the finance minister added. Interest payments on the debt will amount to $116.5 million in 2019-20, down from $124 million in the previous year, but still costing the public purse the equivalent of $319,000 per day. Interest will also eat up 10.4 cents of every dollar the Government takes in the next fiscal year. Revised estimates for the current fiscal year, which ends on March 30, show that the Government took in $1.08 billion, which was $10.6 million, or 1.1 per cent less than it projected in last year’s Budget. Current account expenditure, which excludes debt servicing costs, was nearly $932 million, which was $2.85 million, or 0.3 per cent more than projected. The result was a deficit of $102.58 million for 2018-19, revised upwards from the last year’s projection for a deficit of $89.7 million. For 2019-20, revenue is forecast to rise by $39 million from the revised estimate for this year to $1.12 billion, while expenditure will be down by $2.1 million from this year’s revised total to $929.86 million. The biggest contributor to government coffers will be payroll tax, which is projected to bring in $466.1 million next year, up $5.5 million from this year’s revised estimate, followed by customs duty, expected to generate $235 million, compared to $224.5 million this year. Mr Dickinson announced a freeze in expenditure at 2018-19 levels and added that spending cuts would be difficult to achieve. “While there has been some success in reducing costs, it has become increasingly difficult to implement further reductions under the current government structure and the across-the-board expenditure cuts in previous budgets,” Mr Dickinson said. “With 51.5 per cent of the current account expenditure, excluding debt service, representing employee costs and 34.1 per cent relating to grants and contributions, there are very few other expenditure types that can be reduced and have a material impact on the level of spending.” However, the Government has set up an Efficiency Committee, to seek further opportunities for savings, “either by way of increased efficiencies or by making structural reforms in the way in which services are delivered and institutions are structured”, Mr Dickinson added. The finance minister said: “The EC has highlighted how savings and greater effectiveness can be obtained by the Government in the areas of financial assistance, purchasing of materials, inventory management, and handling of staff vacancies. The EC has also emphasized the critical importance of developing a detailed overall strategic plan to guide the spending priorities of the Government over the medium to long term.” The most expensive ministry by far is health, whose projected expenditure for next year is $241.55 million, more than $100 million ahead of the next most costly ministry, education, which will cost nearly $137 million, just ahead of national security, with $135 million.

Bermuda Government Fees and Taxes, main sources

Alphabetically:

Bermuda Government Travel Expenses

See  www.gov.bm/travel-calendar.

Bermuda Land Development Corporation (BLDC)

Set up by the The Base Lands Development Act 1996 following the end of the US and Canadian Military Bases. One of a number of government quangos.

Bermuda Laws 

Summarized in this Bermuda Government website. 

Bermuda Parliamentary Boundaries Commission

Bermuda Parliamentary Constituencies amended

Each constituency is about 0.58 of a square mile on average, with between 1,031 and 1,143 voters; and has one paid legislator.

Bermuda Parliamentary Constituencies before 2010

Bond Issue

2013. December 2. A $50 million bond issue was today launched by the Bermuda Government. The senior notes which will yield at least 4.75 percent and are denominated in Bermuda dollars are targeted at Island investors and Government said smaller, individual subscription applications will be given priority if the issue is oversubscribed. The Ministry of Finance will hold special sessions to explain the issue tomorrow at 5.30pm in the Hamilton Princess Princess Victoria Room and on Wednesday at the same time in the hotels Gazebo Room. The Bermuda Stock Exchange (BSX) said that Butterfield Securities had been appointed as the sole book-running manager for the issue. Applications for the issue are open to Bermuda residents subject to the laws of any applicable jurisdiction and persons with Bermudian status who may be permitted without further action by the Government and under the laws of their respective jurisdiction of residence to subscribe for securities of this nature. The BSX said the interest rate will be dependent on market demand, but will be at least 4.75 percent and that the minimum subscription will be $10,000. 

Cabinet Building, Cenotaph and War Memorial

Cabinet Office

Cabinet Office, showing a long line of official Bermuda Government Ministerial cars parked outside. Royal Gazette photo.

Cabinet Building and Office

105 Front Street. Telephone 292-5501. Designed in 1837 by an officer of the Royal Engineers then serving in Bermuda. When it was first opened in 1884, it was known as "The Public Building", part of Bermuda's civil colonial government during the reign of Queen Victoria. It then housed the Customs and Treasury Departments and the Bermuda Library on the ground floor with the Council Room and the Secretariat on the upper. It has remained the home of the Council and the Secretariat ever since, with the exception of a period of nine years (1969 1977) when the Executive Council was based in offices on the second floor of the General Post Office at Church and Parliament Streets. Entering the Entrance Hall, the doors are of Bermuda cedar. Some of the cedar was given to the Cabinet Building by the Consul General of the United States and some of the cedar was from the O1d (ended in the late 1950s) Bus Garage, earlier a Bermuda Railway train depot, on East Broadway. These doors were installed in 1989, completing the renovations to the ground floor of the Cabinet Building. There is a large portrait above the stairs, facing down into the Entrance Hall, which is that of Queen Victoria, a copy an original portrait which hangs in St James' Palace, London and is on loan from the St. George's Foundation of New York. It shows the young Queen at the beginning of her reign, shortly after her marriage to Prince Albert of Saxe Coburg-Gotha. In the Upper Hall, over the stairs, there is a portrait of Sir Thomas Gates who was with Admiral Sir George Somers in the Sea Venture in 1609. In the Upper-Hall, facing the stairs is a portrait of William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke; the original, painted in 1627 for King Charles I, hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in London. To the right is a portrait of Sir Edwin Sandys, a member of the Bermuda Company during the early years of colonization. Lord Sandys, a descendant of Sir Edwin, had two copies made of the original portrait and in 1959 kindly presented one to Bermuda and the other to the House of Burgesses in Richmond, Virginia, to mark the 350th anniversary of the settling of both Bermuda and the Virginia Colony. From the large casement window in the Upper Hall a pleasant view of Hamilton Harbour can be seen which, from April to November each year, includes cruise ships alongside Front Street. Either side of the casement window are portraits of King George III (1760 1820) and Queen Charlotte these are believed to be the works of Allan Ramsay, Court Painter (1713 1784). These portraits were retrieved by the British Army when it burnt the White House in Washington DC in the 1812-14 War. At the latter, the portraits had been removed from display and put in storage. It was the taxation policy of the British Government that had so exasperated the North American colonists that on 4th July, 1776, they proclaimed their independence from Great Britain. To the left of the door leading into the Senate Chamber is a portrait of Sir Francis Forbes who enjoyed a successful career in the legal profession and, moving to the Southern Hemisphere, served as a Chief Justice in New South Wales.

Senate Chamber

When Parliament is in session, the Senate meets at 10.00 a.m. each Wednesday to discuss matters sent forward by the House of Assembly. The gallery to the left of the main entrance is for the use of the public. To the right, there is a small glass topped table. The book inside bears the signature of Her Royal Highness The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, who was present for the convening of Parliament on November 2, 1990. Beyond, on top of the bookshelves, is a long glass case, which contains The Black Rod. This is the emblem of office carried by a senior Police Officer who, when the Governor is about to open Parliament following a General Election or a seasonal Recess, summons the elected representatives from the House of Assembly and leads them in procession to the Senate Chamber. The Black Rod in the case was fashioned by the Crown Jewelers and is topped with a silver Coat of Arms and tipped with an inset Bermuda crown piece. It was presented to the Government in 1964 by Mr. B.C.C. Outerbridge who gave many years of service to Bermuda, in the House of Assembly both as a member and as Deputy Speaker, and subsequently in the Senate then known as the Legislative Council. The portraits above the Black Rod are of former Senate Presidents. They were Senator the Hon. Albert Jackson, CBE, JP 1987-1998;  The Hon. Sir George Ratteray, CBE 1969-1980; and Senator the Hon. H.E. Richardson, CBE, JP 1980-1987; The portraits on the northern wall of the Chamber are of King George V and Queen Mary, the grandparents of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and are from originals at Windsor Castle. The two velvet covered beneath the portraits were used by Sir J. Tronnsell Gilbert, President of the Legislative Council, and Lady Gilbert when they attended the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey in 1953. Between the two portraits is the Royal Coat of Arms and beneath this is the dais from which the Governor, when opening Parliament, delivers the Throne Speech setting out the Government's programme for the next Session of the Legislature. The chair on the dais, now used as the Throne, has an interesting history: it was made of Bermuda cedar for one of Bermuda's early Governors and bears on its back a carved inscription which reads – "Cap. Iosias Forstor Esv. Governor of the Sumer Islands Ano do 1642". In 1897, Josias Foster's chair was discovered in the Island of St Croix in the West Indies, having been taken there by his descendants in 1800. The chair was duly purchased from the family and on return to Bermuda was installed in its current place of distinction. The original circular table around which Bermuda's Senators deliberate, has also served many and varied international gatherings. The "Three Power Conference" took place in Bermuda in December 1953, when President Eisenhower of the United States met with Sir Winston Churchill of Great Britain and Monsieur Joseph Laniel of France. Again in 1957, President Eisenhower was in Bermuda, this time to meet Primer Minister Harold Macmillan of Great Britain; and in 1961 Mr. Macmillan met with President Kennedy of the United States. On each of these occasions the table has been dismantled and removed to another, larger location. The twelve armchairs in use with the table were obtained by the Hon. Robert Kennedy, the Colonial Secretary of the day (not to be confused with the much later American by that name) who, in 1841, wrote from abroad to his deputy Charles Fozard: "I have selected and ordered a dozen very handsome chairs for the Council Room. They are elbow chairs of a very suitable pattern .... I will pay the cost out of the balance of the Powder Fund money in my hands, which is, I believe, about one hundred pounds." The chair at the northern side of the table with the slightly higher back, was bought in 1982 for the use of the President of the Senate. Two signed lithographs on the southern wall 0f the Chamber show Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and were presented by their son Prince Alfred, when he visited Bermuda in 1861. The lithographs were restored at the British Museum in 1982.

Cabinet Building Grounds.

Immediately beyond the flagpole located at the front of the Cabinet Building is the Cenotaph -Bermuda's memorial to those who died in the world wars of 1914 1918 and 1939 1945. Remembrance Day is observed each November 11th, with a simple and moving ceremony, in which wreaths are laid by the Governor, the Premier, the Opposition Leader, the Commander of The Bermuda Regiment and Resident Services and Service Associations. The monument is a replica of the Cenotaph, which stands in Whitehall, London and except for the engraved slabs, which came from England is built entirely of Bermuda Limestone. On the Cabinet Grounds just east of the Cenotaph sits the War Memorial which was completed in November 2010 by the Ministry of Public Works and contains the names of almost 3,000 Bermudian men and women who served in the two World Wars. Names are inscribed on seven highly polished black granite slabs and a diamond emblem in gold leaf beside a name indicates that the serviceman or servicewoman is on the roll of honour and lost their lives in wartime service. A fountain in front of the memorial is made of a granite base and a highly-polished pink granite ball which is the same stone used in the Anglican Cathedral in Hamilton. Seating is provided at the memorial and it is a serene place where surviving War Veterans, their children or grandchildren, other relatives, members of an appreciative public and visitors may gather to reflect upon and pay respect to those who served our Island so heroically during the Great Wars. To the east of the Cabinet Building is a granite obelisk which was erected by the people of Bermuda to the memory of Major General Sir William Reid, KCB, Governor of Bermuda from 1838 to 1846.

Senate Chamber and royal portraits  

Senate Chamber with portraits of King George IV and Queen Charlotte. This  father of this King, George III, had Ministers who caused the War of Independence.

Also see (not in photo above) a large oil painting of William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke (after whom the parish of Pembroke is named), painted in about 1625 by Daniel Mytens, a Court painter in England, appointed by King Charles I. In the chamber, center, is the 17th century Bermuda cedar chair made for Governor Josias Forster in 1642, when Parliament was in the Town of St. George. In the glass case (not seen in photo) is the Black Rod, an instrument of office fashioned by the Crown Jewelers in London, carried by the senior police officer summoning the 36 elected politicians and the 11 appointed senators to the Opening or Convening of Parliament every autumn (fall). The Black Rod is a symbol of authority of the Head of State –  the monarch's representative when not in Bermuda, and is carried by a senior Police Officer. On this occasion the Governor reads a lengthy, locally written annual Throne Speech, covering intended future local events from the perspective of the political party in power. 

Cabinet session

Bermuda Government Cabinet session, being addressed by then-Premier Paula Cox. 2011 Royal Gazette photo

Cabinet Building

In this photo right - by author Keith A. Forbes we also see the flags of the British Armed Forces - in which many Bermudians served during World Wars 1 and 2 - flying, with the war memorial close by.

War Memorial

The Cenotaph war memorial is outside the Cabinet Building. It is a replica of the famous Cenotaph at Whitehall, London. Its flags are those of the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and British Army, memorializing Bermudians in those British military services who died in World Wars 1 and 2 and whose names are on the Cenotaph. There is also a more recent war memorial. It was built in 2010 on the grounds of the Cabinet Office, near the corner of Front and Court Streets, just east of the Cenotaph. It honours almost 2,000 Bermudians who served here and abroad, in either the First or Second World Wars. It includes recognition of Bermudian individuals who did not travel overseas, but who protected Bermuda's shores locally, remained unrecognized and seemingly unappreciated. Plaques are displayed on five individual walls that form a semi-circle around a rolling ball water fountain resting on a granite base. Seating is provided at the memorial as a serene place where war veterans, visitors and other members of an appreciative public may gather to reflect upon and to pay respect to those who served this Island so heroically. Every November 11, or public holiday commemorating it, during the Remembrance Day parade wreaths are laid at the two War Memorials.

Sally Bassett statue

Sally Bassett statue. 

To the west of the Cabinet Building is a bronze sculpture of Sally Bassett, a black Bermudian slave who was burned at the stake in Bermuda in 1730. Her "crime" was alleged witchcraft (then practiced as much in Bermuda as it was in Salem and elsewhere) against an allegedly cruel white owner. Some people believe the burning happened at Crow Lane, others say it happened near Albuoy's Point. In 2009, in commemoration of Bermuda's four hundred year anniversary, the sculpture of Bassett was erected to memorialize the struggle of Bermuda's blacks, the majority of Bermudians, against slavery. Commissioned by the-then Bermuda Government from black Bermudian sculptor Carlos W. Dowling, this work depicts a pregnant Bassett being burned at the stake for allegedly poisoning the masters of her enslaved granddaughter. The sculptor portrayed her as "pregnant with the spirit of freedom."

Caribbean Community

In July 2003, Bermuda formally joined the Caribbean Community, as an Associate Member (non-voting member), in certain areas but not in others, despite Bermuda not being part of the Caribbean but 900 miles north of it. This specifically excludes the free movement of Caribbean nationals to Bermuda and any prospect of Bermuda joining CARIFTA or its newest free trade organization - the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) - and its hopes. Membership of the Caribbean Community will cost Bermuda about US$90,000 a year. Direct trade between Bermuda and Caribbean countries is also welcomed and encouraged, especially given the close or extended family links many Bermudians have with Caribbean islands or territories. Because of this, there is a Monday-Friday 10 am and 5:45 pm 5-minute Caribbean news feature on local radio (VSB) produced by the BBC of England and a lively Caribbean-produced feature on certain evenings. But the irony is that there are no scheduled air or sea services at all between Bermuda and the Caribbean, as there were in the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Many visitors to Bermuda from the USA and Canada assume - wrongly - that there are air services connecting Bermuda with the Caribbean nearly 1,000 miles to the south. Presently, virtually all imports to Bermuda made in the Caribbean come via the USA or Canada. All visitors to Bermuda who are nationals of and resident in Caribbean islands must come via the USA or Canada or United Kingdom and must have appropriate visas to come via those countries. (Effective January 2003, all Jamaican nationals who are not Bermudian must also have a visa to enter Bermuda on business or vacation).

Civil Service

Bermuda has more civil servants per capita than anywhere else in the world. The number of Bermuda Government employees, well over 5,600, make the Bermuda Government the largest single employer in Bermuda by a huge margin.

Code of Conduct for Civil Servants

2013. December 9. The updated code of conduct for Civil Servants was released as part of the SAGE Commission’s major report into Government efficiency. The code — amended last year under former Premier Paula Cox — refocused on “values and behaviors that underpin good governance and ethical and accountable public administration” rather than conditions of employment. The document tells Civil Servants: “You should be aware that breaches of Financial Instructions are subject to disciplinary action including possible surcharge (a requirement to re-pay any losses to government from your own resources) and/or dismissal.” And it adds some breaches of Financial Instructions could be classed as criminal offences. The code warns Civil Servants that Ministers should not ask members of the public service to behave in “illegal, improper, immoral or unethical” ways.” It added that Ministers should not expect Civil Servants to follow instructions that breaches the Constitution or professional codes or rules and legislation on good government. The code also tells Civil Servants that they should not “misuse their official position, for example by using information acquired in the course of your official duties to further your private interests or those of others, especially family friends and associates.” And it warns that Civil Servants should not accept gifts which could be seen to compromise their integrity or disclose official information without permission. The code added: “You should exercise particular care to avoid using public money for your personal purposes and moreover to avoid the perception that you are doing so. Government credit cards need to be handled with particular sensitivity, especially when used in connection with official travel, on order to avoid the impression of unwarranted extravagance. You must serve the Government, whatever its political persuasion, to the best of your ability in a way which maintains political impartiality and is in line with the requirements of the code, no matter what your own political beliefs are.” And it warns against ignoring any restrictions placed on political activity outside work and that “public servants should not accept invitations to conferences or meetings convened by, or under the aegis of, party political organisations.” But it added that attendance of officials at party events when required by a Minister on Ministry business was excepted. The code also lays out a complaints procedure if Civil Servants believe they have been asked to break the rules. The document said that managers should be informed or reported to the Assistant Cabinet Secretary. If a complaint is not resolved, public sector staff can appeal to the Secretary of the Cabinet. And the code said that “whistle-blowing” legislation had been passed to protect the public service if they raise problems in the workplace covered by the code or by good governance legislation.

Consolidated Fund

Annual accounts of the Consolidated Fund of the Bermuda Government are available. The Consolidated Fund is the general operating fund of the Government, through which it conducts most of its transactions. Financial highlights presented by the minister include:

Constituency Boundaries Commission

The commission is tasked with setting the layout of the island’s 36 political districts. Details are available at the website www.elections.gov.bm. 

Credit Rating

Bermuda’s sovereign credit rating is affirmed by Standard & Poor’s Rating Services. The rating is important, as it influences the interest rate the Bermuda Government has to pay on new borrowings.

Debt Ceiling

2019. September 14. Bermuda’s debt ceiling will be raised by $250 million after Curtis Dickinson, the Minister of Finance, tabled legislation allowing the Government to pay lenders over the failing Caroline Bay development. The Government Loans Amendment Act increases Bermuda’s debt limit to $2.75 billion. MPs met in an improvised chamber on the third floor of the Veritas Place office block on Court Street, while Sessions House undergoes renovations. Mr Dickinson condemned the former One Bermuda Alliance government for putting the island “on the hook” for a guarantee of $165 million backing the project at Morgan’s Point three years ago. He said a credit facility of up to $200 million had been negotiated with local banks, with the $165 million to be paid next week. This will end the Progressive Labour Party administration’s plans to avoid raising debt this fiscal year. Construction ground to a halt at the former United States military base late last year due to financial problems. Two Bermudian contractors on the project confirmed yesterday that their companies remained unpaid for their extensive work. Mr Dickinson said the Ministry of Finance had been in discussion with ratings agencies over concerns that the island could suffer a downgrade. Mr Dickinson told a press conference: “These extraordinary circumstances and the liabilities triggered by these defaults, have resulted in the Government having no choice but to raise the debt ceiling, in order to borrow monies to fund the payments, as set out in the guarantees.” Former finance minister Bob Richards had provided credit facilities on behalf of Morgan’s Point Limited for use in the construction of the hotel and condominium project in March 2016. Mr Dickinson said: “What the people of Bermuda did not know was that even before the marina had opened, the Caroline Bay project was experiencing difficulty. This had to have been known to the OBA Cabinet and the developers who persisted in providing public updates on the project which were inaccurate. Despite the financial viability of this project having been in question for many years, the OBA government guaranteed much of its lending even as this project continued to be beset with difficulties. Despite extensive efforts by myself and the Premier to support the developers, they have defaulted on the terms of the loan agreements with their lenders.” He added: “While this government did not enter into the deal that placed the people of Bermuda ‘on the hook’ for the debt consequent upon the failure of this development, we are responsible for resolving the negative and unfortunate outcomes from the deal negotiated by the former government.” Both Mr Richards and Craig Cannonier, the Opposition leader, disputed Mr Dickinson’s claim that the OBA administration had acted irresponsibly. Mr Richards said that no financing issues had ever been raised with him during his tenure. Mr Cannonier said OBA members had met “several weeks ago” with developers at the project, known as Caroline Bay, and discussed “a plan for new investment” from billionaires. He said developers met also with the PLP and David Burt, the Premier. Mr Cannonier further queried the motive for the $250 million debt threshold, set at $85 million more than the guarantee. A ministry spokeswoman responded last night: “Neither the new borrowing nor the revised debt ceiling amounts have been determined for any purpose other than to fulfil the Government’s obligations and exercise of its rights under the respective guarantees for the Caroline Bay project. Ideally, the Government would not draw any additional funds other than the amount needed to purchase the interests of the tranche B and C lenders.” Mr Dickinson identified tranche B as “institutional investors, principally in the US” who were owed $80 million, and tranche C as local insurers Axis, Arch and Validus. Validus sold its loans to the other two firms “at some point last year”, Mr Dickinson said. The spokeswoman said the ministry would seek professional advice on whether the Government would face other potential liabilities. She added: “Without this advice, borrowing or establishing a debt ceiling without room for contingency would be irresponsible.” According to Mr Dickinson, the Government will now “acquire the valid claims of Bermudian companies”. The minister said: “Finally, we must bring this project to conclusion.” Mr Richards said yesterday that this remark implied that Mr Dickinson intended to “kill the project”, which the finance minister said was “incorrect”. Mr Dickinson added: “What we have done today, is fulfil the sizeable obligation the former government placed on the people of Bermuda, and our stated intention is to use our best efforts to protect that investment. I wish him well.”

Employment Income

2019. November 5. Employment income rose by 1.2 per cent in Bermuda in the second quarter of this year, according to data from the Office of the Tax Commissioner. The island’s working population earned a total of $873.28 million during the April-through-June period, up by $10.58 million from the corresponding quarter in 2018. The majority of the gains were achieved by the international business sector, in which the combined pay packet grew by more than $8 million to $284.49 million. The biggest percentage gain came in the public administration and defence sector, which includes government workers. The sector recorded an increase of $4.57 million in employment income, representing a 4.3 per cent year-over-year gain, as workers earned a total of $111.78 million. The largest percentage fall came in the transport and communication segment, in which employment compensation totaled $17.05 million, down 9.4 per cent year over year. The data was published in the Quarterly Bulletin of Statistics, issued by the Department of Statistics on Friday. The report also highlighted the continuing trend of rising government revenues. Data from the Office of the Accountant-General showed that the Government took in $270.3 million in the three-month period, up 6.8 per cent year over year. Payroll tax, which amounted to $131.6 million for the three-month period, up 3.7 per cent, was by far the largest contributor to government coffers in the second quarter. There was a notable decline of 9 per cent in Customs duty, the second-largest contributor to revenues, which fell to $53.7 million in the quarter, down from $59 million a year earlier. On the island’s company register, there was little sign of an exodus prompted by EU-inspired economic substance rules, as the second quarter ended with 16,447 companies registered, up by 18 from a year earlier. However, new registrations fell by 26.6 per cent to 212, a third successive quarter of year-over-year decline.

Energy Commission

2009. November. A regulatory body, it was empowered by the Energy Act 2009.  It does not release its annual reports to the public — nor does it have to. The Energy Act requires only that it provides the relevant Minister with a report on its activities, not taxpayers. Visit website for more information on the Commission and the Department of Energy.

Executive branch

Global HouseBermuda is externally a self-governing overseas territory of the United Kingdom. It makes all its own laws. UK and European Community laws do not apply in Bermuda

Newcomers from other countries can come here to work despite the island's small size and exceptionally high population per square mile but, unlike in Britain, are not allowed to gain citizenship or vote or acquire lower-priced real estate unless they they qualify for citizenship in ways no other Western country require. 

In the UK, USA, Canada and elsewhere, citizenship comes after 3 (if married to a national) or 5 years, tops. But not in Bermuda, not even if you stay longer than 5 years. 

In Bermuda, only with marriage to a Bermudian and living with a spouse for over 10 years can someone not Bermudian apply for citizenship. Even children born in Bermuda are not Bermudian under Bermuda law unless one parent is.  

More information about the role of Britain in Bermuda. Her Majesty the Queen is Bermuda's official Head of State. In London, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, London, England, is responsible for Bermuda, other territories and agencies including UK visas, British Council and BBC World Service. The Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Bermuda is appointed by The Queen (on the advice of the British Government in London) after consultation with the Premier of Bermuda. 

His Excellency the Governor has his own Flag of Office. It is a Union Jack but in its center it has the Bermuda arms on a white disc encircled by a green garland. Uniforms for the Governor are made in London by Davies & Sons. They include a full dress blue and tropical cotton drill. It is based on old British military Field Marshals, with a white pith helmet with dyed scarlet swan's feathers plumage and Mameluke sword by Wilkinson Sword. The price of about $10,000 is met by the British Government. The official car used by the Governor  features a crown instead of a license plate, with extra large width, length and horsepower by Bermuda standards and the Governor's Flag.

The main challenge for a Bermuda Governor is to balance two sometimes contradictory functions. First, he is the primary source of information from Bermuda to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the state of affairs in Bermuda. Second, he is the voice of the United Kingdom and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for advising Bermudians what they can and cannot do under British/United Kingdom laws. The salaries of the Governor, Deputy Governor and their staff are paid by Bermuda's taxpayers, NOT the British Government. Bermuda, despite its tiny size, is wealthy enough not to need the support from the United Kingdom some other overseas territories get.  

The governorship of Bermuda was traditionally one of the most prestigious posts in the gift of the Government. For much of the last century it was given to a senior military officer on retirement, or a politician who had held senior office. The last of the latter type was David Waddington, Baroness Thatcher's last home secretary who as Lord Waddington was governor from 1992 until 1997. Since then the post has been held by career diplomats and usually comes with a knighthood for the holder. 

Financial Policy Council (FPC)

The main purpose of the FPC, which was established in 2015, is to assess possible threats to Bermuda’s financial stability, and to identify policies and actions to address them. Members of the FPC include chairman Premier David Burt, Minister of Finance, the Bermuda Monetary Authority chief executive officer and appointed others. The FPC recently reviewed work under way by the National Anti-Money Laundering Committee towards strengthening Bermuda’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing framework in advance of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force mutual evaluation of the island’s regime. Council members stressed the critical importance of a sound anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing framework to Bermuda’s economic viability and welcomed the formation of a Cabinet committee tasked, among other things, with monitoring progress in this area. Finally, members urged all relevant authorities to continue to attach priority and to assign adequate resources to ensuring its timely implementation so as to lead to a favorable assessment. Council members also discussed the European Union’s initiative to develop a common system for listing of non-co-operative jurisdictions or “blacklist” and stressed the importance of staying off it. The EU published its blacklist in December, after the FPC meeting, and Bermuda was not on it. The statement added: “Bermuda recognizes the importance attached by the EU to clamping down on tax evasion and avoidance, and promoting fairer taxation. “Bermuda believes that its regulatory and tax environment meets most of the expectations sought by the EU. Moreover, Bermuda has been an active participant in the OECD’s Tax Information Exchange Agreement and will continue to actively engage with the EU in order to reach mutual understanding on EU demands and on the most appropriate way of addressing these.” The FPC reviewed the impact on the Bermuda reinsurance industry of the recent active catastrophe season. Overall, while the unique frequency and severity of events was likely to affect the reinsurance sector’s profitability for 2017, it did not raise any concerns regarding the sector’s solvency. Other topics discussed included Government’s plans to improve its fiscal situation and recent developments in shadow banking, especially the work under way at the Financial Stability Board. The meeting was the last one to be attended by Sir Courtney Blackman, whose term has ended. The Premier thanked Sir Courtney for his contribution to the work in FPC during its important start-up phase. The FPC’s next meeting is scheduled for early this year.

Financial Stability Committee (FSC)

A committee comprising senior officials from the Ministry of Finance and BMA, was established to provide a supporting role to the FPC including in relation to implementing its recommendations.

Fiscal Responsibility Panel (FRP)

The Fiscal Responsibility Panel’s annual assessment includes estimates what Government is provisionally planning for a deficit in the next fiscal year.

Freedom of Information

See under Public Access to Information (PATI)

Government Authorities Fees Order

Government Boards & Committees

2019. November 21. The Minister for the Cabinet Office tonight appealed for people prepared to serve on Government boards and committees. Wayne Furbert said that expression of interest forms were available on the Government’s website and could be completed and submitted online. Mr Furbert said: said: “Interested individuals are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to serve their community. Government boards and committees play an important role in the community by ensuring good governance and by providing independent and expert governance or advice.” The application forms can be found at https://www.gov.bm/government-boards-and-committees and the deadline for submissions is December 6.

Government Fees Amendment Act

Allows the waiving of fees under “exceptional circumstances”, such as in the wake of a hurricane. Tthe waiver process would be transparent, going through the negative resolution procedure. 

Government fleet of cars

Government has 111 GP cars in its fleet, at significant cost to taxpayers in fuel, repairs, maintenance.

Government guarantees

Given to initiatives that earn it and show particular economic development potential. An example is what the government at that time - in August 2013 - gave to the private developers of the proposed $2 billion resort at Morgan’s Point. The guarantee was then limited to $125 million. Government had an earlier previous portfolio of about $500 million worth of guarantees on its books. Of the latter, the largest was for repaying the construction financing for the new hospital, estimated at $260 million over a term of 30 years. Government  also guaranteed $200 million in aggregate liquidation preference of preference shares issued on June 12, 2009 by Butterfield Bank for a period of ten years from the date of the issuance of the preference shares. The West End Development Corporation benefited from two sovereign guarantees — $25 million for construction financing for affordable housing and a $5.9 million loan to complete a new sewage treatment plant at Royal Naval Dockyard. Another $36 million in construction financing was guaranteed by the Government for the Grand Atlantic housing scheme.

Government Income and Expenditure

See Annual Budget.

Human Rights

See Bermuda Human Rights Act 1981.

Bermuda laws apply, not UK laws, even though Bermuda is a British Overseas Territory. Unlike in the UK, Canada, USA, etc. the local Human Rights Act and Amendment Act relate only to Bermudians, not non-Bermudian retirees or guest workers. For example, where the Constitution says no discrimination by way of race or country of origin, etc, in practice non-Bermudians are regulated heavily in Work Permits regulations, exclusions, number of jobs they can have; property they may and may not buy; becoming Bermudian only by marriage and living together with a spouse  - and eligible only after 10 years of such marriage. 

Immigration Appeal Tribunal

Established in July 2011 by the House of Assembly as an independent but Government-appointed tribunal on immigration matters. In July 2012 it began to schedule its first appeals, more than a year after it was established. It will make the final decisions on grievances relating to issues such as Bermudian status, permanent residency and work permits. It replaces a Cabinet committee that previously heard appeals of Ministerial decisions. This committee ran the risk of being seen as biased, so the independent tribunal was established instead. There are 12 members of the panel. The tribunal has sought guidance from Government lawyers in drafting rules for the tribunal’s use and the guidance of appellants and lawyers.

Joint Select Committee

Judicial branch

Judiciary

Members are appointed, not elected, and paid for by the Bermuda Government. Courts are the Supreme Court and Magistrates Courts. These are headed by the Chief Justice, appointed by the Governor. The Judiciary administers the Bermuda legal system which passes its own laws. For some matters, they are based on English law but are modified - sometimes hugely - by Bermuda laws endorsed and approved by the Legislative branch. See the Bermuda Government's Bermuda Laws. Judicial and Legal Services Committee: Recommends judicial and legal appointees. Also a Justice System Review Committee.

Jurors Act Amendment 2010

In February 2010 Members of Parliament passed amendments widening the jury pool. Junior Minister of Justice Michael Scott said increasing the number of people eligible to serve on the jury would strengthen the judicial process. The amendments to the Jurors Act see the age of eligibility rise from 65 to 70. Justices of the Peace will also be eligible for jury. Bermuda currently has 523 JPs. Vets and dentists are no longer be exempt from jury service, nor are spouses of MPs, barristers and prison officers. Religious ministers and attorneys who do not actively engage in criminal law are now be eligible to be jurors. Former Police, reserve Police and prison officers are also eligible five years after they have completed their service. Minister Scott said it was necessary to widen the pool: "Recent challenges have arisen in the Supreme Court with respect to jury selection as a result of the disqualification and exemption of large numbers of persons from jury service. In particular, there appears to be a reduction in the number of persons who actually qualify for jury service. In these circumstances, trials have been delayed until sufficient persons are identified for jury selection, thereby compromising the effective administration of justice."

Justices of the Peace (JPs)

Including Cabinet Ministers who are automatically JPs, Bermuda has, in its 21 square miles, 523 JPs. 

Litigation Guardian Council

2018. July 21. Will be set up by the Bermuda Government. The body will provide regulatory oversight of the recruitment, management and administration of litigation guardians on the island, according to social development minister Michael Weeks. It comes after a Supreme Court ruling that magistrates must consider appointing legal representatives to protect the rights of children who appear in court, if money is available. In June, Puisne Judge Stephen Hellman ruled that the Children’s Act required the Family Court to consider the appointment of a counsel or “litigation guardian” for children. Mr Weeks responded today that policy development around litigation guardians has been “under way for some time” in his ministry. He said the Progressive Labour Party had pledged to enhance the protocol for litigation guardians in the Throne Speech last September. Mr Weeks said his ministry had consulted with the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service in Britain, which provides oversight of litigation guardians. He said: “As a result, the Ministry of Social Development and Sports has formulated a policy framework which Cabinet has now approved, and for which drafting instructions have been issued to the Attorney-General’s Chambers. “The policy framework calls for the establishment of a statutory Litigation Guardian Council to provide regulatory oversight of the recruitment, management and administration of litigation guardians in Bermuda.” Mr Weeks said a litigation guardian from Cafcass was recently appointed by the Family Court in Bermuda on an unpaid basis to provide an objective review of the circumstances related to a family matter in the best interest of the child concerned

National Anti-Money Laundering Committee

Office of Project Management and Procurement (OPMP).

Government’s watchdog of fairness over public contracts. 

Opposition

2017. July 26. Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, sworn in yesterday as the Leader of the Opposition, also announced her Shadow Cabinet and a Senate team from which Michael Fahy was notably absent. Mr Fahy, whose immigration policies were widely perceived as a liability when the One Bermuda Alliance held the Government, will be “supportive going forward, but elected not to take any frontline positions”, Ms Gordon-Pamplin told The Royal Gazette, adding: “The party moves on.” In a candid and conciliatory speech after she was sworn in by John Rankin, the Governor, Ms Gordon-Pamplin vowed to lead a loyal Opposition. “Today we applaud the Government; we applaud them for their victory, and we assure them of our continued support for those policies and programmes they put forward that we deem to be done for the better good of all of Bermuda.” Acknowledging those who had felt neglected by the OBA during its tenure, Ms Gordon-Pamplin said: “It is apparent that as a party and an administration, we disappointed some people. For that disappointment, we take full responsibility. We apologise to those who we hurt or who felt left out of our policies. But it is important that you know that it was always our intent to give our very best effort. We can be proud as the outgoing administration that we have accomplished just that.” The Opposition leader recalled the opening stanza from a poem, author unknown, that had hung on her childhood living room wall, starting with the lines: “The test of a man is the fight that he makes, the grit that he daily shows; the way he stands upon his feet, and takes life’s numerous bumps and blows.” Ms Gordon-Pamplin briefly served as Opposition leader after the United Bermuda Party’s defeat in the 2007 election, in which Michael Dunkley lost his seat — but she said it had been only a few weeks before Kim Swan took over as the party’s leader. “Once we became the OBA, the focus was certainly different,” she told this newspaper. “Up until 2012, I had never served in a governing party. So this is different — we were in the Government and have now been trounced out and transitioned to the Opposition. We served the people of Bermuda in terms of keeping the ship afloat. We brought the country back from the brink of financial disaster, and are very proud of that. You can’t necessarily satisfy the demands people make when you have to put in place the things we were required to do to stop the bleeding. The OBA’s lesson going forward was obviously, listening more intently. It’s a lot easier to do as Opposition. We inherited an empty coffer. Now we believe we have left the Government in a far better financial position than they left us. It remains to be seen how we move forward.” Ms Gordon-Pamplin declared her shadow cabinet for the upcoming legislative session as follows:

Ms Gordon-Pamplin appointed Nandi Outerbridge, Nick Kempe and Andrew Simons to the Senate. Ms Outerbridge, former MP for St George’s West, is the new Opposition leader in the Senate, and will focus on social development, with Mr Kempe taking on labour and training and Mr Simons, technology.

Parliament and Parliamentary Business

Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Accounts (PAC)

Made up of Members of Parliament. It is authorized by the House of Assembly to look at public expenditure. The committee also investigates findings reported by the Auditor General in the annual and other special reports. Often meets in the Senate Chamber, Cabinet Building on Front Street.

2017. January 25.  The Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Public Accounts (PAC) is set to host its next public hearing tomorrow examining spending by the Bermuda Tourism Authority. The committee has invited officers from the BTA to discuss matters arising out of the body’s financial statements for 2015. “In addition, the committee has invited the chairman of Wedco to meet with members for discussion on the financing and preparation of the land reclamation project in the South Basin area for the America’s Cup events,” a spokesman said. “Additionally, a representative from the Ministry of Public Works will be in attendance to discuss with members, capital works and grants.” The BTA released a statement yesterday saying it welcomed the opportunity to appear before the committee. The authority also pointed out that it had earned unqualified audits in 2014 and 2015. “We are grateful for the opportunity to answer questions as it relates to the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s Audited Financial Statements for 2015,” BTA COO Karla Lacey said. “It is pretty clear to us — and we hope to the public — that strategic planning and judicious spending in 2015 provided the foundation for success the country experienced in tourism in 2016.” The BTA recently reported 11 consecutive months of tourism industry growth in 2016, while operating on a budget that is half what was invested in tourism ten years ago. Ms Lacey added: “Decisions made in tourism today directly affect the performance the country will see nine, 12 or even 24 months from now. The same was true back in 2015; decisions then have an impact on what is happening now. The BTA earns a greater return for the country — which can be redirected to other services — and has ended a troubling trend of falling visitor arrivals and visitor spending. We’re pleased to share that story with the parliamentarians of the committee.” The committee, made of MPs from both political parties and chaired by Wayne Furbert of the Progressive Labour Party, is tasked with examining matters relating to the accounts of the Bermuda Government and investigate findings reported by the Auditor-General. Members of the public are invited to attend and observe the hearing, which will be held in St Paul’s Church Centennial Hall at 2.30pm tomorrow.

Policing

Government House has direct responsibility for the operational side of Policing with the Police Commissioner reporting directly to the Governor, while costs,  budgeting and manpower are Government’s responsibility. There have been a number of disputes, with some members of parliament stating that as the Bermuda Government foots the entire bill, it - not the Governor, representing the UK but not Bermuda directly - should have final jurisdiction.

Price Control Commission

Public Accounts Committee

Authorized by the House of Assembly to look at public expenditure. The committee also investigates findings reported by the Auditor-General in the annual and other special reports.

Public Access to Information (PATI) Act  2010

Enacted in 2010. Similar to the UK's Freedom of Information (FOI), which legally requires most public bodies to release information when requested except for a series of exemptions such as the request being outside the public interest. In late 2015, the UK's FOI Independent Commission proposed dropping rules that allow asking the government to release information for free. A fee of up to £20 for each request may be likely in the future. In Bermuda, requests for information are free but at this time only Bermudians or local residents may request information, not overseas-based individuals whether Bermudian or not.

The Act represents a monumental change in how information held by the Bermuda public authorities can be accessed and obtained. The purposes of the Act are to place more information in the public domain, to increase the transparency and accountability of public authorities, to keep the public informed of activities of public authorities, and to give a right of access to information held by public authorities. However, extensive carve outs and procedural requirements may make it difficult for the Act to effect its bold promise. The benefits of having this type of legislation in Bermuda outweigh the arguments against having it. The Act allows both Bermudian citizens and residents alike to ask prudent questions of their Government with the expectation that forthright and equally prudent answers will be given. In this vein I would encourage everyone to read the Act, to become familiar with it and to form an opinion of it. Although it is law the Act will not come into operation until a future date appointed by the Minister. The appointed date is not yet known, although recent press reports indicate that it might be up to three years before the law is in force. Under the Act a Bermudian or a resident of Bermuda, upon paying a fee, may request and be given access to any record held by a public authority. No reason is required for a request and the public authority should assist with any request completely, accurately and in a timely manner. In addition the identity of the person making the request should be kept confidential unless the requester agrees otherwise. A request must be in writing and addressed to the public authority most likely to be holding the relevant record. Accordingly, the request should clearly identify the record so as to enable the public authority to find it. Upon receiving a request, the public authority should decide within 28 days whether to grant or refuse the request in whole or in part and if granted, specify the manner in which the right of access to the record concerned is to be given. A public authority may decide to refuse a request if the record does not exist or cannot be found after reasonable steps have been taken to find it; the request does not enable the public authority to identify the record; the request would, due to the size and nature of the records involved, require an examination of such number of records as to cause substantial disruption to the other work of that authority; the law requires publication of the record within three months of the request; the request is frivolous or vexatious (as determined by the head of the public authority); the information is already in the public domain or is reasonably available to the public; or the fee has not been paid.

Every record held by a public authority is to be available unless it is an "exempt record". Exempt records are those  which would adversely affect the health and safety of an individual; with personal information relating to someone other than the requester where that person has not given consent for the information to be disclosed; containing sensitive commercial information unrelated to the requester where the original information provider has not consented to disclosure; received in confidence; containing Cabinet documents; that undermine Ministerial responsibility; that undermine deliberations of public authorities; that undermine or affect operations of public authorities; are reasonably expected to have a serious adverse effect on the financial interest of Bermuda or of Government to manage the national economy;  prejudice or undermine national security, defence and international relations; contain information relating to the Governor's responsibilities and communications with the United Kingdom; are reasonably expected to prejudice law enforcement; are subject to legal professional privilege; or are prohibited from being disclosed by any other legislation

Although these are wide ranging carve outs there are two ways by which an exempt record can be accessed. First, with the exception of (b) and (n) above, a record will not be exempt after 30 years from the date of its creation. Second, the Act provides that certain records are subject to a "public interest test" which determines if on balance the public would be better served by the disclosure rather than the non-disclosure of that record.

If a request for access to a record is refused there is a right of appeal, in writing, to the Information Commissioner. The Commissioner may attempt to have the matter resolved through mediation or, alternatively, may make a decision to affirm or vary the decision of the public authority or make such an order as he deems appropriate.

The decision of the Commissioner is binding on all persons affected by it. Any person aggrieved by the Commissioner's decision may apply to the Supreme Court for a final review of that decision.

Despite the wide ranging and extensive carve outs and exemptions within the Act, it is hoped that officials and the Information Commissioner will embrace the bold aspirations of the Act and carefully consider in each case if the public would be better served by disclosure rather than the non-disclosure of the information requested in each instance. 

Public Service Superannuation Fund

Bermuda's pension plan for civil servants. Government employees pay 8 percent of their gross salaries into their pension fund called by this name.  Government matches contributions of employees. Pensions are paid out based on a formula pertaining to the number of years in which contributions were made.

Quangos

Latest are the creation of a Civil Aviation Authority and a Bermuda Shipping and Maritime Authority. There are more than 100 in Bermuda, including  the Bermuda Land Development Corporation (BLDC). None of these taxpayer-funded entities hold their meetings in public and publish regular minutes, despite the passing of public access to information and good governance legislation in Parliament and a commitment from former Premier Paula Cox to ensure transparency and accountability in Government. 

Referendum Act 2012

Enacted June 2012 by Bermuda's House of Assembly. Established procedures for national referendums, including the promised one on gaming. Two previous referenda held in Bermuda required separate legislation to be passed for them. The first was on capital punishment in 1990, when 78.4 percent favored retention of the death penalty. The second was on Independence in 1995, and saw a 73 percent vote against breaking ties with Britain. The new law means legislators will no longer have to pass a separate law each time a referendum is decided upon. It sets out the general parameters for them to be held in each case and is based on tried and true electoral processes. Only registered voters can participate in a referendum. A ‘yes’ vote will have happened if 50 percent or more of Bermuda’s registered voters vote in the referendum, and more than 50 percent of them mark their ballot ‘yes.’ A ‘no’ vote will have happened if 50 percent or more of Bermuda’s registered voters take part and more than 50 percent of them mark their ballot ‘no.’ A referendum question will be taken to be unanswered if less than 50 percent of registered voters vote, or if the voting patterns are such that the requirements for a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ result are not met. The principle behind the new legislation is “informed choice” and Government is committed to fairness, transparency and propriety in the conduct of referendums. The bill allows the Premier to set up an “ad hoc committee” if he or she wishes to advise on any matter relating to a particular referendum.

Salaries Review Board

2015. June 30. Inquiries into the fate of the dormant Salaries Review Board have gone unanswered, despite MPs continuing to debate the issue each year. The independent board, required by law to review the parliamentarians’ pay every two years, is last known to have issued a report nearly seven years ago — even though MPs approved their own pay scales this March. Legislators’ salaries were pegged at the same level for this fiscal year, but have had two cuts since April 2012. The Royal Gazette began questioning the status of the Salaries Review Board in April this year, beginning with Cabinet — only to be referred to the House of Assembly. 

Senators - 11 in the Upper House

Cabinet Building

Cabinet Office, home of the Senate. Photograph by the author

 Bermuda has a bicameral legislative body, an appointed Upper House (Senate) and an elected Lower House. All 11 Senators are paid, but less than Members of Parliament.  Despite its name as the Senate, and its description as the Upper House,  it is a junior legislative forum. The Upper House, named the Senate since 1980, is appointed by the Governor. He also appoints three independent Senators. They represent neither the One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) once in government, which now has three members, nor the Progressive Labour Party (PLP) now in government which has five members. Like all Members of Parliament, all Senators are required by law to be Bermudian. 

2017. November 22. Justin Mathias was today sworn in as a One Bermuda Alliance senator, replacing the party’s new chairman Nick Kempe. Mr Mathias took his oath as an Opposition member of the Upper House before proceedings began this morning. He joins Nandi Outerbridge and Andrew Simons on the OBA’s Senate team. The new appointment follows Jeanne Atherden’s appointment as the party leader on Saturday. Mr Kempe saw off Simone Barton to become the new chairman, by 177 votes to 65 the same night.

2017. Late July. Senators are: PLP with Kathy Simmons, Anthony Richardson, Jason Hayward, Vance Campbell and Crystal Caesar. OBA has Nandi Outerbridge, Nick Kempe and Andrew Simons.

2017. August 18. Former Berkeley Institute principal Michelle Simmons has been appointed an independent Senator. Ms Simmons joins Joan Dillas-Wright and James Jardine as the independents in the Upper House after Carol Bassett, President of the Senate since 2008 and a senator since 2003, retired. In a statement, Governor John Rankin said: “I am grateful to each of the independent senators for their willingness to serve. Carol Bassett, who has served as President of the Senate since 2008, is retiring after 14 years of devoted and selfless service to the Bermuda Parliament. On behalf of my predecessors as Governor and myself, I am grateful for all of her commitment to the work of the Senate throughout her period of office.” Ms Simmons was Berkeley principal for 20 years and was also involved in education in Britain, Nigeria and at the Bermuda High School for Girls. Responding today, the Board of Governors of the Berkeley Institute paid congratulations to Ms Simmons. “Ms Simmons has had a distinguished career in the community particularly in education as the first woman to hold the substantive post of principal of our alma mater,” the board stated. “The Berkeley family wishes Ms Simmons well as she discharges this awesome responsibility as a legislator.”

Sinking Fund

2019. June 23. The House of Assembly on Friday passed a Bill to suspend mandatory annual payments into the sinking fund, a reserve for money set aside to pay down long-term debt. Curtis Dickinson, the Minister of Finance, called the fund, which was established in 1993, “a concept rooted in history”. Mr Dickinson told MPs that as minister with capital markets expertise, he was taking a new approach to tackling the island’s national debt. Opposition MPs queried the Government’s stance on fiscal prudence during the debate, which saw the Government Loans Amendment Bill 2019 ultimately approved. The legislation was a prominent feature in Mr Dickinson’s first Budget Statement in February.

Solvency II third-country equivalency

Effective March 24, 2016. This means the European Union considers the standard of the island’s insurance regulation to be equivalent to its own. In November last year, the European Commission recommended that Bermuda should be considered as in line with the tough new insurance rules being adopted across the 28-country bloc. A 90-day consultation period that gave member countries and the European Parliament the chance to have their say has now passed. On March 4, the EC’s delegated decision on Bermuda’s equivalence with Solvency II was laid out in detail in the Official Journal of the European Union. Now that 20 days have passed since the date of publication in the Journal, confirmation of Bermuda’s new status is complete. Solvency II equivalence means that commercial insurers and reinsurers based in Bermuda will not be competitively disadvantaged when they do business in the European Union. The news represents a significant achievement for Bermuda’s financial-services regulator, the Bermuda Monetary Authority, which has worked and lobbied for more than six years to achieve the goal. In an interview today, Jeremy Cox, chief executive officer of the BMA, paid tribute to his “tenacious team”, as well as the industry leaders and politicians who had helped to make it happen. A full story on the interview will appear in Monday’s Business section of The Royal Gazette. The BMA also released its 2016 Business Plan today. In his introduction, Mr Cox stressed that equivalence confirmation did not mean the BMA would suddenly have a lot of spare time on its hands. “Securing equivalence was clearly a major achievement, a powerful example of what can be accomplished with a strong, tenacious team that embarked on the road to equivalence in 2010,” Mr Cox said. But equivalence is an interim objective, rather than an end in itself, and should be viewed in the wider context of our vision and strategic goals.”

Spending and Government Efficiency (Sage) Commission

See https://sagecommission.bm/

Tax Reform Commission

2018. February 15. The Tax Reform Commission is facing a difficult but achievable challenge, according to new chairman Ronald Simmons. Mr Simmons, a former director of the Bermuda Monetary Authority, said he was honored by the opportunity to serve as chairman. He said: “The Premier has selected a great team of distinguished individuals. Given the numerous risks, uncertainties and challenges facing our economy, we have a lot of work to accomplish. However, I am confident we will be able to provide the Premier and the Government recommendations for comprehensive tax reform that is equitable, efficient, effective, transparent and fair, while enhancing Bermuda’s global competitiveness.” David Burt, the Premier and Minister of Finance, unveiled the members of the bipartisan commission yesterday. The commission, designed to make Bermuda’s tax system fairer, stimulate economic activity and create jobs for Bermudians, was one of the Progressive Labour Party’s General Election pledges. Mr Burt said: “I think the work of the Tax Reform Commission will go a long way in dealing with some of the biggest challenges which we have. Our system of taxation creates inequality by its very nature and structure and our over reliance on payroll tax at the same time discourages job creation in Bermuda. We have to balance those aspects and I’m quite certain that this diverse team will be able to look at the issues that we have and will be able to arrive at recommendations that will help Bermuda.” In addition to Mr Simmons, the commission will include Jeanne Atherden, the Opposition leader, and Wayne Furbert, the Junior Minister of Finance. Other commissioners include Donald Scott, a former Cabinet Secretary, Mitch Blaser, chief operating officer of Ironshore Inc, Craig Simmons, Bermuda College economics lecturer, and Brian Holdipp, senior corporate lawyer at MJM Ltd. Mr Burt said: “These commissioners have a mammoth task ahead of them, but I am confident they are up to the challenge. As promised, this commission has representation from both political parties and a cross-section of expertise in Bermuda’s economy.” He said he believed the commission would be fair, and that he looked forward to receiving its report in six months.

Throne Speeches

Occur every year, in November or when appropriate. They set out the Government's planned legislative or regulatory agenda for the following year.

Governor reading 2014 Throne Speech

Governor delivering the 2014 Throne Speech

Useful Bermuda and Government links

Address Finder. How to find your real estate property on a Bermuda Government Geographical Information Technical Committee and Works and Engineering, Land and Survey Division mapping website.

Agricultural Exhibition. See under Bermuda Annual Exhibition.

Airport Operations

Archives. See http://www.gov.bm/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=429&mode=2. 30 Parliament Street, Hamilton, Bermuda HM 12. Telephone (441) 297-7737. Fax (441) 295-8751. Email reference.archives@gov.bm. Bermuda Archives Act 1974. The Bermuda Archives holds records of the legislature, judiciary and government of Bermuda as well as the two municipalities of St. George's and Hamilton. Non-government collections include those of the churches, parish vestries, parish councils, personal and family papers. Archives of social, business and philanthropic organisations are also held. Records span the period from early settlement in 1615 until the present. All government records are in the public domain and are freely available. Private papers and manuscript collections subject to donor agreements may have access restrictions. Records containing personal data of living individuals are closed as are those archives that are fragile or at risk.

Attorney General
Auditor General. In Bermuda, one of only two wholly independent institutions under the Constitution with oversight of the Government. 2015. November 17. A damning report by the Auditor-General underlines the origins of Bermuda’s financial woes, according to the Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance. Bob Richards said the public had “every right to be upset” after the revelations contained in Heather Jacobs Matthews’s report, which documents the results of audits of the Consolidated Fund for the years ending March 31 2010, 2011 and 2012, when the Progressive Labour Party was in power. Among the misdeeds listed in the 315-page document are instances of overpayments, double payments, millions paid for professional services without prior approval, failure to comply with financial instructions and millions paid without signed contracts or agreements. “The Government’s long-term debt as at March 31, 2012, ($1.1 billion) has almost quadrupled what it was four years ago and resulted in annual interest costs of about $71 million for the year ended March 31, 2012,” the document states. When contacted by The Royal Gazette, Mr Richards said: “The report speaks for itself. It’s good to have it revealed to the public, because the Auditor-General has credibility. It’s certainly a very, very low performance insofar as the Government is concerned, and it speaks to the reason why we’re in the hole we’re in financially.” While claiming to be unsurprised by the findings detailed within, Mr Richards added: “It’s the public’s money, and we’re just trying to do the best we can to look after it as though it were our own. We’ve had to be much more disciplined as far as spending is concerned, and to try to rein the beast in. We’re having some success in doing that.” David Burt, the Shadow Minister of Finance, was unavailable for comment. With Mrs Matthews retiring from her position as Auditor-General next year, it was announced yesterday that Bermudian native Heather Thomas would be stepping into the role in May 2016. The report is available online at www.oagbermuda.bm.
Bermuda Annual Exhibition, or e-mail agshow@ibl.bm. Held every April
Bermuda Aquarium & Museum
Bermuda Buses. Public Transportation Board. A Bermuda Government quango.  See Bermuda Government Boards.

Bermuda Business Development Corporation (BBDC). Formed in 2013 by Government through the Ministry of Economic Development.  A private/public partnership intended to spearhead the promotion of Bermuda as a preferred domicile for a variety of international business activities, including reinsurance, asset management, trusts and fund administration. This has involved organizing all the relevant stakeholders and formulating a coherent mission for the BBDC and strategies to achieve that mission. The Government, via BBDC, will continue to support Bermudian entrepreneurs in their quest for success and will take any other necessary steps to stimulate economic growth through non-tax policy driven initiatives.

Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission.

Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority. Replaced the Department of Civil Aviation.

Bermuda College

Bermuda Constitution. A written document 96 pages long, it went into effect on June 8, 1968. See  http://www.bermudalaws.bm/laws/Consolidated%20Laws/Bermuda%20Constitution%20Order%201968.pdf.

Bermuda Customs. Import duties, limits on what visitors and residents can import duty-free, etc. 2016. 
  • 2016. July 7. Confiscated and abandoned imports are set to be auctioned online by the Customs Department in a new initiative starting this Monday. Goods will be put up for sale every Monday morning at www.customssales.com with a minimum reserve price, and offers will be accepted up to 4pm each Friday. Customs will e-mail the highest bidder, who can collect their selected item the following working day from Custom House on Front Street. Finances raised will be used to recover duty owed on imported goods that have been seized or abandoned to the Crown. Interested parties can subscribe to updates from the website or send questions to customsauctions@gov.bm.
Bermuda elections. E-mail parreg@gov.bm. Bermudians can register electronically to vote.
Bermuda Ferry Service
Bermuda Fire Service. Phone 292-5555
Bermuda Government Geographical Information Technical Committee and Works and Engineering, Land and Survey Division mapping website.
Bermuda Government Portal

Bermuda Government Travel Expenses. See www.gov.bm/travel-calendar.

Bermuda Hospitals. Operated by the Bermuda Government owned and appointed by the Bermuda Hospital Board, a Bermuda Government quango.  See Bermuda Government Boards.
Bermuda Housing Corporation (BHC). Bermuda Housing Act 1980. A Bermuda Government quango.  See Bermuda Government Boards. Hotline since late 2002 is 295-HOME (295-4663). Manages a large portfolio of  rental, owned and private sector properties, holds many mortgages, owns many properties. Its Rentals Department has a clientele of about 600 households, of which 500 are housed in BHC properties. The remaining 100 households are housed in units rented from private sector landlords. Clients must be Bermudian.
Bermuda International Airport

Bermuda Judiciary

Bermuda Land Development Corporation. Formed by the Bermuda Government  to own and lease for the Bermuda Government the land or buildings used by US Military Forces in Bermuda until 1995.  See Bermuda Government Boards.
Bermuda Laws

Bermuda London Office. See  www.bdalondonoffice.co.uk. Email emaileventslondonoffice@gov.bm or call 020 7518 9900. 

Bermuda Monetary Authority. A Bermuda Government quango and regulatory agency. See Bermuda Government Boards. E-mail info@bma.bm
Bermuda National Library or e-mail bdanatlib@gov.bm 
BermudaNic.

Bermuda Parliament Act 1957, see http://www.bermudalaws.bm/Laws/Consolidated%20Laws/Parliament%20Act%201957.pdf

Bermuda Passport Office. Government Building, Department of Immigration, Ministry of Home Affairs.

Bermuda Police Service. Phone 295-0011.
Bermuda Prisons Service. Phone 295-4975.

Bermuda Shipping & Maritime Authority. Established by statute in June 2016.

  • 2018. February 3. Public works permanent secretary Francis Richardson is to be the new chief executive of the Bermuda Shipping and Maritime Authority. The Government said an acting permanent secretary will take over Mr Richardson’s duties until an appointment is made. Mr Richardson, a former Merchant Navy marine engineer, said: “Having previously worked in the maritime industry for many years, I’m thrilled and excited to be coming back to an area I am passionate about. “I look forward to joining the team and working collectively to grow the Bermuda shipping registry and fulfil the objectives of the group.” Mr Richardson has served in a number of high-ranking government roles over 25 years. He will start his new job in April and will also sit on the new authority’s board of directors. BSMA chairman Paul Scope said: “Mr Richardson has all the credentials for the position and we’re delighted to have hired a Bermudian after an extensive search, both locally and overseas. Succession-planning was one of our top priorities, and we have now fulfilled this important goal.” The news means a further shake-up for the Civil Service. Derrick Binns is to step down as Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service as the job is to be split. Dr Binns will be Head of the Civil Service. A new Secretary to the Cabinet has yet to been named. A public works spokeswoman said yesterday: “The standard public service recruitment process will apply regarding the appointment of a permanent secretary for the Ministry of Public Works. It is expected that once Mr Richardson officially starts his post at the BSMA, an acting permanent secretary will assume the PS duties at the ministry until an official appointment is made.” BSMA was launched in 2016 as a semi-autonomous unit to replace the government Department of Maritime Administration. It employs a team of 15 professionals in London and Bermuda. Mr Richardson has held the posts of Dockyard superintendent, Director of Marine and Ports, and permanent secretary of the Ministry of Tourism Development and Transport, as well as permanent secretary at public works. He earlier spent more than eight years traveling the world as a marine engineer in the Merchant Navy. BSMA’s Captain Pat Nawaratne was acting CEO for the past 15 months since the unit’s launch. He will continue as BSMA’s chief maritime surveyor. Mr Scope said: “We’d also like to send our appreciation to the Bermuda Business Development Agency, which has worked closely with us during this period of transition to promote Bermuda’s shipping industry and our world-class shipping registry. The BDA has been representing Bermuda shipping with industry stakeholders throughout this period, and we look forward to now developing that presence overseas under the BSMA banner. Since coming out of government, and forming the authority, we’ve had numerous tasks to address, such as finding appropriate office premises, changing accounting systems, and handling other operational issues as we converted from a government department to a public-private entity. With the new leadership in place, we’re looking forward to moving forward and growing Bermuda’s all-important registry, as well as complying with all the regulatory standards and conventions that are required.” 
  • 2017. July 25. It opened for business on Monday at its new offices on the fourth floor of Mintflower Place on Par-la-Ville Road. The quango was set up on October 1, 2016 to take over from the former Department of Maritime Administration — with its greater independence credited with boosting Bermuda’s shipping registry. The authority will move from Global House this Friday, and will be closed accordingly while the relocation takes place. A spokesman said that the BSMA’s existing main telephone number, 295-7251, will continue as usual, along with its fax number 295-3718 and cellular phone numbers.

Bermuda Ship Registry.  See http://www.bermudashipping.bm/useful-information/.

Bermuda Small Business Development Corporation. A Bermuda Government quango.  See Bermuda Government Boards.

Bermuda Society & Secretariat. London, England. Incorporated in 1987 at the request of then Premier, The Hon. Sir John Swan, KBE, JP; former Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Bermuda, The Viscount Dunrossil, CMG; and Sir Peter Gadsden, GBE, AC, former Lord Mayor of the City of London. The brief was to enhance and promote Bermuda’s image as an attractive, competitive and well-respected jurisdiction for international companies – across multiple financial sectors – to do business, and to foster the close links between Bermuda, the UK and elsewhere. The physical address and contact details are Five Trees, Wood Lane, Stanmore, Middlesex HA7 4JZ, England. Phone 011 44-(0)20-8954-0652. Website www.bermudasociety.com, email BermudaSoc@aol.com.

Bermuda Tourism Authority (formerly Bermuda Tourism).
Bermuda Weather
Central Policy Unit

Civil Aviation Authority. Established by statute in June 2016. 

Commission of Enquiry. Formed after concerns were raised by the Auditor-General over the handling of taxpayers’ money in 2010, 2011 and 2012. The Commission is chaired by international jurist and former Bermuda Court of Appeal judge Sir Anthony Evans. Its members are lawyer and former MP the Honourable John Barritt, businesswoman Fiona Luck and businessman Kumi Bradshaw. More information about the Commission is available at www.inquirybermuda.com.

Commission on Racial Equality (CURE). See Bermuda Government Boards. Melbourne House, Suite 202. 11 Parliament Street, Hamilton HM KX. Telephone (441) 296-0613 or fax (441) 296-9142 or e-mail cure@ibl.bm. In other countries, these racial guidelines and regulations apply only in the public sector. But the Bermuda Government has made them apply in the private sector as well.
Community Education & Development Programme

Consumer Affairs. See Department of Consumer Affairs. 

Department of Communications & Information. Global House, 43 Church Street, Hamilton HM 12. Phone 292-5998. Fax 295-5267. Formerly Government Information Services.
Department of Community & Cultural Affairs
Department of Conservation Services. Ministry of the Environment. P. O. Box CR 52, Hamilton HM CX. Phone 293-1785. Fax 293-2716.  
Department of Consumer Affairs. Ingham and Wilkinson Building, 129 Front Street, Hamilton HM 12. Phone (441) 297-7627. Fax (441) 295-6892. Email consumers@gov.bm. Complaints ca_complaints@gov.bm. Consumer, landlord and tenant, cable TV, shopping and utilities complaints, mostly. The Consumer Protection Act 1999 deals with unfair or deceptive business practices, unconscionable representations and unconscionable acts.  For instance, double tipping or paying gratuities twice is an unfair business practice under the Act.   Therefore a patron of a local restaurant or bar can lodge a complaint with this office regarding that practice. The Consumer Protection Act 1999 is divided into six parts: Preliminary; Administration; Unfair Business Practices; Consumer Safety; Enforcement; Miscellaneous. Typically, consumers call the Department of Consumer Affairs with complaints about defective or poor quality products; problems with warranties; issues concerning  sales and return policies; automotive sales and repair; home improvement contract disputes; landlord/tenant issues; financial contracts and deceptive advertising. Businesses also contact the Department when they require advice and guidance about customer complaints as they relate to  the Act.
Department of Cultural Affairs.
Department of Environmental Protection. Ministry of the Environment. P. O. Box HM 834, Crawl CR BX. Office of the Director, phone 236-4201, fax 236-7582. E-mail agfish@ibl.bm. For Environmental Protection offices see under Environment.

Department of Environmental Health. Ministry of Health.

Department of ICT Policy and Innovation,

Department of Immigration

Bermuda Department of Immigration

Royal Gazette newspaper photo

Department of Marine & Ports Services

Dept of Marine & Ports control tower

Royal Gazette newspaper photo of Department of Marine and Ports

Department of National Drug Control

  • 2015. November 20. Marijuana, heroin and cocaine remain the most commonly used illegal drugs in Bermuda, according to the annual report from the Bermuda Drug Information Network. The study by the Department of National Drug Control, provides analysis of trends in drug use in 2013 and 2014 according to a press release from the Ministry of National Security, it presents national data on the nature and magnitude of use and misuse of legal and illegal substances in Bermuda and represents the work of a broad spectrum of agencies and departments engaged in drug prevention, intervention, treatment, counseling, rehabilitation, enforcement, interdiction, and health. The release states: “Drug use is a difficult and complex phenomenon to monitor. This report serves the purpose of providing a comprehensive overview of the current drug situation in Bermuda using multiple sources and indicators, with the intent of providing insight into the different aspects of the drug problem.” The report monitors and accounts for local drug-related information from about 30 data providers, covering some 45 drug control areas, and providing measures for more than 150 indicators. Since last year, it has expanded to include four new measures and one new survey. Drug use prevalence has remained constant among Bermuda’s residents over the past ten years, with alcohol, tobacco and marijuana the most commonly used substances among the general adult population and youths, while the heroin and cocaine remain drugs of choice for problem drug users. Since 2014, drug-related crime has declined and there were no cases where drug use contributed to the underlying cause of death. Michael Dunkley, the Premier and Minister of National Security, stated: “The Government is committed to a healthier and safer Bermuda and an interconnected balancing of drug control efforts in both supply and demand reduction. Drugs continue to jeopardize the health, safety and welfare of people throughout the world; and Bermuda is no exception, as substance abuse continues to negatively impact our island extensively. Drug use prevention cannot occur unless there is change in our social attitudes toward alcohol and drug misuse.” The report can be found at www.dndc.gov.bm.
Department of Parks. Ministry of the Environment.
Department of Personnel Services. Phone 297-7643.
Department of Planning. See Ministry of the Environment. On 3 December, 2018, the Department of Planning had a soft launch of Energov in tandem with the publication of the Draft Bermuda Plan 2018. The Department of Planning now introduces the next phase of implementation which will allow for improvements to the efficiency and transparency of the Department’s business processes. The release of the Energov system is in line with strategies set out by the Minister of Home Affairs, the Hon. Walter Roban in a Ministerial Statement delivered on 10 May, 2019 - when he mentioned plans to streamline the Planning process and move to a paperless system. Persons wishing to submit applications on or after Monday, 5 August, 2019 are encouraged to visit the Department’s website (www.planning.gov.bm) for important information and instructions on the following:
  • How to submit new applications;
  • How to pay application fees;
  • How to monitor the status of applications; and
  • Details on future phases of implementation.

Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP). E-mail dpp@gov.bm. 2nd Floor Global House, 43 Church St., Hamilton

  • 2016. February 26. A new code for Crown counsel has been created for court prosecutors, the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) announced today. Director of the DPP, Rory Field, said the aim of the new code was to serve as an important tool for the Crown counsel in the department, as well as enhance the public’s understanding of the job they do. “Prosecutors work for the public and in the public interest,” said Mr Field. “Some of their work is done in open court and this often reaches a wider audience through the media. There are many ways in which individual members of the public may encounter prosecutors including as victims, witnesses, defendants or jurors trying the cases that prosecutors present in court. “Before cases reach a courtroom, however, prosecutors are occupied advising the police and making important decisions about whether people should be charged with criminal offences and, if so, what charges they should face. For obvious reasons, these aspects of their work cannot be done under the public gaze, but prosecutors should still try to explain what principles they apply when making these decisions and why. “In many countries around the world prosecutors have published codes that guide their conduct and structure their decision-making. Today Bermuda’s own Department of Public Prosecutions does the same.” The code is available on the DPP website shown above.
Department of Social Insurance. 30 Parliament Street, Hamilton HM 12. Phone 295-5181 extension 1117. E-mail socialinsurance@gov.bm. To access your Social Insurance contributions online for the period August 6, 2000 to August 4, 2002, click on Contributions, then Contribution Records, then enter Social Insurance Number and Date of Birth.

Department of Statistics. 

  • Bermuda Facts & Figures 2017. Social, economic and geographic data from 2014 to 2016 highlighted in a January 2018 publication from the Department of Statistics. Contains data about Bermuda’s economy as well as historical notes on the development of the island since the 16th century. Complimentary copies are available from the Department of Statistics, third floor of CedarPark Centre Building, 48 Cedar Avenue in Hamilton. Copies can also be collected from the Bermuda Tourism Authority and the Bermuda National Library or online at www.gov.bm/department/statistics.

Department of Telecommunications

Department of Workforce Development.

  • 2017. May 15. The Department of Workforce Development is spearheading the development of a “National Talent Pool” for those interested in construction opportunities. “New construction projects are beginning in various places on island, and forecasts suggest that this activity could remain steady during the next five-year period,” home affairs minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin stated. “The development of a list of talented general laborers and construction workers will undoubtedly assist employers seeking work-ready individuals.” She added that the construction industry recognizes the need for individuals to possess basic core knowledge and proficiency. “In this regard, the Department of Workforce Development and the Construction Association of Bermuda are organising worksite safety training courses to prepare workers. We are all aware that technology changes frequently and, as a result, there is a continuous call for a certified and skilful workforce. The Department of Workforce Development is ready to lend tuition assistance to those who are unemployed and underemployed and wish to seriously engage in programmes that will teach them best practice applications based on accredited industry standard curriculum. We are asking individuals to be open and ready to participate in a Health and Safety programme and participate in an Introductory to Craft Skills programme if applicable. We want to provide you with the best support in order to increase your chances of obtaining work opportunities in this rapidly expanding construction industry.” Interested individuals should register today with the Department of Workforce Development to increase their chance of being selected to work on a current or future construction project. To register, complete an employment intake form that can be downloaded from www.dwd.bm or visit the department. Prepare a written resume — a career development officer can assist you if do not have one — and any work references. Bring a passport or any Bermuda Government issued document to evidence that you are Bermudian (voter’s ID card or official letter/spousal letter from immigration).

Economic Development Committee (EDC). 2013 Bermuda Government initiative intended to cut down on the bureaucracy and move projects forward faster. Its mandate is to compress the time taken to obtain the necessary approvals for direct inward investment into Bermuda. Unwelcoming and bureaucratic procedures in the years prior to 2012 reduced the flow of inward direct investment to virtually a trickle.

Freedom of Information. See "Public Access to Information" below.
Computer Systems & Services Department, Government of Bermuda
General Post Office

Government boards and committees. Application forms can be found at https://www.gov.bm/government-boards-and-committees and the deadline for submission is first week in every December.

Government Training, Employment Services and Labour Office. Phone 297-7716.
Government Marketing Centre - for local fruits and vegetables, at e-mail govmkt@ibl.bm
Harbour Radio

Human Rights Commission. 2016. April 8. A fresh chapter has begun for the Human Rights Commission in its new headquarters at Milner Place, Hamilton, where the latest set of commissioners held its first meeting. Tawana Tannock, the HRC chairwoman, praised the work of the selection committee in bringing together commissioners from a broad variety of backgrounds. “I’m very pleased that we have this diverse body of 12 to help move the commission into a new era of greater independence,” Ms Tannock said, referring to the HRC’s official move out from the auspices of the Ministry of Community, Culture and Sports. Continuing member Jens Juul, a certified insurance arbitrator, has served on several local boards as well as operating Scandinavian Re, while new member Dany Pen, the education and communications officer for the Bermuda National Gallery, holds a special interest in women’s rights, gender equality and education. New member Jonathan Young said he took inspiration from the service of his mother, Kim Young, as a commissioner; he comes from an insurance background, as well as teaching at the Bermuda College, where he was a shop steward. Carla George, a new commissioner coming from a legal background, has also served on a variety of boards, including CedarBridge Academy, the Bermuda Hospitals Board and the Board of Education, and gave education as one of her main interests. Returning commissioner Kim Simmons, a corporate attorney, expressed a broad interest in human rights, particularly in how the topic was perceived by young people. Ms Simmons said she looked forward to continuing her advocacy for persons with mental disabilities. Donna Daniels, a former teacher and principal of Dellwood Middle School, is also executive director of the Adult Education School. Ms Daniels gave education as her “passion”, along with the protection of the vulnerable, the links between unemployment and poverty, and issues concerning mental health. New member Ben Adamson, a lawyer with 15 years’ experience, has served as a human rights mediator for the past six years, while Quinton Butterfield, also new, works in the Bermuda Government’s information technology office. Mr Butterfield said he looked forward to seeing the island “move forward on marriage equality, gender equality and gender identity”, and gave another interest as education and advocacy on the topic of human rights. Absent from the gathering were members Carolyn Thomas Ray, Franklin Fahnbulleh, and deputy chairman John Hindes.

Immigration Appeals Tribunal. An independent tribunal on immigration matters.  See Bermuda Government Boards. The House of Assembly passed legislation establishing the tribunal in July 2011. It is designed to make the final decisions on grievances relating to issues such as Bermudian status, permanent residency and work permits. There are 12 members of the panel, revealed in the Official Gazette in February 2012. The chairwoman is lawyer Victoria Pearman, and other members include lawyers Tim Marshall, John Barritt and Shaun Morris, former Premier Alex Scott and former Civil Service head Kenneth Dill.

Information Technology Office (formerly CSSD)

Land Title Registry Office. 3rd Floor, Victoria Hall, 11 Victoria Street, Hamilton HM11. Mailing Address: PO Box HM 1545, Hamilton HM FX. Tel: (441) 294 9260. Fax: (441) 296 1324. Email: landtitleregistryoffice@gov.bm. Web: www.ltro.gov.bm 

Land Valuation Office. See Ministry of the Environment.

London Office. 6 Arlington Street, Westminster, London SW1A 1. 

Ministers and Parliamentarians Salary Review Board. Set up by legislation enacted in 2005 in an effort to end the recurring controversy that flares up every time MPs vote for a pay rise for themselves.

Ministry of Finance.
Ministry of Education
Ministry of the Environment. Government Administration Building, 30 Parliament Street, Hamilton. Phone 297-7590, fax 292-2349. Main departments are Department of Planning, Land Valuation Office, Department of Parks, Department of Conservation Services and Department of Environmental Protection (e-mail agfish@ibl.bm). 
Ministry of Telecommunications & E-Commerce. From September 17, 2001, it is at the F. B. Perry Building, 40 Church Street, Hamilton HM 12, P. O. Box HM 101, Hamilton HM AX. Telephone (441) 292-4595. Fax (441) 295-1462. E-mail gtelecom@gov.bm.

National Anti-Money Laundering Committee. Office of the National Anti-Money Laundering Committee, 4th Floor of Global House on Church Street, or by email to info-NAMLC@gov.bm.2016. July 15. Attorney General Trevor Moniz presented a draft consultation copy of the Bribery Act 2016, which details plans to modernize Bermuda’s laws on corruption and bribery. Mr Moniz, the Minister of Legal Affairs, noted that, through the Office of the National Anti-Money Laundering Committee, he had committed to tabling consultation draft legislation in July of this year. The Bribery Act 2016 was modeled largely on the UK’s Bribery Act 2010, said Mr Moniz. “The Act would provide a modern and comprehensive scheme of bribery offences, in order to allow investigators, prosecutors and the courts to tackle bribery effectively whether committed in Bermuda or overseas. The Act would help to enhance Bermuda’s international reputation for the highest ethical standards.” Outlining the Bribery Act in the House of Assembly this morning, Mr Moniz said it would create the following new offences:

  • one general offence of bribery covering the offering, promising or giving of a financial or other advantage;
  • another general offence covering the requesting, agreeing to receive or accepting of a financial or other advantage;
  • a specific offence of bribing a foreign public official;
  • a specific offence of failure by a commercial organisation to prevent bribery, although it is a defence if a commercial organisation can prove — on the balance of probabilities — that it had ‘adequate procedures’ in place to prevent persons associated with it from bribing;
  • a specific offence of failing to fulfil a duty to report bribery, such duty arising where a person exercising functions on behalf of a public authority is offered or receives an advantage which may constitute bribery; and
  • a specific offence of interfering with such a duty to report bribery.

Office of Project Management and Procurement. The code can be found at https://www.gov.bm/department/office-project-management-and-procurement. The public was invited to submit their comments by no later than 31 January 2017, to procurement@gov.bm. Once finalized, the code will be added to the island’s good governance framework, and followed by all public officers. The document outlines how civil servants procure goods, services and works on behalf of the people of Bermuda. It will impact service providers to the Government, including, contractors and vendors and put in place “full transparency, fairness and openness in the tendering process”, as well as demonstrating value for money. 

Office of the Ombudsman for Bermuda. Bermuda Government appointed.

Office of the Tax Commissioner, F. B. Perry Building, 40 Church Street, Hamilton HM 12. Telephone (441) 297-7750 or 297-7751 or 297-7891 or fax (441) 296-5406. or e-mail taxenquiry@gov.bm. Payroll Taxes payable by Employers who usually pass 50% of the cost to their Employees. You can now pay Payroll Taxes online.  A wide range of other taxes can also be paid here. 

Ombudsman. See under Office of the Ombudsman.

Parliament and Parliamentary Business

Parliamentary Registry
Progressive Labor Party

Pension Commission. The National Pension Scheme (Occupational Pensions) Act 1998. Phone 295-8672, Its website is www. pensioncommission.bm. Began July 2007. For information on private pensions. With links including Employer Information, Employee Information, National Pension Scheme and Act and Regulation. Forms are available online or phone 295-8672 or by e-mail at info@pensioncommission.bm. There is a Pension Commissioner.

Public Access to Information (PATI) Act  2010.

Registrar of Companies
Registrar General. For birth, marriage and death certificates, to patent a product or copyright material.
Road Safety Council.  See Bermuda Government Boards.

Sage (Spending and Government Efficiency) Commission.  See https://sagecommission.bm/Can also be regarded as the Savings And Government Efficiency Commission.

Tax Information Exchange Portal.  2017. June 16. The Bermuda Government created a new portal that meets the island’s obligations under automatic exchange of tax information agreements. Bob Richards, the Minister of Finance, said the Tax Information Reporting Portal was essential for the island to adhere to international compliance standards and to protect its status as a financial centre. The new portal will enable overseas tax authorities to access tax information on individuals and multinational companies and was borne out of international agreements designed to clamp down on tax dodging. “Today’s launch of Bermuda’s automatic exchange of information (AEOI) portal is a milestone in protecting Bermuda as a leading international financial centre,” Mr Richards said. “It is impossible to remain a viable centre in today’s compliance climate without conforming to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development AEOI regime, especially as it is required by both the European Union and the G20 to meet their standard for international co-operation on tax matters.” The new rules mandate how countries collect information on the financial account information of individuals and also operations of multinational companies, to the benefit of interested tax authorities. The new portal confirms the island is meeting its obligations under the OECD CRS (Common Reporting Standard) and OECD CbC (Country-by-Country) AEOI regimes. “Bermuda is an AEOI Early Adopter jurisdiction, meaning that Bermuda’s portal will receive year 2016 CRS and year 2016 CBC information from Bermuda persons and share the information with all countries that are also AEOI Early Adopters for year 2016 CRS and CBC information,” Mr Richards said. “Many of the large countries are latecomers by only collecting and sharing under the OECD AEOI regime starting with either year 2017 information or year 2018 information. This includes some of the EU, G20 and OECD countries — some of the very countries promoting these very standards.” The Ministry of Finance statement added: “Bermuda is the first UK Overseas Territory to join the OECD Base Erosion Profit Shifting committee known as the Inclusive Framework. Bermuda has also initiated renegotiation of all four of its double-taxation agreements to revise them to the standard articulated by the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent BEPS.” Reporting persons can now access Bermuda’s Tax Information Reporting Portal at www.gov.bm

Transport Control Department. North Street, Hamilton.

Tynes Bay Waste Treatment Facility. Metal waste should not be included in loads of burnable waste delivered here. The Ministry of Public Works has advised metal items can cause substantial damage to the facility, causing shutdowns which result in a build-up of burnable waste and the inability to produce electricity. A facility spokesman said in a press release: “It’s understandable that small metal items can mistakenly become commingled with burnables when hauling a large load of waste. However, just recently, a boat engine was included in a load with burnable items. Had this item been overlooked at the facility, costly damage and a lengthy shutdown period would have resulted." All waste facilities in Bermuda operate under licences that regulate the types of waste items accepted, according to the press release. Licences are renewed annually and are in place to ensure compliance with environmental standards. Truckers and members of the public who try to circumvent these regulations put ministry staff, Bermuda’s environment and public health at risk. To learn more about the Tynes Bay facility visit www.gov.bm/garbage-and-recycling or call 296-0673

Weather. See Bermuda Weather.

Washington Office. 2017. March 15. Bermuda’s Washington, DC office is being phased out in a switch from a “bricks and mortar presence” to greater use of lobbying, Michael Dunkley told legislators. While delivering the Budget brief for Cabinet, the Premier noted that an allocation of $206,000 had been estimated for the facility in the 2017/18 year, to cover rent, insurance and utilities until the Ministry of Public Works could find a sublet, since several years remain on its lease. “Given the recent change in US Government under the Trump Administration and the proximity to Capitol Hill, the prospects of renting the prime location are quite high,” Mr Dunkley added. The island would also be able to leverage its position via the efforts of Bermuda’s external affairs strategic planning committee. David Burt, the Leader of the Opposition, responded that the Progressive Labour Party did not believe the closure was in the best long-term interests of the country. “We are going to have to agree to disagree on that,” Mr Dunkley answered, telling the House that while there had been good promotional and tourism work achieved from the DC office, such moves were better undertaken by the Bermuda Tourism Authority. Parliament was also told of the Government’s longstanding ties with the Ken Levine, the Washington lobbyist, going back “at least two decades”. There was $100,000 allocated to Levine & Company for 2016/17, but with the potential for an impact on Bermuda through US tax reforms, an incremental $150,000 has been allocated for 2017/18. The consultant’s hourly rate is $550, Mr Dunkley said, in response to questions from the Opposition. The Premier said $281,000 would be spent in the present fiscal year, with $290,000 spent the year before, and $218,000 spent before that. “The high was in 2008, when $409,000 was spent on that consultant,” Mr Dunkley said, adding that unless consultants were kept on “a short leash” it was easy to rack up charges.  2009, September. Established to coincide with Government's attendance at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Weekend in DC and to "immeasurably strengthen the links" between the Island and the USA, at a cost to Bermuda taxpayers of $58,328 to set up and renovate, almost $180,000-a-year to lease and allocated $321,000 in the Bermuda Government's 2010-2011 budget paid by taxpayers, with much more in the 2011-2012 Budget. It was intended that staff would be based there and would work with Congressional staffers to further Bermuda's interests in the States, particularly in relation to tax issues. The office, which is seven blocks from the US seat of government, is at third floor, Liberty Place, 325 Seventh Street NW, close to Capitol Hill.  It is for use by Government ministers and senior officials and will provide a localized source of information and key contact personnel at the disposal of Congressional staffers charged with briefing and preparing legislators. 

West End Development Corporation (Wedco).  See http://www.thewestend.bm. A government quango, formed to redevelop the former Royal Navy Dockyard). P. O. Box 415, Somerset, Mangrove Bay MA BX. Phone (441) 234-1709. Fax 234-3411. E-mail marketing@wedco.bm. Dockyard. Established in 1982 to manage and develop 214 acres of Government-owned land in the West End, including Watford Island, Boaz Island, Ireland Island South and North, the small islands forming the Crawl off Ireland South and the North and South basins and breakwaters. Revenue is generated from residential and commercial tenants plus berthing fees from the commercial and cruise ship docks. Mega cruise ships now dock near there. Recent work carried out by Wedco at Dockyard includes the installation of a reverse osmosis plant, the relocation of the marina and the development of ten residential units. Future planned developments include the Victualling Yard, Casemates, the South Basin and the Parsonage.  

Voters of Bermuda and non-citizens who can never vote

2014. June 13. Government has launched a last-minute appeal to a landmark ruling which enabled two Permanent Residents Certificate (PRC) holders to obtain Bermuda status. And according to Attorney General Trevor Moniz, the Department of Immigration has been inundated with applications from residents seeking status since last months decision by Chief Justice Ian Kawaley. Mr Justice Kawaley upheld an earlier ruling by the independent Immigration Appeal Tribunal, which directed the Ministry of Home Affairs to grant applications for Bermuda status by long-standing PRCs Rebecca Carne and Antonio Correia. Status was granted under section 20B of the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956. Outlining Government's reasons for the appeal, Mr Moniz said that the two applicants had been advised correctly in 2012 that there was no procedure to submit a request for status under the 20B section of the Act but that amendments to the law had created this unique circumstance. In spite of this advice, applications were subsequently submitted to the Minister in 2013 at which time the Minister rejected the applications on the basis that there had been no pre-approval for Bermudian status under the Act, Mr Moniz said. Notwithstanding, the Ministers decision was overturned by the Immigration Appeal Tribunal (the IAT) with the matter eventually being appealed in the Supreme Court in January of 2014 with the Chief Justice ruling in favour of the applicants and stating in his summation, the decision of the IAT directing the Minister to grant the Respondents applications for Bermudian status is accordingly affirmed. This judgment now meant under the current legislation, a pathway to status for PRC holders was now possible. In essence, the Supreme Court ruling says that if a PRC holder submits an application for naturalization to become a British Overseas Territories Citizen (BOTC) (Bermuda) to the Department of Immigration at the same time he/she submits an application for Bermudian status under Section 20B (2)(b) of the Act, and the Minister supports the naturalization application which is subsequently approved by the Governor, the Minister must, save for various circumstances as set out in the Act, grant the applicant Bermudian status under the said section. And while this provision has existed for many years, it only came to light as a result of the original PRC legislation which would appear the previous Administration did not grasp the fact that provisions in the Act that were amended in 1994 would have this effect upon the introduction of PRC legislation in 2001. In essence, the PRC legislation has seemingly created this unique circumstance. Mr Moniz said that a flood of status applications had been made in the last month, with 115 residents becoming naturalized. Mr Moniz added that a further 1,340 residents were eligible to make an application for naturalization. Notwithstanding the anomaly in the legislation, the Ministry has sought the advice from a the Attorney-Generals Chambers as well as a Queens Counsel in the United Kingdom on the merits of appealing the Supreme Court judgment, Mr Moniz said. Whilst the advice received following an exhaustive review of this judgment by the aforementioned Counsel was not entirely favorable as far as the judgment being successfully overturned, the Ministry has nonetheless filed an appeal in this matter to the Court of Appeal which will allow the opportunity for further Government review of the matter.

2014. June 7. Around 1,500 residents stand to obtain Bermuda status thanks to a recently discovered immigration loophole, affirmed in a ruling by Chief Justice Ian Kawaley. And it was claimed in the House of Assembly, as MPs clashed over the rulings implications, that a slew of Permanent Residents Certificate (PRC) holders have already applied to Immigration to get Bermuda Status. However, Government has declared that all current applications have been put on hold until the matter is clarified. Attorney General Trevor Moniz told MPs yesterday that Government had reached no decision yet over the surprise ruling, which could still be appealed further. However, he said the One Bermuda Alliance refused to back a premature amendment proposed by the Opposition to strike down the culprit section of the law. In the meantime, Junior Immigration Minister Sylvan Richards told the House that Government had enlisted a Queens Counsel with a specialty in human rights law to review the case. The debate touched also on long-held sensitivities over the history of discretionary status grants, which were discarded in 1989. Introducing the amendment for its second reading was Shadow Minister of Immigration and Home Affairs Walton Brown, who called it a stopgap measure that allows us to step back and fully consider the most appropriate immigration policy for this country. Otherwise, he said, Mr Justice Kawaley's ruling has created a situation in which legislation was decided by a judge instead of by Parliament. The occasionally stormy debate saw Progressive Labour Party MP Walter Robain tell Government to tread carefully, adding: "There are a whole lot of hypotheses about the purpose of this." Shadow Health Minister Kim Wilson warned the OBA that "Bermudians were listening, and listening very intently" while PLP MP Glenn Blakeney, accusing the OBA of already having its mind made up, told Government: "I warn you, it will be at your peril." However, Mr Blakeney got a reprimand from Speaker of the House Randolph Horton when he said: "This situation, for political expediency, to increase the voting registry, is exactly what's intended by the OBA." The Devonshire North Central MP subsequently withdrew his remark. The five-hour debate emanated from a ruling in May, in which Mr Justice Kawaley upheld a decision by the Immigration Appeals Tribunal for PRC holders Rebecca Carne and Antonio Correia to win full status. In so doing, the Chief Justice ruled against Governments repeated appeal of the Tribunals decision, and many PLP MPs questioned why the OBA didn't support the Opposition legislation after Government had contested the status move in court. However, the Attorney General said "Government's motive for the appeal had been to obtain clarification from the Chief Justice's ruling. The position of this side is that its premature to decide exactly what the ramifications of this decision are." According to the Department of Immigration, there are 1,340 PRC holders who potentially qualify, plus 150 children under the age of 22 at the most, he said. The loophole technically became active in 2002, when the PLP government introduced PRC legislation but the significance of the obscure clause 20B (2) (B) of the Act was only recently spotted. Ms Wilson urged Government to support Mr Brown's amendment, calling the status ruling a clear case of what is known as judge-made law. "It's an application or interpretation of the law that is contrary to the intent of Parliament," she said, accusing the OBA of opposing the amendment solely because it was raised by the Opposition. We're talking about 2,000 people that, at the discretion of the Minister, can get Status tomorrow with the flick of a pen." But Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell responded that "status in this case rested on eligible PRC holders meeting the criteria of immigration law. It's not a matter of one individual making arbitrary decisions, saying I want this person to get status," Mr Crockwell said, characterizing it as primarily a human rights issue. We're not talking about people who just showed up here, these are people who have been in this country for at least 25 years. These are our neighbours, these are our friends." The Attorney General told MPs he agreed with Opposition concerns over the numbers of people who could become full status Bermudians. Pointing out that even 1,000 people was a very large percentage on Bermudas scale, Mr Moniz said people were entitled to be emotional about it, particularly in light of the difficult financial circumstances the country finds itself in. While Government didn't support Mr Brown's proposed amendment, the AG promised: "This will be before the House in the not too distant future." Opposition leader Marc Bean who compared the OBA to prostitutes said that the loophole had been created under a PLP Government, and it was the party's intent to close it. "It's a loophole that the One Bermuda Alliance is looking to exploit, it's clear." Public Works Minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin hit back: "To be told we are nothing more than ladies of the night willing to be sold for 30 shekels is disgusting." And she dismissed as ridiculous that the OBA intended to exploit the legal loophole for political ends. Ms Gordon-Pamplin said Government would not support the bill "because of the fact we would like the Opposition to recognize we can put in abeyance any applications which have been made until the implications of the ruling had been discussed, and grounds of appeal to the Privy Council were considered."

March 9, 2007. Efforts by an Opposition Minister to persuade Government to provide absentee voting at the next general election - in the same way absentee voting is not only allowed but encouraged in the USA, Canada, United Kingdom and Europe has has been for some time - were defeated. Then-Shadow Minister for Legislative Reform and Justice John Barritt moved, without success, a motion in the House asking for the facility help the housebound, those on vacation, and also Bermudians studying and working abroad but with ownership or co-ownership of homes in Bermuda. Why? Because presently in Bermuda, strict voting laws bar people from voting if they have lived away for more than six months. Checks are made to see if Bermudian voters were still resident or just flying in. Many Bermudians want to come home and vote who live abroad but cannot, despite being Bermudian and having an ongoing Bermudian connection. Under Bermuda's archaic laws they are longer entitled to vote. 

Bermuda's strict laws barring votes from those who had spent a relatively short time away need to be changed. Especially as for Bermudians, irrespective of whether they live full-time or part-time abroad but own or part-own a home in Bermuda, they appear to be fully entitled to vote in Bermuda under both Bermuda's Human Rights Act and under UN law.  In the UK, British voters can be gone for up to 15 years before they lose the right to vote in UK national elections and European Union elections. Bermuda's six month limit is far too short and was one of several aspects of electoral law which needs to modernized. It means that Bermudians who are students abroad cannot vote if away from Bermuda for more than six months at a time. Presently, absentee ballots are not allowed to registered voters if they are off the Island at the time of an election or the day of the advance poll — which is just a week or so before the election - a democratic right common in other countries. In the United Kingdom every British citizen who has been registered to vote in the UK within the last 15 years is eligible to vote. If now living overseas,  for example in Bermuda, they can vote in General elections (for the UK Parliament) and European Parliamentary elections. They don’t have to go all the way back to Britain to do it, as when they register in the UK they have the choice of voting by proxy, post or in person if they happen to be in the UK on election day. 

In most British Commonwealth countries, to be eligible to vote there are only three conditions, namely you must be: a citizen; at least 18 years old, and ordinarily resident at a particular address or deemed to be sometime or full-time ordinarily resident at and/or an owner or co-owner of a property in a specific constituency.

Also see under Bermuda Citizenship.

Bermuda voters in general and other elections or referenda are at least 18 years old and are either Bermudian by birth or status, or non Bermudians, long term residents of Bermuda for decades, citizens of the (British) Commonwealth of Nations, who were otherwise registered and qualified to vote in 1979, have remained residents since then - and, like Bermudians - have registered to vote.

Most - about 78% - residents were born in Bermuda of Bermudian parents (or a Bermudian parent) and are Bermudian. Elsewhere, automatic citizenship applies to all children born there. But children born in Bermuda, without either parent being Bermudian by birth or status at the time, are not Bermudian. They are NOT allowed to register to vote in any election after they become 18 years old. All British Commonwealth of Nations nationals including Australians, Britons, Canadians, New Zealanders and West Indians and all other non Bermudians of good character and reputation who have been long term residents of Bermuda for 20 or more years but were refused Bermuda status if they applied for it and were not registered to vote in 1979, are NOT allowed to register to vote. There is no longer any mechanism providing for any other individuals who may be also be long term residents of Bermuda, but who do not have close family ties with Bermudians, to become local citizens. Without this designation, they can never vote. And because they cannot, nor can they ever own mid priced real estate by Bermuda's standards. They are limited to the top 5%  in price and Annual Rentable Value (ARV).

Under Bermuda law, the only people who are irrevocably Bermudian are those born here with at least one Bermudian parent. Those not born here from a Bermudian parent have conditional Bermuda status. They must have received it officially before 1991 (no longer issued except in the special 2002 cases mentioned below) to spouses and children of Bermudians) by virtue of residence.

Citizenship is not given to any non-national unless he or she marries a Bermudian and stays married to and lives with that Bermudian for at least 10 years and then applies for citizenship and receives it. 

Non-Bermudians not allowed to vote - even when they have been model residents in every way for years - are mostly from the USA, Britain, Canada,  Caribbean and Europe, but some are from Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Philippines and elsewhere. Without citizenship, persons also cannot buy any real estate as Bermudians can if they can afford it; are limited to the top 5 percent of property in assessed value and must pay a substantial purchase tax on top of other taxes; cannot obtain any local scholarships from any organization; and if of employable age are not allowed to take any employment but are limited to the kind of employment on a Work Permit approved by the Immigration authority of the Bermuda Government.

Minor concessions were granted in 2002 to some non-Bermudians with over 20 years of continuous residence and demonstrated good character and conduct. They were given Permanent Residents Certificates (PRCs). They took effect on October 31, 2002 with the enactment of the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 2002.  However, PRC holders (i.e. Bermuda residents of more than 20 years) still have to pay Land Tax as seniors, unlike most Bermudians who don't; cannot purchase properties with the same lower ARVs (see below) as Bermudians and have to pay the 25 percent foreign ownership tax; cannot vote and do not have access to HIP and FutureCare. Having a PRC will provide security of employment and residence to long term residents. But having either a PRC or WRC (see below) does not entitle any non-Bermudian to buy lower or mid-priced real estate. They continue to be limited to the top 5% in price and Annual Rentable Value (ARV). 

In January 2012 the situation re PRCs got worse in some respects in the vexed question of who might be entitled to Permanent Resident’s Certificate (PRC) status in Bermuda. Before then, PRC status was possible only for spouses and children of PRC holders. Until 1st August 2010, a work permit holder who landed in Bermuda before 31st July 1989 and continued to reside in Bermuda for 20 years after that date was eligible to make application for PRC status. In January 2012 Government introduced a PRC initiative designed to encourage international companies to set up or remain in Bermuda. It is currently the only way to achieve PRC status and is open only to chief executive officers (CEOs) and senior executives. The Incentive for Job Makers Act 2011 ("IJMA") came into force on 1st January 2012, amending the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956 (“Immigration Act”) and the Economic Development Act 1968. The IJMA permits employers to apply for designation under the terms of the IJMA allowing application to be made for an exemption to work permit requirements and, after ten years, for the work permit holder to apply for a PRC. There is a three-step process that must be followed and the criteria are strict. First, according to IJMA, the CEO must apply for designation as a company whose senior executive employees can apply for exemption from Part V of the Immigration Act. The criteria for designation include that the employer (referred to as 'the company') must have at least 25 persons on staff who have Bermudian Status and who are employed at all levels in the company. The company must provide entry level positions to those persons with Bermudian Status and also must have programmes in place to develop and promote those persons with Bermudian Status. Finally, the company must not have employment practices that have regularly required the intervention of the Labour Relations department or Human Rights Commission. Once the criteria have been established and the application made the Minister responsible for making the designation must consider five matters: the size of the company applying, the significance of the company to the economy of Bermuda, the existing or likely economic situation in Bermuda, the protection of local interests and, generally, the interests of the community as a whole. The Minister also has the power to consider lowering the number of persons with Bermudian Status that a company must have on its staff to qualify. Therefore it may be possible for companies with fewer than 25 such persons on staff to apply for designation the conditions for considering a lower number will likely follow those matters the Minister will have to take into account in any event. Should a company be successful in applying for designation, a senior executive will be eligible to apply for exemption from Part V and that application shall be considered by the Minister. Thereafter, the Minister's recommendations regarding the application shall be considered by a Cabinet Committee for determination. The Minister and the Cabinet Committee will need to be satisfied that an applicant meets further criteria, which includes confirmation of the designation of the company, that the applicant is indeed a senior executive, that the applicant is responsible for making decisions that are critical for the company continuing in Bermuda, that continuity must be dependent on the senior executive remaining in Bermuda, that the senior executive continued employment during the exemption/designation period, and that the company is continuing to meet the conditions for its designation. The company can apply for up to five employees to be exempted at any one time. The Minister has to be satisfied, however, that there is no person in Bermuda with Bermudian Status having sufficient qualifications and experience to efficiently undertake the work concerned. Once the senior executive has been granted the exemption he/she will be deemed eligible to apply for a PRC. In the meantime the senior executive will receive a certificate of exemption in place of a work permit, the cost of which will be $20,000. This certificate must be produced on re-entering Bermuda. Once that process has been completed the third step is to apply for the PRC itself. To do so, the senior executive must have been ordinarily resident in Bermuda for ten years. For those who were ordinarily resident in Bermuda before 1st January 2012, the ten-year qualifying condition may be reduced correspondingly with any period of ordinary residence since 1st January 2005. Therefore, the first such application for a PRC under the IJMA will be possible from 1st January 2015. The application fee for the PRC will be $120,000 such fee can be amended from time to time.

Having a qualifying Bermudian connection, such as marriage to a Bermudian of the opposite sex, is key to getting Bermuda Status (citizenship) after 10 years. Otherwise, there is no  chance at all of getting it. All others can apply for Permanent Resident Certificate (PRC) if they qualify. So far, some 800 persons have done the latter. Application criteria include being ordinarily resident in Bermuda before 31 July 1989 and for a period of 20 years immediately before application; are at least 40 years of age; and are of good character and conduct. Their full names, addresses, parishes and postal codes are published in the Official Gazette. Those with a Working Resident Certificate (WRC) - introduced in 1998 - must still apply for a PLC as some years have passed since they proved their eligibility. 

All other applicants for the PRC must also demonstrate good character and conduct and must prove that he or she was ordinarily resident in Bermuda before August 1, 1989 and be at least 40 years old on the date of application.

In most other countries, persons of good character born elsewhere who wish to become citizens can do so after 3-5 years, do not need a qualifying local connection; and can buy any real estate they wish, at any price.

Voter statistics

2017. July 18. Immediately prior to the General Election, there were 46,678 registered voters, about 60 percent of Bermuda's total current population. As soon as local citizens become at least 18 years old they can register to vote.

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