Government almost defaulted on its March financial commitments, Premier Craig Cannonier admitted today.

He said: “In March itself, we were close to not being able to pay our bills as a Government – this is something we inherited.

“We have an economy right now that the OBA as a Government inherited and it’s frightening what’s been happening.

And he called for an end to “schoolyard politics” after a tit-for-tat row over Government pre-election promises with the PLP and a new focus on the financial crisis facing the island.

The OBA and the PLP have been trading punches for days over the Government’s record after 100 days in office – with the Opposition repeating that the Government had misled the public over the controversial abolition of six-year term limits for overseas workers announced by Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy.

Mr Cannonier said: “Maybe the Minister moved swiftly – but there is an urgency of now.”

But he added: “The key is we have got to do more explaining and make sure people understand exactly what is being done.”

The OBA – who had promised pre-election to suspend term limits for two years while alternatives were looked at – instead axed them altogether shortly after taking office.

Mr Cannonier said: “The concern really is we were able to move so swiftly. It was very clear to us we had moved on a policy on term limits that was an inhibitor.”

Mr Cannonier added that – after taking power – the OBA had access to documents that suggested term limits were unnecessary and put off investors.

And he said that, for every job international business filled with an expatriate, two white-collar jobs were created for Bermudians.

Mr Cannonier added: “Our job is to get the job creators back – their number one concern was that term limits were inhibiting them investing in this country.”

And he said that it was vital the Government acted fast to create conditions to attract more international business investors to the island.

Mr Cannonier added: “The Opposition is going to have to get used to that. We will no longer be sitting talking for six months or a year to get things done. The future of this country depends on us being swift.”

Mr Cannonier also hit back at claims by the PLP that they had failed to keep its promise to immediately cut Ministerial salaries.

He said that Government could not change salaries until the House of Assembly had reconvened – some weeks after the election win in December last year.

Mr Cannonier added: “We could not have a resolution to have these salaries cut because there was no Parliament until February and March. We had to meet in the House of Assembly to this resolution passed.”

And he said that the 2013-14 spending estimates would prove that the new Government would be spending less on Cabinet that its PLP predecessor.

Mr Cannonier added: “Now is not the time for us to be involved in this kind of schoolyard politics. The world is passing us by – we’re in a global economy here and we can no longer be so insular.”