Cannonier: ‘Bermuda Needs Better Direction’

November 4, 2011

Describing this morning’s Throne Speech as “an election document”, Opposition Leader Craig Cannonier said Goverment’s legislative agenda for 2012 simply paid lip-service to Bermuda’s economic woes and was not a blue-print for recovery.

In his initial comments on the Throne Speech, the One Bermuda Alliance Parliamentarian said the document was lacking in the boldness and decisiveness which the Premier had promised.

“Bermuda needs better direction than what is found in the pages of this Throne Speech to get the Island back on track and working again, he said. “We appreciate the Government appears to be considering or adopting many of our ideas, but we remain skeptical. There is too much verbal hedging about its plans and intentions.

“Without clear, definitive commitment to action people who are suffering today will not be given the hope they need; and this Throne Speech was an opportunity to give them hope.

“The time for action is now.”

The full text of Mr. Cannonier’s remarks appears below:

The Government promised its Throne Speech would be bold and decisive, but we don’t see anything in it that is particularly bold or decisive.

What we see is an election document that throws up a lot of ideas without any real commitment to action. It is a 22-page verbal charade intended to pacify segments of the population into thinking their concerns and needs are going to be addressed.

Look closely at the words of the Throne Speech and you will see the opposite of bold and decisive. In dozens of instances, the government takes pains to stop short of real action.

And so we have lots of promises to examine an issue, assess a situation, explore an idea, consider an action and to look at something or to review it. We hear that Government is awaiting results, starting an exercise or advancing its work on a policy.

These words are attached to issues from gaming, to the cost of food, to financial aid for seniors, to conscription — lip service to people who need to know their government is serious about their concerns.

There is lots of talk about creating jobs, but no commitment to actually creating jobs.

The Throne Speech is not a plan, and this must be very concerning for all Bermudians given our very precarious situation today.

People have commented on the tremendous length of the speech as an indication of serious intent on the part of government, but we see it, rather, as a reflection of the seriousness of our situation, from unprecedented levels of unemployment, to continuing gang war, to the failure to reform education.

Bermuda needs better direction than what is found in the pages of this Throne Speech to get the Island back on track and working again.

We appreciate the Government appears to be considering or adopting many of our ideas, but we remain skeptical. There is too much verbal hedging about its plans and intentions. Without clear, definitive commitment to action people who are suffering today will not be given the hope they need; and this Throne Speech was an opportunity to give them hope.

The time for action is now.

Bermuda cannot afford more on-the-job training; we cannot afford more dithering, we cannot afford more finger-pointing, we cannot afford more time. We need a new team at the helm that is ready and able to chart a new course to national recovery and renewal, and to make it happen.

The One Bermuda Alliance will comment in much more detail in its formal Reply to the Throne Speech on November 18.

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Comments (66)

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  1. Curious says:

    Wow, I thought they would be happy in their response. Typical politics…

    Craig, how much do you pay your consultants to write this stuff. Its so predictable.

    As usual, nothing concrete, just pure criticism. Please remember that didn’t work for the UBP, and if you follow the same course it won’t work for the OBA.

    • Yup says:

      PLP said nothing about an independent Tourism Authority or an independent Contractor General to stamp out corruption. The reasons should not suprise anyone!!

  2. Curious says:

    Oh %&*$ I almost missed this “Bermuda cannot afford more on-the-job training”… LMAO, OK Craig, clearly your consultant missed the fact this was your first day in the House.

    You all were so bad, you didn’t even tell the governor who you appointed to the Senate so your Senators could be sworn in.. On the Job training indeed…..

    • wtf says:

      He means Bermuda dont have the money for it, Not Bermuda can go with out it. How can you put something in place when you dont have the money now to pay for it. must be a blind plp supporter that voted cause they are the black party!

      • Yup says:

        PLP are scared cuz their only hope is free govt money to provide them with jobs.

  3. sammy says:

    Curious, even PLP supporters agree that the agenda is weak…so the OBA have it right. It was certainly not bold so it is worrying because one has to wonder if the PLP actually can be bold. Bold is what is needed.

    • Shaking the Head says:

      It’s very hard to be bold when you’re stumped for ideas.

  4. Red Flag says:

    So what do you call Cannoniers rant on tv yesterday? So he can speak about his plans moving forward and its good but when the PLP does it just lip service? Whatever the Throne Speech outlined the PLPs plan to move forward now not if they are elected. Cannonier is full of it. I sat across from him and his MP’s and it was sad how they by passed everything said and didn’t even consider anything said. No approval was shown from them even when an obvious good was read out. Their job seems to simply divide the people and bad moth anything PLP. Its cool though because the PLP will prevail, today’s Throne Speech proved that we are listening and will make the changes needed.

    @ sammy Please stop with the BS you didn’t hear that from PLP people you just thought it would make your point seem valid if you said you did. Fail try again.

    • LOL (original) says:

      “I sat across from him and his MP’s and it was sad how they by passed everything said and didn’t even consider anything said.” – interesting….., also this – “job seems to simply divide the people and bad moth anything PLP.” – funny that’s what the plp have been doing for some time now.

      LOL sounds like you have a stake in Government interesting form your PR persective.

  5. Noel Ashford says:

    Craig.. Really?

    “Bermuda cannot afford more on-the-job training”

    You have no experience! The public questions your capability quite frankly – The only reason you have that post is because Michael didnt want the OBA being accused of being the UBP with him at the Helm – dont confuse yourself please…

    Hello… You ARE a prime example of on the job training… OBA really doesn’t impress me much at this point, you fail to set direction and instead waste your time again on insulting the PLP – They do that job just fine on their own. They dont need you to do that! Take the high road and offer substance not fluff. I am all for a change in government at this point but what the OBA offers isnt much different from what the UBP offered which also didnt work… Please think before you say such DAFT comments publically! Plus its been 12 years since any of the UBP veterans had the reigns – it will be on the job training all around with the OBA.


    • Hello says:

      He has been a leader for some time, Compare to Cox……She woked for a bunch of companies, she didn’t lead them.

    • Truth (Original) says:

      Please speak for yourself Noel. Your reference to “The Public” is unfounded. I am a member of “the public” and I have no confidence in this Government.

    • Star man says:

      Under the UBP the Country prospered!! Under the Party Lovin’ Party, well you can see for yourself what they have done — they have looted and bankrupted our beloved Bermuda to the tune of a BILLION bucks!!!!!!!

      They are history! Buh-bye.

      • PEPPER says:

        Star man…you are so right,and to think the person that allowes this to happen is now the leader of this GOD FORSAKEN iSLAND…

  6. specialgirl4 says:

    “One Mustn’t criticize other people on grounds where he can’t stand perpendicular himself” — Mark Twain

    Just an Observation: I have been listening to Mr Cannioner’s speeches. Since I know him as well, I was thinking let me give him the benefit of the doubt. I became disappionted, as the more I listen, read and watch, it was apparent that most of his statments and speeches are written by someone else. Sounds more like it comes from a political advisor, rather from him. Therefore, it does not seem to be like it comes from his heart or is truely representive of him.

    Next, it makes me think ! Is he capable of writing a response or speech on his own? By his poor showing on the TV debate the other night, it does not look possible. But, I will keep watching….but making it difficult for me to change my vote. More so because he picked a Cabinet that looks like the UBP, all the same Ministers. I was looking for a real change at the Cabinet level. So seems more of the same UBP/OBA. The first reaction to the Throne Speech also sounds like how the UBP would have replied. This makes me think even more… there real change or just a name change?

    • Hello says:

      Working for the PLP again, trying to disenfranchise Craig and the OBA. If you listened and thought about what Craig said, you will realize that he is right. Please Show me the proof that Craig did not write his own speech. I’m sure as a leader he had someone read over his work and offer their thoughts on it. Only a fool or dictator wouldn’t get opinions or support from his team. Bogeyman race, UBP talk just suggests that the PLP have nothing tangible to offer us to win and have to resort to nonsense and baiting. You really do the PLP a diservice by encouraging folks to behave in this manner, as a winner of an election using this tactic is NEVER a winner for Bermuda and its people. If the PLP win on merit, then Bermuda wins, if the OBA win on merit, then Bermuda wins. So far, the three OBA Folks I have spoken to have the drive to improve Bermuda for all Bermudians, they have no hatred or malice against the PLP, just an incredible drive to make Bermuda work for the benefit of all its people. Please, at election time judge the candidate on what they can and WILL do for Bermuda to make it better for Bermuda and its people.

      • Vote for Me says:

        @ Hello
        Your comment that ‘If the PLP win on merit, then Bermuda wins, if the OBA win on merit, then Bermuda wins.’ is one of the few that has been posted by an OBA supporter, and I give you credit for that.

        Based on our democratic system, the voters determine who the government will be. Many other posts have stated that when people voted for PLP they were voting on emotion but when they voted UBP they were voting based on merit. Such a statement shows a complete lack of regard for the voters.

        We should also be able to put the OBA/UBP PLP/UBP comments behind us. The facts are: All OBA MPs except Cannonier were voted in as UBP representatives. All PLP candidates were voted in as PLP representatives except Furbert and Tucker.

      • Star man says:

        Do you think that PLP Ministers write their own speeches?? Bwaa-ha-ha-ha!! Literacy is not a strong point of the Party Lovin’ Party.

    • Rick Rock says:

      Specialgirl, Betty, whoever you are, the issue here is that the government is completely out of ideas. They have just reshuffled the same people around the cabinet. The same people who got us into this mess. Oh, and they added a “new” face – the ex-UBP leader.

      Then the Throne Speech, which is full of “we will think about doing this” and “we will consider doing that” and “we plan to investigate the possibility of considering the idea of..”. Nothing concrete. Nothing definite. Just a lot of thinking about things.

      Too late. You’ve had 13 years to do this. It’s not like you just got there. After 13 years it either worked or it didn’t, and it clearly has not worked. The plp suck at running the country.

      If Paula thinks the people are behind her, announce an election right now. Let’s get this behind us and move on. Have an election and find out who the people want to run things. Then we’ll know whether we have a chance (under the OBA) or not (under the plp).

    • LaVerne Furbert says:

      Of course Craig Cannonier did not write his own speech. President Obama even has a speechwriter(Jonathan Favreau). Most, if not all politicians employ speechwriters. Glenn Jones was Premier Brown’s speech writer as so was Jamahl Simmons after Glenn’s departure.

      What happens in most cases is that the politician gives his/her ideas to the speechwriter who fine tunes the speech. With Cannonier’s lack of political experience, I doubt if he’s even at the stage to present a shell of a speech to the OBA’s speechwriter, Don Grearson.

      • Rick Rock says:

        You’re effectively telling us that PLP politicians read speeches written by others. Who are these mysterious plp speech writers? Shouldn’t we know, since we’re being asked to agree with what is being said in those speeches? What are their names and qualifications?

      • shutupandgoaway says:

        ‘I doubt if he’s even at the stage to present a shell of a speech to the OBA’s speechwriter, Don Grearson’

        He may not be the cunning linguist that you are, but at least he didn’t utter foolish, hateful phrases such as ‘confused negro’…..

      • PEPPER says:

        So Lavern..I think you and Cromwell needed a speech writer !!!and to talk about lack of political experience !!! what the hell experience as senators did you and Cromwell have ? NONE !!!!!!!!!

  7. Pastor Syl says:

    So sad. We still look at the man and not the message. The Throne speech was disappointing. there was nothing substantive in it at all. I was particularly distressed with regard to the issue of human rights. Madam Cox was very clear that there would be legislation to include anti-age discrimination, but despite promises in Dr. Brown’s Throne speech and statements from Minister Blakeney that there would be similar anti-sexual orientation discrimination legislation, (so human rights would be legislated for all), this Throne speech talks of “assessing the feasibility” of such legislation -sure sounds like backpedaling to me.

    • LaVerne Furbert says:

      The Human Rights Act has been in effect since 1981. Certainly there were homosexual men and women residing in Bermuda at the time, but the UBP refused to address the issue.

      It is my belief that they refused to address it for the same reason that the PLP continues to back away from it and that is that research has shown that the majority are not comfortable with changing the legislation.

      Premier Cox said “While the government aware of the sensitivities in the community surrounding sexual orientation, it does not condone discrimination in employment and accommodation based on a person’s lifestyle choices”.

      While there are a few people in the community who are calling for the legislation to be changed, I see no overwhelming support for the change. As I see, it is time for those people who feel that they’re been discriminated against because of their sexual orientation to “come out of the closet” and let their voices be heard.

      The only reason former governments outlawed anti-discrinatory legislation based on race, was because blacks (and some whites) en-masse protested, i.e. the Progressive Group.

      We don’t even hear Sybil Barrington publicly calling for the legislation to be changed. By the way he is gainfully employed (by the government) and to my knowledge is suitably accommodated.

      Please do not take my remarks to mean that I am homophobic, as some will. I know that I personally treat all people the same, and those people whom I know that are gay and lesbian can attest to that.

      • Hello says:

        The world has moved on since1981, that was two generations ago. We can’t judge the actions of people fof 2011 based on the worlds views of 30 , yes 30 years ago.

      • YES MATE! says:

        You lot make me laugh! You and Paula should go to Mark Anderson aka Sybil Barrington and ask him if him being gay is a “lifestyle choice” or if he was born that way. While you’re talking to him, ask him who it was that tried to ban him from the Bermuda day Parade. Pee el Pee is as anti gay today as they always have been.

        • PEPPER says:

          Mate , how could you say the P,L.P. are anti gay…when quite a few of there members are gay and lesbians !!!!

          • LOL (original) says:

            Yes but earlier Lavern stated something to the effect that she would not rent to a gay couple or gays in general (someone who remembers could pull it up if they want to). So it looks like she’s back pedaling.


      • Rick Rock says:

        LaVerne, As you have said in the past, you wouldn’t let one of your apartments to a gay couple. So you’re not exactly impartial on the issue. You don’t actually believe in equality based on sexual preference at all. In your mind, you should be perfectly free to deny a rental to someone of you think they are gay. That is called homophobia.

        Anti-discriminatory legislation should cover race, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, and disabilities. People should not be discriminated against based on any of those, and it should be clearly illegal to do so.

      • PEPPER says:

        What I can not fathom is why we even discuss this issue.. who cares who is gay or lesbian ? I for one have no issues with peoples life styles… and why did Lavern have to mention where Sybil works ?

      • Star man says:

        It doesn’t matter if the majority are not comfortable with changing the legislation… You do the right thing anyway.

        • shutupandgoaway says:

          Star man – you hit the nail right on the head. Throughout time brave people have taken unpopular decisions because it was the right thing to do. Everyone should take a minute to reflect on where the world would be if people didnt take a stand on these type of discriminatory issues.

          When will the so called ‘Progressive’ Labour Party stop relying on the foolish excuse that “Well, the UBP did (not) do it either’.

  8. Hello says:

    Hit the nail on the head, It is something that has been annoying me, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. The PLP government talk about or say they are considering, hiring consultants, looking into, thinking about, shifting responsibility etc. Lots of words, but little to no action to help Bermuda and Bermudians. The PLP cabint are masters of spin, talking loud but doing nothing, I have to give credit where credit is due. I was skeptical on Craig after reading all the PLP or nothing blogging, but after hearing his speeches and reading the OBA information so far, I’m impressed. I look forward to hearing the OBA response. The OBA are cutting through the fog and Smokescreen politics shovelled out at us from the current ruling party. Now I’m getting excited about the OBA potentially winning the next election, getting Bermuda working and uncovering all the unscrupulous activities that have taken place leaving our country so poor and flapping in the breeze.

    • wotless says:

      I look forward to the oba response aswell. i would like to see if they actually take a position on anything. thus far they have ducked all of the tough issues.

      They have their chance in 2 weeks, but i’d bet unlike the government they will play it safe and give the same platitudes and some old tired ubp ideas.

      The throne speech may have been lacking in specifics, however it at least showed us the debates we can look forward to this year. Goverment policy making isn’t as simple as waving a magic wand. Specifics cannot be given all the time, its the direction and intent that is important. Its up to citizens to hold them accountable.

  9. Vote for Me says:

    The Throne Speech is intended to set out the ruling party’s legislative agenda for the upcoming Parliamentary Session. Therefore the PLP can be held accountable for whether or not they achieve what was laid out. A simple exercise would be to get previous Throne Speeches and see if they delivered on their legislative agenda.

    The appropriate Opposition response is to identify what they think should be on the legistlative agenda that differs from the Government. The response should also indicate the Opposition position on the ideas that have been put forward by the Government. For example, the Government proposes a referendum on gaming. What is the OBA positon on gaming? The issue will be debated in the House, but it would be instructive for the OBA to give their position on the matter. Similarly what is the OBA position on discrimination based on sexual preference?

    Some of the posts are clearly political rhetoric from both sides and it will be important for voters to focus on the substance of issues and in so doing, force our Parliamentarians to do the same.

    I will also add that for speeches, it is not be unreasonable for someone else to draft speeches for Cannonier’s final input. The challenge for the leader or MP is to set the correct tone and language that is to be used by the speech writer. In my opinion, Cannonier needs to be careful that his speeches are not simply laced with PLP criticisms since they will be received as superficial and of no value.

  10. Jus' Askin' says:

    I say let Paula and Craig have a debate on T.V. OBA will not do well. And those that would vote OBA after such a debate would strictly be anti-PLP.

    • LMAO says:

      I would pay to watch that one

    • PEPPER says:

      I think Craig would do a fantastic job in a debate against the cog…at least we peons could understand him, Paula uses all kinds of words that people have to go and get their dictionary out to follow what the hell she is saying . who the hell is her speech writer ?

      • specialgirl4 says:

        WOW, how brillant she is to be able to debate on such a high level, maybe Craig could use a few lessons.

    • LOL (original) says:

      As Long as the rules are clear that if you take 20 min to talk please say something. Paul is a master at saying nothing.


  11. Jim Bean says:


  12. Jim Bean says:

    Noel Ashford – you crack me up!

  13. specialgirl4 says:

    ‘@ Vote for me’ thanks so much for saying what I was thinking. You always bring so much clarity to the debate. Yes, Mr. Cannonier needs to be careful that his speeches are not simply laced with PLP criticisms since they will be received as superficial and of no value. Also, he needs to show that he is capable to responding based upon his own knowledge of an issue, on some occasions. This I have not seen as of yet!! The Throne speech was a good step by the government for the future, it suggest the government are listening to the people and addressing some of the issues, while recognizing there still more to do. OBA/UBP lets not fall into that old swing of being “critical for the sake of criticizing”.

    • Star man says:

      Throne speech was a good step by the government for the future, it suggest the government are listening to the people and TALKING ABOUT some of the issues, while recognizing there still more to do. There, fixed it for ya. Cuz talk is cheap.

      • LOL (original) says:

        I would have said “consider looking at talking about some of the issues”


  14. Vote for Me says:

    As we continue in the political climate it is interesting to be reminded that Mr. Don Grearson, the previous UBP speech writer is the OBA speech writer.

    I think it will be more and more diffcicult for the OBA to demonstrate that its policies are different from the UBP. Perhaps they should focus less on differentiating themselves from the UBP and simply show us how they will make a substantive difference in Bermuda.

    • Terry says:

      As so are the old UBP MP’s. Whats your point.

      Lets move on.

      • Curious says:

        I think is point is clear. Why the hell did they bother to change the name!

    • Rick Rock says:

      What is the name of the PLP speech writer? What are his/her qualifications? Who is the person really pulling the strings? We have a right to know. They supposed to be the government.

      And what’s the constant references to the UBP are getting lamer and lamer. Not sure if you read the news this week, but the era-UBP leader is the new minister of tourism. When is the election?

  15. Jus' Askin' says:

    Who honestly thinks OBA is the ‘new team’ we need at the helm?
    Just because my 5yr old thinks they can drive, does not mean I will hand over the keys to my car. I am sorry OBA, but you are why too ‘young’ of a party to run this country. Craig needs to put in years and not months, to run this country. There is no way, a logical person can accept Craig’s sudden and premature rise to the top. There are way more qualified people in that party, and one that resigned to make room for Craig, that could have ran that party as well as the country.
    OBA (Craig) has shown the younger generation of Bermuda,”Fake It,’Til You Make It”
    I am looking forward to a debate between Paula and Craig, just the two of them, on TV live ;-)

    • Star man says:

      Bull… to your first paragraph. Absolute bull! And the PLP demonstrate the folly of your logic every day.

    • Terry says:

      Just asking is talking s**t re their post about Craig.

      Ever heard about Barack Obama.

    • LOL (original) says:

      “I am sorry OBA, but you are why too ‘young’ of a party to run this country.” -
      That’s just it we need new ideas and direction not the same old same old.
      “OBA (Craig) has shown the younger generation of Bermuda,”Fake It,’Til You Make It”” – I disagree he showed them they do matter and can make a difference and that the OBA is willing to listen to the new and up coming Bermuda Youth. Something this country desperately needs as the neglect of the youth holds at less some of the social problems we are experiencing.

      LOL after all it is the same approach to many topics that continue the trend such as crime and young people being qualified and jobless.

  16. Shaking the Head says:

    All this talk about experience is rather revealing. One of the unfortunate situations created by the PLP has been that many now think the Party ie the PLP, runs the country. Actually, in the real world, without micro managing by inexperienced people and before 1998 it is not the Party that runs a country. It is the Civil Service. The Party is not the Government. The Party happens to be elected to be the House of Assembly. The PLP though has taken it upon themselves to run the country and the results are plain to see. That is why Paula Cox takes great lenghts to emphasize the “good Governance” she is implementing. If the Party kept their nose out of the running of the country it would not be needed.
    What people should be concentrating on is what to do with the approx 2,000 public sector workers that will shortly not be paid because there is no money available to pay them. That should be the pressing issue and worry because of the knock on effect. Bermuda is very close to those cross roads, but of course the PLP and their bloggers will be hard at work to draw attention to anything that keeps peolpes’ attention away from this issue.

    • Vote for Me says:

      @ Shaking the Head
      Not sure where you got the idea that the Civil Service runs Bermuda since that is completely false – pre 1998 under UBP and post 1998 under PLP!

      The Ministers clearly set all government policies and then direct the Civil Service to carry out those policies. The Civil Servants provide technical expertise and advice but the Ministers have ultimate responsibility for the policy direction of the government.

      Reference your comment that 2,000 public sector workers will not be paid – completely false! On a basic practical level, if there was a shortage of funds, there would be a pro rated payment to the public servants. Without a pro rata pay, how would you choose which workers get paid and which do not?

      • Shaking the Head says:

        I agree that under the Westminster system Ministers set policy that is then carried out by Civil Servants. What we have seen in the last 5 years or so, based on what has already come out in the public view, is that certain Ministers have been interfering and personnally micro managing. I wish what you say is true, that Ministers are ultimately responsible, unfortunately no one is being held accountable.
        You haven’t disagreed with my figure of 2,000 but since there are around 6,000 public sector workers, you are saying they all should take a 33% pay cut? Not in a million years, so something has to give. Public Sector wages and interest on over $1bn in debt are pretty much fixed costs at around 71% of this years estimated revenue. However revenue is clearly falling – less retail sales, less jobs overall (which means the Private Sector is falling faster, and it is this sector that generates the revenue), payroll tax holidays etc. In this situation of less revenue against fixed costs, most Private Sector companies would be out of business, and the Government is very limited in further borrowing. I don’t decide who gets paid and who doesn’t – that is the job of those who let this bureaucracy mushroom out of control, in particular the Minister of Finance.

  17. drunkenUrsula says:

    they are all a brunch of fools…dont vote for any of them…both parties .sick of all of them…..

  18. Star man says:

    A vote for the Party Lovin’ Party is a vote into financial slavery.

    A vote for the One Bermuda Allaince is a vote for hope and real change.

    • Jus' Askin' says:

      M8 if you think voting OBA ‘is a vote for hope and real change’ and not ‘financial slavery’ you really are clueless.

      • Terry says:

        You’ll be looking for a handout unless your Ewart Brown and helped to bring upon a $billion in debt.

        Jamaica here we come. Wile dee teeves leeve dee nazt.