BPSU leader Kevin Grant *File photo
BPSU leader Kevin Grant *File photo

This is not the time for finger pointing, now is the time for some hard talking to get Bermuda going again.

This is the message from BPSU leader Kevin Grant in the wake of last week’s 2014 Budget announcement.

On Friday, Finance Minister Bob Richards told the House of Assembly there would be no redundancies in the civil service in the coming year.

But he did not rule out future redundancies, saying the old ‘corporate culture’ of a lack of strictness and accountability had still not been squeezed out of some Ministries.

And the Finance Minister outlined a host of current Government Departments that would be considered for privatization, mutualization and outsourcing to cut expenditure.

Mr Grant told the Bermuda Sun that more details and specifics were needed in order to fully explore the question of privatization.

But he insisted that dialogue between the union and Government was the only way forward.

Pleased

He told the Sun: “We’re obviously pleased no redundancies will be made in the next year.

“But that was discussed previously and was not a surprise.

“There were some eyebrows raised when Mr Richards talked about the various departments that he was thinking of spinning off.

“A timeline has not been put in place.

“And there needs to be dialogue, as well as investigation, to see if our infrastructure can take this.”

The departments that will be considered for privatization and mutualization include: Airport Operations, Emissions and Vehicle Testing, Aircraft Registry, Ship Registry and CITV.

Mr Richards said that Waste Management, Vehicle and Equipment Operation and Maintenance, GEHI and Health Insurance, Parks Maintenance, Water and Sewage, Department and Social Insurance, Highway Maintenance and Conservation Service, would also be looked at.

Mr Grant said: “The unions all agree that we need to find ways of improving efficiency.

“That is why we want dialogue and it has to be a meaningful dialogue to get things right.

Proposals

“A lot of proposals have been put forward, but now we need specifics and details of the areas we need to discuss and to see what is sustainable for Bermuda.

“We need more detail to zero in on the procedures so we can start putting a real plan in place.

The head of the BPSU added: “This is a very serious situation.

“We are well aware of the looming deficit and it’s going to be very challenging.

“We want to have a hard dialogue and make sure the changes that take place are sustainable.

“We have always known Government’s position and that has been reinforced.

“There are no guarantees and we have known that.

“We have been working to make sure we look at ways of making Government more frugal.

“We have members who have brought cost-cutting ideas to the table.

“We are on board and want to talk about a way forward.

Optimistic

“But I don’t want anyone to lose their jobs and I want to remain optimistic as to what Mr Richards said.

“There will have to be changes made.

 “But we all need to pick up a pail and start baling and get this ship sailing again.”