Home Affairs Overview of Budget Plans

Good afternoon and thank you for coming.

Today, I am pleased to share information on the Ministry of Home Affairs’ plans and initiatives for the 2022-2023 budget year.

For the fiscal year 2022/23, the Ministry of Home Affairs has received an estimated budget allocation of $18,777,000, which is $1 million above the fiscal year 2021/22. 

The Ministry’s budget includes the following Departments:

• Ministry Headquarters

• Registry General

• Department of Planning

• Land Valuation

• Environment and Natural Resources

• Energy

• Land Title & Registration

This year the Departments that fall under the Ministry of Home Affairs will be focusing on the following major projects:

Department of Energy

The Department of Energy develops policy, legislation and regulation in order to ensure a secure energy future for Bermuda.

The Department of Energy is responsible for: 

• The development of energy policies within Government and throughout Bermuda:

• Educating the public on energy related matters, including highlighting issues with fossil fuel dependence, energy efficiency and conservation, as well as renewable and alternate energy technologies.

• Provides consultation to the Department of Planning for energy-related development applications.

This term, the Department of Energy, working alongside the regulatory Authority will manage the work towards introducing the Energy Regulatory Sandbox. 

This work will allow the Ministry to table legislation to introduce an energy regulatory sandbox that will encourage new renewable energy technology developers to test their products in Bermuda. The legislation will also encourage investment into Bermuda, providingjobs for Bermudians and giving them access to new technologies. 

The Ministry of Home Affairs through the Department of Energy will also work toward introducing a Green Energy Environmental Justice Fund to provide capital to deploy solar installations throughout the Island. This fund will be available to all residents, allowing many across the island to invest in renewable energy solutions. The same governance structure that will be legislated for the Blue Investment fund structured by the Waitt Institute, will also be applied to the Green Energy Fund. 

The structure being undertaken will also involve consultants, Energy Infrastructure Partnership (EIP). The consultants will continue to be paid out of the professional services budget in the Ministry of Home Affairs 

Department of Environment and Natural Resources

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has responsibility for the management and regulation of fisheries, marine conservation, marine heritage, terrestrial conservation and nature reserve management, pollution control, agriculture, animal and plant management and the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo.

The elimination of single-use plastics is a criticalmatter given the interrelated issues of plastics, climate change, ocean pollution and human health.  Cabinet approved a draft policy recommendation in August 2021. This was the subject of public consultation during September and October 2021.  Further consultation will be held with retailers, grocers, and importers to determine how to implement realistic, financially viable solutions. Following this, we will analyse all the feedback provided in preparation for drafting the necessary legislation. This project is not incurring any additional expense.

Additionally, Bermuda has benefitted from funding from the UK Government and the Waitt Institute towards projects that include thefollowing:

• Marine Development Plan

The creation of the Marine Development Plan will include: 

(1) A marine spatial plan Identifying the 20% preservation of the EEZ; 

(2) Governance surrounding the development of the sustainable industries within the EEZ, including Blue Tourism, Fisheries and Renewable Energy; and

(3) Introducing the Governance structure of the Blue Investment Fund. Much of the Marine Development Plan’s developmenthas been funded by the WAITT Institute/ Foundation. The Bermuda Government has contributed resources from the Ministry of Home Affairs, particularly the Department of: Environment and Natural Resources.

Part of the plan includes the Marine Enforcement Plan, which includes work by Blue Shield, which the UK Government funds.

Over the next fiscal year, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources focus will be on achieving these objectives. 

• Climate Study

The issue of climate change is an existential threat to humanity.  The science is evident inthe observed effects of human activities on the planet due primarily to the burning of fossil fuels and increased greenhouse gas emissions. With the assistance of Government House, the Ministry of Home Affairs has secured funding from the UK Government for a new and expanded study to understand the impacts of sea-level rise and changing storm activity as an urgent first step in the fight against climate change .

Over the next fiscal year, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources focus will be on achieving these objectives. 

It is important to note that again, the Bermuda Government has contributed resources as a cross-ministerial climate change task force with representatives from the Ministries of Home Affairs, which include the Department of Planning, Energy, Environment and Natural Resources and HQ, as well as the Ministry of Finance, Transport (including the Bermuda Weather Service) and Public Works.

Considering the challenges this country and the world continue to face, the Ministry’s plans will be continuously scrutinised and adjusted as necessary to ensure we are on target to achieve our goals. At the same time, the Ministry will continue to seek out opportunities that will enable the Government to grow the economy. 

Thank you.