Govt tables SAGE report
The size of Parliament should be slashed, the SAGE Commission has recommended.
The massive report on improving Government efficiency said the House of Assembly should be cut from 36 members to 30 — and Cabinet should also be cut down to eight ministers, including the Premier.
And it said that — in the meantime — Ministers and MPs should take an immediate paycut in line with the cuts already agreed with Civil Servants.
The SAGE Commission said that the cost of running government should be cut by 15 percent — $911,000 down on the current $6.079 million.
The report said: “As our elected and appointed representatives address the Island’s economic challenges, the SAGE Commission believes they have an opportunity to demonstrate their belief that the sacrifice required to regain Bermuda’s financial footing must be shared by all.”
Finance Minister Bob Richards — who commissioned the report — told Parliament today that Government will review the report and hold a debate on its recommendations in the House of Assembly.
The SAGE report also said the number of government departments should also be cut — from 72 to 52 — while quangos and other bodies where government has administrative responsibility should also be reduced.
And it recommends that a new authority to look at privatising services should look at selling off all or part of a variety of services, including airport operations, roads management, prisons, ports and public transport.
The SAGE report said that recommendations on the size of the legislature and the number of Ministers would need changes to the Constitution — which could be made now, but would not take effect until the next General Election.
But the report added: “These cost savings do not equal the targeted 15 percent. We therefore recommend that the remaining areas of the legislature’s budget be reduced to make up the difference and/or further reductions in the salary and wages of Ministers and Members of the Legislature.”
The SAGE report added: “We believe these actions will underscore to the Bermuda community that our Parliamentarians are serious about addressing the country’s debt crisis and that leadership in this regard begins at the top.”
Mr Richards told MPs: “I would like to formally congratulate and thank the chairman, Mr Brian Duperreault and the rest of the SAGE Commission, indeed all committee chairs, committee members and contributors, for the excellent quality of this report, a report which stands as testament to what our invisible resource, ie our intellectual capital, can accomplish when it is generally accepted that something has to be done.
“Also the Commission is to be commended on the open and transparent manner in which it went about its business. The keen interest that the public has taken in this process speaks to the level of concern among Bermudians about how their Government is run.”
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