Video/Text: OBA Leader’s Political Broadcast

November 3, 2011

[Updated] The One Bermuda Alliance’s Craig Cannonier made his first political broadcast to Bermuda as Opposition Leader his evening [Oct.3]. In his speech – which is being carried as a paid political broadcast on TV – Mr Cannonier speaks on various matters including the economy, crime, education, future plans and more.

Mr Cannonier was sworn in at Government House this morning as Bermuda’s newest Parliamentarian and the new Opposition Leader, after winning the Devonshire South Central by-election earlier this week.

Update: The full text follows below:

Good evening fellow Bermudians. I’m Craig Cannonier, leader of the One Bermuda Alliance. Earlier this week, I was successful in my bid to represent the people of Devonshire South Central in Parliament.

I am humbled by their support and trust, and I repeat my pledge to uphold the high standard of public service set by my predecessor, John Barritt.

Tonight I’d like to share my thoughts about the many serious challenges facing our Island and the journey we must take to get Bermuda back on track and working again.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few weeks in the homes of my constituents, and listening to their fears, concerns and hopes for the future has been rewarding and enlightening.

Let me tell you a story about a family whose recent experience may strike a chord with your own. The father, who is approaching retirement, told me he had lost most of his savings. Now he’s worried his pension won’t be enough to support him and his wife as they get older.

His youngest son recently graduated from college but hasn’t found an entry-level job yet, and he’s once again living at home.

His daughter has a good job as an assistant underwriter for a reinsurance company, but her husband recently lost his construction job. They have two small children, and they’re struggling to meet mortgage payments and pay for preschool.

The mother worries, every day, about how to make ends meet. She’s also nervous about several break-ins in their neighbourhood, and the stories about gang violence make her wonder what kind of place Bermuda will be when her grandchildren are teenagers.

What struck me about this family’s situation is that it’s not unusual. It’s typical. I know there are many people in Bermuda who are suffering much more, and there are some who seem to be doing fine. But most people I talked to have seen a real decline in the quality of their lives over the past decade.

Their stories confirmed my personal decision to become actively involved in the political process. Bermuda has been good to me. I got a good education, I received valuable business experience working with several local companies, and then I branched out on my own to run a small business. I want to make sure that Bermuda continues to provide others with the same opportunities I enjoyed.

But it’s clear from what the people of Devonshire South Central told me that we can’t continue to go down the same path we’ve been on. They want change, and they want it now.

The challenges we face are real, and they are serious. Bermuda has an economy in crisis. We have an education system in crisis. And who can doubt we have a crisis in public safety when our young men are killing each other?
There will be no quick fixes. It will take hard work and principled leadership. It will take fresh approaches to governing and innovative solutions to pressing issues.

As Bermudians, we will soon be faced with a decision critical to our future: Do we stay with those who have contributed to and presided over Bermuda’s decline, or do we dare turn the page and begin a new chapter?

My colleagues in the One Bermuda Alliance understand what is at stake. We came together for this very purpose, to get the island back on track.

We are, above all, a party committed to putting Bermuda first. That is the starting point and the end point for all our decisions.

We are a party founded on principles to ensure the highest standard of conduct on behalf of the Bermudian people.

We are a party committed to change in the way we practice politics and in the way we conduct business as a country.

We are a party that values family, hard work, fairness, service, integrity and responsibility.
And we are a party that is growing. Since our formation, we have attracted new people to our ranks. They have been working hard behind the scenes to develop policies that work for Bermuda.

The OBA team combines fresh faces and new ideas with experienced veterans who know how to get things done and make government work effectively. They understand the need to create a new era of responsibility and restore the bond of trust between Bermudians and their government – a bond that has frayed badly in recent years.

The days of denying that our economy is in crisis must end. Over the last ten years, thousands of Bermudian jobs have been lost. Today, thousands of Bermudians are unemployed. People are hurting, and the pain is real.

The OBA believes the first priority is jobs for Bermudians and creating a new foundation for economic growth.

Our plans include

  • immediate tax relief for lower-income earners and small businesses
  • systemic reform to improve business conditions to make us more competitive, such as cutting red tape, reforming immigration and improving service attitudes
  • tax incentives to stimulate job growth
  • fiscal discipline to reduce government debt
  • suspension of policies that have caused business departures and job losses
  • elimination of real estate laws that discriminate against Bermudians and block development,
  • reducing the cost of government by cutting ministers’ pay, reducing the size of Cabinet and cutting back the huge number of government consultants.

Members of the OBA team have been speaking to these issues for many months, and our ideas have played a central role in creating a new economic policy for Bermuda, one that will provide a safe and secure future for our people.
But our problems are not just economic.

Last year, I attended the funeral of a young man who was a victim of gang violence. It was another tragedy – another lost life, another family shattered; a son left without a father. We can’t allow it to continue.

The violence must be stopped now. That’s why we’ll bring Operation Ceasefire to Bermuda. It’s an approach to violent crime that has achieved dramatic results in US cities. It’s not a cure-all, but a vital first step we feel Bermuda must take.

The OBA public safety team has other plans to equip Police with the resources and support they need to get the job done, including the full-time presence of parish constables in our neighbourhoods.

Four years ago, Professor Hopkins confirmed that our education system was in crisis. But his recommendations for reform have been way too slow in being implemented.

The OBA education team believes the key to education reform is effective, consistent leadership. We haven’t seen that. There have been nine Education Ministers since 1998.

The OBA will follow through on the Hopkins recommendations and provide the leadership that’s been missing.

Improving the classroom experience for our young people is the priority. The plan includes

  • An integrated technical curriculum beginning in the middle schools,
  • A serious investment in professional development for teachers and principals,
  • An expanded pre-school programme, and
  • A longer school day to provide more time for sports, art and music, and to help students who fall behind.

Over the last decade, we’ve heard a lot about transparency, but it’s been mostly lip service. In matters of governance, the OBA pledges to implement immediate reforms to make government accountable.

We believe our system works best when decisions are subject to scrutiny by the people.
We’ll strengthen Parliamentary committees, giving them real power to investigate, call witnesses and report back.

We’ll encourage political cooperation through the bipartisan potential of the committee system. We want to make better use of all our MPs and Senators by putting them together to work on solutions for Bermuda.

We’ll bring integrity to the management of public finances. The current system has been abused. We’ll fix it.

Tomorrow, the Governor will read The Speech from the Throne, which spells out the current Government’s legislative agenda for the coming year.

It’s a promise of things to come, but we’ve seen too many broken promises in recent years, too many missteps and too many disappointments. The trust is gone. It’s time to do better.

The need for change has never been greater, and I believe the One Bermuda Alliance can deliver the change Bermuda needs.

To those of you looking for jobs and a secure future, I say there is hope. To those of you looking for an education system that provides real opportunities for your children, I say there is hope. To those of you looking for an end to violence, I say there is hope. To those of you looking to end the divisiveness and petty bickering that has weakened our political system, I say there is hope. To those of you looking for a government that puts Bermuda first, I know there is hope.

In the not too distant future, you’ll be asked to make a choice between more of the same or charting a new course. It’s a critical choice, because our island home is in danger.

I believe Bermuda’s best days are still to come. I believe in the people of this country. We are a people of faith and integrity. We are a people of strength and character. I see it day after day, on the doorsteps of Devonshire, in my businesses and in the commitment of my OBA colleagues to building a better future.

I hope you’ll join the One Bermuda Alliance in our mission to put Bermuda first.

Thank you, God bless and good night.

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Comments (6)

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  1. PEPPER says:

    I liked what Craig Cannonier had to say on his political broadcast tonight, he seems like a man that cares about bda..and with the likes of John Barritt in his corner…how can he go wrong.

  2. No OBA Vote says:

    with John Swan in the other corner, he sure will go wrong.

  3. I listened to the Opposition Leaders presentation this evening – - overall, I believe he spoke well, with several good ideas for the country moving forward. However, the same old “change for Bermuda” thing is getting a bit old for me. Some of the ideas such as extending the school day are simply not feasible if he is committed to prudent government expenditure.

    Additionally, we need to speak about the concept of leadership. I am confident that the Opposition Leader is capable of leading his party; however, as a person who understands media and television, this “production” this evening, with the weak close-ups editing to hide the “obvious”, was quite laughable. This is not the face that I want to represent my country on an international level – - I cannot see him sitting alongside Senators/Congressmen/Statesmen from overseas – it does not appear that he has the ability.

    However, with time, he maybe ready – - but the election is looming, thus my unreadiness. This leaves me in such a weird space – - do I risk voting for a party which I believe is committed to change for their own means, as they formed under conditions “unworthy” of government (turncoats and opportuntists) OR do I vote for a party which has lost the “common” touch, who has destroyed any means of assisting those who really need help because they wanted to be “government” sooooo bad for soooo long?

    Questions, questions, questions – - Bermuda, think them over as the election is coming – - sooner than you think.

    Yng Black Mind
    (those who know understand)

    • Bermyman says:

      I agree! a question of the lesser of two evils maybe?

      The question is : if the PLP stay in power what will really happen to the economy of this Island? Based on their track record recently I do not trust them to pull us out of the hole. I would rather take a chance on something new rather than something I know has not and will not work.

  4. Craig is Clueless says:

    Listening to that speech, its no wonder why craig said yesterday that he feels lost without John Barrit.

    Its sad really, because although he’s a nice guy, it’s clear that he’s out of his depth, which is why he seems afraid to go on talk shows.

    I’m guess the idea for this paid broadcast came up because of his terrible performance on Let’s Talk last week.

    I wonder if he really feels comfortable reading that UBP laundry list of propsals from their 2007 platform. The more he talks, the more he makes it clear the OBA is nothing new, they just have a new face, which (and as much as I like the guy) is NOT ready to be premier.

  5. All for OBA says:

    I think it’s time for some change, and NEW face. People say “oh this is the same list of things the different political parties have used in the past” well obviously the PLP hasn’t delivered. So why not give OBA a chance to prove themselves… With good people like Craig I think they have a chance to make a difference, of course it’s going to cost them some money WHAT DOESN’T but if it means change for the good of the island we all love to call our home I don’t see why we shouldn’t let OBA run the country. They have my support fully. Good Luck OBA!!