Premier the Hon. L. Craig Cannonier today announced next steps in the consideration of recommendations contained in the SAGE Commission report.

The Commission was asked to examine the operations and structure of the government and to recommend changes that will provide Bermudians with a government that is accountable, responsive and affordable.

The Commission’s work is one component of a broad Government strategy to make Bermuda work better for Bermudians now and in the future, from policies to bring about jobs and prosperity, to safe neighbourhoods and great schools.

“The SAGE Commission has offered us an opportunity to define how we move forward as a people, how we shape our society,” the Premier said.

“What we decide to implement can provide Bermudians with a government that reflects the ambitions and principles we want for the country.

“It is an opportunity to fix inherited problems, making sure, in particular, that we don’t saddle our children with our debt.

“It is an opportunity to make change work for the common good, and to set the Island on a sustainable path to the future. 

“Right now, as the Commissioners concluded, the cost of government is ‘unsustainable and out of control.’ As the elected Government of Bermuda, we have a sacred duty to look out for the safety and security of the people and to bring about change that keeps them out of harm’s way.

“The Commission’s work represents the efforts of dozens of volunteers who gave their time and skills to move the Island forward in ways that better serve the people and in ways that can be sustained over time.

“As Bermudians, we owe it to ourselves to give fair and open hearing to all its findings and recommendations no matter how challenging they may appear, and to see the many possibilities they present for economic empowerment.”

The Premier urged people to participate in the discussion.

“I want this to be an open process,” he said. “Communication, consultation and collaboration is the way we will move this forward.”

The Government will reach out to the various unions in the next week to hear their views and concerns. A “Take Note” motion allowing for a full House of Assembly debate on the SAGE Report is scheduled for Friday December 13. Town hall meetings and stakeholder consultations will follow.

“This must be the start of a national conversation,” the Premier said. “I encourage everyone who is concerned for the country’s future — which surely must be all Bermudians — to read the SAGE Report and take part in the dialogue.

“Let’s seize this opportunity to right the Ship of State. Let’s make change work for a better future, through wise use of our resources and new opportunities that meets the needs of all our people.”