BPSU March: BDA & UBP Leaders Respond

April 27, 2011

Both the leaders of the BDA and UBP have commented to yesterday’s march on Cabinet by members of the BPSU. BDA Leader Craig Cannonier said that “Government is out of touch and until they start exhibiting the willingness to work for the people, the unrest will intensify and the country will continue to suffer,” while Opposition Leader Kim.Swan said he is disappointed that “the PLP Cabinet Ministers do not see the importance of walking a mile in the shoes of our people.”

Yesterday [Apr.26] morning, hundreds of BPSU members marched to the Cabinet Grounds, and handed a letter to Acting Premier Michael Scott, requesting that there be no compulsory redundancies, reasonable steps to work towards a price freeze for essential goods, and that Ministers consider a salary cut – which the Premier ruled out last week.

BPSU March Letter To Premier Bermuda April 26 2011-1

Bermuda Democratic Alliance Leader Craig Cannonier’s statement:

What we are witnessing are Bermudians acting in a responsible manner to get our Government to understand that “we as a people are hurting”. Local businesses are dying by the dozens, citizens are losing their jobs, cost continue to skyrocket and all are wondering “Whose steering the ship?”At present, there’s no “Were in this together feeling” and that is why we are seeing the frustration.

We are on a course of serious ramifications, Government has failed to make the people of this country feel satisfied that enough is being done to steer us onto better pastures.

That’s why our Premier and Ministers are being asked to include themselves in a pay cut. Our Government is out of touch and until they start exhibiting the willingness to work for the people, the unrest will intensify and the country will continue to suffer. The worse is yet to come and that my fellow Bermudians is our reality.

Opposition Leader Kim.Swan’s statement:

I am disappointed that the PLP Cabinet Ministers do not see the importance of walking a mile in the shoes of our people.

I reiterate the call for Cabinet Ministers to take note of the fragile mood of the country and recognise the real reasons Bermuda is suffering in this unacceptable economic state.

The late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr in a speech once spoke of the ‘Urgency of Now’. We the political Leaders in Bermuda must also be mindful of the Urgency of Now, as it relates to the myriad of problems our country faces.

Never before in modern times have we experienced economic hardship of this magnitude. Hence, I am disappointed that the Premier and her Cabinet Colleagues have not yet seen the value of demonstrating to the people of Bermuda that they understand their pain.

I will continue to urge them (Government Ministers) to take another look at their approach and the part it plays in the need for our people to march.

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Comments (30)

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  1. Hmmmmm says:

    Good to see Criag Cannonier demonstrating such empathy with the BPSU’s cause; his grammar is as bad as theirs….

    • Terry says:

      If Mr. Scott is Acting Premier, where the hell is the Deputy Premier. Um so cunfoozed………

      I mean wah gutt ah lutt uv actuz but jingus……..What’s that saying…when the cats away the mice will play………………….Nobody home……………….baddar ketch dee bus nah……”Hey!!!!! You a tourists…..Gatt horff mighy bus…………(Tony Orlando and Dawn/is approaching.

      Guess Mike Dahonkely is in chargde us milk cartons now ( White containment)……I need a beer………………An verz Stenlee High…….could’nt make dee cut…..bwahaaaaaaaa

      • The 411 says:

        Only your first sentence could be understood by the literate folk. But the Deputy Premier is apparently off island as well.

      • SM says:

        As usual, nothing constructive to add…..

    • The 411 says:

      I don’t know who you are but I like you. You are so witty. I liked your piece yesterday and said as much.

  2. Preto Plato says:

    Two statements, and nothing said about what they would do if the were the Government or what they think about the BPSU suggestions/demands except for the fact they think Ministers should take a pay cut, but the opposition leader and MPs should not.

    I can’t beleive the gas man (who got a payroll tax cut) is talking about “we’re in this together”. OK, give a Gas Rebate then, from the money you saved from your payroll tax cut! Oh wait its gone into your pocket.

    Hypocrites the lot of them.

  3. sigh says:

    Yet again the BDA and UBP attempt to capitalize on what they feel are the deficiencies or failures of a PLP government, but fail to identify what they would do.

    The PLP government has not reduced any jobs through layoffs in the civil service. They have preserved employment.

    The BPSU members must have the common sense to know that it is very difficult for any government to GUARANTEE no redundancies going forward. I cannot even believe that language was in the letter.

    Regarding the Ministerial Salaries, they asked government to consider reducing their salaries. Well, government considered it and decided no.

    I feel that the BPSU march was unnecessary. They are being listened to. They met with Premier Cox on Monday. They are not being ignored. People seem to feel that if they dont get what they want, then that means they are being ignored. Not so.

    Everyone is going through challenging times. Not just the BPSU. Some non-unionized workers havent had raises in years. The BPSU have had increases and are still being offered one. In healthier economic times, their raises far exceeded the cost of living increases. In these current times instead of simply making it about finances, what about the union hosting workshops and seminars with their members on how to best manage their finances…how to adjust their lifestyles…how to best manage the situation. It may come down to members realizing that they may not have the luxury of that 2 week summer vacation to Orlando that we all think we are entitled to. It may be a mindset thing that we all have to adjust to.

    This issue is not government alone to solve.

    • 32n64w says:

      “Yet again the BDA and UBP attempt to capitalize on what they feel are the deficiencies or failures of a PLP government, but fail to identify what they would do”

      Oh this is just too funny. The UBP presented a comprehensive budget reply in 2011 with numerous proposals (as they have done in every preceding year) but when the sh*t hits the fan and the errors of the PLP ways come home to roost you now want to ask them what they’d do? Did you even read the reply?

      “This issue is not government alone to solve.”

      Quite right, however, the first thing the PLP could do is take ownership of the problem which they’ve had a major hand in making. As Tom Vesey correctly pointed out in today’s Bermuda Sun article: MPs must start taking responsibility for spending cuts http://bermudasun.bm/main.asp?SectionID=4&SubSectionID=135&ArticleID=51748):

      “When elections roll round, the politicians stand up front and centre and take credit for, well, just about everything that is good.

      They are fine human beings with the power and energy to make good things happen. They will buy you this and build you that, expand this programme and push that project through to completion.

      But what happens in between, in times like these, when there is no election and plenty of bad news to be shared?

      Everybody suddenly becomes anonymous. The cheery fellow with the big smile and the hearty handshake changes roles in a hurry. Instead of being the mover and shaker, he is the helpless pawn in a global economic downturn.”

    • Critical says:

      “I feel that the BPSU march was unnecessary. They are being listened to. They met with Premier Cox on Monday. They are not being ignored. People seem to feel that if they dont get what they want, then that means they are being ignored. Not so.”

      Do you honestly think the premier would have met with the BPSU if they were not going to march?? If so, why would she meet the day before?? It was necessary.

      What members of the public who criticize the BPSU’s march fail to realize is that civil servants see the workings of the Government and see the excess and unnecessary spending that goes on.

      It’s like your boss telling you he has no money to pay you for one month, but yet he buys a $1000 pencil despite the fact you told him they cost $1 at a particular store.

      “The BPSU have had increases and are still being offered one. In healthier economic times, their raises far exceeded the cost of living increases.”

      Far exceeded?? If you are educated and have qualifications, the civil service pays less than the private sector in an equivalent job causing a high turnover rate of qualified Bermudians in Government, hence there are many qualified accountants, surveyors etc from overseas working in Government. Many of the Bermudian ones work in the private sector.
      Civil servants probably get the most deductions out of their pay than any private sector industry.

      Your comment: ”In these current times instead of simply making it about finances, what about the union hosting workshops and seminars with their members on how to best manage their finances…how to adjust their lifestyles…how to best manage the situation”

      The BPSU does have workshops on budgeting and finance that are held at lunch hours or after work hours about budgeting, finances etc. THEY DO THESE THINGS.

      • sigh says:

        Yes I do think Premier would have met with them. Has she denied them the opportunity to meet before?

        No one is questioning whether government is the most efficient or not. worldwide, governments are not known to be the most efficient organisations…however, the terms and conditions that the BPSU was requesting are unreasonable.

        Yes – far exceeded. Even the former president of the Trade Union Congress stated that for too many years the Unions made out like bandits, and now there is a sense that it should continue, whether the economy supports it or not.

        With people in private industry losing jobs left right and center, perhaps the union members would realise that they are indeed fortunate that the government has made the conscious decision to not cut any jobs. They would be well within their right to downsize due to the financial situation. Our civil service suffers from overemployment. That is no secret. However, knowing the trickle down effect that would be caused by cutting govt jobs, Premier Cox specifically has refused to make that move and not force hardship on more people.

        You speak about the accountants, surveyors, etc working in government. They are fortunate to still be employed, as there are many accountants, and other people working in the private sector who have been made redundant and have no recourse to march, or strike or anything.

        I just think at this time, with people losing jobs left right and center, it is a bit disingenuous to be marching for a raise and placing these demands on the government. And to pretend that you aren’t being heard. Like i said before, just because you don’t get what you want, doesn’t mean that you are being ignored. I think many people get the two things confused.

        • So what says:

          Everybody has recourse, sigh – you can vote, you can demonstrate, you can march. But shouldn’t everyone really be upset about the years and years of appalling waste of public money by a government not committed to accountability – hundreds of millions of dollars, people, hundreds of millions. If this money was in the bank now, no one would be asking anyone to take a pay cut. Isn’t that the issue?

          • Tired of nonsense says:

            You can’t be upset at your own “team’s” performance. It would be blasphemy to do so.

            Don’t you know blind loyalty is everything? Just ask Senator Furbert how she attained her position. It wasn’t from her overflowing and abundance of intellectualism and progressive ideas.

  4. Selina says:

    The Premier, Deputy Premier and Education Minister are all off island. The tax payers are asking the Government to “LISTEN UP” but no one is at home. What is really happening with Bermuda and who is leading this Country???

    • sigh says:

      The Premier is attending the Royal wedding as part of her official responsibility. The Education Minister is meeting with University of West Indies leadership regarding further education developments between their institution and Bermuda College. I dont understand your point.
      The Premier met with the BPSU members on Monday night. Is she supposed to postpone all her responsibilities until they are satisfied? I think not.
      There is an Acting Premier on duty, and in this technologically advanced world, any leader is on a keystroke away. Would you prefer every government member remain in Bermuda 24/7/365. Yes the travel budget would be smaller, but in some cases travel is necessary for networking and to work outside of Bermuda for Bermuda’s behalf.

      • 32n64w says:

        I have no problem with the Premier attending the Royal wedding, however, do you agree that taxpayers should fund her spouse’s attendance as well?

        What exactly is Dame Jennifer and a team of civil servants doing in Jamaica (i.e. not sum fluff about “further education developments”) that absolutely, positively requires their personal attendance?

        What couldn’t have been satisfactorily achieved via conference call, email, fax, post or a combination of the foregoing?

        • sigh says:

          Her spouse was invited. And yes his trip should be paid.

          Obviously Dame Jennifer and her team are meeting with people and having on-site discussions. Perhaps observing different things in action.
          Are you really serious? You must know that some things are not simply able to totally be done electronically.

          • Here Here says:

            Ignorance Sigh…Poor ignorance. They don’t see that Paula should be there. With her husband. Representing Bermuda.

  5. Sick and tired says:

    If one of the Opposition voices in the above article has a university degree, he should ask the school for a refund. I am getting sick and tired of intellectual marginals telling me they are good enough to lead me and my country. If they cannot pay attention to grammatical details, they are unlikely to pay attention to other details. How you write and speak, particularly in a public domain, will always be evaluated. Your credibility is affected adversely by poor grammar usage. You may have a good message but I stop reading when you have the types of grammatical errors made by first graders.

    • Here Here says:

      So funny. So sad at the same time. I thought I was the only one who felt like this…

      • LOL (original) says:

        What’s even funnier is that you sound just like 1940 whites.

        LOL

        • Sick and tired says:

          What is funny? I am black. I just happen to think that you should have a brain, and demonstrate some intellect, if you aspire to lead me. I no longer want to be led by arrogant dunces. Do not try to play the race card. Dumb has no colour – it is lust plain dumb.

          • LOL (original) says:

            Great but that still does not change that you’re complaining about things as spelling and grammar without even considering the message. Similar things white used to do to blacks as a way of ignoring them back in the day or did that not happen. I do agree Dumb has no color neither does bias, hate, intolerance toward others because they don’t think like you, look like you or do as you do. I feel the same way about some the politicians we have in GENERAL but I note I do not see you criticizing them equally or holding them equally to account so you are playing the race card too just more subtly. I will run the race card until its dead but that’s my goal anyway.

            LOL

  6. Spikes says:

    The new alliance is just warmed over UBP members. You can’t teach an old dogs new tricks. Lol

    • Tired of nonsense says:

      So i guess teaching the PLP how to govern effectively or at least govern in a manner which doesn’t bring down the whole country is out of the question as well?

  7. Watching! says:

    New party name should be “crap”. Because they can guarantee that is what we will hear! I still have issues with a couple of these MP’s sitting in the House under a banner that they were NOT elected under. AND they have the nerve to critise the PLP! All the same if you ask me. No confidence in Bermuda..what a shame.

    • Tired of nonsense says:

      Guess you feel the same way about Wayne Furbert then?

      • LOL (original) says:

        That just an inconvenient fact that they will ignore on the PLP side while trying to keep their supports distrustful of those said MPs.

        LOL that politics for ya

      • Watching! says:

        Yes I do! He is useless and always has been. Younever listen to him? No clue!

  8. Oops, it slip out says:

    Did you know that Mr. Craig Cannonier objects to his Employee’s been Unionize? Oops, Don’ t you think that the worker needs a voice?