Premier Michael Dunkley *File photo
Premier Michael Dunkley *File photo

Premier’s National Address


The Hon. Michael H. Dunkley JP, MP

Premier and Minister of National Security

June 9, 2014

Good evening Bermuda.

I’d like to take a few minutes of your time tonight to talk about my Premiership and what can be done to restore this great Island.

My approach to governing will be the same as my approach to life:

  • I will take on the tough issues
  • With my door always open to hear from you
  • And I will work with one and all because we are better together than apart

My mission as Premier is to do all I can to build a future that works for you and your loved ones – ensuring the security and opportunity we all need to grow and prosper.

I am a proud Bermudian who, just like you, wants our Island to succeed.

I believe in Bermuda.

I believe in who we are as Bermudians.

And I believe in our future together, as one people.

The tremendous outpouring of public support for the People’s Campaign, with its theme of equality, jobs and justice, demonstrated issues that matter to the lives of people – and that needs must be met.

My colleagues and I are committed to doing just that. In the 18 months since coming to office, we have started moving the Island forward.  We see start-ups in the tourism industry, an expanding international sector and an entrepreneurial surge among Bermudians determined to succeed.

We see business confidence growing, and concrete investments taking shape:

  • At the Hamilton Princess Hotel and Sonesta,
  • At Pink Beach and Coral Beach, and
  • In the selection of a developer for the St. George’s hotel site that will revive the East End economy.

Our success cannot be defined just by growth in business and new investment, but it is important to understand that they are essential for the jobs and opportunities people need to support their families.

We will therefore continue stimulating the economy wherever we can because of its potential to improve the lives and prospects of more people more quickly than anything else.

One area I am looking to support is the construction industry.

Since 2009, we’ve lost more than 1,200 jobs in this important sector – an unacceptable loss of work and opportunity for able-bodied Bermudian men and women.

To boost the situation, I have asked the Finance Minister to introduce in this Parliamentary session payroll tax relief specific to the construction industry. This will help stimulate new activity, creating and preserving jobs as we continue working our way out of recession.

My colleagues and I know Bermuda’s recovery is not happening fast enough for people who struggle each day.

To them, I say: “Your fight is our fight. Everything we do is to help you support your families and build a future you can believe in.”

We know the cost of living is a huge challenge for many families. Our work to ease pressures will continue beyond what we’ve already achieved through:

  • 10% Wednesday food price reductions
  • Belco’s new fee structure that will see thousands pay less for power, and
  • Telecommunications deregulation that has seen big savings for Internet and cell phone services.

On the legislative front, regulations will be tabled in the House of Assembly this session to advance Public Access to Information.

The plan is to have a PATI Commissioner in place by the Fall and PATI fully operational by April 2015, enabling people finally to shine new light on the work of government – asking questions, getting answers, bringing new levels of transparency and accountability to the public sector.

We will proceed with Public Service reform to make government user-friendly and more efficient. And we will continue fixing the country’s finances, while extending a hand to the many who need help supporting their families.

This evening, I want to assure the people of Bermuda that our young people are a clear priority for this Government.

They are our hope and our future.

We will continue to nurture and support their learning and development to ensure they have access to the educational opportunities critically needed for them to succeed both here and beyond.

And to our seniors… the lifeblood and foundation of our Country… you have contributed so much to our society.

Government is committed to ensuring that your needs are met so that you can live in the comfort, dignity and the peace you deserve in your golden years.

Bermuda, I am an optimist. I have always seen the brighter side of any situation.

Yes we have our share of challenges, but when I look around the Island today I see good things everywhere.

Two Saturday’s ago, I visited Ricky’s Barber Shop on the North Shore with Senator Jeff Baron. Ricky is a great guy, a community man, who used the death of a childhood friend to turn his shop into a hub for a healthy Bermuda. More than 200 people attended.

Then there was the Relay for Life at the National Stadium where 25 hundred people walked, ran and wheeled for 24 hours, raising more than $300,000 for cancer research.

It is the spirit in these two events – working together for each other – that we must build on to move Bermuda forward.

There is no question our challenges are great, but I have no doubt they will be solved.

I see this day as a great opportunity to write a new chapter in the life of Bermuda, using change to build something stronger.

All of us have something to contribute. All of us can play a part.

There is so much to be gained – working together, sharing ideas, building relationships, making headway.

The goal is a Bermuda that works for you, your loved ones, your community and your Country.

It’s a tall order, but I have no doubt we can do it. So, let’s work together to make it happen.

Thank you and good night.