Cannonier vows to not make the PLP’s ‘mistakes’ on consultants
A statement sent to the media by the One Bermuda Alliance emphasised Premier Craig Cannonier’s key messages — none of which include a direct mention of tackling racism.
“One of the challenges that Bermuda has is that we have forgotten the human element in all of us, treating each other as objects as opposed to human beings who are effective in doing our jobs — all of us just want to do an honest job — getting people back to work, to stop the pain,” Mr Cannonier wrote.
He said he had made it his “personal mandate” and has instructed all Government Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Departments to make their respective decisions based on these very important objectives:
* Attracting our local intellectual capital back to Bermuda. “Ten thousand have left the Island — they include families and businesses. They have taken their intellectual capital and spending power with them — both of which are vital for our survival,” said the Premier.
* “How do we affect the violent crime rate in this country? We know that crime is down, but violent crime is what is creating the fear. We have to arrest the tide of violence.
“We have to stop the wars, there are gang wars, families are at war, businesses are at war, politicians are at war, people are at war.
“While I believe that it is my job to end it — it starts with each one of us. Whenever there is a crisis in a family or even business, the quickest path to brining a solution depends on the degree of cooperation with one another.
“Cooperation will build better lines of communication and build respect. Respect will in turn build trust.
“I trust in Bermuda, in my Ministers, our Permanent Secretaries and our Civil Servants, that they will cooperate, communicate and be respectful.
“I trust in businesses, local and international to work cohesively together to create jobs and help to build our economy.
“When trust is established, people will want to invest in Bermuda, which I believe is the critical path to turning the economy around.”
He added: “There are many solutions, none of which will work unless there is collaboration.
“Based on our mandate, the government Ministers are now defining their measurable goals, of which they will be held accountable.
“If it’s not measured, it will not be accomplished. For example, the goals include job creation, making health insurance affordable for everyone, building businesses, local and international businesses and reducing crime.
“The people of Bermuda have spoken very clearly that they want and expect our government to be rational and organised as we face these enormous financial challenges that were inherited from the PLP.”
He said Government had been working to reduce costs through a series of initiatives, including:
To that end, we have been busy since we took office four weeks ago. We’ve been working to reduce our costs through the following initiatives:
1. All newly appointed Ministers have agreed that they will take a ten percent cut in pay and not use GP cars on a regular basis.
2. The previous fleet of GP cars has been reduced to six and will be available for use only when necessary.
3. A review of the Government budget.
4. The establishment of the Economic Advisory Committee to streamline government processes, improve the delivery of services and make government more efficient and cost effective.
5. A review of the St. George’s Police Station and Westgate
6. Meetings with the International Business community to assess their needs.
7. Reviewing and meeting with Civil Servants to understand their needs and to achieve our goal of social and economic equity for all.
“These are still early days — we are in assessment mode, uncovering the realities of the state of the country. Where efficient practices have been identified, they will remain — where excess and wasteful spending has been identified it will be cut back.
“As the Premier of Bermuda, I represent all Bermudians. I can assure you that I remain committed to controlling government spending across all sectors, including by reducing the amount of government consultants.
“In 2010/11, the previous Government spent upwards of $100 million a year on consultants, which we believed to be extremely excessive. We will not duplicate their mistakes.”
However, according to the Budget Book, the total spend for Professional Services in 2010/11 was $119 million. But only about $50 million of that was spent on local and overseas consultants. Another $22 million was spent on contractors. The balance was made up of a range of diverse items such as Board and Commission Fees, Membership Fees and War Pension Awards.
He could not say in yesterday’s interview what the budget cap would be for consultants attached to Cabinet Ministers or the Government as a whole.
“We are confident in the competence of the Civil Servants to ensure that the policies of the Government are implemented. However, from time to time the Government of Bermuda will require assistance on special projects and when the need arises we will look first to those Bermudians who have the expertise.
“Being inclusive means that we will stretch across whatever divided us before. So, going forward, you there may be unfamiliar faces working with and for us — on your behalf.
“We have accomplished much, but there is much more work to do. There are many vital areas that will need to be enhanced to get the job done — and get Bermudians working. That is our mandate — that is our mission.
“Bermuda, you can trust we will do everything in our power to put Bermuda back on the road to recovery, breaking down the walls of division to provide social and economic equity for all, leaving no one behind.”