For the first time in history, the budget statement for this fiscal year did not outline each government ministry’s individual budgets. Rather, Premier and new Minister of Finance the Honorable David Burt, JP, MP, decided to have the individual ministers discuss their own budgets at several press conferences.
In former Premier and Shadow Minister of Public Works and Tourism Craig Cannonier, JP, MP’s, opinion, through doing this, Premier Burt is single-handedly changing the way that things have traditionally been done, but not for the better.
“ [What the Premier has done] is a slap in the face of budgeting, a slap in the face of integrity and of ensuring that the public understands exactly where they are,” he explained.
In his opinion, there are no business proposals that can be put on the table that people can give money towards. Despite what Premier Burt claims, there is no real proliferation of entrepreneurs by the PLP government, because the 33,000 working adults on the island cannot spend enough money to keep entrepreneurship going. Mr. Cannonier believes that Bermuda’s economy will continue to decline and costs will continue to increase during this fiscal year.
“ There is no transparency from the Premier; we don’t even know what happened to the $800 thousand which went missing in what I’m calling a scam,” he explained. “ We have no clarity for the $3.2 million National Sports Center, which did not go through the proper process. With this government, primarily by Premier Burt, there is a continuous flaunting of the rules.”
Due to the PLP having such a large majority of representation in Parliament, Mr. Cannonier sees democracy in Bermuda being slightly threatened.
“ The people of Bermuda really need to pay attention to what the Premier and his Ministers are saying and really be able to understand the direction that Bermuda is going in and sometimes [speaking as a black man], we fall to the age-old race card rather than understanding the issues,” he said. “
What made Bermuda great for blacks, having one of the largest middle to upper-middle income salaries in the world, was the fact that we were able to bring investment into the country. We need to get back to the table and resolve this issue, as it is the one thing that is destroying us; less people, less spending.”
While the OBA were in government from 2012-2017, one of the things that was discussed was the privatization of some Governmental areas. According to Mr. Cannonier, even Premier Burt himself expressed a similar sentiment when he was PLP Senator.
“ [The OBA] is not saying to get rid of people within certain job areas, what we are saying is to shift them from one area to another,” he said. “ If we allow entrepreneurship to thrive and investment to come into the country, black and white people will get back to work and we will all thrive. That is what we need to be looking at.”
Mr. Cannonier believes that Premier Burt should just come out and be honest with Bermudians about the current state of the economy, rather than telling voters what he thinks they want to hear.
“ If we keep throwing out this and that [but very little comes to fruition], then people lose hope; so let’s be very clear about what we’re going to do and where we are right now, because the people out there are feeling it. You can only fix something when you face up to the reality of where you are right now.
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