Premier Craig Cannonier outlined a four-point blueprint to the island’s economic recovery on Sunday.

Following the OBA Government’s Budget on Friday, the Premier said Finance Minister Bob Richards had ‘set the island on the road to recovery’ but warned Bermuda is dealing with a ‘mountain of debt’.

That debt, he says is costing the island $113 million a year in interest payments.

In a press release, he said:”The most important accomplishment with the Budget presented on Friday by Finance Minister E.T. (Bob) Richards is that it sets the Island on the road to recovery.

“It gives Bermuda the chance to make amends for the years when indiscipline ruled the public purse, endangering our future.

“Our goal was to break with that past and set the Island on a course toward sustainability, whereby we start paying down the debt, rein in the cost of government and live within our means.

“But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We have a long way to go. We are not out of the woods, not by a long shot.  The Budget starts us moving in the right direction, but much remains to be done and, as Mr. Richards said, there are dangers everywhere.

“We are still living with a mountain of debt – costing us some $113 million a year in interest payments. As a Government, we are still spending way more than we take in. This year we aim to cut the deficit by nearly 20%, but we’re still projecting to spend $267 million more than we take in. And economic recovery both here and abroad is uncertain.

“I see four keys to Bermuda’s recovery in the years to come:

“First, we have to remain disciplined. The distance we must go to pay down the debt – one of the big challenges of our generation – will take years. We cannot let up in our commitment to getting the Island back on solid footing.

"Second, we have to grow the economy. That means attracting new investment to our shores, as we’ve done throughout our history. As Mr. Richards said, the Government’s ability to support the economy through stimulus spending is “tapped out”. So to grow the jobs our people need, we’re going to have to attract job-creating investments from overseas, for new hotels and for infrastructure development such as for a new airport and causeway.

"Third, we have to care for our people. This is a big challenge given the fact that we face such serious financial challenges. And on this point, I am very happy that the Budget stuck a careful balance between the need to get spending under control and meet our debt obligations and the need to meet people’s needs, whether it be in the pledge of no government lay-offs this year, no new taxes and continuing social support programmes.

"Fourth, we have to work better together. We have to set aside differences that keep us apart as a people. And the way to do that is to understand that we’re working for Bermuda, for our home, which is in trouble. We have to recognize what is at stake, and that the opportunity before us is more than just recovery.

"It’s our future."