Dear Fellow Bermudians,
The Bermuda we know and love is in peril. Over the last four and a half years we have seen an increase in heavy-handedness from government, bigotry and a general lack of tolerance for each other. This is not who we are, and we can rise.
We have 2,068 fewer jobs in Bermuda today than in 2012, our cost of living is the highest in the world, we have too many crumbling schools, qualified Bermudians cannot obtain the jobs they seek, and our seniors are met with disrespect when they voice their concerns.
In essence, we are losing that uniquely Bermudian spirit that combines generosity, strength and unity.
It’s that spirit of unity and generosity that we see right before and after hurricanes; that spirit of diversity that we see at a Heroes Weekend Carnival; the spirit of celebrating Bermudian tri-athlete Flora Duffy as well as English Premier League footballer Nahki Wells. However, under the OBA, times have become harder; so much so that some of us no longer have the ability to look out for our neighbours.
Bermuda can and must do better
Governing a country is largely about priorities and plans. We in the PLP have made public education, seniors’ quality of life, and job creation our priorities, and we have the plans to help Bermuda do better in each of these areas.
I believe that Bermuda can deliver on the promise of a good public education system, leading to a good quality of life. Regrettably, today too many Bermudians believe they need to enrol their children in private schools to ensure a decent education; we must do better for parents and our students.
In a country that mandates a retirement age, the government has a moral obligation to ensure that retired people still enjoy decent health care while living in a society that allows them to live in dignity; we must do better for our seniors.
Time for change
Our platform is a combination of fresh, new ideas and some very good old ideas to bring about needed positive change in Bermuda’s society. It is a change that will:
- put our children and their future first;
- provide tools and opportunities for Bermuda
- promote an economy that works for all Bermudians
- reduce the racial tension that has permeated our country
- assure quality and affordable health care; and
- give seniors the quality of life that their sacrifice deserves.
Now is the time to have new priorities and a new vision of Bermuda, which only the PLP can deliver; a vision that prioritises stability, collaboration, cooperation and inclusion.
It is a vision that puts Bermudian values and Bermudians first.
We know we have to put Bermudians first because happy, healthy, stable and prosperous Bermudians are the most welcoming people in the world. We are proud to share our home with our neighbours and visitors alike.
However, when Bermudians feel like second-class citizens in their own home or see others unfairly benefitting at our expense, then we see problems that tear at Bermuda’s social fabric. As a result of unchecked inequality, some of the more prosperous among us feel free to gallop all over Bermuda’s social media, bragging about being a “have” and not caring at all for “have-nots”.
Actions that deliver
In order to deliver the social framework that Bermudians require, the PLP will take actions to balance our budget, increase employment, educate our citizens, heal our social fabric, rebuild our infrastructure, make government more responsive and reduce structural inequality.
As we all know, Bermudians are tired of fighting. We are tired of bickering and are tired of the divide. Bermudians want ideas that inspire the best in us and engender a sense of unity and optimism for the future.
Bermudians deserve a government that, through its actions, promotes transparency, openness and honesty and restores stability, bringing unity to an island that desperately needs it. Former Premier Alex Scott, creator of the ‘Social Agenda’, said, “Bermuda works best when we work together”.
My pledge to the people of Bermuda today is that the Progressive Labour Party is ready to unite our citizens, ready to restore hope, and ready to lead Bermuda to meet the challenges of a changing world.
It is time for change. It is time to put Bermudians first!
On to victory,