Response to Scott Pearman
The Progressive Labour Party (PLP) must address the unfounded and irresponsible allegations made by Mr. Pearman from the OBA, regarding the decision to hire and retain consultants by the Public Service to support the delivery of government services. The Progressive Labour Party (PLP) cannot let such damaging conjecture go unanswered.
The assertion that the retaining of Mr. Simmons, who recently retired from the public service, is a maneuver to "divert public funds to private use" is not only baseless and reckless, but it betrays a gross misunderstanding of how the government operates and is a deliberate smear attempt.
It is common practice for Public Officers who end their term of employment to be asked to provide services for a fixed period while the recruitment concludes for their replacement. If this is not the case, the Bermudian taxpayer is at a disadvantage as services provided by the Government or technical expertise can be lost. Should this common practice not be the case just because of whom someone is married to?
It should be common understanding for OBA MPs that all public funds are safeguarded through adherence to Financial Instructions and policies. As such, financial instructions dictate the processes that public officers must follow to engage someone in a consultancy role to ensure the proper use of public funds. These consultancy arrangements, approved by the Head of the Public Service, are handled by professional and non-partisan public officers. This process was followed in this case. Today’s headline in the daily newspaper could have easily read, “Public Officers Caught Following the Rules”, - but it wasn’t, as the combined opposition is at work yet again to somehow cast aspersions when rules to ensure public funds are spent properly as followed.
Mr Pearman's accusations not only malign our diligent public servants but undermine the principles of good governance - that those who cannot defend themselves shouldn’t be attacked publicly. The PLP will not tolerate these misleading allegations that only try to undermine public trust in the work of the public service. We would hope that Mr Pearman, and by extension, the OBA, would focus on constructive criticism holding the Government to account when rules are broken - rather than resorting to cheap defamatory tactics when rules are followed - because it is politically expedient to do so.