New Blog

October 28th, 2010 by De Onion

Welcome Bermuda Shorts to the scene.

How do they do it with a straight face?

October 27th, 2010 by De Onion

There’s not really much more to say. After the oddly familiar airport terminal I thought nothing could produce a bigger facepalm… and then this, a pirate themed waterpark.

Who pays the architects to draw up these plans? Someone has sunk a lot of time and money into these white elephants before we see them. There is zero hope that they’ll be profitable, they just don’t work in an economy like Bermuda’s… who has deep pockets and is that bad of a businessperson other than the Bermuda Government?

How to tell when a CEO is lying.

October 20th, 2010 by De Onion

Well, given Ewart Brown and the PLP Blog’s regular pronouncements of grand successes and record of dismal failure this has some relevance: How to tell when a CEO is lying.

Lying CEOs also tend to use a lot of words that express positive emotion — things are fabulous and fantastic and extraordinary.

Here’s what Enron CEO Kenneth Lay said when he addressed his employees at a time when the company was about to implode: “I think our core businesses are extremely strong. We have a very strong competitive advantage. Of course, we are transferring this very successful business model and approach to a lot of new, very large markets globally.”

Words like that can be a form of overcompensation.

“If all my speech is ‘fantastic,’ ‘superb,’ ‘outstanding,’ ‘excellent’ and all my speech sounds like a big hype — it probably is,” Larcker says.

Yeah.

What gets me bent out of shape is that we all wanted Ewart Brown and the PLP to succeed as Premier and Tourism Minister. We all wanted tourism to do well, we all wanted full-employment, we all wanted Bermuda to flourish. We’re not critical because we’re “haters”. We’re critical because he did a bad job. We’re critical because tourism dropped dramatically during his time in office, because air arrivals fell, because hotels closed, and the bottom of Bermuda’s society suffered while those with unearned privilege sold inherited to property at a wildly inflated price.

Bad Company

October 15th, 2010 by De Onion

It slipped by unnoticed, but Bermuda’s 10 year bond issue went out at 5.6% interest while Mexico issued 100 year bonds at 6.1%.

16 years ago Mexico required a $50 billion dollar bailout after a currency crisis.

This is not good company.

10 years?!!!!

October 15th, 2010 by De Onion

So today we see the headline: Ten years for guman who shot teenager in the back … and that’s it?!

The 10 year sentence was a mandatory minimum, so presumably the judge would have gone lower had the option been available. It’s sad.

If someone is involved in a gun crime they should be deemed unfit for society and spend the majority of the rest of their life behind bars. Guns end and ruin lives, and using one should ruin yours.

Everyone has a sob story. Everyone has a momma. Everyone just made one mistake (except for this guy who has a history of violence). The only thing that makes me uncomfortable about the whole thing is that our current court system is almost designed to make accurate memory recall impossible. If we were to design a system to ensure that people had the least accurate memories of events then we’d do it by interrogations and descriptions of events in unfamiliar and stressful situations filled with other people and distractions… but that’s another story.

Another day, another headline.

October 5th, 2010 by De Onion

Fifteen teachers were not paid at the end of last month and another 90 were not paid for their scale post positions.

Teachers began working at the beginning of last month to prepare for the new school year which started on September 8.

But more than 100 of them have yet to see the full wages owed for their work.

Link here: Late pay for teachers branded as ‘unacceptable’ by union

With the Gazette’s rushed and brief nature it’s often hard to know exactly what is going on in situations like this. It’s either one-sided reporting of an honest mistake by the Ministry of Education or a symptom of a budget crisis. Odds are it’s the former.

Historically the non-payment of teachers has been an ultimate sticking point for bankrupt governments. There’s no doubt with Bermuda’s unbudgeted operating deficits that the government is headed toward the governmental equivalent of bankruptcy.

It will take a radical 180 degree turnaround in the management of the government to prevent a similar fate.

Quietly the government has already put an end to overtime for many civil service employees to conserve cash without cutting staff numbers. It’ll be interesting to see if delaying payments is the next step

Imprudent debt.

October 3rd, 2010 by De Onion

Quite a few people have been saying that Bermuda’s deficit spending is justified to boost the economy. In a word: No.

Two things.
1. Bermuda’s recession is self-inflicted. If we abandoned term limits and ran to undo the damage of the past ~7 years to our international reputation then we could resume growing. As a nuclear option, we could relax immigration rules on salaries over ~$100,000.
2. Sustained deficit spending only works when the government can invest at a higher rate of return than private people. This only happens during major depressions. It’s possible to create the short-term illusion of wealth through both government and personal debt creation but it inevitably comes to roost and is VERY ugly (see: USA 2000-2010, Japan 1992-2010, Europe 2010).

Bye Dr. Brown

October 1st, 2010 by De Onion

Dr. Ewart Brown, Bermuda’s outgoing Premier continues his self-promotion tour by receiving a tourism award. I have to ask: Who gives these things out? For years those who follow Bermuda’s tourism product have followed the spin and dishonesty with which Dr. Brown has tried to hide his failure as Tourism minister. Here’s commentary from Vexed Bermoothes and 21square.com commentary from 2009, and Larry Burchall’s recent column.

Not to mention the scandals surrounding the cruise ship docks and Correia Construction, GlobalHue’s advertising shenanigans, the Music Festival, Port Royal golf course, gambling, criticism from the Auditor General for general political incompetence, Faith Based Tourism, etc. All of these point to a long pattern by Dr. Ewart Brown of hair-brained ideas, dishonesty, and outright corruption. Yes, Faith Based Tourism was unabashed corruption – a multiple hundred thousand handout from the Bermuda taxpayer to Dr. Brown’s now indicted campaign manager Andre Curtis.

Phil Perinchief has never been a friend of the Premier and the two have reportedly come close to blows in the past so it’s not entirely surprising to see him coming out with guns blazing. The big question is “Why now?”. We knew years ago that Dr. Ewart Brown was both a bad executive and cannot be trusted.

For the good of Bermuda it’s time for the PLP’s wall of silence to come down – and I’m very hopeful seeing Terry Lister, Dale Butler and to a lesser degree Paula Cox all campaigning against the PLP of the Brown years. If only they had done it before we had a billion dollars in debt, young men in body bags, and international business sliding toward the exit.