SAGE: Duperreault didn’t share any secret information
SAGE Commission Chairman Brian Duperreault’s speeches didn’t divulge secret information, the group has declared.
Nor are its communications subject to review by the Government.
The group affirmed its independent status yesterday, in the wake of objections by the Bermuda Public Services Union, and the Progressive Labour Party, that Mr Duperreault broke with secrecy clauses in the SAGE Act, and that Government “waived” the legislation.
Mr Duperreault’s comments had drawn on publicly available information, the Commission said.
The statement also said copies of speeches, and press releases, were provided to Finance Minister Bob Richards “on an FYI basis only, shortly before they are distributed”.
The chairman’s unflattering appraisal of the culture within Bermuda’s civil service had raised the hackles of the Bermuda Public Service Union.
But the issue snowballed on talk radio last week, after the contents of a radio host’s e-mail exchange with Premier Craig Cannonier’s press secretary, Charmaine Burgess, were attributed to Cabinet.
PLP Senator Marc Daniels subsequently accused Government of flouting the law.
Mr Cannonier responded by saying secrecy laws were never of relevance to Mr Duperreault’s comments.
In its statement, SAGE continued: “The information that Mr Duperreault included in his speech to [Hamilton] Rotary, and in an opinion piece he wrote for
The Royal Gazette, reflected material available through public documents, such as Government’s Budget Book, and statements made in public. Concerns about accountability, thwarted leadership and a need for a change in the organisational culture of the Bermuda Civil Service were expressed repeatedly at the three public meetings hosted by the Commission in May.
“Section 7 (2) of the SAGE Commission Act requires the Commission to ‘engage and solicit the input of a broad range of persons ... which may include members of the Legislature’.
“In this regard, we have met with the OBA caucus, the PLP caucus and the Cabinet to explain our review process and invite their suggestions for reducing the cost of running the Bermuda Government. We have also sent letters to each member of the Legislature seeking their input.”
The statement added that the Commission had pledged to keep the public informed in its ongoing review of the Island’s government.
It would be “a grave mistake to spring our findings, and recommendations, on the country at the last minute, when our final report will be presented”, the Commission said.