• The following statement was released by One Bermuda Alliance Leader, Craig Cannonier on Thursday, April 18, 2019
Craig Cannonier, Opposition Leader

“The job losses at Butterfield Bank are a body blow but the warning signs were there for the Government to see,” Opposition Leader Craig Cannonier said, adding that “questions that must be asked are, where is the economic stimulus plan and, after Butterfield, who is next?”

His comments follow after 30 employees in Bermuda accepted voluntary early retirement packages, 11 positions were made redundant, and Butterfield’s Rosebank Banking Centre and Drive-Thru Teller Services in Hamilton have closed.

Mr Cannonier said: “The volume of retail sales have fallen for ten consecutive months – it is mid-April, why haven’t we had the figures for January and February – business confidence down, back office jobs are leaving Bermuda, the cost of doing business is rising and our taxes and health costs have increased.

“We have also seen reports on the housing market from the Chamber of Commerce which said that last year prices ‘dropped beyond anything we have seen in recent years’. People and businesses are hurting.”

The Opposition Leader noted the Premier’s tone in his statement and said “although it may please his core supporters”, what was most interesting is what he failed to address.

The bank’s statement on the job losses contained a quote from Michael Neff, the managing director, Bermuda, which said, ‘Reflecting customers’ preferences to increasingly conduct their banking transactions through electronic channels, we have seen in-branch volumes drop by over 50 per cent during the last decade.

This is a form of financial technology, or FinTech, which can create but also destroy jobs through greater efficiencies. In the long-run it could actually mean fewer jobs.

I hope all those affected by the redundancies are able to find new employment very soon, but given the parlous state of our economy, the questions that must be asked are, where is the economic stimulus plan and, after Butterfield, who is next?