OBA's Limited Ideas are Limiting Opportunities for Bermudians

PLP Statement: OBA's Limited Ideas are Limiting Opportunities for Bermudians
PLP Spokesperson for Labour & Workforce Development Rolfe Commissiong, MP

The OBA announcement of a "National Talent Pool" for Bermudians seeking construction work is not without merit, however it is yet another reminder of the OBA's failure to keep their promise to create 2,000 jobs for Bermudians; they lack a coherent plan to create jobs and possess a seeming inability to grasp that Bermudians need work in fields beyond construction.

Job losses are still mounting in international business and among white collar professionals, yet the OBA have exacerbated the problem by raising the cost of doing business in Bermuda, failing to diversify their economy and failing to invest in the training and development of Bermudians. Furthermore, they ignored calls from the PLP to produce a workforce development strategy, identify upcoming projects and opportunities for Bermudians such as those related to the America's Cup. This would have allowed Bermudians to know what jobs would be available and for training to be put in place to ensure that our people were prepared to fill those jobs. This was ignored.

The OBA's limited ideas are limiting Bermudian opportunities and as a result Bermudian jobs continue to shrink under the OBA while non-Bermudian jobs continue to grow.

The PLP believes that we must:

- Develop and implement a National Skills Strategy, with human resource assessment playing a key role in determining the current and future occupational needs of our economy.

- Introduce an Office of Economic Diversification to take the politics and red tape out of inward investment, introduce new economic pillars and create new opportunities for Bermudians to be hired, trained and advance in careers.

- Reverse OBA policies that have driven up the cost of doing business in Bermuda, jeopardised jobs and stifled entrepreneurship.

- Introduce a skills registry as a key component of the National Skills Strategy in order to track the skills that are available on island. Crucially, this register will also serve as a database of Bermudians living and working overseas and their respective skill levels who may be looking for an opportunity to return home in order to take their rightful place in the workforce.

Bermuda can do better and it will do better with a change of priorities and a change in approach that will come with a change in government.