Carrying the flag during tumultuous times – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

Log In

Reset Password

Carrying the flag during tumultuous times

David Saul was thrust into the role of Minister of Finance during a time of high stakes for the island's economy.

With the island rocked by recession, followed by the loss of the United States base investments and the challenge of building international business, Dr Saul faced tough decisions.

Former premier Sir John Swan noted how he “helped to bring the country to economic development — both in the finance department of the Government, and as an elected Member.”

“He was always enthusiastic about the potential of Bermuda.”

Added Sir John: “He carried the flag. I spent a lot of time with him helping to formulate the growth of international business and our relationships with other countries. He was by my side a lot during my tenure.”

Dr Saul's appointment to the job in 1989 was repeated after the General Election of October 1993. Many, particularly on the Progressive Labour Party side, chafed at his style.

Recalled former colleague John Barritt: “We were then in the teeth of recession. David had to deliver tough Budgets in order to turn things around, but he gritted it out as only David was able to do.”

It was “unusual for a rookie MP to get elected and be given that senior post”.

Nevertheless, Dr Saul “kept a tight hold of the purse strings as he thought he should, much to the chagrin of some of his colleagues in the Government, and he would not back down when he thought he was right”.

“David deserves a lot of credit for helping to introduce a mandatory national pension scheme,” Mr Barritt added.

Ronnie Viera, former president of the Chamber of Commerce and former chairman of the United Bermuda Party, described the pension legislation as one of Dr Saul's significant achievements.

“The process was not easy as he was up against significant opposition from the larger companies in the island,” Mr Viera said. “Every Bermudian should be very thankful for his persistence as many would not have sufficient savings to rely on in their retirement.”

Dame Pamela Gordon, who succeeded Dr Saul as premier, reflected: “The challenge you have in politics, but in Bermuda particularly, is that people have huge expectations on what they believe you should be doing, as opposed to understanding that those at the helm are limited by the choices realistically available to them.”

And former PLP premier Alex Scott said he believed Dr Saul had coined the phrase “Bermuda, inc” in his determination to draw new international business to the island.

“He put the emphasis on offshore and reinsurance business, as opposed to the dependency we had at that time on tourism — he had the financial background, and was first a civil servant as well as a politician.”

Pleased to meet you: Dr Saul greets US President Bill Clinton at the Oval Office of the US Executive Mansion, The White House in Washington, DC

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published May 16, 2017 at 9:00 am (Updated May 16, 2017 at 8:02 am)

Carrying the flag during tumultuous times

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon