by Jamahl Simmons Constituency 33 - Sandys South
In one of their first statements for the general election, the One Bermuda Alliance made several factual errors and misleading claims. The people of Bermuda deserve to hear the truth.
1) Regarding jobs, according to the Bermuda Labour Force Survey, the Bermudian unemployment rate in May 2016, the last report taken under the OBA government, was 8.2%. In November 2019, it was 4.4%. Under the OBA Bermuda lost 2000 jobs, in 2019, after 2 years of the PLP in charge, Bermuda had 650 more jobs than in 2017.
2) Regarding COVID's health impact; we have not had a single death in several months, currently no hospitalizations and almost all our cases are imported and they are isolated.
3) In the OBA's final budget, the predicted budgeted deficit was $134 million and that was after they doubled the national debt during their term. To say that the OBA left a budget $8 million away from being balanced is the OBA leader doing what he does best, misleading the public. The Deficit in the OBA’s last full year in charge of the Economy was $182 Million.
4) The OBA seems to not understand basic math - A general election AND by-elections combined cost more than a general election alone. They conveniently ignore that in a handful of months we would have had to have paid for a general election regardless. So, it would be more prudent to save taxpayers money in the long run by getting on with the general election instead of incurring its cost and the cost of by-elections, of which the OBA leader said that we can expect more.
5) The last full upgrade of the bus fleet in Bermuda came under the PLP. Under the OBA, the transport budget was slashed and buses regularly broke down. We have invested in public transport while the OBA did not.
6) The US Consul General said, regarding Bermuda's COVID safety, "The testing regime for COVID-19 on the island has been effective as the number of cases remain low. The strict protocols put in place for travelers and residents by the Government of Bermuda has limited risks island-wide, and has created a generally safe environment for many with the opening of the airport and resumption of most businesses."
7) A number of jurisdictions in our region and around the world have safely held elections since the pandemic began. In CARICOM, elections occurred safely in Suriname, St. Kitts/Nevis, Anguilla and Trinidad & Tobago with Jamaica coming soon. There are specific protocols in place to keep elections safe and the former Parliamentary registrar noted that he believed that we can hold safe elections.
8) Nowhere has the PLP said that our "next move" is independence and we challenge the OBA to specifically show the quote wherein we said that. We believe that in the absence of strong, credible leadership the OBA is slyly seeking to create fear and division over this issue.
At the end of the day, we need strong leadership in Bermuda, and, what this release shows is an opposition party that once again has no problem misleading Bermudians to try to gain power. This election is about leadership and it is clear that scaring people into not voting, not being able to do simple math and hiding the truth are all that Mr. Cannonier’s party has to offer.
Bermudians deserve better than that.