The Ministry of Finance acknowledges the Auditor General’s assessment of the unemployment benefit programme. As noted in our statement delivered earlier in the year (https://www.gov.bm/articles/ministerial-statement-public-treasury-administration-and-payments-amendment-and-validation), because of the critical nature of ensuring that funding was provided to these vulnerable persons on a timely basis, there were instances in which there was insufficient time for UEB applications to be completed within the full review and approval process, prior to making payments (in accordance with the UEB Regulations).
This crisis required the well-being of Bermuda residents to be given the highest priority. We made the necessary decisions to ensure that the most vulnerable in our society had funding for the basic necessities of life and to keep them and their families out of extreme poverty during a time of unprecedented hardship. It was a time when saving lives had to take precedence over rigid adherence to rules for the greater good.
We will continue our work to strengthen our procedures. We will incorporate the Auditor General’s recommendations into our approach where a gap has been identified.