I am pleased to share information on the Ministry of Home Affairs’ plans and initiatives for the 2023-2024 budget year.
For the fiscal year 2023/24, the Ministry of Home Affairs has received an estimated budget allocation of $18,376,000, which is $401,000 or 2% less than the fiscal year 2022/23.
The Ministry’s budget includes the following Departments:
➢ Ministry Headquarters
➢ Registry General
➢ Department of Planning
➢ Land Valuation
➢ Environment and Natural Resources
➢ Land Title & Registration
This year, significant attention of the Ministry of Home Affairs will focus on projects delivered through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources:
Department of Environment and Natural Resources
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, or DENR, is responsible for managing and regulating 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.
This year DENR will continue to focus its efforts on protecting our environment, increasing local food production and assisting the industry in reducing local production costs – which will translate into increased food security and reduced cost of living for our residents.
DENR and the Board of Agriculture have developed and will implement an integrated agriculture strategy that includes reviewing the National Crop Strategy 2016-2021, the draft Dairy Strategy and completing new livestock, poultry, honey and aquaculture components.
DENR will also update the Agriculture Act 1930 and its attending regulations, including registering farmers to help prevent the selling of crops stolen from our hard-working farmers.
We will also provide direct support to farmers via a highly experienced consultant agronomist, who, supported by a local trainee, will prioritize addressing the sector’s needs. The individual will have specialized expertise in critical issues such as soil management, pest and disease surveillance, procurement of seeds and supplies, and developing a trial variety program. DENR will also assist farmers by implementing measures to reduce “nighttime farming” of crops through better surveillance of fields and improved enforcement.
Concerning protecting our environment, traditionally, the Department engaged several local entities to undertake specialized studies, specifically the Ambient Air and Water Quality, the Amphibian Research Project, and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, also known as SPCA.
I am pleased to advise that funding for the Ambient Air/Water quality monitoring programme, the Amphibian programme and the SPCA have been reinstated. The SPCA grant of thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) will assist with the delivery of their programs and help the Department of Environment and Natural Resources manage the island’s dog population.
A grant of fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) will continue the effort towards identifying persistent organic pollutants impacting our ponds and other parts of our environment. Also, to ensure DENR can meet its monitoring requirements as mandated by the Clean Air Act 1991 and Water Resources Act 1975, Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS) will receive a grant for two hundred and thirty thousand dollars ($230,000).
Over the next fiscal year, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources focus will be on achieving these objectives. However, it is important to note other ongoing initiatives of critical importance, which include:
➢ Introducing legislation towards the elimination of most single-use plastics;
➢ Creation of the Marine Development Plan; and,
➢ Introducing the Energy Regulatory Sandbox and Green Energy Environmental Justice Fund.
I assure all of Bermuda that we will continue to seek opportunities that positively impact the future well-being of our country and guide us on our path to continued economic growth.
I will provide a more fulsome report of the Ministry’s budget plans during the Budget Debate in the House of Assembly.
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