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Below are some interesting facts that arose from investigations.


LIST OF DEPARTMENTS




Under the Financial Assistance Act 2001, persons without Bermuda status cannot qualify to receive financial assistance. Possession of a Permanent Residency Certificate is not sufficient in meeting the criteria for Bermuda status.

As a consequence of the changes to the Hospital Medical Clinic, all applicants for indigent status are now required to have periodic assessments by the Department of Financial Assistance.

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Financial Assistance
Transport Control Department
HM Customs
Department of Land Valuation
Rent Commission
Pension Commission
Treatment of Offenders Board
Department of Social Insurance
GEHI
Department of Environmental Protection
Post Office
Department of Planning
Works & Engineering




If a commercial vehicle is off the road for three months the owner must notify TCD. Within 30 days of the expiry of any vehicle license, you must make a declaration to TCD regarding storage or disposal of the vehicle.

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If importers deposit an estimated duty in order to take goods from the dock and do not submit appropriate paperwork within 30 days, there is a 50% surcharge. This surcharge is based either on the actual duty (if proper documentation is submitted) or on the estimated duty (if proper documentation cannot be submitted in time).

The maximum penalty that can be levied for making misstatements on a customs declaration for and/or undervaluing the goods declared is $12,000. However, HM Customs must impose the penalty for this offence at the time of entry onto Bermuda.

For goods to be regarded as samples by HM Customs when shipped to Bermuda, they must be incomplete goods that are unable to be re-used or re-sold. Importers must ensure that the goods have the manufacturer’s stamp stating the words “sample” or “this product is a sample and is not intended for re-sale” or such other notice that the goods are samples.

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The Department of Land Valuation must send property owners/ land tax payers written notice 24 hours prior to conducting an on-site survey and assessment for land valuation purposes.

Conversion units that have the effect of creating a separate residence from an already existing structure must receive a Certificate of Use and Occupancy Permit from the Department of Planning before a Land Valuation Assessment Number can be granted.

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Persons in rent controlled housing who wish to complain about increases that were not approved by the Rent Commission must provide proof that the rent paid by the previous tenant was lower. Such proof can be obtained from the previous tenant or from the landlord who is required to give a new tenant a written statement of the previous tenant’s rent (but only if the rental unit was subject to rent control for the previous tenant).

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Subject to certain exceptions, once pension benefits become vested, the contributions (plus any interest) cannot be taken out of the pension fund as a cash lump sum. Vested funds can only be used to provide a retirement income to the plan member (or to be distributed to the member’s beneficiary). Portability to overseas pension plans is possible when a plan member terminates employment before reaching retirement age. [National Pension Scheme Act 1998]

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I
nmates facing concerns regarding their care whilst in prison may ask to meet directly with a representative of the Treatment of Offenders Board and request their assistance in resolving the issue.

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A guest worker supporting a dependent spouse must have a salary of at least $55,000 ($90,000 with a dependent child).

It is the responsibility of guest workers who must leave Bermuda before they are eligible to receive a pension refund to inform the Department of Social Insurance of their new address abroad as well as any subsequent changes of contact information.

Widows under the age of 50 years are entitled to a six month allowance from the Contributory Pension Scheme whereas those 50 years and over receive an allowance for life.

Employees who withhold information (e.g. on the medical enrollment form) and do not register unemployed spouses are responsible for paying any medical claims for their unemployed spouses.

All Health Insurance Plan reimbursement claims are to be paid within 60 days of submitting.

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An insured employee who must undergo surgery abroad is required to have a doctor’s letter submitted to GEHI and obtain GEHI’s approval before their surgery. The letter must indicate that the procedure is a medical necessity.

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The Minister for Immigration is entitled to not approve a spouse’s application for Bermuda status if the parties to the marriage are estranged for 2 years preceding the application. Estrangement may be concluded even when the parties are living in the same residence. The powers of officers in the Department of Immigration to investigate concerns raised about a spousal application are broad and may take whatever time the officers deem necessary.

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The importation of Palm plants is prohibited under the Agriculture (Control of Plant Disease and Pest) Regulations 1970.

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Postal Codes must have the two letters in front of the numbers, even for post box addresses in sub-post offices.

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If you are a neighbour of proposed developments who is asked to sign Letters of Consent, you should make sure that:
• Every line is filled out clearly before you sign;
• Developer gives you a copy of the plan that will be submitted to the Development Applications Board (DAB) (to ensure that the plan shown to you is not different from the plan submitted);
• You write in any conditions or objections you may have;
• You consult an attorney if you have any questions or concerns;
• You make and retain a copy of the Letter of Consent immediately upon signing.

Sometimes at the outset of a development or prior to revision applications, neighbours who have concerns (usually) about boundary issues may forge agreements with developers about conditions for going forward. Even those verbal agreements facilitated or witnessed by planning officers may not be recorded in planning files or conveyed to the DAB as conditions for approval of the development applications or revisions. Therefore, neighbours should ensure that all agreements made with developers are set out in writing.

The Bermuda Plans 1992 and 2008 state that fencing should retain the rustic, rural appearance compatible with the “Bermuda Image”. In practice, planning permission has not normally been required for fences four feet and under. In considering applications for fencing over four feet, the Department has decided that the material must be wood, rather than PVC.

The Ombudsman has recommended that any instructions or advice given by the Department to the public should specify or refer to the relevant sections of the Development & Planning Act, the Planning Statement or other source documents and policies. This would help to alleviate confusion with respect to highly technical requirements or procedures.

The Bermuda Coastal Erosion Vulnerability Assessment Report is available for reference at the Department of Planning. Coastal Protection and Development Planning Guidelines can be found at WWW.PLANNING.GOV.BM

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To report paint or oil spills on the roads you may contact the Superintendent for Highways at 747-3023 or the Marsh Folly Plant at 292-7454 and leave a message.


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You may request the anaesthetist of your choosing for surgical procedures at the hospital.

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Suite 102
14 Dundonald Street West
Hamilton, HM 09 Bermuda
Tel: (441) 296-6541
Fax: (441) 296-7734
info@ombudsman.bm