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Published 1st September 2014, 4:0pm

Policy Coordination Unit Director Robert Lewis recently visited Bermuda to meet with Cabinet Office and other civil servants. The trip’s purpose was information exchange potentially beneficial to both offices.

Accordingly, he met with (among others) representatives from the Cabinet Office, Central Policy Unit, E-Government Department, Sustainable Development Unit, Bermuda Disability Policy Council, Department of Communications and Information and Tynes Bay Waste to Energy Facility. A synopsis of most of these meetings follows.

Among other matters, meetings with Cabinet Secretary Dr. Derrick Binns and Permanent Secretary Rosie Azhar covered the similarities and differences between Bermuda’s and Cayman’s Cabinet Office, as well as the SAGE Report, which was Bermuda’s equivalent to the recent “Rationalisation of the Public Service” exercise conducted by E&Y.

Considering the subject of waste disposal is a priority, the Ministry of Health endorsed Mr. Lewis meeting with representatives from Bermuda’s Tynes Bay Waste to Energy Plant to gather preliminary information. There he gleaned information on cost, management, operational and related data, which he relayed to the Ministry responsible for solid waste management.

The meeting with the Central Policy Unit (CPU) touched on Bermuda’s Public Access To Information Act (PATI), Cayman’s FOI equivalent, as well as internship programmes. Bermuda is at an early stage of implementation compared to Cayman, so sharing the successes and teething challenges of FOI implementation was well received by CPU representatives. It was noted that the CPU had a strong internship programme where selected Ministry officials intern with the CPU to gain experience coordination the development and implementation of cross-ministerial policy. In Cayman, the opposite has happened where Policy Analysts have been seconded to other Government entities. Bermuda’s approach is being considered.

E-Government is a priority of the Government of the day. Accordingly, Mr. Lewis met with Bermuda’s Director of E-Government to discuss implementation challenges and success there.
The Cayman Islands Disability Policy is being finalised, while Bermuda’s equivalent policy has been in place several years. It was noted that Bermuda’s Disability Policy is not supported by actionable implementation plans or appropriate legislation. It is intended that Cayman’s Policy will be backed up by actionable implementation plans and appropriate legislation.

It was observed that, unlike Cayman, Bermuda’s Sustainable Development Unit was under the remit of the Cabinet Office, rather than the equivalent Department of Environment. There the focus was toward balanced treatment of the three components of sustainability economy, environment and equity - in an entity of cross-ministerial policy coordination remit.

The three days of sharing mutually beneficial information was highly productive and Mr. Lewis was grateful for the superb hospitality of Bermudan officials. The total cost for the 5 day trip was $3,293.89, which included accommodations ($1,731.49), airfare ($937.40) and per diem ($625).