Colonel Burch: Full Budget Statement

February 21, 2011

National Security Minister David Burch said despite cuts experienced by the departments falling under his portfolio, “tough economies make us more attuned to stronger performance” when he spoke at a press conference on Friday [Feb. 18] following Government’s delivery of the 2011/12 Budget..

Lt. Col. Burch said Premier and Finance Minister Paula Cox’s theme ”of doing more with less or even the same with less” rings as true with the Ministry of National Security as it does in other areas of Government.

“As a review of the Budget will indicate, the departments within this Ministry have not been exempt from the reduction in funding that has been demanded across the board,” he said, pointing out the transition of the Immigration Ministry into the new Ministry of Border Control — incorporating elements of Her Majesty’s Customs — would continue; the Bermuda Police Service would be reviewing deployment management to prevent “burn out” among officers following reductions in Prospect’s operating budget; and plans to expand the the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service’s manpower would proceed. He also said the Bermuda Housing Corporation, which he is also responsible for, would continue “to go from strength to strength.”

Minister Burch’s full statement follows below:

Good afternoon. The theme of doing more with less or even the same with less rings as true with the Ministry of National Security as it does in other areas of Government. As a review of the Budget will indicate, the departments within this ministry have not been exempt from the reduction in funding that has been demanded across the board.

The challenges presented by this are real but I am confident that the service chiefs and their men and women are equal to the task that is before us all. Tough economies make us more sensitive to management and more attuned to stronger performance. There is less scope for turning a blind eye and the importance of prudence in the management of resources is brought into sharper focus.

I wish to assure the people of Bermuda that the successes achieved in public safety and restoring safer communities will not be sacrificed in the name of funding challenges. The Bermuda Police Service will continue to provide the coverage and targeted enforcement that has yielded the impressive results of arrests and charges through 2010. This will require some deployment management on the part of the Commissioner and he and I will continue to discuss how to meet the needs of the public in a way that does not “burn-out” the hard-working men and women of the BPS.

The Bermuda Housing Corporation continues to go from strength to strength. Loughlands, Perimeter Lane and Grand Atlantic are all at varying stages of development and occupancy so that the housing needs of our people are being met. I am pleased to announce today that on 5th March the Premier will join me in the grand opening of Harbour View Village at Southside.

The Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service will continue to provide its coverage island-wide and is slated to swell its ranks later this year as its current recruit training course comes to a close.

This Budget also gives substance to the creation of a single border protection agency. As part of the transition signposted by the Premier on assuming office, the Department of Immigration becomes the Department of Border Control and it will consist of those elements of HM Customs and the Department of Immigration concerned with this function.

In the coming weeks I expect to flesh out the new structure of such a department. This process will necessarily involve significant consultation with the Bermuda Public Services Union and the affected staff to ensure that we devise a best-practice model that strengthens our borders and the interdictive efforts conducted at them.

Every Ministry has a role to play in stimulating the economy. Every Ministry has a role to play in devising new revenue streams to fund the demands of this democracy. In this regard, a working group from across various departments is looking at land-holding policy generally with a view to advising me on what, if anything, should be done in this area that will benefit the economy.

Simply put, the Ministry of National Security will advance its mission of providing safe communities for Bermuda and her people. We will meet the challenges of these times with creative, sound management and we renew our commitment to working every day to meet the needs of our people.

Thank you.

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