Lead by example and take a pay cut, Opposition Senate leader tells Govt – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Lead by example and take a pay cut, Opposition Senate leader tells Govt

Ministers should take a pay cut to lead by example during the recession, according to Opposition Senate Leader Jeanne Atherden.

The Shadow Economy, Trade and Industry Minister also claimed yesterday that Bermuda had become “uncompetitive” as a financial services jurisdiction and needed to get rid of red tape.

Senator Atherden spoke during a general debate on the 2011-12 Budget in the Upper Chamber.

She said a pay cut ought to be imposed on all Government Ministers, the majority of whom earn $168,000 a year.

“They have their pay because we are recognising that they are doing something for the people of Bermuda,” she said, adding that the other side of that was the duty of Ministers to be “leading by example”.

“In some places if you haven't managed to meet your budget and goals then you turn around and you don't get a bonus, you get a pay cut.”

Having earlier referred to the Government's $96 million budget deficit in 2010-11, she said: “The Ministers are the ones who allowed this to happen. Maybe a pay cut is a recognition that ‘I didn't carry out my responsibilities as I should have'.”

The Opposition senator said her party had hoped to see a Budget for the coming fiscal year that “was steering Bermuda on a path to economic recovery” and was disappointed.

And she said Premier Paula Cox had been Finance Minister for six years but had not been leading those in charge of the Country's finances in a positive way.

Sen Atherden claimed: “Bermuda has become uncompetitive. A company would look at ‘why is my product not selling? Why am I not competitive?'.”

She said: “The high cost of labour is a reflection of the high cost of goods and services in Bermuda.

“We do not have enough Bermudians. Regardless of how we train them, we still need non-Bermudians, we still need our guest workers.”

The Opposition senator said Bermuda was falling behind other jurisdictions in attracting international business because of how long it took to get things done here.

“Too much red tape and not enough red carpet equals too much red ink,” she said. “We are talking about the regulatory environment we have created.

“I'm not suggesting in any way that we are going to turn around and relax our standards. I'm saying that sometimes we have to look at the rules and regulations and say: are some of them really there to make sure we are complying with international standards?”

She said the Island needed to think about how to do things differently, reconsider its term limit policy for work permits and offer a “red carpet culture” to guest workers.

Expatriates ought to be considered customers of Bermuda, just as tourists are, added Sen Atherden.

She said the worldwide recession had made a bad situation in Bermuda including an overheated economy, falling numbers of tourists and an increased reliance on borrowing worse.

And she claimed the UBP would have done a better job of steering the Island through the recession with an approach based on prudence and family values.

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Published March 17, 2011 at 10:09 am (Updated March 17, 2011 at 10:08 am)

Lead by example and take a pay cut, Opposition Senate leader tells Govt

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