Minister: Open Letter To All Public Officers

June 22, 2020 | 18 Comments

Minister of Finance Curtis Dickinson sent an open letter to all Public Officers explaining the island’s financial situation and saying their “support is vitally important to our country’s success.”

Open Letter

Minister Curtis Dickinson said, “Dear Public Officers: Open Letter to All Public Officers – Our Economic Status

“Our success with managing the COVID-19 crisis over the past several months lies mostly in the hands of earnest and hardworking public officers. Your professionalism, mature and thoughtful decisions, operational efficiency, daily grind, and your steadfast efforts have been invaluable. While some public officers were directly engaged in pandemic affairs, others were focused on keeping all areas of the Government operational and providing for the people of Bermuda.

Thank You For Giving Your Best

“Many of the unsung heroes worked from home, or simply stayed at home as directed, some willing but unable to assist because of circumstances beyond their control. Your dedication and love for your country have amazed me. Your hard work has brought us to this point. Thank you for giving your best to Bermuda during the past few months. I’m not alone in my recognition, the Government received hundreds of emails, letters, and social media posts from grateful residents extending their thanks as well.

 New Level Of Economic Hardship For Bermuda

“This crisis however has bought with it a new level of economic hardship for Bermuda and its people. Based on submissions by Ministries and Ministry of Finance projections, unbudgeted COVID-19 expenditures for this fiscal year are estimated to be in the range of $80-$90 million. These funds have been expended on things like the Unemployment Benefit Programme; COVID-19 testing; personal protective gear, supplies and equipment; homeless shelters; quarantine facilities; and more.

All Public Officers Continued To Receive Full Salary

“Further, all public officers continued to receive full salary during the shelter-in-place phase despite the loss of tax revenue, and in some cases, our inability to provide full service levels.

“We are still progressing through the phased re-opening of Bermuda and economic activity is just beginning. COVID-19 will cause a major decline in Government revenues. This is caused both directly by the economic slowdown and indirectly by necessary tax policy and administrative measures taken in response.

Revised Deficit For 2020/21 Is Estimated To Be In The Range Of $275-$315 Million

“The Ministry of Finance estimates that revenue yields for 2020/21 could be reduced by an estimated $200-225 million. After factoring in the impact of COVID-19, the revised deficit for 2020/21 is estimated to be in the range of $275-$315 million.

“This level of deficit is not only unsustainable but economically and fiscally imprudent. When considering the current high level of our public debt, the Ministry of Finance regards this level of deficit as a serious challenge. The Government’s target is to keep the deficit for 2020/21 below
$175 million.

“The Government now needs to raise $700 million to finance the 2020/2021 deficit, refinance short- term credit facilities and other current government bonds with relatively high interest rates and also fund possible deficits over the next two years.

“If government does not convince foreign creditors and rating agencies of our absolute commitment to manage this crisis and control our deficits, credit rating downgrades will come.

Ratings

“Continuing declines in our ratings will not only lead to higher interest rates, but threatens the job security of public servants, it threatens the job security of those people employed in International Business and the job security of all those companies and individuals employed in providing services to International Business. This will result in the loss of more Bermudian jobs. We cannot allow this to happen.

Objective

“Our objective is to retain jobs, strengthen our economy, and get Bermudians in all sectors back to work. That’s why we’ve been working hard with our Union partners on a package of savings to avoid layoffs and balance the budget.

“The savings package is perhaps tougher than the Unions had envisaged however, I am satisfied that this is the best deal we can achieve; one which saves jobs, creates room for us to continue delivering much needed services to our people and positions us to lead Bermuda’s recovery.

“The Unions have now taken the necessary steps to arrange a series of membership meetings. Your support is vitally important to our country’s success. Thanks again for your continued excellence in public service.”

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Comments (18)

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  1. Ringmaster says:

    From today Government employees. and all other Bermudians, will see the value of the Bermuda dollar drop well below 1:1 with the US dollar. Not only that, IB will leave when the rating for Bermuda drops below the IB company’s rating. Thank you PLP.

  2. Unbelievable says:

    This letter is stunning and frightening. I have two words for this entire scenario: Greece 2009.

    • sandgrownan says:

      Yup, we’re completely screwed.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      Something that’s been worrying me immensely for the last few years in fact .
      Wake up one morning and go to the atm machine and there’s only a few dollars left in the account .

  3. Political Appointments says:

    Does this mean also that Political appointments will be reduced or removed?

  4. 2bermudaz says:

    But burt does not like to negotiate in punlic?

  5. Aggrieved says:

    Some civil servants have been working non-stop, some have been sat at home doing nothing. Why are we all being asked to take the same hit?

  6. sandgrownan says:

    Finally. But is it too little too late? The economy was boned before the ‘rona, and we all knew we had a civil service we could ill afford.

    The question is, if he can turn things around now when his back is against the wall, why didn’t the PLP incompetents do it sooner?

  7. Comfortably numb says:

    Why oh why is it taking so long for the public officers to share the sacrifice that the private sector has been a part of for so long? Could it be because they represent the largest voting bloc of the PLP or is it because the unions and their current and former presidents are so enmeshed in the PLP? Everyone knows that the Civil Se5vice is a form of Financial Assistance as the efficiency and work ethics of most civil servants would not see them last long in the private sector. Twenty minutes watching a Works and Engineering road crew ‘at work’ would validate my claim.Time for stronger words Mr Dickinson!

  8. Joe Bloggs says:

    “Further, all public officers continued to receive full salary during the shelter-in-place phase despite the loss of tax revenue, and in some cases, our inability to provide full service levels.”

    It must be nice to be a civil servant on full pay throughout all of this

  9. Hotel Worker says:

    Good Day as a Hotel Worker why can’t we take out some of our Hotel Pension. We are going to be the one suffering. THANK YOU

  10. 2bermudaz says:

    When the FinMin made his deficit predictions, at what point did he hope a deal could be done with the BPSU? surely the longer this goes on, the higher the budget deficit?

  11. Bermudian says:

    And what is the reason that they received full salary during the shelter-in-place? Has an explanation been provided? While thousands of Bermudians were left having to rely on Govt to receive a benefit that merely covered groceries let alone the other expenses. One can say, this was done as a political tool, because it surely can’t be for the financial benefit of the country.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      * One can say, this was done as a political tool, because it surely can’t be for the financial benefit of the country.*

      Exactly !
      The CS came through unscathed at the private sector’s expense . All votes intact !
      The private sector who did qualify for the benefit for the most part will consider that ‘this government’ looked after them . Votes also intact !

  12. Bananarepublic says:

    Remind me again how much we had in the bank when the PLP took over from the UBP?

    Covid is the tip of a very big iceberg.

  13. Unbelievable says:

    What happened with MP and Senators taking that pay cut?

  14. Ringmaster says:

    The Minister goes to great pains to thank all the public sector workers for their efforts. Very nice but they are on full pay. The so called savings to ensure their pay isn’t reduced is merely pushing the costs down to the next generation. Not all can be working 100%. The Min of ED is clearly not working full time and from the overgrown state of the roads neither is W & E and Parks. Tourists may return next week but will see overgrown weeds and grass everywhere. Clearly maintaining the living standards of the public sector at the expense of Bermuda is the main concern of the PLP.

  15. Observer says:

    Minister, you post some real truths in this open letter. However, I would like to know whT fiscal guidelines have been put in place to stop the waste and in some cases mismanagement of departmental budgets. 2hat process guidelines have been developed to give better governmental services in this new business climate. What guidelines have been implemented for the quangos and there spending. Has there been a deep dive into the government grants that are given out and there recipients asked to review there business processes and be more efficent. The taxpayer keeps having to foot the bill for some of the decisions being made and it is high time that things change. Just an observation.

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