Video/Text: Premier Dunkley’s National Address

April 27, 2015

“‎It’s been 29 months since this Government won a hard fought election. In that time, we have accomplished much, but there is much more to do,” Premier Michael Dunkley said to begin his National Address this evening [April 27].

“We are taking the steps necessary to turn around the economy, grow jobs and build a safe, secure future for you and your families.‎ Along the way we’ve made some tough decisions, while making sure each one helps move the Island toward a more inclusive and fair way of life,” the Premier added.

Premier Dunkley said, “Bermuda, since we were elected, this Government has taken pains to make clear the very serious challenges we face as a people – with unsustainable Government finances, with a shrinking economy that has cost thousands their livelihoods and with social support programmes straining to meet demand.

“We’re doing all we can to get Bermuda moving in the right direction. We are confident the recovery is taking hold, but we cannot do it alone. So I appeal to you to think about what you can do to help your Island home. It could be mentoring a child, donating to a charity or helping people in need.

“Once you decide what you can do, then commit to doing it, commit to the life of the community, extend a helping hand wherever possible. Bermuda, we are a good people being tested in big ways. Let’s use this time to come together, to work together, exercising tolerance and respect. Let’s use these testing times as an opportunity to make Bermuda better, to make it more open, fair and inclusive.”

Premier’s Dunkley’s full statement follows below:

Hello Bermuda.

‎It’s been 29 months since this Government won a hard fought election. In that time, we have accomplished much, but there is much more to do.

We are taking the steps necessary to turn around the economy, grow jobs and build a safe, secure future for you and your families.‎ Along the way we’ve made some tough decisions, while making sure each one helps move the Island toward a more inclusive and fair way of life.

This past Parliamentary year was a busy one, with some notable highlights, such as the passage of America’s Cup legislation and the Casino Gaming Act to facilitate hotel development. Both these initiatives are part of an economic development strategy to stimulate the economy and rebuild tourism.

We also brought forward legislation allowing for the use of approved cannabis-based pharmaceuticals, providing patients with new treatment options. Despite some criticism, this was a good first step in our phased approach toward reform of cannabis laws.

April 1st saw the Public Access to Information or PATI come into effect. This landmark legislation is the latest example of the Government’s commitment to making Bermuda more transparent, more accountable and more open.

Public Service reform remains a priority, with the goal of providing Bermuda with a government it can afford while delivering the services Bermudians need and want.

In Education, we have been working steadily to improve the classroom environment where knowledge, understanding and abilities develop. We are strengthening teacher skills and qualifications, expanding career pathways and developing employability skills – all to help our children move forward in the world.

Earlier this year, the Minister of Finance Bob Richards delivered a responsible and measured Budget. Our effort to control and reduce government spending is taking hold. By the end of this fiscal year, we will have reduced government’s annual deficit by approximately $110 million. And we will have moved the Current Account, before debt service payments, to a surplus position – the first time in more than seven years.‎

The steps we’ve taken so far are steps to grow the economy – cutting red tape, passing legislation, adjusting regulations and reaching beyond our shores to create new channels of investment in Bermuda; investment that builds hotels, creates new businesses and sets the stage for making the America’s Cup in Bermuda one of the greatest sporting spectacles of all time.

Our focus on the economy has been matched by concentrated efforts in other areas to achieve positive social results. The success of the Bermuda Police Service in the fight against guns, gangs, drugs and violence continues, with the community playing a more helpful role.

In spite of the progress made, the work must continue.

Government has reinstituted the GREAT programme, which enables young Bermudians to see alternatives to the gang life. Every time I have attended one of the completion ceremonies, I am reminded of just how much work is being done to protect and care for our young people.

The care and concern extends to our prisons. Bermuda is too small and our people too important to disregard those who, through poor choices, find themselves behind bars. The success of GED and other outreach programmes within the Department of Corrections supports our faith in people to want to do better and get that fresh start.

I am particularly pleased with the work being done with prison inmates through programmes to help them live free of crime after release – with the rate of recidivism at relatively low levels. More broadly, the number of people held in prison has dropped to new lows. These encouraging results are a testament to the good work being done in prisons and the community.

I want to commend the Police Commissioner, the Commissioner of Corrections and their officers for their hard work to make Bermuda safer and more secure.

‎Bermuda, our focus is clear and our commitment steadfast.

We are creating conditions that people need to grow and prosper – our goal is to create a new era of prosperity and participation, where all Bermudians feel they are part of something special. ‎

We’re not there yet, but we’re making progress.

With several hundred million dollars in projects lined up over the next three years I am very optimistic about our future.

These projects reflect rising confidence in Bermuda – confidence that translates into jobs, career and business opportunities for Bermudians. ‎The America’s Cup will generate fantastic levels of activity and excitement, making Bermuda one of the hot spots on the planet when the racing gets underway.

Already Dockyard is bustling with construction activity as dozens of Bermudians prepare the site for the America’s Cup Village and team bases. It is exciting to see – workers on the job, fully committed, helping the America’s Cup become a physical reality.

On the international front, Bermuda continues to nurture and strengthen our relationships with our overseas partners.

Recently Minister Richards participated in key meetings with European Union authorities on economic issues that affect us… carrying the flag for the Island in an international climate that can be hostile to small jurisdictions like Bermuda.

At our next Joint Ministerial Council meeting, being held in Bermuda this summer, I will be joined by other Overseas Territories leaders to discuss issues of mutual interest.

As a follow-on from Government’s meetings in Washington DC earlier this year, Minister Richards, Minister Gibbons and I are leading a 200-strong Bermudian delegation to the annual RIMS conference in New Orleans, where we will carry forward the message that Bermuda is open for business.
‎Bermuda, since we were elected, this Government has taken pains to make clear the very serious challenges we face as a people – with unsustainable Government finances, with a shrinking economy that has cost thousands their livelihoods and with social support programmes straining to meet demand.

We’re doing all we can to get Bermuda moving in the right direction. We are confident the recovery is taking hold, but we cannot do it alone. So I appeal to you to think about what you can do to help your Island home. It could be mentoring a child, donating to a charity or helping people in need.

Once you decide what you can do, then commit to doing it, commit to the life of the community, extend a helping hand wherever possible.

Bermuda, we are a good people being tested in big ways. Let’s use this time to come together, to work together, exercising tolerance and respect.

Let’s use these testing times as an opportunity to make Bermuda better, to make it more open, fair and inclusive.

As your Premier, I am committed to working day and day and night to make it happen.

And you have my word that I will do so with an open door, with faith in the future and with pride in who we are – Bermudians one and all.

Thank you for your time.

-

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Comments (67)

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  1. What went wrong says:

    Can i get my 8 minutes back please. What about the $18 million? What about Par-La-Ville?

    • James says:

      Ask Graham Outerbridge and Michael McClane.

    • Devonshire says:

      IMHO it was a good summary of where things stand and where we’re heading. I’m encouraged!

      • Billy Boy says:

        Well I guess it really doesn’t take much to encourage you

        • Dude says:

          it’s a helluva lot more encouraging than a Beyoncé concert!

          • WHAT says:

            Actually your wrong because the real truth is people would rather pay to see Beyonce again then listen to the Premier’s bs speech.

            • Very Nice says:

              And have $2million of our dollars given away for nothing I couldn’t watch on youtube….suuuuuuure!

              • Mockingjay says:

                $2million to get entertained by the sexiest vocal goddess or hearing $18million worth of invisible BS from photo opp.
                Priceless.

            • Dude says:

              you don’t get it. smdh

    • Kangoocar says:

      Let me help you ” what went wrong ” the $18 million and your par-la- ville situation you seem so concerned about can be answered by YOUR plp that actually hand picked that bunch of miss fits in the present COH!!! Now let’s get to the real serious stuff!!!! I would like to know where the missing $800 MILLION are??? Again only the plp have that answer and they seem to be NOT forth coming with any answers??? Your time would be better spent asking YOUR plp that question because it actually would help all the hungry people in BDA right about now!!!!

      • johnny says:

        Your guys have had the books for almost 3 yrs. now, you telling me that they haven’t found our what happened yet? Or is it what we all already know (it was mismanaged by the PLP).

        Since you really believe that someone stole the money, why haven’t your smart guys found out what happened.

        I think what really happened was that your boys found that the PLP done nothing wrong except to mismanagement the money (not illegal) but you and your paid bloggers have been told to fill the public with lies instead of putting that behind you and doing your job that you were elected to do.

        You bragged about how bad the PLP has been, and how you were going to turn the island around. But since you have been in power you have very little for born Bermudians.

        Look forward to being the opposition after your BBC party in 2017, which is the only thing you are concerned with.

        • Casual Observer says:

          Only an idiot would want to put a Party back in power that they acknowledge seriously mismanaged our finances (your words) to the point of near bankruptcy and paying out hundreds of millions a year to foreign debt holders.

          Being incompetent (your words) is far worse than being corrupt.

          You can punish criminals and deter future ones.

          But you can’t fix stupid.

          You are a prime example.

          PS: Don’t you worry my friend, all will be revealed in due time. Can’t wait to hear your response then;)

    • OBA 4 ever says:

      NO! Now continue drinking the red Kool-Aid until the next election and shut up with all the other green trolls!

    • Mockingjay says:

      What a waste of F!@#ing film !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Jus' Askin' says:

        :-D

      • Very Nice says:

        Just like all the other non-substantial PLP/UBP press conferences that mean nothing. BTW how did your $15 codfish breakfast go?! LMFAO what a rip off!

  2. Hello Premier says:

    Cutting red tape, you must be joking. Please tell me why my wife had to produce so much Red Tape to get a spouse of Bermudian letter. We waited over 4 months. What happen to both parties providing proof of citizenship and a marriage certificate? I had to tell the lady at Immigration my wife’s not applying for Bermuda status so why all the paper work. What gives Premier? It would be nice for a public explanation please.

    • Kangoocar says:

      @ hello premier, no public explanation needed from the premier is needed, I can easily explain it to you!!! First off, the four months wait you speak of, is a CS thing not the government of the day fault!!! Secondly, the CS immigration staff must have had a reason to make you wait 4 months to get your spousal letter??? And that could be attributed to many things, one of the reasons could be you did not fill out or provide all the necessary documents or they might have a reason once reading the forms you presented to further investigate?? I can tell you I married an American and supplied all relevant information and had no such problems that you seem to be having??? My wife now much to the dissatisfaction of most plp supporters I am sure, has her Bermudian status!!!

      • johnny says:

        Sounds like you And your wife got the friends and family package. Or maybe it was the paid bloggers package.

    • Bob says:

      How is the Premier responsible for your personal issues?

      I think you posted in the wrong section pal. Jesus, you expect him to give a personal explanation of your paperwork?

      Mr Dunkley, can you fix my broken fence tomorrow too please.

    • Will says:

      @Hello premier
      The premier did say his party had cut the red tape. Listen never trust someone that sells milk to you. After a few days we all know milk goes sour.

    • Yahoo says:

      Must be something to with you. It took me less than a month to get my spousal letter.

  3. Kangoocar says:

    I would like to thank OUR Premier Dunkley for giving us an honest update on all the good things coming to us in BDA, it sure will be a welcome relief to all THOSE that actually get off their behinds and actually take advantage of it!!! Anyone can see that opens their eyes every morning that in the last few months the traffic situation coming from the west end of the Island every morning is getting more backed up, which only means more people have JOBS to go to every morning!!! What a nice change from the COG telling us that there is GREEN SHOOTS appearing in the economy back in 2011???? Of course we all know very well that was just more LIES from the desperate plp while our economy was being driven into the ground by THEM faster than a missile could have driven it!!!!!!!

    • Mockingjay says:

      Hey FOOL that’s because when the Private schools are out its less traffic and when they’re in there is a lot of traffic (because they don’t use public transportation).

      • Moojun says:

        Except of course for the Warwick Academy kids hey MJ? When I drive by Warwick Academy each morning there are plenty of WA kids using that bus stop. That’s exactly why it’s there. All of us West Enders can see it for ourselves on our morning commute. But you keep up with your generalizations please. It’s really moving us forward as a people.

      • tee says:

        And because one of their parents don’t work…backing up traffic to go to tea..what a life….

  4. Alvin Williams says:

    Victor on the young & restless would have told a better story.

    • Zevon says:

      Alvin’s upset because his stories got interrupted.

    • Yahoo says:

      Who is Victor? Try to use a relevant analogy for a change Alvin.

  5. Sorry please accept my apologies in advance but I am still awaiting more in depth information directly dealing with the reality of where it is we find ourselves and were we are going and how, something different then the same thing we have been hearing for more then the last 6 months. several issues have come to the fore front in just recent weeks and many allegations along with plenty of mud slinging has been the song of the day, so somebody please give me the legalize version of the truth so I can compare it with the rain boots edition that I find myself wearing that I don’t walk into the crap to deep.

    Mr. Premier please address your minister’s and your entire caucus and then come back to the media and present us with the answers that we all want to know, start with the $18 million and the so called success in these 500 jobs that was promised in the platform during the canvas period, then the greatest challenge of how many more Bermudians in the private sector has been displaced by disgruntle or greedy business owners, while still being able to keep their foreign workers, sounds like real crap to me, and the government workers that are being slowly squeezed to get ready to see how many you all can push out the door, and finally the middle class who is quickly becoming the under class of our society, while all this is taking place many in the higher class of society continue to enjoy exploiting the down and out and have the third world country foreigners as their personal slaves.

    Bermuda is another World and what a wonderful place to live, please to all policy makers and shakers, kiss me while you are ( ) so I can at least act like I am enjoying it.

  6. Terry says:

    Well presented Mr. Milkman.

    Let the rest eat cake from their Nanna’s.

    Shalom.

  7. Coffee says:

    What he didn’t say speaks much louder then what he articulated very badly . For example , I was wanting to know the correlation between the loss of airlift to Bermuda and the removal of term limits , is the policy working for us ? Or even the removal of the red tape and the rolling up of the red carpet for Bermudian construction workers .
    Couldn’t he have told us how many foreign contract workers received Bermuda status ? How Bermudian families have their lost homes since the UBP/OBA took over ? Why the Bermudian workforce has dwindle , owing to poor and middle class Bermudians fleeing the Island in search of a better life elsewhere , and what the UBP/OBA are doing to mitigate that reality ?
    Many store windows are boarded up tightly on Front Street , it doesn’t look good . If that could be used as a barometer of consumer confidence in Bermuda then I dare say that this UBP/OBA administration is falling well short of the mark . Now finally , the resurgence of big blue GP CARS in Lindos car park on a Saturday afternoon is quite prevalent , I mean they are everywhere, all weekend long , and that’s the smallest of the huge broken promises of the UBP/OBA !

    • Dude says:

      he spoke to the nation, he didn’t come on tv to answer your specific questions. Govt Offices and the relevant CS have the statistics you want. although I must say, your “questions” sound more like PLP talking points than legitimate thoughtful how will we move the country fwd questions. just sayin’

    • @ Coffee and a few others: You bunch seem to be drinking too much “caffeine” :-( We, (Bermuda) were in a rut far earlier than when the One Bermuda Alliance became our Government…

      • hmmm says:

        @ coffee and a few others….why are you so desperate for the PLP to regain power at ALL COSTS ????????????

    • Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

      First off, you had far too high expectations of a ten minute address.

      Second … well, let’s see, why do Bermudian construction workers require a red carpet? Heck, why do any of us unless we’re starting companies and providing jobs? If your problem is jobs for construction workers, things are getting better, it’s just slowly. Says who? Construction workers I know.

      Foreign contract workers getting Bermudian status? Uhm… what? PRCs sure, but not contract workers.

      Bermudian families have lost their home during the OBA leadership, yes. But do the numbers really matter? The losses began during the PLP leadership and are actually tapering off. How do I know? Talk to people who work in those areas.

      Why has the Bermudian workforce dwindled with poor and middle class fleeing the island in search of a better life elsewhere? Because our economy went down the tubes. Do you remember when? A lot of people I know had an exit strategy, much like many companies in the IB sector, or told their children to stay overseas after their schooling because they saw the writing on the wall. Why are people still leaving? Because it’s still hard for people to make a living here. But at least there’s hope now. And apparently you didn’t listen to Dunkley who explained what’s being done to work on that problem.

      I drive down Front Street daily, and while there are a couple of storefronts that are empty, some of those are clearly under prep for a new tenant, so I’m not certain what you’re seeing. Now if you’re talking city-wide … well, that’s not exactly horrible either.

      I can’t speak to the GP blues in Lindo’s carpark on Saturdays but the first I’ve seen of a GP car was about a week ago, on Court Street, and it wasn’t one of the Government owned vehicles.

      Huge broken promises by the OBA? Well, yeah, they’ve broken a couple, but I don’t see them as huge though certainly regrettable. Could they be more transparent (yet another key term)? Yes, definitely. They need to work on this.

      Oh, and I realise the correlation question because I can’t begin to figure out how there could be a correlation.

  8. Billy Boy says:

    So what was this all about? What has he done and where are we going? Is he trying to take credit for what was already started by the PLP? Milk man is full of cow’s manure.

    • Dude says:

      hahaha… nobody want to take credit for what was started by the PLP, mate! hahaha. thx you made my day.

    • If you’d taken the cotton from your ears and shoved it into your mouth you just may have heard and seen the points being made…Sad yes, but true :-(

  9. Stephen Thomson says:

    Dear Mr Premier
    I for one thank you. I appreciate you communicating with us directly and often. Simple, quick regular communication is always preferable to the alternative.
    Thank you….and please continue regularly with more information on more subjects.

  10. Jus' Askin' says:

    This made a great drinking game.
    Take a shot every time you hear “America’s Cup” ;-)

  11. watching says:

    he said virtually nothing. makes you wonder what the point was.

  12. Jeremy Deacon says:

    I have banged this particular drum so hard I am deaf …. but yet again I see no mention of any exploration of alternatives drivers to our economy. The focus is the same: tourism and IB.
    We are where we are largely because the bottom has dropped out of one and is about to in the other with a raft of Mergers and acquisitions that will mean jobs will be lost with the domino effect adding more lost jobs from the service sectors.
    While there have been some achievements it still seems that Govt is not looking further than its nose.
    Consider: the blue economy, free trade zones, tech driven light industry, oceanic research facilities. Are discussions being held on any of these or other ideas? If they are we need to be told, if they are not, why?

    • Chris Famous says:

      You may wish to add online gaming to that list of economic diversification proposals.

      Hmm where have I heard that list before..

      • Very Nice says:

        Where’s your outrage at Mike McLean and your party signing off on the $18 million?!

    • Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

      I understand the frustration. The optimist in me is hoping that they’re working on different areas in the background and simply don’t have anything worth talking about just yet, so they’re focusing attention on the areas where we already have roots and a chance of more immediate positive change.

      But, again, that’s just my optimistic side.

  13. arthur conan doyle says:

    Your PR sucks. You are letting the PLP get the upper hand constantly. if you have done as much as you say, you need to be shouting about it. But the OBA is timid. MPs are never heard, their use of social media is pathetic.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      All true. The OBA has been something of a disappointment but it is vastly better than the only alternative.

      The OBA needs to stop trying to appease people who will never vote for them & appease people who did.

      • Mockingjay says:

        Thats the problem P.L.P had, but I dont see that happening with U.B.P/oba, they dont give a F!@# about the average working Bermudian.

      • Wake up Bie says:

        If they do that they will loss the next election, because people like you will vote for them even if they change the name 5 more times. They did this move all to convince blacks that the party is different.

  14. Bermuda123 says:

    Not one of these posts argues that we would have been better off under the PLP for the last 29 months which is telling. Things are slowly getting better. There are more cars on the road, more houses being renovated, more people in restaurants etc which we can all see every day. Of course we all wish it could be faster, but you have to stop falling down the hole before you can climb back out.
    Well done OBA – stick with it.

  15. Terry says:

    I love it when a plan comes together……(see TV show)

    Michael has a plan along with his other farm workers (i.e Farm hands/elected members)

    The farm was misused. Overgrown, all the nutrients taken.

    Time to fertilize and replant.

    Island has been taken in many ways.

    Now back to basic farming and production.

    Got Milk?

    Shalom.

  16. Transparency says:

    Bermuda’s best Premier in a long time!