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Premier speaks on furlough dispute

Premier Michael Dunkley

These are Premier Michael Dunkley’s full remarks on the furlough day dispute:

“The last few days have seen us expressing divided opinions on the issues at hand. We may not have agreed on everything and sometimes that is the nature of our democracy.

“It does not make us any less connected as a community; in fact it indicates that there is a deep and abiding desire among all Bermudians to ensure the best for our people.

“We may disagree on how to achieve the result but at the heart of this, I believe that we all have the wider interest of Bermuda at the forefront of our minds.

“As I indicated after Monday’s meeting, the Cabinet has identified a number of additional cost savings which brings us closer to the target budget figure that the Government needs to present a workable budget; a budget that allows us to continue the work of restoring the Government’s finances to a more solid footing.

“This is important so that we can do the things the people elected us to do …. we must deliver services to the taxpayer and run a government that is efficient and cost conscious.

“We must continue to build confidence in Bermuda so that we can continue to grow and prosper.

“I am thus pleased to announce tonight that the Government and the BTUC have agreed to meet to consider these additional cost savings.

“Our disagreement has been centred on the continuation of the furlough day.

“With the savings identified by all parties it is clear that we continue to work towards the goal of reducing the operating cost of government in accordance with the strategy outlined by the Minister of Finance in his first budget.

“With that in mind, the Government and the BTUC agree that continuing the furlough day will be considered as a last resort.

“It is important that we now turn our attention to the work at hand which is demanded of us by the people we serve and to ensure that we continue to function; working together to restore the promise of Bermuda for all her citizens.”