Bermuda Government

On 22 December 2014, counsel for the Corporation of Hamilton (the “Corporation”) initiated proceedings to challenge the constitutionality of certain amended sections of the Municipalities Act 1923 (the “Act”) (the “Proceedings”). On 26 January 2015, the Minister of Home Affairs (the “Minister”) exercised his right under section 7B(6) of the Act and provided notice to the Corporation that he intended to assume temporary stewardship of it (the “Stewardship”).

Agathe Holowatinc
- In Canada, the Access to Information Act provides the public the right of access to information under the control of a federal government institution. In the USA, the Freedom of Information Act allows for the disclosure of documents controlled by the United States government to the public. In the UK, the Freedom of Information Act gives the public the right to obtain access to information held by public authorities. In the Cayman Islands, these rights fall under the Freedom of Information Law. In Jamaica, the relevant legislation is the Access to Information Act. In Trinidad and Tobago, it’s the Freedom of Information Act.

Agathe Holowatinc
The Governor George Fergusson delivered the annual Throne Speech on November 7, laying out the Bermuda Government's plans for the upcoming year. Economic recovery will continue to be the national priority, the Government announced. This speech marked the opening of a new parliamentary year, the third under the new One Bermuda Alliance Government and the first under their new party leader and Premier Michael Dunkley.

Jennifer Haworth

SAGE Commission [report cover]The SAGE Commission

The Spending and Government Efficiency Commission (the “SAGE Commission”), an election platform item for the One Bermuda Alliance (“OBA”), was created in the first quarter of 2013 following on from Bermuda’s national election last year in which the OBA emerged as the new governing party. The OBA had indicated during their election campaign that if they were successful, one of their early objectives would be to establish the SAGE Commission with a view to making the Bermuda Government more efficient, cost effective and transparent in light of the economic challenges currently being faced.

Agathe Holowatinc
The One Bermuda Alliance Government has promised to continue to make revitalisation of the Bermuda economy its primary focus as it enters its second year in power. The promise featured prominently in Government’s Throne Speech (777 KB PDF) which marked the beginning of a new session of the Bermuda Legislature, and in which the one year old Government set out its plans for the forthcoming parliamentary year that began in early November.

The recent Supreme Court decision of The Bermuda Ombudsman v Corporation of Hamilton et al (420 KB PDF) [2013] SC (Bda) 72 Civ. which was handed down on 7 October 2013, sheds light on the authority that is vested in the office of the Ombudsman (the “Ombudsman”) and the weight that a summons issued by the Ombudsman has. The Ombudsman is a statutory body whose powers devolve from the Ombudsman Act 2004 (the “Act”).  The Ombudsman’s main jurisdictional function is to investigate maladministration on behalf of a public authority (section 5 of the Act).

-A non-Bermudian can only buy a property in Bermuda if they have acquired a licence to do so. This involves applying to the Minister of National Security and paying an application fee which is approximately $1,500 and is refunded if the licence is granted. Once the licence is granted the licensee may purchase a property in Bermuda subject to certain restrictions. Not all property on the market in Bermuda is available to the licensees, and roughly only 5% of the market is accessible. These are generally houses that start at $3.5 million and condominiums that start at around $800,000. The houses must have a minimum ARV (Annual Rental Value) of $177,000 and the condos must have an ARV of at least $32,400 in order to be extended to non-Bermudians. Undeveloped land is not available to non-Bermudians and they are restricted from renting or subdividing the property which they have acquired.