Premier Dunkley On Public Bodies Reform Bill

October 8, 2014

Premier Michael Dunkley offered the following in response to recent commentary from the Bermuda Public Services Union [BPSU] surrounding the Public Bodies Reform Bill and by extension the Public Services Reform Initiative [PSRI].

In a recent report designed to provide information on their stance on the Public Bodies Reform Act, the BPSU called on public servants and members of the public to “say no to the Government’s reform agenda.”

The position paper said, “It is evident that the Government is forcefully driving its agenda of neo-liberalism, an agenda that can be described as shifting control of economic factors from the public sector to the private sector.

“The BPSU is of the opinion that the establishment of the SAGE Commission and the Efficiency and Reform Authority is less about true reform of the public service but designed to carry out the Government’s principal methodology of reform, privatization.”

“The Union implores all public officers to consider this legislation a threat to their current terms and conditions of employment.”

The Premier said that he “appreciates the dialogue being expressed and shared” regarding the Reform Bill and said he is “committed to ensuring that all viewpoints are heard and considered.”

Premier Dunkley said, “The public will recall that the SAGE Report contained more than 200 recommendations aimed at determining the best means of structuring Government, streamlining Government processes, improving the delivery of services, and introducing cost saving measures coupled with greater transparency.

“What is critical for the public to appreciate is that the cost of running Government and our substantial debt threatens to destabilize the financial foundation of the organization; further, public expectations coupled with budget cuts requires realignment of the organization and the delivery of services. The Public Service Reform Initiative evolved as a strategic platform for the implementation of S‎AGE Recommendations as well as output from other reports and reviews.”

He stated that, “The PSRI represents a significant undertaking over a sustained period that will result in achieving greater efficiencies and reduced operating costs. It should be noted that over the course of the past 11 months, considerable work has been done regarding the PSRI. As a note, a Public Service Reform Strategic Framework has been developed to ensure effective implementation of those recommendations that the Government supports.

“As a reminder, several working groups have been established and have already set about the work of ensuring efficiency in multiple areas throughout the Civil Service. And in the spirit of inclusiveness, and in an effort to include a wide cross section of views in the implementation process, each of the working groups will include representatives from the unions, the private sector as well as highly skilled technical officers.”

These working groups include the:

  • Human Resources Working Group;
  • The Asset Rationalization Working Group;
  • The Digital Services Working Group; and
  • The Pension and Benefits Working Group

The Premier added, “In the future, the Efficiency and Reform Authority as well as other working groups will be added. Of course the Authority will, unlike the other working groups, have statutory authority, however it fits very neatly into the implementation framework that is designed to look across the Service at a number of areas to create efficiencies.”

Specifically regarding the Public Bodies Reform Bill, the Premier said that this is “only one aspect of the overall reform initiative,” adding that it is “intended that there is union representation on the Efficiency and Reform Authority.”

“Finally, as it relates to the union’s expressed frustration that Government has shown a lack of interest in consultation with them, the Premier reiterated that the Government remains committed to the consultation process,” a spokesperson said.

“He noted that as it relates to the Bill, consultation responses are still being analysed and revised drafting instructions are currently being prepared regarding the Public Bodies Reform Bill, and the unions can expect some changes to the Consultation draft.”

Premier Dunkley said, “We remain fully committed to ensuring an open dialogue regarding the PSRI with the community and the unions. Next week, on October 15, we will be hosting a public meeting to discuss Public Service Reform, and the public is encouraged to come and share their views regarding the initiative.”

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Comments (28)

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  1. Why would “they” be using scare tactics if not for their personal benefit? It’s a fact we’re in a “deep hole” and must make cuts if we’re to ever see the light of day :-(
    The novelist and journalist Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr once said, “Every man possesses three characters: that which he exhibits, that which he really has, and that which he believes he has.”

    • Kunta says:

      He is also known for a famous quote “The more things change, The more they stay the same”
      Very fitting

  2. watching says:

    This scheme is basically a way to get government services and assets put into the hands of private entities. The public is not fooled Mr Dunkley and if the OBA proceeds with this, things will not be pretty.

  3. Rhonda says:

    am I the only one that has notice, that the OBA speaks of collaborator, and shared sacrifice….but in practice both are lacking…

    Also Oba please tell us where the money tree is, the one that will fund the UK rum party planned for Oct 18,

    • Vhovho says:

      yep your the only one.

    • SMH says:

      Rhona, if you can’t have a mature, honest conversation about this issue than please do us all a favour and stay out of it. Touting the party line isn’t helping anyone right now

  4. Triangle Drifter says:

    Valuable time is passing by. Talk, talk, talk. Meetings, meetings, meetings. OBA get on with it or get off the pot.

    How much time since the Sage Report was cmpleted? Has anything really meaningful been carried out from the recomendations? The BPSU cannot be pleased, no matter what is done, so there is no point in trying to please them.

    People voted the OBA in to salvage the disaster the PLP left us in. Part of that disaster is the huge civil service they created. I don’t suppose many civil servants voted for the OBA knowing the OBA is about getting value for money & cutting the size of the civil service.

    Get on with it.

  5. clearasmud says:

    Someone needs to remind Mr. Dunkley that just because he proposes a particular course of action that does not automatically mean that it will be the best thing to do. Yes we all get that something has to be done but we are not convinved that the choosen path is the best path. The public needs to see evidence of where these types of proposals have worked before and we have not seen any!Some one also need to remind Mr. Dunkley that people are more likely to accept decisions when they have been part of the decision making process!

    • Bermewjan says:

      The reason this process is taking so long is BECAUSE Mr. Dunkley and the OBA have done their utmost to CONSULT with all of the stakeholders. That is why the SAGE commission was set up in the first place. If you didn’t submit your proposals to the commission that is your own lazy fault – I know I sure as heck did! You had your chance then. Let’s move on shall we and address the meat of the issue.

      Mr. Richards, I applaud you in facing the onslaught of hate delivered in your direction last night. Stay the course sir, as I’m sure it’s only going to get worse before it gets better.

      I’m just pleased to see that you and the OBA are finally tackling the problem head on. Thank goodness – better late than never!

  6. swing voter says:

    Its a balancing act….how many civil servants and government workers can you afford piss-off then improve their life all before the next election. PLP UBP OBA it really doesn’t matter. some governments get it right, others don’t….are you gonna roll the dice, and who u gonna piss off and for how long?

  7. Mark O says:

    The private sector has been reshaped by market forces while the public sector clings to outdated inefficiencies, bloated payroll and unsustainable benefits. The “shared” sacrifice has not been shared at all, but since 2008 has fallen fully on the private sector and it is time for the public sector to be adjusted. This is what the economy requires and while it might be scary and painful in the short term – in the medium term it will make Bermuda a better place, economically stronger and fairer for all. Press on OBA!

    • clearasmud says:

      Where exactly are all these so called successes in the Private sector please share. In fact in the US it was the public sector that bailed out the private sector in order to get their economy back on track. And it is the private sector and in particular the lending institutions that have hampered the recovery. This has in part happened here as well. Private does not automatically equal better and therefore privatization is not automatically the answer to our problems. Yes we need reform but what that reform should look like is what needs to be determined collectively.

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        Privatization is a mixed bag, you can find as many successes as you can failures, it simply comes down to implementation and successful management. The private sector, and in particular the banks have been doing as much as possible here to avoid what happened in the US with the devastation of mass foreclosures.
        As for the reform, we simply cannot trust the civil service to reform itself any longer, it takes too long to do its own jobs as it is now, and the pains of reform is something that it has no desire to bring upon itself. So while their may be consultation about reform with the civil service and their unions, they cannot be the one dictating it any longer, otherwise it just won’t happen.

        • Bermewjan says:

          Yes, but the main point of privatisation is to make the services affordable and to cut government spending – that’s the point you seem to be missing – we don’t have the money… let me repeat that just in case you missed it -WE DON”T HAVE THE MONEY TO CONTINUE TO SUPPORT A BLOATED, INEFFICIENT PUBLIC SECTOR!!!!!!!! Privatisation is the ONLY option left. If you have a problem with that then I suggest you take it up with those that caused the problem in the first place – THE PLP!!!!!

  8. PATI says:

    Premier Dunkley,get on with cost saving and Remind everyone why.
    The PLP enslaved all of us,so now cost saving is necessary.Heaven help Bermuda if we ever see the PLP running the island again !

    • IMJUSTHONEST says:


      • hmmm says:

        Us = Everyone…that includes you.

        If the PLP hadn’t expanded the civil service to unmanageable and unaffordable size, then we wouldn’t even be having this current conversation about the civil service.

        Why can’t you see it?

  9. Better Bermuda says:

    Damn Mr. Dunkley…that milk of yours is souring fast!!

  10. Cookie Monster says:

    Mr. Dunkley, in the last election the people of Bermuda did not elect the BPSU !!!

  11. Coffee says:

    I understand that for the first time in Bermudas long and distinguished history the actions by the OBA have caused certain outside investors to utter these three words together Bermuda and INSTABILITY ! OBA be very careful how you handle this live wire going forward .

    I understand the need to ensure prosperity for Bermuda but, what we don’t need is for a environment to be created whereby we are expending energy on restless residents .

  12. Alvin Williams says:

    I am always been of the opinion despite the criticism of the size of Bermuda’s civil service; it save Bermuda from enduring a deeper level of economic dislocation for hundreds of Bermudian families. Not all of us would be able to run over to England to live on England’s social benefits. But perhaps this is part of some type of conspiracy to drive Bermudians out of their own country and so far it is working. I would like to talk to some Cayman islanders to see how they fell in the situation where they became a minority in their own country. It seems to me that this government is on the same path. They talk about saving Bermuda; but the question to be ask is who are they saving Bermuda for; it is certainly not for the Bermudian? But they are mistaken if those of us who are aware of what is happening to our country; are going to stand by while these selfish anti-Bermudian elements carry out their plan to create a Bermuda without the Bermudian; we will resist.

    • Creamy says:

      What’s with the 14 weeks sick leave a year? How in the world is that reasonable.

  13. more than enough says:

    Am I correct in concluding that these ” groups ” are not gov. employees yet are also being funded by us? Like the bta?
    And 14 weeks of vacation is probably what mp’s get… ask dunkley, he’s on vacation as we speak. Loving dem tax payer dollars!

  14. Need Peace says:

    The only way forward is for the OBA, the Opposition and all of the Unions to sit down and work this thing out like adults! Sooner rather than later! Stay seated until you have compromised and produced a model we all can be proud of. Please, leave your egos at the door and serve the people who put you all in your positions. This is a positive move whereby all Bermudians will benefit!