UBP’s Kim Swan: Pre Budget Statement

February 17, 2011

[Pre budget statement by Opposition Leader Kim.Swan]

Virtually everyone in the country is aware that Bermuda is in the grip of its most serious economic challenge in many generations, and that the Government’s spendthrift ways – enabled since 2004 by the Premier/Finance Minister – have made the situation much worse.

The Budget tomorrow must lay down a clear plan to get the island back on track; to restore income, grow jobs, impose spending discipline and restore confidence not just in the Government but in Bermuda.

Our Shadow Finance Minister, Mr. E.T. (Bob) Richards and the United Bermuda Party team have been consistent in recent years putting forward ideas and recommendations to help the Government prepare for and navigate through the recession. I believe Bermuda would have been in much better shape today if the Government had heeded our advice.

That did not happen and Bermuda is the poorer for it.

Our team will work diligently to reinforce the need to work toward basic objectives Mr. Richards has laid down in recent months:

  • set this country on a path to recovery
  • secure people’s support for tough corrective measures, and
  • provide the Government with a better direction than it has shown.

In mid-January, Mr. Richards articulated four principles the Government should follow to help the Island meet those objectives. They are:

1) Reduce the cost of Government

  • We expect the Premier/Finance Minister to meet its $150 million with real current account reductions, not cancellations of capital projects that have not yet broken ground. This is a time for serious action, not promises without real meaning.
  • It is essential for the Government to lead by example if it expects Bermudians to accept cutbacks in services and pay. In this regard, we reiterate our call for a pay cut for all Government ministers.

2) Keep Bermuda Working – Stimulate Where You Can…

  • The Government can do a lot to stimulate economic activity even though its spending excesses have severely limited its capacity to help people in tough times. For instance, the Government can
  • Pay vendors within 30 days
  • Direct no less than 20% of what it spends on goods and services to small business. Under current allocations, this could amount to tens of millions of dollars to small businesses, which we know are struggling.
  • Fast-track Planning to get jobs-producing projects off the ground.

3) Reduce the debt

  • We want the Government to commit to a five-year plan to reduce debt because our debt situation will not be sorted out in a year.

4) Reform Bermuda

  • Bermuda has to change the way it does business. We’ve built up an industry of red tape across decades; built on assumptions that Bermuda needed to control the world coming to it; to prevent it from being overwhelmed. The world has changed and the Government needs to recognize that powerful fact and act in a manner that helps the Island’s economy succeed again. The need for reform is pressing. We must take advantage of this period of economic dislocation to re-tool our economy so that we can emerge from it stronger.
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Comments (5)

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  1. Terry says:

    “Provide the Government with a better direction tha it has shown”.

    You go Bob.

    Johnny Barnes holds it up at peak times. Go figure……………….

  2. BERMUDA says:

    KIM,

    Till Bermuda’s work force is 98% Bermudian there will be problem’s
    the PLP do not understand will the UBP? Bermudian’s are DONE being
    crapped on! the PEPOLE will be in the street soon! they do not care for
    the PLP or UBP, they need JOBS, and are done being told by EXPATS
    that they are not needed!!! Do you all know how MAD Bermudian’s
    are????? this is a BOM that is about to go off!!!

    • Call as it is says:

      Suicide Bomber!!

      ps..learn to spell

    • Joe says:

      Get real. Our economy is a little more sophisticated than that. Perhaps if you try you can come up with something a little more intelligent as an option for us.

  3. bermy love says:

    Get rid of the expats!! Get money in ur own countries mothaf***as!