Premier: Govt was ‘days away’ from cash crisis
Bermuda had a brush with bankruptcy just after the One Bermuda Alliance took power, according to Premier Craig Cannonier's assessment of the OBA's first ten months as Government.
Within weeks of taking the reins, Mr Cannonier said the new administration sought “emergency loans on Wall Street because the Government was running out of money, literally days away from not being able to pay its bills, including the salaries of civil servants”.
The Devonshire South Central MP added: “Incredible but true.”
Mr Cannonier credited Government with generating confidence and “job-creating conditions”.
“We ended term limits which had become a barrier to jobs for Bermudians. We passed payroll tax exemption for employers who hired out-of-work Bermudians. We lowered taxes on real estate purchases to trigger new business for service providers such as plumbers, electricians and painters,” he said, in a statement released last night.
“We set up a Cabinet-level Economic Development Committee to bring forward developments such as the [Fairmont] Hamilton Princess project faster.
“We signed off on micro-loans to small business and pushed our cruise ship partners to hire Bermudians. We set the stage for a Tourism Authority to reboot tourism, the industry that offers the greatest hope for new jobs.”
The Premier declared himself encouraged by “the biggest upticks in new jobs and company formations in recent years”.
Mr Cannonier said the OBA's first Parliament had stood up for “a more inclusive, accountable and fair Bermuda”.
“We outlawed discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and age. We passed municipal reforms to make sure taxpayers had a place at the table where decisions are taken. We provided police with more manpower.”
Mr Cannonier's appraisal had the Island “starting to turn the corner”.
“We're not out of the woods yet, not by a long shot,” he said. “But we know the challenge and we know the problems.”