Full Video: SAGE Meeting On Reducing Spending

May 29, 2013

The Spending and Government Efficiency [SAGE] Commission held a public meeting last night [May 28] at Penno’s Wharf in St. George’s to hear ideas from the public to help the Government reduce spending.

SAGE Commission Chairman Brian Duperreault said the meetings were organized to offer the public an opportunity to share their ideas for reducing the cost of running the Bermuda government and for increasing its accountability.

“It’s your meeting,” said Mr Duperreault. “Tell us what ideas you have.”


Saying “before we can spend money, we have to earn it,” one man said the most important thing Bermuda has to do is earn foreign exchange.

“We have done a lot to discourage foreign people and companies from coming here, and we have to turn that around,” he said.

Two attendees, speaking separately, suggested making greater use of technology to reduce spending, saying that increasing e-Government capabilities will reduce costs.

One lady in the audience suggested that a hiring freeze should be instituted in the civil service, a suggestion which earned applause from some of those in attendance.

Another man said ferries often do not tie up at the docks and instead run the engines for around 30 minutes, which he called an “astronomical fuel burn.”

45-minute video of Part #1:

Another attendee mentioned the Government subsidy for airlines calling it “totally out of order.” He suggested that rather than give cash to airlines, we should instead use that money to fund airline tickets for visitors to come to Bermuda.

One lady asked if their was any thought to consolidation of schools, as well as use of Government cell phones and cars. “There is a lot of fat that can be trimmed before we start slashing salaries,” she said.

One man said we need to focus on the revenue side, saying we have “excellent opportunities” we need to take advantage of. “We are talking about cutting, cutting, cutting – but we need to look at revenue,” he said.

The next man to speak agreed with the prior speaker, saying perhaps there could be another committee to look at ways to boost revenue.

The panel agreed with those points, but explained their mandate is to look at increasing efficiency. One panel member said that as the budget deficit is over $300 million we cannot “cut our way” out of that, and must also boost revenue.

56-minute video of Part #2:

Another lady said she was “astonished” by the “top heavy” nature of the Government, saying the high level of senior management isn’t sustainable.

She also said there seems to be a “fear of technology” within Government. Speaking on the cost of healthcare, she said we need to focus on preventative measures to reduce costs in those areas.

Ideas for reducing Government spending can also be submitted to the SAGE Commission via their website.

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Comments (10)

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  1. Bermuda Boy says:

    Unfortunately, the only way to save big bucks is to reduce the civil service staff by half. Can’t see that happening and honestly don’t know if I want to see that take place.

    • jay says:

      4 day work week.

      and if our social safety nets aren’t adequate enough to deal with large #s of unemployed we should improve their funding/structure to make them adequate. don’t continue to do what is clearly wrong/not working and make all sorts of excuses. have the testicular fortitude to do what is needed for all of bermuda (including our future generations).

  2. markus says:

    Nice to see some constructive discussion about the future of Bermuda

  3. Bermyman says:

    It is unbelievable that the PLP Government ignored this massive issue and tried to hide the fact that the Civil Service size, wages and benefits had spun out of control to the level of almost crippling the future of our nation. Why was this not addressed years ago before the recession took hold? The civil service should have never got to the state that it is currently, poor governance is what happened. I don’t know how the people of Bermuda can ever forgive the PLP for what they have done to the future of this Island. It is more clear now that they really had no clue about what they were doing. Using Bermuda’s debt as a credit card to buy voters was like a ticking time bomb! No thought towards the future of the people they were over employing or to what our children are going to have to pay because the pension system was so poorly thought out.

    • Deliverance says:

      the PLP hired their own supporters in the Civil Service. thereby repaying election promises and keeping the BPSU on their team too.

    • Hmmmmm says:

      Did you just wake up? The size of the civil service has been a constant election issue since 2007. The PLP made no effort to hide it and the UBP and then the OBA did an excellent job of making sure people knew about it. Stop making stuff up as you go. And the poorly thought out pension system was inherited by the PLP. Some things, like the rain, are not the PLP’s fault. Idiot.

      • Zombie Apocalypse says:

        The pension scheme was happily managed by the PLP, who had 14 years to change it if they thought it was “poorly thought out”.

      • Bermyman says:

        Why did the PLP not do anything about it? It was an issue well before 2007, but they ignored it.

        The previous government dug a big hole which is the civil service we have today and made no effort to get us out of it, they simply ignored the facts and kept pumping borrowed money into their voters pockets. Maybe they just did not know what else to do but this does not hide the fact that it was poor governance not to act on it.

        Regarding the pension system, The size of the civil service under the UBP was sustainable and the national debt was a fraction of what it is nowadays. So to say they inherited the problem is false, the problem came about when the PLP decided to bloat the civil service and spend indiscriminately well beyond Bermudas means.

        The SAGE commission is a fantastic idea and will hopefully be the first real step to getting Bermuda back on track and saving this island from it’s debts. Well done to the current Government.

        For you to say that the current size, inefficiency and overall cost of the Civil service is not the fault of the PLP is absolutely ignorant beyond what any rational thinking person can fathom. Who was in charge the whole time it was growing?

        • Zombie Apocalypse says:

          It’s funny. The pension scheme was for 14 years an ‘inherited’ problem.
          But the current debt and unemployment problems should already have cured, now that the government has been in power for 5 months.