SAGE Commission chairman Brian Duperreault *File photo
SAGE Commission chairman Brian Duperreault *File photo

The following statement is issued on behalf of the SAGE Commission:

We're aware of reports of concern in the media about the content of a speech made to the Hamilton Rotary Club by SAGE Commission Chairman Brian Duperreault on Tuesday, June 25.

The reports appear to focus on two issues: that Cabinet reviewed and approved Mr. Duperreault's speech, and waived the secrecy clause in the SAGE Commission ACT; and that Mr. Duperreault was in breach of the secrecy clause in the Act.

A third issue has been raised on a number of blogs: that the members of the SAGE Commission erred in meeting with members of the Cabinet.

We appreciate the statement made by Premier Craig Cannonier regarding these matters and offer the following:

The SAGE Commission is an independent body established by an Act of Parliament to review the operations and organization of the Bermuda Government and to make recommendations that will lead to a more modern, efficient and affordable government. Communications issued by the Commission, including speeches and press releases, are not reviewed and approved by anyone in Government. Copies of speeches and press releases are provided to Finance Minister Bob Richards on an FYI basis only, shortly before they are distributed.

The information that Mr. Duperreault included in his speech to Rotary, and in an Opinion piece he wrote for The Royal Gazette, reflected material available through public documents, such as Government's Budget Book, and statements made in public. Concerns about accountability, thwarted leadership and a need for a change in the organizational culture of the Bermuda Civil Service were expressed repeatedly at the three public meetings hosted by the Commission in May.

Section 7 (2) of the SAGE Commission Act requires the Commission to "engage and solicit the input of a broad range of persons…which may include members of the Legislature.”

In this regard, we have met with the OBA caucus, the PLP caucus and the Cabinet to explain our review process and invite their suggestions for reducing the cost of running the Bermuda Government.  We have also sent letters to each member of the Legislature seeking their input.

The SAGE Commission has pledged to keep the public informed as we manage our review of the Bermuda Government. We all know that significant change is required to address the unsustainable debt this country and its people are shouldering. We decided early on that it would be a grave mistake to spring our findings and recommendations on the country at the last minute when our final report will be presented. The country needs time to understand and digest the extent of the issues facing us.

The Commission feels keeping the country informed and involved throughout this important process is the right way to arrive at the best solutions for Bermuda.