PLP PRESS CONFERENCE REMARKS
WEDNESDAY, MAY 10TH 2017
REMARKS BY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION AND PLP SPOKESPERSON FOR FINANCE: E. DAVID BURT, JP, MP
Bermuda is once again in recession under the OBA leadership and all those worrying about Bermuda's economy are justified in their concern.
Too many in our country - especially our young people - are worried that they or someone close to them is going to lose their job. Those are reasonable concerns when 120 jobs were lost by Bermudian hotel employees, whilst 59 work permit holders were hired in the same industry in the last year.
When we learn that there is a recession, it comes as no surprise to those of us who experience all facets of Bermuda. But, what is telling is that it is a surprise for others. It is with genuine shock that many OBA supporters learned that we're in recession because they and their Bermuda are just not feeling it. But, our Bermuda is.
The reason that so many in our community are shocked by the numbers is simple - too many don't understand that there are two Bermudas. There is one Bermuda where the wealthy are doing well, and their wealth continues to grow. But, there is another Bermuda that is not sharing in their wealth and success. That's because this system isn't set up to work for all Bermudians - only a select few.
During canvassing, I hear the same story being told time and time again, stories of Bermudians who either can’t find jobs, despite having the right credentials, or losing the job they did have, despite hard work and commitment. Those who have work are struggling to keep up as their wages are not keeping up with the high cost of living and they are having trouble supporting their families. It’s painful to hear the story of a 35-year-old father of two who is a manager, but cannot afford a place of his own for his family, but these are the stories we hear all the time on the doorstep.
Despite all the OBA's promises of prosperity, today Bermudians are still losing jobs and are falling further and further behind. The OBA doesn’t have a plan to fix the status quo, doesn’t have a plan to stem the tide of Bermudians leaving the Island. they seem comfortable in the system that continues to fail Bermudians.
The PLP offers an alternative, and Agenda for Growth that makes our system fairer, provides more opportunity, and ensures that Bermuda does better than it is doing right now under the OBA.
REMARKS BY PLP SPOKESPERSON FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: SEN. KIM WILKERSON, JP
The OBA were championed as astute businessmen and campaigned on the promise that they could take Bermuda out of recession and stimulate new jobs. In fact, they promised 2000 jobs, and this has not happened.
So, yes, Bermuda has fallen back into recession.
And yes, the OBA not only failed to create 2,000 new Bermudian jobs as they promised, but nearly 2,000 jobs have been lost, and, the debt has increased from $1.2 billion to $2.4 billion in just four short years. These are the facts. Too many Bermudians are hurting and we can and must do better than what the OBA has to offer.
The solutions the OBA offer to our economic woes are bills like Pathways to Status, which, they will surely pass if they are re-elected. Pathways to Status is not a solution for our economic condition - but, it is an attack on the core of who we are as Bermudians - our national identity is truly at stake in the next election. Bipartisan immigration reform is the only way we can preserve this identity, while ensuring stability for our economy and the business community.
The Progressive Labour Party offers an alternative, that is no just quick fixes and gimmicks like Pathways to status, or temporary stimulus like the America’s Cup. Since we have been in opposition we have spoken about the urgent need to focus on the Diversification of our Economy. We have a long-term plan and vision that will diversify our economy and create jobs here in Bermuda for Bermudians.
We have offered solutions of Tax Reform that will make our economy more competitive and incentivize job creation in Bermuda and not reward companies from shipping jobs overseas.
We have offered solutions such of the Economic Diversification unit and the Bermuda Fund which will ensure that we focus on economic diversification.
We have offered solutions for creating a sustainable future in technology be creating a technology park at Southside, where we can attract job creators to take advantage of the well-regarded Bermuda regulatory environment.
We have offered solutions for improving Public Education and investing our people via increased training and retraining to ensure the Bermudians are able to fill jobs in the new economy.
Bermuda can do better than what the OBA has delivered. When Bermudians continue to experience job losses, and our country has fallen back into recession, it is clear that we need a better plan for jobs, economic growth, and investing in Bermudians so that we can get our people back to work.