May 20, 2014 at 10:57 p.m.

Cannonier saw a god in the mirror

But Premier also saw the devil of defeat that confirmed his mortality
Cannonier saw a god in the mirror
Cannonier saw a god in the mirror

By Larry Burchall- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

Over many years, I and others like me have built up a wealth of practical experience in identifying, grooming, growing, and testing leaders. Our experiences, shared generally and generically by all who, like me, have been engaged in that business, have taught us much about the development and behaviour of leaders.

One of the generic lessons that all of us have learned is that all leaders come to one defining moment. That is a moment when they look into a mirror and see a god looking back at them. Leaders who go on to do well, generally get disabused — by quick practical experience — of any idea that they have
become gods. 

Leaders who do not do well begin thinking, regularly, that the man in the mirror is a god. 

In time, some sooner than others, all these god-seeing leaders fail.

On March 5, the BIU marched on the House of Assembly over the Essential Services Act. Premier Cannonier came down to speak to the marchers. I watched and listened to him. Watching and listening to him in action, I thought: “He has seen the god.”

This weekend’s two sets of discussions on the upper floor at No. 58 Reid Street, might have dis-abused him of that idea. But, I wonder.  I wonder.

Now I know. On Monday night he looked in the mirror and saw the devil of defeat that confirmed his mortality.

ith all the fuss and fuming about who did and did not get on the “jet”; who gave or didn’t give $300,000 or $350,000; to whom the $300/$350 grand was given; who actually received the $300/$350 grand; who knew and who didn’t know; who was and wasn’t telling the truth; who spoke to whom about what; who’s suing whom; with the Party-in-power investigating itself; and the Party-out-of-power baying for political blood; it is obvious that Bermuda’s politicians – some of them – have gotten their silk and cotton knickers in many twists.

But today, Wednesday 21st May 2014, the Minister for Finance will pay down $45,000,000 of Debt. That $45 million will be sent overseas to foreign lenders who live out ‘there’, north of North Rock, South of Argus, west of Western shoals, and east of Five Fathom Hole.

On Tuesday 10th June 2014, The Minister for Finance will pay down $75,000,000 of Debt. That also will go to those overseas foreign people.

Debt will fall to $2,185,000,000 [$2.185 billion]. The annual Interest Cost will drop from $118.842 million to $111.852 million; while the annual Sinking Fund contribution will decline from $57.625 million to $54.625 million.


After paying down that $120 million, the leftovers from 2013’s big $800 million borrow drops to ($800m - $333m [Deficit in 2013/14] - $267m [Deficit in 2014/15] - $120m Senior Notes paid off) a total of $720m paid out of the $800m. That will only leave $80 million left behind.

Add those $80m leftovers to the $97m that the Minister found in the Sinking Fund on the change of Government in December 2013. By 11th June 2014, the Minister will have that $97m plus any interest derived from short-term placements of the unused portion of the $800 million.  The Minister should also have put another $55 million into the Sinking Fund. In all, the Minister is likely to have about [$80m + $ 97m + $6m + $55m] $238 ($240m?) million available to carry the Government into 2015/16.

But in 2016, the Minister has already forecast a $180 million deficit.  So $180 million will disappear into 2015/16’s projected deficit. That leaves just $60 million plus another $54 million that should have been put into the Sinking Fund for 2015/16 for a total $114 million plus any accrued interest.

Then, in May and November 2016, the Minister will pay down $90 million in Debt. Take $90 million from say $119 million ($114m + $5m accrued interest) and the Minister will have only $29 ($30m?) million left to carry him into 2016/17.

What then?  In 2016/17, do we borrow again?  Or do we grow the economy so fast that by 2016/17, Government revenue is topping $1,200 million – 33% higher than now?

If you have not understood the workings set out above, that’s OK. They’re just numbers. They don’t really require your understanding. But, through your taxes and sweat, you do have to pay those numbers — bills. Every one of those millions has to be paid — even if or though you don’t understand it all.

If you haven’t understood, read and re-read until you do. 

You should at least know who and what’s squeezing you. You owe that to yourself. 

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