In the 2019 Budget, the Minister of Finance, Curtis Dickinson, said: “Mr Speaker, over the years, the Government has been incurring millions of dollars in credit card charges due to taxpayers using their credit cards to pay their taxes. Effective April 2019, Government will start to recover these fees by way of a recharge fee for this convenience.”.
In his “clarification” to the recent “misleading” press statement issued by the Department of Communication regarding the credit card tax, the minister is quoted as saying: “Payroll tax payments are the issue and my intention and the Government’s policy is to recover these fees by way of a recharge fee for this convenience.”
It appears that the Government is once again retreating from being able to align its actions with its statements.
The minister’s outrage expressed at the “egregious” error regarding the release of erroneous information by a civil servant is laudable.
However, why was that same level of outrage not displayed when Bermuda found itself landed on the European Union blacklist on March 12?
In his comments regarding the press statement error, the minister stated that he would expect that conditions of employment and the code of conduct for the public services would be “applied as necessary”.
This standard must, by default, then also apply to whoever is responsible for jeopardising our hard-earned reputation and the financial security of the businesses and residents of Bermuda.
One would also think that with an extra $2.5 million having been allocated for its communication efforts, the Government would be able to implement a fail-safe process to approve a press release.
• Craig Cannonier is the Leader of the Opposition and the MP for Devonshire South Central (Constituency 12)