Full Video & Text: Premier’s National Address

December 17, 2013

Premier Craig Cannonier delivered a National Address about the Government’s accomplishments, which was carried across the major local television stations and is also available online.

The Premier’s National Address comes on the one year anniversary of their election win on 17th December 2012, which saw the OBA defeat the PLP 19-17.

Premier Cannonier said, “It’s been one year since I had the privilege of becoming your Premier. It’s been a very challenging but rewarding year. When the country voted for change, Bermuda was in deep, deep trouble.

“As you’ve heard, after our extensive ‘look under the hood’, we discovered that our worse fears, paled in comparison to the reality that faced us and continues to face us…

“One of our first actions was to stabilize the economy, seeking out emergency loans because the government was literally running out of money.”

The Premier said the Government has laid over 45 pieces of legislation in their first year, and spoke about various other accomplishments related to job growth, business, obtaining foreign investment, tourism, crime and more.

“Our focus is on stimulating foreign direct investment to create those much needed jobs,” said Premier Cannonier. “What do I mean by that?

“Foreign Direct Investment in the infrastructure of Bermuda means getting new hotels built, rebuilding the airport and similar projects that will produce jobs sooner rather than later.”

The Premier continued on to say, “After the first three quarters of 2013, Bermuda recorded the highest number of local and international company formations since 2008, ending five years of relatively consistent decline in total companies on the Register and setting the stage for further job creation.

“Since we passed payroll tax exemptions for employers to hire out-of-work Bermudians, the Island has recorded two consecutive quarters of job growth. We’ve added 420 new jobs for Bermudians between April 1st and September 30.That’s what good policies do.”

The Premier’s full speech follows below:

Good evening Bermuda, It’s been one year since I had the privilege of becoming your Premier. It’s been a very challenging but rewarding year. When the country voted for change, Bermuda was in deep, deep trouble.

We were faced with domestic and international challenges, from record high unemployment: well over a billion dollars in debt, gang shootings, a tourism industry that was on life support and an international business sector that felt disenfranchised and had lost interest in us ….because quite frankly, we had lost interest in them.

On December 17, we took the reins with a single minded focus – to provide social and economic equity for all meaning a good paying job, safe neighbourhoods and great schools –to create a community where no one is left behind.

Our aim is to breathe life back into the economy, to restore hope and dignity to individuals and families from one end of the island to the other; to move Bermuda in the right direction and on a clear path for success.

From the start, we moved forward with our jobs and economic turn-around plan: To rebuild the islands’ economic foundation. The Bermuda we were elected to govern was in a financial and reputational tailspin; something I believe all Bermudians understood in their gut, and in their wallets.

So we took months to assess what we had inherited.

As you’ve heard, after our extensive ‘look under the hood’, we discovered that our worse fears, paled in comparison to the reality that faced us and continues to face us: A bloated and unsustainable budget, thousands of people out of work, thousands of people who have left our shores, an education system whose core issues were never resolved, unsafe neighbourhoods and an unaffordable Bermuda.

One of our first actions was to stabilize the economy, seeking out emergency loans because the government was literally running out of money.

We discovered that our reputation as a place to do business had taken a beating.International business, the mainstay of our economy had been shifting people and jobs overseas. This directly impacted Bermudians. We lost jobs.

That, coupled with bureaucratic red tape and alienating policies was quickly destroying our economy.

I am consumed with finding new ways to create jobs for Bermudians NOW! I’ve heard your stories…I know your pain. It is very, very real. I want you to know that we’ve been working hard on your behalf, laying the foundation to createthe right environment for building confidence in Bermuda again to create much needed jobs.

Our focus is on stimulating foreign direct investment to create those much needed jobs. What do I mean by that? Foreign Direct Investment in the infrastructure of Bermuda means getting new hotels built, rebuilding the airport and similar projects that will produce jobs sooner rather than later!

I’m proud of the efforts of my Ministers and their teams in the Civil Service. I’ve put a tremendous amount of pressure on them to fulfill our mandate.There’s no time to waste. People’s livelihoods depend on us.

I’m proud to say that in our first year alone, we’ve laid over 45 pieces of legislation to move Bermuda in the right direction.

When it comes to jobs for Bermudians and to make Bermuda a more attractive place to do business, we ended Term Limits.

After the first three quarters of 2013, Bermuda recorded the highest number of local and international company formations since 2008, ending five years of relatively consistent decline in total companies on the Register and setting the stage for further job creation.

Since we passed payroll tax exemptions for employers to hire out-of-work Bermudians, the Island has recorded two consecutive quarters of job growth.

We’ve added 420 new jobs for Bermudians between April 1st and September 30.That’s what good policies do.

Regarding St. George’s, we’ve repealed the Park Hyatt Act opening the doors to investors interested in developing the former Club Med site.

Regarding international business and opportunities for local construction, we’ve created an economic development committee. The EDC has effectively cut the red tape and laid down a system to streamline business development applications-once again setting the stage for new jobs.

While previous administrations talked about creating a Tourism Authority, we actually did it……..within our first year.

Everyone benefits from a strong tourism product: Parishes, municipalities, our vendors, our hotels, restaurants, taxi drivers, grocery stores,…the story continues.

We have every confidence that the Tourism Authority will find innovative ways to revive the industry.

We have also been travelling and letting people know that Bermuda is an amazing place to conduct business. We have a high concentration of intellectual capital, coupled with the natural beauty of the island and its people.

But, we must do more, Bermuda, for our economy.

The SAGE Commission called on all Bermudians to advise us on ways to improve government services and accountability. The result is a comprehensive report, which after public consultation and debate will lead to a leaner, more efficient government. It is only ONE important component of the turnaround plan. It is NOT the entire plan.

One of the components of social and economic equity is safe communities. So, We provided the police with more manpower. We opened the St.George’s police station.

We activated gang mediation with trained individuals working in high impact areas to calm tensions.

We believe in the collaborative process. So we called upon our communities and church groups to also get involved. Today, due to these initiatives crime is at the lowest levels since the year 2000.

As a result, many of our seniors are no longer fearful to walk the streets and our children are not being held hostage in their own neighbourhoods.

A few more highlights of our first year:

• We outlawed discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and age.

• We cut Cabinet Ministers pay by 10%

• We passed municipal reforms to make sure taxpayers had a place at the table where decisions are taken. These are all encouraging signs and they represent a good start toward recovery and renewal.

As a new administration, we’ve also learned a lot:

That relationships are the glue that will keep these initiatives together.

That the way forward is through collaboration because we know it works.

We brought the churches together from various denominations for a national day of prayer.

We collaborated simultaneously with six Unions on behalf of the Civil Service. In an unprecedented timeline of one month, we reached an agreement to reduce the cost of government expenses for the sake of the country.

We reinstated the Economic Tripartite Committee to find even more ways to make Bermuda more affordable with grocery stores reducing the cost of food by ten percent.

We’re talking with businesses on both sides of the Atlantic about the merits of conducting business in Bermuda and we will continue to solidify existing relationships and reach around the globe to seek out new investors. We value the relationships we have with our senior citizens and their contributions to this community.

We understand their challenges and that’s why we’ve made healthcare more affordable for everyone through Futurecare.

We understand the frustrations of our young people. We realize that we must have a Bermuda that young people can come home to, having committed to the sacrifice of getting an education.

We know they ask the question “Why should I return to Bermuda? What is there to come home to? I feel unsafe. I can’t find a job. That’s why we were voted in – to provide the answers to those questions.

We know that investors were also asking ‘why should I come to Bermuda and bring my money? Others came and didn’t feel welcome….well, today, those businesses have told me personally their confidence is returning.

We recently started our second year with an increased sense of purpose to restore and renew Bermuda-to make the necessary decisions as tough as they may be- with an urgency of Now.

The times are too serious

The stakes are too high.

I cannot continue to engage in party politics while people cannot feed their families or pay their bills. As your government, we’ve chosen to put people before politics.

For example: Last week I announced that the government will not proceed with the Gaming Referendum Act and instead take the vote to the House of Assembly. We will communicate directly with you in open and transparent public forums to understand your concerns.

Last week I also demonstrated that the shared sacrifice needed to move this country in the right direction will start at the top, so I reduced my Cabinet, from 13 to 10 – making a leaner and more efficient government and delivering savings to the taxpayer.

We heard you when you told us that you didn’t want the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Center closed in St.George’s. So we found a way to keep it open with the understanding that we will find a workable solution to satisfy all stakeholders.

The New Year will bring new challenges. As you heard in the Throne Speech we’ve got an aggressive agenda – we’ve got a plan for success.

This is a country that we all love.It’s a country that we want to see prosper.

But it’s also one of the smallest and most isolated islands in the world. Throughout our history, to survive, we’ve had to reinvent ourselves time and time again. Today, we have to do it again and believe me, we will.

With God’s help, we have always been able to overcome challenges from facing storms at sea and the hurricanes that have crossed our Island to economic adversity during global wars. We now face another challenge.

How we react to this challenge will define us as a people.

These are extraordinary times that will call for extraordinary measures.

But I want you to know that I am confident that we are moving in the right direction. There are still many more tough decisions to come, but we are on the right path.

God Bless You and Good Night Bermuda.

-

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  1. Premier’s address | Bermuda Independent | December 18, 2013
  1. James Herald says:

    Just imagine if the PLP had won a year ago and this was their speech.

    “Umum like – hello. Thenk Gooo-att orr-mighty vee iss hurr umum…..”

    • Kangoocar says:

      Heard beany say the other day on a ZBM interview, ” the premier has tooken the stance” I guess he doesn’t know you should say ” taken???” And the sheeple say that Prem Cannonier can’t handle himself internationally?? What an embarrassment, bean would be if he spoke like that to potential investors in this island!!!

    • Robert says:

      James herald, i hope this not one of those amos and andy bloggs, becacuse its sounds boarder line insulating !!

    • Let's get real says:

      This is a PLP supported trying to stir up sh** and create further resentment of OBA supporters. OPEN YOUR EYES PEOPLE.

    • Sign Up says:

      Yeah, nothing worse than some broken down Bermudian up there ruining the good queens English (sarcasm). Believe it or not, lots of us common folk can relate to the umum’s and dun de rowd type talk. To mock it, as you do, is to belittle and alienate a huge percentage of my Bermudian brothers and sisters.

      And furthermore, I’d much rather have a real person, regardless of which party they represent, speaking from the heart. Not some faker who when he’s around the block with the “boys” he’s dropping the common tongue, yet when he’s wearing a suit he speaks with some watered down british accent.

      It’s statements like yours why so many Bermudians think themselves inferior. I take great pride in my unique dialect. It’s what makes me Bermudian. So get awf aw dat der bie!

      • Sandy Bottom says:

        So if you don’t like a fake British accent, you must have gagged like the rest of us when Paula Cox spoke.

        • Sign Up says:

          I couldn’t stand it. Anyone who changes how they talk to suit the circumstances seems fake to me. I have no party affiliations, so unlike most on this site, my opinion isn’t determined based on what color the person is wearing (green/red).

          I have no issue with how anyone talks, so long as its genuine and from the soul. My issue is this. II don’t like bermudians who talk with this thick accent when they’re around some, then talk completely different around others.

          But what I hate, is comments like mr heralds. Mocking the umums and don de rowd.

        • realest says:

          Paula Cox can articulate very well. She speaks clear and concise, and she has a very strong vocabulary. For you to make an insult just for the sake of making insult shows your lack of integrity and ignorance.

          • Sign Up says:

            You misinterpreted my comment. I don’t dispute that there are many Bermudians who have a clear and extensive vocabulary. My issue is persons who change how they talk depending on who they’re around.

            If you speak clearly, great. Own it, and speak it proudly. But don’t come on the block, and because you’re trying to be more relatable, start talking with some ‘broken down’ Bermudian accent.

            This isn’t an attack on any particular individual, only a personal feeling that some Bermudians are too ashamed to be who they are, regardless of how they talk.

  2. Catch 22 says:

    Lol look at the scenery we need a youth revolution in Bermuda, These dinosaurs have no clue, he is really sitting there and attempting to justify an ‘emergency’ loan ok take the loan but if your making such a drastic decision, why not make more to stimulate the economy and create jobs, what is this money for just wages? just to ‘keep the government running’ sigh,why not use some of that money to create an industry which can become profitable for us all, I have become disillusioned with our old guard both the PLP and the UBP need competition.

    • Hmmm says:

      Govt are there to govern , not create industries…..that is called the private sector. The private sector needs investment. That in most part comes from us, or overseas investors. Gaming will encourage a much needed injection into the tourism industry.

      • realest says:

        Govt can in a sense create industries so that statement is wrong.
        Not to mention, you are putting way too many eggs in the gaming basket. I don’t want to bust your bubble, but Bermuda won’t magically become Las Vegas.

      • Cracker with cheese says:

        keep on teachin

  3. OMG says:

    WOW!!
    I find it hard to understand how this premier can take credit for things that could have been as a result of policies instituted by the PLP. Crime has been declining year over year the OBA had nothing to do with that!
    INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS HAS NOT STOPPED LEAVING BERMUDA, AND WE HAVE NOT STOP LOSING JOBS!
    Please please stop politicking come up with a plan and get Bermuda back to were you truly believe it can be! If you have a vision for Bermuda tell us!

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Any sparkling viable ideas of another industry? The sound of tree frogs…more frogs…more frogs

      Life would be a whole lot better had the voters not put the PLP in again & again, but they did. Now they are getting what they asked for.

      Much is expected of the OBA, especially from PLP supporters, but the OBA has no magic button to push & instantly fix what the PLP did. As the Premier stated Bermuda is in much worse shape than they thought pre Dec 17 2012.

    • realest says:

      The plan involved abolishing term limits yet International Businesses are still leaving.

      • Sandgrownan says:

        Idiot

      • JustAskin2 says:

        Well of course. What (or should I say who) made you think they would stop. Who was it that stated around election time, that if we didn’t put the OBA in power, businesses would leave Bermuda? Or, that if we put OBA in power that businesses would stop leaving Bermuda? And who was it that fell for that line?

    • Passive Aggressif says:

      So if they (OBA)can’t take credit for the DECLINE, I therefore conclude that the PLP must take responsibility for the INCLINE in crime since that certainly took place during the PLP years. You can’t have it both ways my friend.

  4. Children always speak their mind says:

    My son asked me tonight…

    “Dad what’s wrong with his eyes, this man is a bad actor”

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Yes he is a bad actor. That is because he is not an actor. The Hollywood Premier is gone, well, sort of.

    • Hmmm says:

      Wow using your child to hate…shameful, absolutely shameful.

    • swing voter says:

      your son watches too much TV ….. you should really train him to face reality, focus on the message, instead of what someone looks like….

  5. W.T.F. says:

    “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain; I am the great and powerful Oz!!!”. What a joke. 11 minutes of pure nonsense…….obviously they’ve done nothing and achieved less.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      I guess the PDF that bernews provided yesterday was too much for you to click on & read. It was only one page & very simplified for even those with the most basic reading skills to understand.

    • frank says:

      I wonder who wrote that speech the guy is big joke will the real premier come forth

  6. See clearly says:

    Well done Premier Cannonier.
    We know you and your team inherited a broke Bermuda.Keep up the peoples work.Ypu have our vote!

  7. Bermuda First says:

    The Cannon is bad for Bermuda.
    Beany mon bad for Bermuda

    We need to attract MPs that do not chase waterfalls

    VOTE ON THE ISSUES PEOPLE.
    .,/; PARTY POLITICS!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Well tell how many achievements the PLP’s 14 year reign was? just curious! In a way i kind of agree with u to an extent because they have only been in “power” for 1 year. U can’t possibly believe they can stop the bleeding from the previous administration considering the mess that they left us in! if so u are picking “party” over BERMUDA and that makes me SICK!

  9. Rock watcher says:

    When we renovate the airport can we RENAME IT……PLP named it now the OBA turn to name it……

    • Passive Aggressif says:

      PLP renamed everything Airports, buildings, clinics, holidays.

    • Cracker with cheese says:

      I have an idea , how about …… Bermuda International Airport

    • Robert says:

      Maybe they should have been named after those who made this country the financial success it is, at the expense of those who’s backs that financial success was built on !!!!!!

  10. For Bermuda says:

    I don’t get how so many commenters seem to think things can turn around overnight!! Are they for real?? Do they NOT get that it will take a whole lot of change to get things HEADING in the right direction?? This is the first time Bermuda has ever been in such a mess, and that took many years to create while people ignored it or turned a blind eye…. And now you expect everything to be put right in ONE year or less??? Get real!! At least OBA seems to be doing their best to get things heading in a good direction… For goodness sake- give it time to start working, stop criticizing and start being part of the solution instead of part of the problem… If you have great ideas, tell your MP, talk to those in Govt Depts, serve on a Board… Volunteer to help those I need (and there are LOTS in case you haven’t noticed)… And stop with the complaining and start being constructive instead of DEstructive!!!

    • Passive Aggressif says:

      They don’t …they are just critical of everything not PLP. In reality they are GREEN with envy now.

      • Let's get real says:

        And all they can do apparently is dislike comments. No thought process whatsoever.

    • realest says:

      “One of our first actions was to stabilize the economy, seeking out emergency loans because the government was literally running out of money.”

      How in one breath he speaks about emergency loans, yet in another he talks about investing in infrastructure and rebuilding the airport? That’s a serious contradictory message.

      To say the economy has stabilized is a bold public lie; the economy is still declining Bob Richards also made this clear. Term Limits are abolished and International Businesses and expats are still leaving.

      “Foreign Direct Investment in the infrastructure of Bermuda means getting new hotels built, rebuilding the airport and similar projects that will produce jobs sooner rather than later.”

      When did it occur to the Premier that investing in infrastructure for example rebuilding the airport and similar projects falls under FDI? He made a clear mistake addressing the public with incorrect information.

    • JustAskin2 says:

      Haven’t they had plenty of time already? How much longer will we have to wait for good ideas and see unemployment numbers drop?

  11. Navin Johnson says:

    Now here this..this is your Central Committee speaking…you must disagree with and attempt to take over Bernews…

  12. Andrew Carmichael says:

    I mistakenly had the television on, and heard part of this speech. I had to put my hip waders on to get through the BS. I am one that has decided to absolve myself, as much as I can, from all politics! That includes elections! Please let me know when you find politicians that are honest, that have integrity, and will work for the country.

    • swing voter says:

      so Andrew, when the announcement is made that the ground breaking at the old Southampton NAS is scheduled and Bermudian carpenters are required….you won’t bother to show up right? yeah I guessed right….**tree frogs**

  13. blackbird says:

    Bring on the next election please, OBA will be a one hit wonder and they know it!

    • swing voter says:

      lol not if there is 100% employment and we all have night jobs jus like we did under the big bad ole UBP….u bies make me laugh. where else in the world could a 1980′s bartender/wine steward build 3 houses with 15 apartments while working nights at South P Newport Room

  14. Better Bermuda says:

    there was nothing forward thinking in the address…pity.

  15. Somebody's Momma says:

    I guess the Premier could not have inspired his OBA supporters because instead of raving about the his great speech they do the usual anit-PLP or blame the PLP comments. Why don’t OBA supporters highlight some of the great things the Premier revealed last night.

  16. more than enough says:

    read between the lines

    “we discovered that our ‘worse’ fears,paled in comparison to the reality that faced us”

    “when it comes to jobs for bermudians” “we ended term limits”

    “our focus is on stimulating foreign direct investment”

    “we believe in the collaborative process”

    “to make the necessary decisions” “with an urgency of now”

    • JustAskin2 says:

      “when it comes to jobs for Bermudians” “we ended term limits”

      So… how’s that working out?