Premier: ‘Two-Track Strategy’ To Help Economy

February 21, 2016

Minister Richards “laid down a two-track strategy to get Bermuda back on its feet,” one track was to pursue any opportunity to grow the economy and the second track was to impose control and discipline on Government finances, Premier Dunkley said following Friday’s budget.

Speaking at a post-budget press conference, the Premier said, “There is no question in my mind that of all the challenges the Government faced following the 2012 election, rebuilding the economy and fixing government finances loomed as the most intractable.

“This was made especially clear after the Finance Minister looked ‘under the hood’ to discover the extent of problems that had grown unchecked for years.

“Two facts reflected the seriousness of the situation:

  • The first was the cost of paying interest on government debt – then surging to $134 million a year.
  • The second was the out-of-control deficit, which in the first year of this government was $330 million, meaning Bermuda spent $330 million more than we were taking in.

“Minister Richards laid down a very simple two-track strategy to get Bermuda back on its feet – one track was to pursue any opportunity to grow the economy so that it could once again meet the needs of Bermudians, from jobs to public services.

Video of the Government’s post budget press conference:

“The second track was to impose control and discipline on government finances and get costs back in line with what the people of Bermuda can afford – in other words, to make Government financially sustainable.

“The Budget is an opportunity to measure our progress since then, and for that I want to commend the Finance Minister and the team at the MOF for helping us get to a point where we can see that there is not only light at the end of the tunnel but a bright horizon ahead for both this generation of Bermudians and, just as important, the next.

“While this road to recovery has been challenging, and there will continue to be bumps along that road, when we look back at how far we have come… how much progress we’ve made… Bermuda is once again moving in the right direction.

“Our economy is getting back on track locally and our Island is getting more competitive globally. Major projects that will generate much-needed jobs, new jobs, good paying jobs, are moving forward:

  • In St. George’s where a new hotel development is weeks away from breaking ground;
  • At the Airport, where preliminary work for a new terminal building is already underway;
  • At Morgan’s Point where progress toward resort development is taking shape;
  • At Pink Beach, which is nearing completion of a $51 million rebuild;
  • At Hamilton Princess, now in the third phase of its $100 million restoration, and
  • And at Dockyard, where the America’s Cup Village is being built.

“All of this work reflects new confidence in Bermuda as a place to do business that generates more jobs and greater opportunity for every Bermudian.

“The signs are good, but, as I have said often, and a point the Minister of Finance makes very clear in the Budget statement: economic recovery is never even, especially those who are looking for a job, or that contract of employment, to each one of you listening today and to every Bermudian I say, with total commitment, we have been working hard for you, we will continue to work hard for you – and we are turning the corner toward a brighter economic future and turning around this Island so that it’s once again working for you, your family, your children and every community across Bermuda.

“The Minister of Finance’s careful and responsible management of the public purse is helping to make that happen, helping to rebuild the financial foundation of the Island for a better tomorrow.”

View all our coverage of the 2016 Budget here & the full Budget Speech below [PDF here]:

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Comments (22)

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  1. “Minister Richards laid down a two-track strategy to get Bermuda back on its feet, one track was to pursue any opportunity to grow the economy and the second track was to impose control and discipline on Government finances.”
    We thank you Minister Bob Richards for working so damn hard. (For anyone to figure out the best way forward for everyone and not for the “chosen few” isn’t an easy job.)
    Therefore, I want to complement you on your achievements thus-far…

  2. frank says:

    I. Don’t. Think. The. Minister has thought. What effect. The service. Tax. Will. Have. On. Service providers. Like.
    Btc logic cable vision. Cellone and. Digicel
    The ra got them to lower their. Prices now. They will. Just. Go up.
    The other minister. Done away. With term. Limits. So now. They can stay. For. 15 years. And. Then. Become. A
    PRC
    This oba. Does not. Care about. Bermudians and. That. Is clear. To. See

    • Izzypop says:

      Where do you propose they get the money to pay the debt. The go t workers. Etc. the loan. It’s gotta come from somewhere. He pays taxes also. Yes it’s gona hit all of us but again where do u propose the Govt get the money. Instead of coming down on the OBA. Maybe you should go after the previous govt for the mess we are in now. They didn’t seem to care about us either

    • Rich says:

      If we had more non-Bermudian residents here paying payroll tax, there wouldn’t have been a need to introduce a service tax.

    • Sara Sargasso says:

      This. OBA. does care. About Bermudians. The PLP. cared only for. Themselves. Reckless spending. And the glory of power. Why can’t. You see. That.?

      • TO SarSargasso: This is the latest in RUBBISH opinions.You do not have ONE SINGLE IDEA ABOUT HUMAN BEINGS’ STRUGGLES.Your comment is true indication of that!!
        People’s lives are being usurped. Oh…well.. That went over your head!!!

      • Tony says:

        SPOT ON!!!

    • Come Correct says:

      Your excessive use of full stops really bugs my OCD and I can’t read anything you say without feeling like I’m having a stroke. What is with that,seriously?

      • PhD. says:

        OMG I thought that was just me! I tried reading it but broke out into hives. Why do people write like that and expect to be heard? I’m seriously itchy just trying to read that.

  3. Ms. Poli tician says:

    Yep, period, full stop!

  4. archy says:

    Minister Richards “laid down a two-track strategy to get Bermuda back on its feet,” one track was to pursue any opportunity to grow the economy and the second track was to impose control and discipline on Government finances, Premier Dunkley said …

    Sure: two lines were given to diversification and a hell of a lot given to new taxes and tax increases.

    That sums up the two track strateyg

  5. Joe says:

    Plain and simple we have to pay of the reckless spending of the past PLP government , praying they don’t get in again to rack up an load of insurmountable debts ,they will promise a lot of free stuff to get in power then start spending again NO NO NO NO and NO

    • Sara Sargasso says:

      Yes, in the sad event the Perpetually Lost Party gets in, Bermuda is DONE.

      • Come Correct says:

        Just in case you two are clueless, the plp will win in 2017 unless the oba can do something magical. Magic isn’t real, the oba still have a hard road ahead and the plp will win based solely on divisiveness. Just thought I’d clear that up.

        • PhD. says:

          Sadly, you are correct. The OBA is having to do some VERY UNPOPULAR things to dig us out of the massive pile of steaming $h-t they inherited. They NEED to do these things for the good of the country but unfortunately, some supporters may not understand this and not vote OBA next election. Please understand, people. I fear what this rock will look like if the PLP somehow get back into power.

  6. No Brains says:

    If the PLP get in again , that is the end of Bermuda .

  7. Alexander O says:

    Fiscal finesse……brilliant collaborative approach. Expertly presented and skillfully managed Q&A. This is the art of politics with the emphasis on transparency and efficiency. With this approach things can only get better. A sophisticated presentation that has “we are going to win” the debt battle written all over it. The naysayers are just punching air and the PLP should jump onboard and give the OBA the unilateral support their initiatives deserve. What a refreshing news conference ! And Yes thank you OBA. Bob & Mike in particular. All of Bermuda should be chanting ” I can see clearly now, the rain is gone”. More days in the sunshine ahead.

  8. Panama jack says:

    I agree plp did severely hurt this island but what was the reason ubp got voted out. The oba got voted in because many voters changed their vote from the plp party. I was on of the voters who now voted oba but what I don’t like is the constant blame for the previous decisions of a vote. I don’t like how people always think I voted plp because of the color of my skin. Bermuda has alot of hard years ahead hopefully are WHOLE island can hold together and regain the old Bermuda back.

  9. swing voter says:

    18 months to prove this strategy….hoping for good results

  10. somuchless says:

    Milk man. Save Bermuda and send Hanbury cracking.

  11. Trisha says:

    If we need expats for jobs Bermudians are not entitle I agreed, but I mean jobs like doctors, lawyers, you know special category. Cashiers, waitresses,pot washers, nannies are not special jobs. But this sector is getting all occupied by them. OBA needs to remove the no work limit contract policy otherwise you don’t care about Bermudians.

    • PhD. says:

      Sounds like a great plan Trisha – now all you need to do is get Bermudians to apply for these “waitress, pot washerer and nanny” positions. Good luck with that.

      You know businesses don’t actually like paying MORE to import labor right???