Shock as Financial Secretary Anthony Manders dies at 59
Anthony Manders, who died yesterday, was remembered by government colleagues as a skilled Financial Secretary in difficult times.
His work included helping the Cabinet to steady an economy devastated by the global Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr Manders, an outstanding sportsman in his younger days, was 59.
Mr Manders, who was appointed to the post in 2012, was earlier Assistant Financial Secretary and Assistant Accountant-General.
He worked with David Burt, now the Premier, during his tenure as Junior Minister of Finance, Shadow Minister of Finance and Minister of Finance.
He also worked closely with Curtis Dickinson, who was appointed as finance minister in 2018.
Mr Burt last night paid tribute to “a family man. A gentleman. A sportsman. A professional with an incredible work ethic and a penchant for mentoring young Bermudians”.
He added the news had left him “shocked and saddened”.
Mr Burt offered his condolences to Mr Manders’s wife, sons and family.
He said he respected Mr Manders’s “politically unbiased service to five Ministers of Finance”.
Mr Burt added: “He was a consummate public servant who would always respond at late hours and prided himself on ensuring that Bermudians were given a chance to advance in the ministry’s departments.
“His untimely passing is a tremendous loss to Bermuda as he has provided steady leadership to the Ministry of Finance team during the financial challenges of the last ten years.”
Mr Burt added that also counted Mr Manders as a friend.
He said: “Whether it was football matches on the weekends or first ball on Emancipation Day, he was often in good spirits and always willing to teach me the finer sports points – especially keeping me calm during Cup Match.
“He will be missed.”
Mr Dickinson added Mr Manders was “a truly dedicated public servant who always focused on delivering for the people of Bermuda”.
He added: “Everyone who has worked with Anthony knows that he was committed, hard-working and selfless.”
Mr Dickinson said he was often first in at the ministry and last to leave and was “my most senior trusted adviser” over the past two years.
He added Mr Manders was “a key contributor to Bermuda’s successful international capital markets initiatives”.
Mr Dickinson said Mr Manders also advised Cabinet on the “unprecedented economic crisis” caused by the pandemic.
His contributions included helping to set up an emergency unemployment benefits plan at short notice.
Mr Dickinson said he was “for ever grateful” for Mr Manders’s “tireless commitment to our island, his financial astuteness, and the unstinting support he gave me”.
He added: “This is a great loss for the island and we will all miss him dearly.”
Derrick Binns, the Head of the Public Service, said: “I join the many people who have paid tribute to our colleague and friend, Financial Secretary Anthony Manders.
He was an outstanding financial adviser to premiers and ministers.
“He had the unique ability to clearly explain complex financial matters to non-financial people.
“As a part of the Public Service Executive, he was able to bluntly communicate key financial points to his colleagues, moving us to action.”
Dr. Binns added: “On behalf of the Public Service Executive and the entire Public Service, I extend heartfelt condolences to his wife, his sons, family and friends. Today Bermuda lost an outstanding financial leader and we in the Public Service lost a friend.”
Cole Simons, the Leader of the Opposition, also highlighted Mr Manders’s dedication.
He said: “I had the pleasure of working with Anthony in his professional capacity throughout the years and can say without reservation that he was a man of integrity and humility who had a high degree of competency and was a consummate professional.
“His door was always open to anyone at any time and his contributions to the financial services industry remain unmatched.”
Mr Simons added: “Bermuda will miss his valued leadership.”
Paula Cox, a former Premier and Minister of Finance, said both she and her father Eugene Cox, also a finance minister, had worked closely with Mr Manders.
Mr Manders was Acting Financial Secretary during her time as Premier from 2010 to 2012, when the island’s economy reeled in the wake of a global recession.
Ms Cox said: “He was able – no drama, no fanfare, but he did the necessary with no complaints.
“I very much appreciate the sacrifices his family made. He was a devoted family man. He would share good humouredly about family vacations when his children were little.
“I recall his pride when his elder son [Jekon Edness] captained the Somerset Cup Match team.
“He served in a very demanding role with a lot of balls to juggle. He had a good heart and cared about doing what was right and just for the people of Bermuda.”
Ms Cox said Mr Manders was “a very special public servant whom we must celebrate for his strength and achievement – he was solid as a rock and a straight shooter”.
She added the Ministry of Finance “must feel as if a bomb has gone off in their world”.
Bob Richards, the finance minister in the One Bermuda Alliance government from 2012 to 2017, said Mr Manders was “a reluctant public figure”.
He added: “I was the minister, but I didn’t know the buttons to push and the levers to pull as far as the Civil Service was concerned.
“Anthony was the man who made all that happen.”
Mr Richards said: “He didn’t like the public limelight, but he was heading up the most important ministry in the Government.
“His ability and command of the numbers in the public service was incredible.”
Mr Richards added: “He used his considerable skills to get Bermuda through difficult times. You can imagine how much was on him just during this time.”
Mr Manders, who became a certified general accountant in 1994, worked in finance in the private and public sectors for almost 40 years.
He was also a former top-flight sportsman in football and cricket.
He was a goalkeeper for Dandy Town and a wicketkeeper for its associated cricket team Western Stars.
Mr Manders also played for Somerset in Cup Match between 1993 and 1995.
Anthony Eugene Manders, Financial Secretary, was born on November 7, 1961 and died on January 7, 2021, aged 59