Opinion: “Fully Engaged In People’s Business”

March 14, 2014

[Opinion column written by Premier Craig Cannonier]

Bermuda politics has always been pretty intense – partisan, divisive, acrimonious, noisy. And these past few weeks has seen things ramped up to fever pitch with all sorts of accusations, name-calling and finger-pointing – all of it wearing down people’s spirits and deepening public cynicism.

With all the noise, the public can be forgiven for thinking that nothing is getting done on their behalf.

So I decided to use this space today to assure you that your government is fully engaged in the people’s business, making progress in spite of what you’ve been hearing.

This past week alone stands as an example of our work on a lot of levels.

Let’s start in the House of Assembly where the Government is moving through the Budget for the coming year – a Budget, by the way, that pays down our national debt, shrinks government spending while protecting people through no new taxes, no lay-offs and continuation of support programmes for people in need.

In the past few days, we’ve passed legislation to protect and grow jobs. Tax concessions were extended to the hospitality, restaurant and retail industries, helping maintain operations that keep people working. Tax breaks for employers who hire out of work Bermudians were also extended for the coming year. And a tax initiative to encourage the sale of high-end real estate was continued with a view to encouraging sales that lead to jobs for construction workers and the businesses that hire them.

We announced our intention to work out regulations for the cash-for-gold trade to protect people victimized by theft. This follows incidents in which stolen gold has been quickly traded with operators, leaving victims without recourse to recover their losses, sometimes in the form of valued family treasures. This initiative aims to provide a safety net for consumers, support law enforcement and help businesses operate to the highest standards of accountability.

In mid-week, on behalf of Bermuda, I signed an international agreement to protect the Sargasso Sea, the immense marine ecosystem that surrounds our Island. In signing the agreement with representatives of governments ranging from the United States, to Sweden and South Africa, we made sure that Bermuda maintained control and management authority over Bermuda’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

Prior to the signing, we changed the draft agreement because it included our EEZ in the protective covenant. This would have taken away Bermuda’s right to explore our waters and what lies beneath them for potential economic benefits for Bermudians for generations to come.

With the change made, I was very proud to sign the agreement that protected both our environment and our people’s right to earn a living from it.

On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of attending a Bermuda Public Services Union conference, which was devoted to the subject of ‘Social Dialogue: A Catalyst to Economic Recovery and Growth’.

Premier speaking at this week’s BPSU Conference:

This was a very positive gathering and touched on the need for collaboration that I have been preaching for some time. The conference underlined my belief that our progress together as Bermudians depends on us having meaningful conversations; that without positive social dialogue there is no future we can truly share.

Last week’s labour disputes are an example of what I mean by meaningful conversations. I met with BIU leader Mr. Chris Furbert in the wake of the disputes, when there seemed to be no way forward. But when we took off the titles and sought to understand one another, it became clear there was ample room for progress.

We subsequently announced our intentions to work together for solutions that work for the Island. Time will tell, but it is surely better to step forward together than not to step at all.

My point here is that despite the noise of our politics, we are making steady progress to get Bermuda working again for everyone, no exceptions.

We’re taking it one week at a time, working on the people’s business in all sorts of different ways.

- Craig Cannonier

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Comments (37)

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  1. Justin says:

    Well done OBA!

    • BETTTY TRUMP says:

      STOP WITH THE PRESS RELEASES AND ARTICLES WRITTEN BY YOU HIGHLY PAID CONSULTANT> JUST ANSWER THE QUESTIONS< AND FACE THE MEDIA HEAD ON….NONSENSE of the OBAubp again. This is nothing more than the Premier working towards raising his low ratings…REALLY

      I love you too…..

      • inna says:

        I think your PLP is well ahead of the OBA in the total count of press releases Ms Trump!

      • Mike Hind says:

        Are Bernews lying when they say “[Opinion column written by Premier Craig Cannonier]“?

        Is that what you’re saying, “Bettty”?

        • Ringmaster says:

          Good to hear from Bettty, and I see it is posting from a new location based on the new Avatar.

          • Kangoocar says:

            Good catch Ringmaster, the nonsense of betty never stops!!! Who knows which plp higher upper this one is??? And they continue to think they are worthy of running this Island??? Delusional at best!!!!!!!

            • Speak Truth says:

              Kangoocar if ever anyone worked so hard to Defend a party it is you. It is clear you write more comments than Bettty. You seem willing to defend OBA at any length.

              I have also observed that more OBA supporters post here and read than PLP. SO it looks like nonsense comes from your side of the political divide the most.

              BETTTY has a voice just as you do. Agree or not agree.

  2. watching says:

    More opinion columns and press releases from Premier Cannonier.
    But no interviews.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Since you want to know more why don’t you try call his office or emailing your questions?

      • watching says:

        haha… So his chief of staff can respond or his press secretary? No sir – I want to hear straight from his mouth, unscripted.

      • Valirie Marcia Akinstall says:

        @Triangle Drifter…

        Since the premier made his comments in media (a public forum) why should I send him an email to get answer on public commentary/policies? Why would he respond? Why, having dealt with him, would I waste time and energy sending him an email? I have no political illusions.

        Triangle Drifter, the questions are not trick questions, just that there is very little to go on here. Such as, will we hear about the details of these new initiatives only after they have become public policy? Will draft legislation end up in the House to be debated that the public only has a bare outline of? In other words, will there be consultation with the stakeholders, then position papers before they take form as Bills to be laid before the House only to eventually and automatically become law?

        It’s perfectly fine to state what the Government is doing and/or attempting to do, however, even as this sounds good, it’s opaque at best, so the details are a very important part of Government transparency, accountability and responsibility.

        London, England

      • Exactly, as one would do with anyone else they wish to express their concerns, they make an appointment.Remember, he’s a busy individual working on behalf of everyone on the Island and not just for you…

  3. Valirie Marcia Akinstall says:

    Good speech…

    But where is all the new and/or amended legislation that has just been passed? This article does not tell us what pieces of legislation have been passed that will open up economic activity in Bermuda. As a follow through I have some real questions taken directly from your speech, such as:

    “And a tax initiative to encourage the sale of high-end real estate was continued with a view to encouraging sales that lead to jobs for construction workers and the businesses that hire them.”

    i) What does this mean? ii) Is this a tax concession OR tax initiative; and iii) what distinguishes the two;

    iv) And is high end residential real estate inclusive in this initiative? If yes; v) What are the benefits to the foreign purchasers?

    It’s a good speech, we just need clarification on details.

    On political infighting, after awhile I tend to tone out, it should never derail us (the public) from the details of Government business.

    London, England

  4. Hmmmmm says:

    Premier, you reap what you sow. This brand of politics did NOT start yesterday. Until you and your team admit your role in the politics of personal destruction this will continue.

    • Kangoocar says:

      Are you being serious??? I do realize blind faithfulness is a common thing with the plper’s, what I find interesting is the fact that you don’t mention the plp part in the divisive politics that is going on, why is that?? Also don’t tell me the OBA started this nonsense either!!! Once the plp finally realized they lost, ( which took them about a week ) the relentless attacks started from them and to this day have not stopped!!!

      • Hmmmmm says:

        I am so serious, I am factual. You are obviously one of those for whom history started on December 17th 2012. Sorry to disappoint you, but your Government was elected on the basis of unfounded and unproven allegations of corruption at every turn. Your Government was elected because they combined with certain specific media elements to cast a pall of suspicion on everything the PLP did. In the first three months of this year, your Government has taken credit for an India partnership on training, put forward a plan to modernize shipping channels especially St. George’s, recanted on it’s opposition to the razing of Dockyard housing, claimed gaming as necessary to help save tourism, proclaimed February as Love Month and ignored the taxi industry’s pleas for fee increases. Each and every one of these things your Government decried in Opposition and found a way to tie corruption or “friends & family” to them. Having looked under the hood and obviously found that they were either mistaken or caught in their politics, these things are no full steam ahead without even a hint of recognition of their previous wrongs.

        What did you think; that on the morning after the election the rules would change and the PLP wouldn’t be the Opposition you were? Well, earth to idiots! This playbook of scandal-a-week is right out of the OBA/UBP manual of how to get elected again.

        So, if you feel that whatever good your Government is doing is being lost in the noise created by the Opposition, welcome to the party. at least there are 16 in this Opposition; before the election your 9 MPs sounded like 90 thanks to their favourable media profiles and coverage.

        And for completeness, “This” started in 1999 when you people claimed the change in funeral home limo regulations was corrupt. It wended it’s way through allegations of yachts as kickbacks for ferries and cedar beams. It culminated in the “it’s in their DNA” comment in the House from one of your kingpins and ended with the word of a convicted felon being dressed up as credible.None of which has ever been proved no matter how many times you say it in your prayers at night.

        Am I serious? You better believe I am.

        • inna says:

          You sound like a very angry person. Perhaps you should be commenting on the Marijana articles.. might lift your spirits some!

          At the end of it all mate, politics will be politics regardless of who is in power! Until we as a people are adamant and passionate about changing the “status quo” of how our country is run, then this nonsense will continue to go on up on that hill we call the House of Assembly.

          • BETTTY TRUMP says:

            Sounds like the truth according to HMMMMMMM is killing you diehard blindfaithfulness followers of the OBAubp ….

            • Kangoocar says:

              Which betty are you??? Bud, Zane, ex police commissioner, beany, Walton, furbert, burgess or anyone else in the higher up of the plp??? Let me help you if you Bettie’s are not wise enough to communicate to each other when each of you are posting. ( 2 on here at the same time ) why would you think we would think you are capable of running this Island?????? And some wonder why we are in the dire situation ( and some are trying to blame the OBA ) we find ourselves in after 14 yrs of your nonsense!!!!!

        • Mike Hind says:

          None of this is true.

          We get that you’re mad your party lost, but election time is over. Give all this electioneering a rest until the next one, please!

          • Question says:

            Why is it not true? Because you say so?

            Please.

            Q

          • Ex OBA voter says:

            You come on here saying you’re not connected to either oba or plp, but it so obvious which bridge you live under OBA Troll.

            • Kangoocar says:

              And you come on here calling yourself ” ex OBA supporter ” you are a farce!!! If you had voted OBA you would have been wise enough to see all the good that has happened as opposed to your plp reign of terror!!!! Stop your nonsense, I have total disdain for people that lie!!!!

            • Mike Hind says:

              Misrepresentation. I am not a supporter of either party. I DO, and have always freely admitted, have an anti-PLP bias, based on their actions, behaviors, mismanagement of our country, racially hostile comments and statements from both supporters and representatives, dishonesty and nastiness -and lack of denunciation of – from some supporters and a plethora of other factors.

              Try honesty. Try reading.

  5. Al says:

    tl;Dr

    Too long; didn’t read.

    The OBA are good at policy, bad at communications. They have done things quietly and without fanfare while the PLP would have had press conferences to announce that they planned to do something in the future (and then never do it).

    Put the important stuff at the top of the damn opinion piece!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Craig Clinton says:

    This is ridiculous. Cannonier is doing the same thing he does best using fuzzy words to make it seem like he is doing something.

    As usual pure fluff!

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      FLUFF!!!! Did you ever hear Paula Cox speak? She was beyond all at talking on & on while saying nothing.

      Cannoniers whole speech would not even be a preamble to her.

      • Cannonier Please lololololol says:

        Cannoniers SAT scores wouldn’t even come close to her. Don’t forget who the puppet is.

        • Kangoocar says:

          I will not lower myself to your level with guessing what the cogs SAT score was, all I can tell you is this, as Finance Minister she was a disaster and as premier she was no better!!! How in the world can you defend someone that presided over the biggest financial disaster this island has ever experienced?? Let me give you some advice for free!! If I was you, the last thing I would ever bring up in any conversation is the subject of INTELLIGENCE!!!

  7. Robert says:

    I guess he was just to busy to attend the BIU conference on thursday, after he and minister fahy both spoke at the BPSU conference the day before.

  8. hmm says:

    All a bunch of lies…

  9. Coffee says:

    Premier Cannonier how’d you forget to mention passed legislation authorizing changing of GP license plates ? Or did that slip under your nose like it slipped under Min.Pamp-Gor . Of course she had absolutely no idea who the directive came from , all she knows is ….somebody who has experience in the dark art of invisibility suggested the evasive technique .

  10. Alvin Williams says:

    The premier is in a desperate mode to prove that he and his OBA government is doing something for the people of Bermuda.
    This no doubt is prompted by his low poll numbers that not even his high powered media consultant or so-called media spokesperson has being able to address or turn around.
    Even without the political points score by the PLP political opposition; the OBA government has fallen on it’s own sword with it’s introduction of a rapt of anti-Bermudian; anti-social policies which has been correctly called ‘Slash and burn’; all in the name of turning around Bermuda’s fiscal dilemma. I am going to save Bermuda cites the premier? But the question is saving Bermuda for who? We no longer hear terms such as;” We are going to stop the bleeding”? Instead we hear statements as to how many people are getting caught cheating on social assistance and how the program has become economically unsustainable and of course it will continue to growth because the OBA government has not put forward a clear plan in it’s words;’To stop the bleeding other than to slash and burn. A bitter social reality that is being borne by the ordinary Bermudian.

  11. plp are relient on the stupidity of their support base,they are explointing their own,pandering to emotional lapse of the actual reality of social iniqitoous irresponsibility,appeasement,(whole lottah balloons and brass plaques…oh yes that hearty hand shake and those crocadile smiles to your face),condesending…that’s a “mere pittence” altitudinal response to legitimate question concerning and in relation to spending our tax mone…the fruits of our labour!Oh yes ..our labour…you were marginal (if that) ,representative of labour in Bermuda.First time I have -ever-seen a union boss get some one fired from a job…..that …in and of itself was the hypocracy that prevails throughout their stinky boo boo party!

  12. That is interesting , the cheating you are speaking about is reLly prevalent within the US.In the projects there are girls ltteraly using there sisters babies as their own and wearing a pillow baby everytime the social service lady comes around to check,they say they can’t get a job ,bring their sisters baby over for show…they get like 100.00 dollars a baby per week,so the more they show,the more they get…and a rent check…and electricity.They use each others babies!If you use you relations babies it’s not for sure because it’s their family dna,blood type is different though.If the truth wasn’t soooo sad…embarrassing really…that a person would do this to live free of debt………out there lofe is very unfair for impovrished uneducated people though,and of course they will find a way,it won’t go away by itself,vocational training is the key…right now we need deisel mechanics,outboard motor mechanics,automotive mechanics…and other things