Arianna Hodgson - 2020 Youth Platform

Good afternoon,

Before I begin, I have a message for the young people of Bermuda: GET OUT AND VOTE!

As young people, we tend to underestimate our power. Many of us don’t vote because we don’t think politics has anything to do with us and our day-to-day lives. But the truth is, it does. And the more we vote and the more we participate in the political process, the more we will be heard.

I’m proud of the PLP because we’re proactively involving and listening to our young people. Not only does the PLP have the youngest premier in our country’s history, but we are delivering real results for Bermuda’s youth.

Since the last election, the PLP has:

● Ensured that finances are not an obstacle to higher education, and in its first 100 days made Bermuda College accessible to all, with Financial Aid for any Bermudian who wants to earn a degree or certification or undertake extra training. Since we were elected, 800 Bermudians have taken advantage of this programme to further their education.

● The PLP has launched the College Promise that gives any graduate from one of our public high schools free tuition at the Bermuda College.

● The PLP has increased scholarship funding by 40% to enable more young people to access educational opportunities overseas.

● The PLP has expanded our relationship with the University of the West Indies by providing five annual scholarships to the UWI system.

● The PLP has decriminalized cannabis possession, which hampered the lives of young people, especially young black males, who were caught in possession and have had their lives negatively affected. This can no longer happen for simple possession offences due to the PLP.

● The PLP has passed legislation to expunge the criminal records of those found guilty of non-violent cannabis possession, so that records are wiped clean.

● The PLP has doubled the number of apprenticeships available to young persons in the trades, so that young Bermudians can learn while earning.

● The PLP has kept its promise to remove conscription from the laws of Bermuda.

● To tackle the scourge of gang violence that affects the youth, the PLP has appointed a Gang Violence Reduction Coordinator to have a singular focus on implementing programmes to reduce gang violence and antisocial behaviour. The team has expanded the Gang Resistance Education and Training Programme through all public Primary 6 and first year middle school levels, and has implemented programmes like redemption farms, while working with the private sector to place young people who want a way out of gangs into the workforce.

● To foster entrepreneurship in young people, the PLP has created a Summer Entrepreneurship Programme at the BEDC that allows participants to start a business while earning money during the summer break.

● The PLP has supported our young people in the arts and sports by increasing grants and support to artists, creatives, and our sporting bodies and clubs.

Previous PLP governments introduced the Day Care programme, which was an important subsidy to young mothers and families in need, and we provided support for first-time home buyers in the form of stamp duty relief for homes, which can reduce the cost by $24,000.

This Government also believes in a balanced immigration policy designed to put Bermudians first. Young Bermudians often complain that they are passed over for jobs and promotions. We hear you. There’s more work to do on enforcement while balancing the need to grow our population, but you can always count on the PLP to build a Bermuda that puts opportunities for Bermudians first.

Thank you so much.