Premier Cannonier: Crime, Job Creation & More

January 18, 2013

Premier Craig Cannonier said the Government is focused on job creation, making health insurance affordable for everyone, building local and international businesses and reducing crime.

“The people of Bermuda have spoken very clearly that they want and expect our government to be rational and organized as we face these enormous financial challenges that were inherited from the PLP,” said Premier Cannonier. “To that end, we have been busy since we took office four weeks ago.”

He said they have been working to reduce costs through the initiatives including Ministers taking a 10% pay cut and agreeing not use GP cars on a regular basis, reducing the previous fleet of GP cars to six, a review of the Government budget and more.

The Premier said: “These are still early days – we are in assessment mode…uncovering the realities of the state of the country. Where efficient practices have been identified, they will remain – where excess and wasteful spending has been identified – it will be cut back.

“As the Premier of Bermuda, I represent all Bermudians. I can assure you that I remain committed to controlling government spending across all sectors, including by reducing the amount of government consultants.

“In 2010/11, the previous Government spent upwards of $100 million a year on consultants, which we believed to be extremely excessive. We will not duplicate their mistakes,” said Premier Cannonier.

“We are confident in the competence of the Civil Servants to ensure that the policies of the Government are implemented. However, from time to time the Government of Bermuda will require assistance on special projects and when the need arises we will look first to those Bermudians who have the expertise.

“Being inclusive means that we will stretch across whatever divided us before. So, going forward, you there may be unfamiliar faces working with and for us – on your behalf.”

Premier Cannonier’s full statement follows below:

One of the challenges that Bermuda has is that we have forgotten the human element in all of us, treating each other as object as opposed to human beings who are effective in doing our jobs – all of us just want to do an honest job – getting people back to work – to stop the pain.

To arrest the fears and to continue to build on what is good in this Island.

As Premier, I have made it my personal mandate and have instructed all Government Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Departments to make their respective decisions based on these very important objectives:

Job Creation:

Attracting our local intellectual capital back to Bermuda. Ten thousand have left the Island – they include families and businesses. They have taken their intellectual capital and spending power with them – both of which are vital for our survival.

Crime:

How do we affect the violent crime rate in this country? We know that crime is down, but violent crime is what is creating the fear. We have to arrest the tide of violence. We have to stop the wars, there are gang wars, families are at war, businesses are at war, politicians are at war, people are at war.

While I believe that it is my job to end it – it starts with each one of us. Whenever there is a crisis in a family or even business, the quickest path to brining a solution depends on the degree of cooperation with one another. Cooperation will build better lines of communication and build respect. Respect will in turn build trust.

I trust in Bermuda, in my Ministers, our Permanent Secretaries and our Civil Servants, that they will cooperate, communicate and be respectful. I trust in businesses, local and international to work cohesively together to create jobs and help to build our economy. When trust is established, people will want to invest in Bermuda, which I believe is the critical path to turning the economy around.

There are many solutions, none of which will work unless there is collaboration. Based on our mandate, the government Ministers are now defining their measurable goals, of which they will be held accountable. If it’s not measured, it will not be accomplished.

For example, the goals include job creation, making health insurance affordable for everyone, building businesses, local and international businesses and reducing crime. The people of Bermuda have spoken very clearly that they want and expect our government to be rational and organized as we face these enormous financial challenges that were inherited from the PLP. To that end, we have been busy since we took office four weeks ago. We’ve been working to reduce our costs through the following initiatives:

  • All newly appointed Ministers have agreed that they will take a 10% cut in pay and not use GP cars on a regular basis.
  • The previous fleet of GP cars has been reduced to six and will be available for use only when necessary.
  • We have undertaken a review of the Government budget.
  • We have established the Economic Advisory Committee to streamline government processes, improve the delivery of services and make government more efficient and cost effective.
  • We have undertaken a review of the St. George’s Police Station and Westgate
  • We have met with a significant portion of the International Business community to assess their needs and will continue to meet with them to bring much needed capital to Bermuda to create jobs.
  • Our Ministers have been busy reviewing and meeting with Civil servants to understand their needs and to achieve our goal of social and economic equity for all.

These are still early days – we are in assessment mode….uncovering the realities of the state of the country. Where efficient practices have been identified, they will remain – where excess and wasteful spending has been identified – it will be cut back.

As the Premier of Bermuda, I represent all Bermudians. I can assure you that I remain committed to controlling government spending across all sectors, including by reducing the amount of government consultants.

In 2010/11, the previous Government spent upwards of $100 million a year on consultants, which we believed to be extremely excessive. We will not duplicate their mistakes.

We are confident in the competence of the Civil Servants to ensure that the policies of the Government are implemented. However, from time to time the Government of Bermuda will require assistance on special projects and when the need arises we will look first to those Bermudians who have the expertise. Being inclusive means that we will stretch across whatever divided us before. So, going forward, you there may be unfamiliar faces working with and for us – on your behalf.

We have accomplished much, but there is much more work to do. There are many vital areas that will need to be enhanced to get the job done – and get Bermudians working. That is our mandate – that is our mission.

Bermuda, you can trust we will do everything in our power to put Bermuda back on the road to recovery, breaking down the walls of division to provide social and economic equity for all, leaving no one behind.

-

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  1. PLP: Premier’s Consultant Claim A “Fabrication” | Bernews.com | January 20, 2013
  1. M.P.Mountbatten JP says:

    Please Premier Cannon Ear , please do what you said the PLP couldn’t do !

    • WHAT! says:

      I thought he said that he/we was cutting MP GP cars all together. Did he say something different this time?

      • C'mon says:

        Minsters are already complaining they can’t get to meetings. We’ll see how long that lasts.

  2. nok says:

    IT ALL SOUNDS GOOD!!ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS.

  3. C'mon says:

    Craig,

    Campaign is over. You will actually have to say something of substance now.

    I wonder if this is what his Army of assistants produced this week….

    All those words to say nothing, what a shame!

  4. Observer says:

    Mr. Premier,

    Continue to communicate to your country and please have your press secretary ready to respond quickly to issues. I was glad to see the cost of the Minister’s consultant today and quite frankly that was a good deal for Bermuda, providing of course,that he is able to produce (which I know he can).

    We cannot imagine going back in five years.

    Let’s get on with the job of MASSIVE recovery. It will take a while but if you continue to talk to us and give regular updates, we will be patient.

    • windwater says:

      What would you do if you knew you only had 8 months left to implement change? Hopefully he can take away some accomplishments and push to get something done.

    • C'mon says:

      Really.. So he’s doing the job that others are paid to do…..

    • John says:

      Corey can’t make a fire until we bring the beds under $200 a night. Bermuda has out price itself. Save the $120,000 and fire this step child now. We must have someone in the OBA more smarter then this stray PLP forgotten soul. Dodwell please SOS and educate Minister Crockwell.

      • C'mon says:

        He ain’t a stray PLP. He worked on your beloved OBA’s camapaign.

        • dthtoo/ says:

          I heard that Corey was straddling the political fence, simultaneously advising, for the OBA and PLP during the general election campaign. Is it possible to love two masters – equally?

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        Want to get rooms at less than $200PN. Who is going to be first to take a huge pay cut? You? Housekeeping staff? Office staff? Food & Beverage staff? BELCO? BELCO staff? The staff of the liquor merchants? Government taxes? Everyone else who supplys a service to the hotel (There really is only one left)?

        Never mind cities like Tokyo & London, Bermuda is one of the most expensive places to do business. You can’t just wave your hands & demand cheaper prices.

        We need to cut wages or be much more productive. Preferably both. Time to lose the “Its not my job” syndrome. If it needs doing & you can do it, get it done.

        • Johnny says:

          Why is it always the little guy who has to take the hit. Why don’t you propose that the business owners take a hit. Some of these businesses tell you they made a loss over the last year, when really they projected a profit of 500million but they only made 450milllion, so they say they had a loss of 50 million, and now we need to fire some people because god forbid any of the big boys not getting their money.

          Slavery’s been over. How can you run a business if you can’t pay your workers? These hotels have made millions over the years. There should be money in the kitty to pay workers during the hard times.

          • 32n64w says:

            “Some of these businesses tell you they made a loss over the last year, when really they projected a profit of 500million but they only made 450milllion”

            Name them. What Bermudian owned businesses made a profit of $450 million this year?

      • Um Um Like says:

        Is anyone here “more smarter then” John?

  5. $100M in consultant fees…i hope that was a misprint. if not, we can start paying off the debt or investing in new projects just by downsizing that group alone. it will be a very hard sell to the civil servants to feel the pain if you do not substantially reduce this cost. of course, not all of the expertise required is on the island but certainly that number must be reduced by the new budget on April 1st.

    • Mad Dawg says:

      $100m per year is what the PLP spent at their peak. Mostly to overseas consultants.
      Criminal isn’t it.

      • smokey says:

        Now the money went to consultants?? I thought it went missing and the OBA were going to go through the books, like all the OBA supporters claimed..

  6. ..... says:

    Implement income tax across the board for 5 years.

    I am Bermudian and I am willing to put in my share to fix this mess.

    Times are hard but they will get even harder if this is not corrected.

    Like myself, everyone should be willing to give to get US Bermudians out of this hole… Government cannot do it by itself.

    • Will says:

      its fine that you say that but who lost our money? I dont remember myself putting us that far into debt nor do i remember benefiting from anything that all that money was spent on, and please tell me who we are in debt to?

      • .... says:

        Doesn’t matter how we got here….I think the point is we’re here and regardless of who put us here the state of our island needs to change.

        But yeah… PLP dicked everyone over if that’s what you wanted to hear

  7. ..... says:

    Oh yeah…. Also… ANYONE benefiting from government who is NOT employed and is able should have MANDATORY community service to reduce costs/raised money.

    NOTHING SHOULD BE FREE right now and if you are a free loader… Well frankly you are pathetic.

  8. Pilot001 says:

    Mr. Premier, please, you got to come better than this! Seems like you all don’t know what to do. Dunkley is the only one I see running all over the place meeting with people. Hopefully the meetings are productive. BTW, you can only use the PLP and all they done wrong for so long. The public will get tired of hearing the same old song. So lets go!

    • dthtoo/ says:

      Surely, you have heard the saying: Be careful what you ask for.

      It is one thing desiring power and quite another when you face the raw, stark reality of attainment. One who finds him/herself at the helm of leadership must be at a place of knowingness – possessing hindsight, insight and foresight to commence the task at hand -almost immediately.

  9. Observer says:

    The most expensive consultants were the overseas ones. We could save a huge percentage using locals with the talent to do the job. Therefore let’s give the local talent a chance first. We should also expect them to produce results.

    Let’s give our new Government a chance. Patience everyone.

  10. Triangle Drifter says:

    Like it or not the 2013-2014 budget will be largely a PLP budget with some OBA tinkering just like the first PLP budget in 98 was a mostly UBP budget, & the PLP got to praise themselves for how well that worked out even though they did not produce it.

    Budgets are not created in a month. The 13-14 budget work started last summer & it should have been about completed by mid December. The OBA will work with their hands tied quite tightly the first year.

    That does not mean that they cannot effect changes in policy & force departments to spend less time in meetings & more time actually working & doing the work in shorter work weeks.

  11. Mark says:

    The PLP did not spend $100 million on Consultants. The Premier has it all wrong the Financials states “Profession Services” not “Consultants”. “Professional services” covers all government contracts for cleaning, security, legal aid, Works and Engineering maintenance, contracted services for the Department of Airport Operations, health insurance portability claims, war pensioner medical claims and other locally contracted services.

    • Reality Check says:

      Can Mark please advise what the actual amount is for “Consultants”. We will know sooner or later so let’s have the accurate figure so that we will be able to compare the PLP’s annual bill for consultants versus the OBA’s annual bill in 2013. To suggest that a completely new Government can simply run our country without the need for any consultants is ludicrous and naive. But let’s compare apples with applies once the OBA’s list of consultants for this current year has been established.

  12. An expat who is leaving... says:

    OBA — just get on with it, you have political capital now, you will have alot less 6 months from now, lets see a plan pls.

  13. Bermudian says:

    Wow, the OBA have been in for 1 month and people are demanding results NOW! The PLP were in for 14 years making a mess of things and it was all honky dory with no one demanding answers as to why our Island is in such a financial mess. In case it has escaped the attention of all you PLP die hards the OBA is still uncovering and bringing to light the chaos that the PLP created and left, which unfortunately now the OBA have to unravel and fix.

  14. @work says:

    Income tax? Just go to the store, any store, and buy everything. That will create jobs, increase imports and increase government revenue. Then repeat. No government action required.

    Ask the finance minister. Might be too simple of an idea for most, but that’s how it works. If you think about it, you could save the economy. You might go broke, but is better than income tax because you can spend all your money as you see fit for 5 years, income tax is forever.

  15. SameOle says:

    The OBA are no different than the PLP. Wait until they start appointing friends and family to their advisory boards/tribunals/etc. it’s a shame they are throwing it all away already. I’ve seen the lists and they are despicable. What they promised vs what they will do are two completely different things. Wait and see Bermuda. Friends and family pt 2

    • Staying focus says:

      THe OBA has already appionted “Friends and Family” to the government boards. Many of the OBA friends and family have now recieved their political rewards, with more being given out over the next few weeks. There are consultants that have also been put into place that OBA has failed to outline too their fans. The OBA are operating under the radar, and are failing to be Open and Transparent as they often would preach about.

  16. Bobmarlin says:

    The PLP put Bermuda in its current mess.Be patient with the OBA,it is going to take time to sort it out!

    • Staying focus says:

      Stop the Spinning of information, the PLP has not put the country in any mess, we have been faced with a great Recession, major cut-backs in taxes and concessions, which ate big time into our revenue. Stop falling for Bob’s hype; he knew very well what the state of our financial status was. After all he was the Shadow Minister of finance, he had access to the budget reports, Ministry PS and accountants, he also spoke with the AG chambers, as well chaired the Public Accountants Committee. He is lying that he only found out, and if he did that would suggest he was a poor shadow minister, or playing the OBA political cards. Stop with his lies.

      Yes hold the government accountable, they do not need a break or a chance, since they preached accountability, transparency and openness.

      • Concerned says:

        Staying Focus on what? You are so bias that we can see through what you are trying to achieve. There is no spinning. The PLP made a mess of things and were very secretive on many dealings. They inherited a prosperous country and passed on a country that is divided now then it has ever been, poorer than it has ever been, more dangerous than it has ever been and has depleted the confidence of business by their racial and political raderic which many never recover. Many people with wealth have left, they are the ones that can create jobs and it will take Mr Grant Gibbons to beg that they give Bermuda another chance. Even one that you feel that have Bermuda at heart like the Ex CEO of HSBC lives out of Bermuda. The confidence has gone because the trust has gone thanks to people like you and majority of you party. There are a few that have integrity and love for all people, but majority has hatred and bias like yourself. Start loving Bermuda and work together for better days.

      • dthtoo/ says:

        AGREE! NO FURTHER COMMENT!

  17. Will says:

    legalise cannabis, kills 2 birds with one stone. Don’t veha to make criminals out of people anymore and opens up a new industry in Bermuda. There is a lack of jobs and not all Bermudians can get into the business field and it is Governments job to open up new job sectors (not necessarily create the jobs) and pave the way for new industry. only a fool would think not.

  18. Xman says:

    What most Bermudians don’t realize is
    That a lot of bugs and mess has to be ironed out first.-while trying to put new policy’s in place.
    Many Bermudians appear to have no patience or reasoning.
    Than again PLP supporters are going to dislike any move by the OBA anyway.

  19. swing voter says:

    I hav yet to hear

    ‘WE HAD TO DECEIVE YOU’
    ‘THATS A PLANTATION QUESTION’
    ‘WE DON’T CARE WHAT THEY THINK’

    do you get it? do you?

    • Dee (Original) says:

      We all know what the PLP said. Please move past it. That’s the problem with Bermudians, they just don’t know how to let things go. Move on, it’s a new day and a new administration. It was refreshing to see the Premier on the news last night. He said that it is untrue he has a huge staff (I believe he said he just has the chief-of-staff and a secretary). Mr Premier, I swear I will lose my lunch if I see you hired extra people after all the denials. On another note, GP cars really need to be cracked down on. Personally, I feel they should be parked (the logistics can be worked out) and the worker pick them up on a Monday morning and leave at the end of the day. No taking home on weekends to use for your personal needs. I’m curious as to what the fuel and maintenance costs are for these vehicles because their use is seriously abused. Why should a government worker never have to buy gas because they have a free car?

  20. Staying focus says:

    @ Mark, thanks for clarification on the following point you have made: The PLP did not spend $100 million on Consultants. The Premier has it all wrong the Financials states “Profession Services” not “Consultants”. “Professional services” covers all government contracts for cleaning, security, legal aid, Works and Engineering maintenance, contracted services for the Department of Airport Operations, health insurance portability claims, war pensioner medical claims and other locally contracted services.

    If OBA fans are wise, they would recognize that GP cars are a petty issue. Government has to still pay for mileage and maintance of any vehicle that a govt worker uses to carry out the duties of the government of the day. So is money really saved in the long run ? Not a significant amount at all. Some departments are not able to use their own transportation, due to the nature of their work. Government ends up with a bill, regardless if it is a GP car or personal vehicle. SO really drop these silly petty issues of GP cars. But I understand OBA has to appeal to its core base members that are obsessed with GP cars. What a joke. GP cars is merely a political card being played by the OBA.

  21. Dee (Original) says:

    @ Staying Focus(ed?) GP cars are just a small part of a larger picture. I worked for government under both UBP and PLP and the cars were always my pet peeve sorry. Some areas really need the cars, like the district nurses, as they do a lot of traveling. Other areas totally abuse them. I know of managers that don’t have to travel for meetings or business, they just use the cars to get back and forth from work. Why do they need a car? People are crying about wasted money, and yes that is just one small area but it all adds up. A complete audit should be done of all government departments because there is a lot of waste. Flat screens TV’s, office supplies, coffee, excess uniforms just sitting in storage, the list goes on but no stone should be left unturned. It may only seem like a few dollars here and there, but multiply it by the numerous government departments and see what happens. Stop the waste, it is OUR money after all!!!

  22. Cleancut says:

    Is PLP Rene Webb still a consultant in Washington DC? OBA needs to review this one, in my mind staunch PLP members and ex PLP ministers need to be replaced.

  23. Webster says:

    I think Renee, has a contract until next year.

  24. Webster says:

    I forgot another contract, is Rolf still on the payroll ?

  25. Time Shall Tell says:

    As long as people remain petty then there can be no change….

  26. Time Shall Tell says:

    So far the OBA has used the same consultant as PLP, used the same house of residence for the premier as the PLP, has said they can’t reveal all financial facts on public matters such as the hospital. They made a campaign on one thing but the first week in power they focused on something completely different & here it is a month later they’re coming back with more speeches of promises on things they promised pre-election.

    The OBA set forth to arrange it so that the party leader who won them the election stands a chance to be replaced less then a year into the position. Wwhat other premier was elected by a party to stand for only two years, the OBA knew the deadline time frame of the then coming election so they knew win or loose that the current premiers time would be potentially limited. The OBA are making every commentary to the public & blaming the last government for everything rather then just staying positive & focusing on putting forth solutions.

    I thought this was going to be a government of change but all I am seeing is more of the same just on the other foot……