Podcast: Premier On Economy, Unions & More

November 24, 2015

The fifth episode of the Bernews podcast features a wide-ranging interview with Premier Michael Dunkley in which he discusses a myriad of topics including the Auditor General’s report, his relationship with the Unions, and the appointment of former Premier Craig Cannonier as a Minister.

Bernews Podcast with Premier Dunkley 2

The Premier said his job is “not to go on a witch hunt on former Governments,” says he wishes the Government and Union’s relationship was better, and also touched on the economy, crime, charities, tourism, international business, small businesses, energy, pensions, taxation, the SAGE Commission, and the Throne Speech.

The End Of Recession

Speaking on the recession, the Premier told Bernews, “I believe it is over, because all the economic indicators that we use as measurable conclusions to something like that show that it is going up. Now, remember, we were going down for so long, now the indicators going the other way.

“It doesn’t mean we’re in the position where we need to be, but clearly when you have GDP increasing for three quarters, when you have the unemployment rate for the first time drop, when you have retail sales going up for 12 months in a row now, those are indicators that you’re not in that recession and that’s backed up by what the Finance Minister has said, and what some economists have said.”

Appointing Craig Cannonier To Cabinet

On appointing Mr Cannonier as a Minister following the ‘Jetgate affair’, the Premier said: “At the time, I felt very confident in Mr Cannonier’s ability. He has always assured me that any issues there might be in that regard, are something that would not impinge on what he has to do.”

40-Minute Podcast With The Premier:

Auditor General’s Report

In response to the Auditor General’s report into 2010, 2011 and 2012 which provided information on a number of financial issues, Premier Dunkley said, “As the Premier I have the responsibility to look at it to make sure I can uphold to a higher level of accountability throughout all Government departments. The Cabinet Secretary and I have had some discussions about that report and I am reaching out to the Auditor General…”

Asked about possibly holding an investigation into the matter, the Premier told Bernews: “That is not something that a Government should do, that is something that authorities who are concerned about it should do.

“So if the police want to take a look into it, they can do that. If the Auditor makes suggestions about a forensic analysis, that is something that can be looked at.

“If you want to follow the money and call people to discipline, we are not the police. Our government is to run the affairs of the country to the best possible way, and I am sure authorities will take a look at that in the appropriate way.

“My job as Premier is not to go on a witch hunt on former Governments,” added the Premier. “I don’t like what has gone on in there and I want to make sure we don’t repeat those challenges. I will draw the bar up to a higher and higher level.”

“If there are investigations, that is up to authorities enshrined in law to do those type of things. And I won’t stand in the way of those, I will support them.”

Relationship With The Unions

Asked about the Government’s relationship with the Unions, the Premier said: “I wish it was better, but I think the Unions are taking a position on some issues that I don’t support. I’m only a phone call away from the Unions at all times.

Asked if they have regular meetings, the Premier said: “We haven’t had the regular meetings like we would like to have, that’s not my doing, that’s the Unions, they’re really concerned about the court action that’s taking place.

“And the court action is simple, we just want the Unions to agree that if there is a grievance, they’ll document the grievance with us so that we can deal with it.

“The days of wildcat walkouts are gone. We have Collective Bargaining Agreements which we will honour until the cows come home, but the wildcat walkouts have got to stop.

“If they give us our commitment that they will do things following the Collective Bargaining Agreement, then the legal action disappears. As simple as that.

“There are some Unions who abide by the letter of the law at all times and I have no problem with that,” added the Premier. “But some of the action that was taking place was not following the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and that’s what got to stop.”

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Bernews’ podcasts aim to provide an in-depth look at current affairs, and the text extracts above represent only a small portion of the full interview.

You can also download this episode in MP3 format here, view past Podcasts here, and you can also subscribe via iTunes to download all our podcasts directly to your phone or tablet.

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Comments (28)

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  1. Justin says:

    Sure would be easier if you could recover $800m for us taxpayers… That’ll help boost the economy!

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      What has happened about the $800m is that the is nothing to show for it. It is money that there are no receipts or Purchase Orders to say where it went and what it was used for and that is where the wrong is, especially in a democratic government. Some of that money may have been spent in legitimacy, but without receipts, Purchase Orders, documentation to say, we cannot know. That said, given the scope of what has happened, it would negligent to say that no wrong doings were involve in some of those missing moneys.

  2. The Truth says:

    The Premier, in reference to the Unions, is either misinformed or just misguided. He is completely out of the loop if he sits in a position where he touts the CBA as a document that the GOVERNMENT has adhered to. The Finance Minister, over the last 2 1/2 years, has completely ignored the CBA when dealing with the Unions. Hence the action in Jan/Feb this year.

    This is a reaction to the action of the Government – not the other way around.

    • ..... says:

      Care to be more specific?

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        A few legitimate examples would go a long way to supporting your unsubstantiated claim.

        Waiting…..

    • inna says:

      So where did it start? And where does it stop?

      Two wrongs do not make anything right!

    • Sincerious says:

      Sorry but “The Truth” clearly lives in a different reality than I do. Whilst it is true that some employers try and go outside their CBA they are brought short quickly by the unions. However the same does not hold true for all the unions. A number of union members think they can do what they want when they want and the union will sort out the employer. this includes wildcat strikes and work stoppages. This is in violation of most CBAs on the island particularly those with essential services. There are JCC meetings and grievance processes all designed to provide venues to air issues or concerns and even suggest positive changes.
      It is unfortunate that a number of union leaders feel that the CBA only holds the employer to account. Any contract or agreement for two organisations MUST work for both or it works for neither.

      The tactics of yesteryear must remain that – history. Negotiation and soundly based argument must take front position. The arbitration and court process is another avenue. As long as there is an US and THEM approach and a biased view of the CBA there will be no partnered approach to challenges and the Members suffer. Which is ironic as the union is formed by the members for the protection of the members.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      Do cite examples of government violations…

  3. Joe Public says:

    With reference to appointing XPremier Cannonier as a Minister following the Jetgate scandal even your own sheep didn’t follow you on this one Mike. Sounds more like one person took the heat and didn’t divulge about any others that were involved. Lets be honest you didn’t even release the report drafted by your chairman Thad Hollis and he departed shortly later. Must have found something he didn’t like.

    • Joe Public says:

      Send out the report and prove me wrong because the day I start to trust what you say is the day milk will rain from the clouds.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      Frankly I don’t care, Jetgate… whatever, have the police arrested anyone… has anyone received anything other than a free plane ride. I mean you only need look at the past dealings of the PLP’s shadow cabinet to understand the hipocrisy of their holier than thou proclamations of righteous indignations.

  4. had enough says:

    Fools
    All these bermudians out of work.
    Employment now even harder to obtain by locals

    Expats being employed everywhere over locals
    And he states that unemployment is down – pfffh

    • archie says:

      unemployment is down – all relative of course as there are less people on the island ./..

    • Deflection 101 says:

      Employment is down because IB and their 5000 employees and dependents that provided jobs for our families were driven out by Term Limits and other short sighted stupid policies. Mean while our economy was allowed to overhead and excessive amounts of expat workers were hired in the construction industry to keep up with demand rather than holding off and hiring Bermudians at a later date. And then add the foolishness highlighted in the auditors report. Fools, you sure got that right mate

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      Currently 143 jobs on the Jobs Board

  5. Rhonda says:

    this is a cowardly way to communicate with the people…has anyone notice the the OBA does very few press confession, where they actually take questions… or just open town hall meeting…. when they do have a town hall meeting, it is moreso to tell us what they are doing…and not to hear what we would like for them to do…

    • jeremy deacon says:

      First – having a near 40 minute one on one interview is not cowardly and I take exception to the implication that I don’t know how to interview someone. Second, just for the sake of balance – the Premier did hold a press conference last Monday with all media invited.

    • Premier Michael Dunkley JP. MP says:

      Good Afternoon, Sorry Rhonda I disagree. After the Throne Speech we held a press conference with only short introductory remarks by myself and then an open floor for all media. I also make myself available as much as possible for questions. I trust this helps.

      • Rhonda says:

        Premier When was the last Town Hall meeting the Govt held, just an open conversation with the people…

        • Build a Better Bermuda says:

          Been several town halls on the airport, east end plans, America’s Cup and other developments in just the last few months. It is also possible that they are a little busy running the country… see that is the advantage of being in the opposition, you don’t have the same level of responsibilities and no actual expectations placed on you.

  6. One Love says:

    Jeremy
    You didn’t ask the Premier about Same Sex Marriage? The pastors prayer at the Throne Speech ??
    I was left hanging on the edge of my seat:(

  7. Chris Famous says:

    So, did you ask your Premier any questions asked on the following issues:-

    Jetgate
    Waterfront scandal
    Fallout from Senator Marshall’s remarks
    OBA attempts at privatisation
    Cutting jobs at community centres
    Seniors concerns
    Increasing amounts of redundancies
    Increasing amounts of Mergers in IB
    Decreasing amounts of air arrivals
    The exudos of Bermudians to the UK

    You know…the stuff that most Bermudians are concerned about on a day to day basis

    • Deflection 101 says:

      You seem to have ignored the $$$ MILLIONS that went missing per the recent auditors report. What about the $20MILLION that went missing on Port Royal or that the MP who publically Tweeted about shooting people?…….where are your concerns about that? Talk about wearing twisted political blinders

      • Rhonda says:

        Deflection is trying to answers question to the OBA’s action with the actions of the PLP…..

    • jeremy deacon says:

      Chris, listen to the recording.