OBA Ideas To Fix The Economy

October 6, 2011

The One Bermuda Alliance held a press conference this morning [Oct.6] to speak on the economy. OBA Leader Senator Craig Cannonier, Shadow Finance Minister Bob Richards and Miguel DaPonte – a member of the OBA’s Shadow Board on the Economy – all made brief presentations.

Mr Richards suggested a raft of measures to improve the economy including: granting employers a two-year payroll tax exemption for new hiring, eliminate the employee portion of payroll taxes for employees earning less than $50,000 a year, eliminate the licensing requirement for non-Bermudian spouses for the purchase of property, require government to pay its bills in less than 30 days, reserve 20% of government discretionary spending for small business, freeze the size of the civil service, cut consultants and frequent travel, reduce the size of Cabinet, and reduce ministers pay by at least 10%.

The full statement by Sen. Craig Cannonier follows below:

Good morning everyone and thank you for coming.

We’ve asked you here because we want to talk about the economy and ways we can make it work better for Bermuda.

We do so because more people are hurting today, more people are pessimistic for the future and more feel there is nothing that can be done to reverse Bermuda’s decline.

We’re here to say it does not have to be this way, that there is much we can do to get Bermuda back on track.

The first priority of government, as we see it, is to create and maintain an environment that grows opportunity; that enables its citizens to make a living, whether in the form of a job that puts food on the table, or an education that leads to a fulfilling career.

In Bermuda today that environment has started to unravel, with a serious loss of employment and opportunity across all levels of society.

Last week’s announcements of the loss of more than 150 jobs were not isolated, unrelated events. They were part of an ongoing slide that threatens all of us.

People who think that CITI Fund’s plan to ship 105 jobs to Canada and the United States doesn’t have anything to do with them should think again.

We have an economy that is deeply interconnected.

The loss of jobs in the international business sector has a ripple effect throughout our economy. It means less business for restaurants, for shops, for law firms, for banks and landscapers, for office supply companies, IT companies and taxis and for landlords. You name it, it’s all connected.

So the loss of jobs in the international sector is not isolated.

All of us have a stake in it.

I understand why people feel helpless in the face of what is happening, particularly when their government keeps saying it has no power to do anything; that we just have to ride out the storm.

But we don’t see it that way at all. We have the means to shape our own destiny. We have the means to make a difference. We reject the Government’s passivity.

My main message this morning is:

We can do this, we can turn things around. We need to believe in ourselves, and believe in who we are. Bermuda has always been able to adapt and grow. That is our history. We are resilient. It’s in our genes and we should never forget it.

Things will get better; not on their own but through discipline and good planning, through tough, intelligent decision-making and, always, with optimism that draws from who we are as Bermudians.

This morning I have asked two members of our economic team to speak to OBA plans and policies to revive the economy.

They are Mr. E.T. (Bob) Richards, the Shadow Finance Minister, who I know you are all familiar with; and Mr. Miguel DaPonte.

Miguel is a member of the OBA’s Shadow Board on the Economy. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst who earned a Master of Business Administration at the Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario, with an undergraduate degree in Finance and Economics.

Miguel is a vice-president at BF&M Investment Services. Prior to joining BF&M, Miguel managed global equities and fixed income portfolios for various institutions, trusts and high net worth individuals located around the world.

Together, Bob, Miguel and the rest of our economic team have been keeping a close watch on the economy in order to put together a plan to get Bermuda working again.

This morning Miguel is going to speak briefly on the state of the economy and Bob will lay out ideas to get Bermuda back to a position where we are growing jobs, not losing them.

Afterwards, we will take questions.

The full statement by Miguel Daponte follows below

Miguel Daponte

Good morning everyone.

We are here today to lay out some of the OBA’s approach to getting our economy working again.

My role in this exercise is to provide some context by reviewing our current economic situation.

Surveys show Bermuda with an unemployment rate between 10 and 12%. That means approximately 4,000 people without a job.

This is an unprecedented situation for a country that for nearly 60 years enjoyed full employment.

The level of hurt is running deep. Pension hardship withdrawals are rising as people struggle to pay for education, housing and medicines.

Excessive Government spending has created an unprecedented level of debt, now totaling $1.2 billion.

Interest payments on the debt are costing $95 million a year or $260,000 a day. This has crippled the government’s ability to help Bermudians just when they need it most.

Everyday services – from charities to buses – are now compromised because there is not enough money to support them.

The government has tried to counteract the situation with the argument that we cannot help what is happening because of the global recession.

The global recession has obviously had an impact in Bermuda, but it is wrong to believe it is the sole cause of all our ills.

Negative trends in the economy preceded the recession.

Retail sales have been falling for 38 consecutive months.

And the total number of jobs held by Bermudians has steadily fallen since the year 2000, even during times of plenty.

This last statistic is an indictment of the Government’s protectionist policies that have alienated the international business sector while failing to generate jobs for Bermudians.

I make these points to say that we have taken our eye off the ball. We have not taken care of the economy. What was once a smooth-running engine with full employment is now starting to knock and cough and stall.

Countries from Ireland to Switzerland and the Caribbean have copied our model and enhanced it while we have failed to stay sharp.

We have seen competitors with far more severe public sector financial problems than us increase foreign investment and jobs in both tourism and international business.

For example, there is very little data to suggest that jobs or company formations have shrunk in the global reinsurance world, yet Bermuda has seen jobs and companies leave while key competitors grow.

The OBA was not formed to wring our hands and blame our situation on the global economy. The government is already doing that. But with the global economy possibly heading for a further slowdown, it would be a disaster to leave our future to factors we cannot control.

As our leader has already suggested, we have to take charge, we have to take responsibility. We cannot allow passivity to be our economic policy.

Our concern is that the government doesn’t get it, and that it has run out of ideas and energy.

We need to accommodate industries that want to set up business here. Jobs are vital and we must do all we can to keep our people employed. We can strike the right balance to build an economy that works for Bermuda.

The full statement by Bob Richards follows below:

Never in my lifetime have I sensed such widespread feelings of helplessness and hopelessness among Bermudians.

That’s not who we are.

These negative attitudes have been fostered by our government constantly telling us there is nothing much we can do except wait for the global recession to end.

Our national confidence and optimism have been dented by a series of blunders by this government.

We need to bring back hope, confidence and optimism, but it will take a change in attitude, a well-conceived plan and the enthusiastic participation of Bermudians to make it work.
We, the OBA, firmly believe we can turn this economy around ourselves by being proactive instead of being passive.

In recent months, we have put forward a number of strategic reforms to change the way we conduct business as a government and the way we work with the outside world.

Today I will focus on more immediate steps that can help grow jobs and expend opportunity.

There is an old saying: When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging, throw away the shovel. Our competition, Cayman Islands, have recently done exactly that:

They have temporarily suspended their term limit policy, until they can figure out a new policy. They have recognized, as the OBA has, that term limits have been job killers for their people.

The PLP government is too set in its ways to be pragmatic. They have done nothing in this regard.

The OBA would also be pragmatic. We would suspend term limits for a period of two years, while the matter can be thoroughly reviewed.

Like Cayman, we have publicly recognized for some time that the current term limit policy has killed jobs for Bermudians and contributed mightily to the exporting of jobs from Bermuda to places like Ireland, Switzerland, and Canada. By suspending term limits for two years, we lay down the shovel.

In an effort to encourage the formation of new jobs in Bermuda, we would grant employers a two-year payroll tax exemption for new hiring. So, if a company employs 10 people and they add 3 more staff, for the next two years the company will not have to pay payroll tax on those additional 3 employees. Of course we would need proper oversight to ensure that there will be no abuse of the policy.

We would eliminate the employee portion of payroll taxes for employees earning less than $50,000 a year. This would put more money in the hands of those folks who are struggling in this shrinking but still expensive, economy.

We would reform/fast track Planning & the Planning process… currently a factory of red tape.
The process is clogged; preventing blueprints from becoming real projects that create jobs.

We would eliminate the licensing requirement for non-Bermudian spouses for the purchase of property.

This policy is not only blatantly discriminatory, but, like Planning, inhibits the ability of people to buy, build and renovate homes. These are projects that can create jobs in the hard-pressed construction industry.

We would require government to pay its bills in less than 30 days. It pays its bills too slowly. This would put cash in the hands of struggling local businesses.

We would reserve 20% of government discretionary spending for small business. That’s tens of millions of dollars a year going to businesses we know.

We would freeze the size of the civil service, which has been bloated by the PLP, and reduce it through attrition. Its cost, which is born by everyday Bermudians and our customers, has made us less competitive.

We would cut consultants and frequent, lavish travel. There has been only lip service paid to this by Government, but the gravy train keeps right on chugging.

We would reduce the size of Cabinet: More cabinet ministers means more civil servants, more GP cars, more trips.
The Premier created more ministries in a recent reorganization, a move that increased the cost of running the government.

We would reduce ministers pay by at least 10%
Ministers must lead by example. We cannot expect Bermudians to tighten their belts without their leaders doing the same. Anything else would be sheer hypocrisy.

Finally, and I say this with the greatest respect, the Premier should recognize that she is out of ideas as a Minister of Finance, and compromised by policies and practices that have failed Bermuda.

It is time for a fresh pair of eyes. It is time to step back and give up Finance to another member who is not so bound by past missteps, who can bring real energy and real focus to the post.

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  1. PLP Responds To OBA’s Ideas On Economy | Bernews.com | October 7, 2011
  1. Are you serious? says:

    http://www.royalgazette.com/article/20111006/BUSINESS/710069935/-1

    You have got to be kidding!!! More spending this year than last?
    You know I hear the people on the radio and on these blogs defending the PLP government, but come on you can't spin this! The proof is RIGHT IN FRONT OF US. If you can defend this with some bs excuse then you are really really not thinking for yourself. Stop drinking the kool aid people

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    • Black Soil says:

      Ashamed to say that we are dying under the PLP regime. The PLP have no plan to lift UP Bermuda. Their plan is to stay in power while looking as if they're actually doing something. The PLP are broke financially and morally. They threw me to the curb. I am very disappointed!!!!!

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    • Hmmmmm says:

      Did you even read the article?! The increased spending is due to pensions and health care costs not paid from the Consolidated Fund i.e. not overspending or increased spending on anything in real terms. Spending actually decreased and revenues are tracking higher.....read and understand. no kool-aid required.

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  2. Let's Talk Some Sense says:

    I have to say, these are all very good ideas.

    The PLP needs to wake up and realise that they WILL be voted out and for good reason.

    In an economy such as this, when people no longer have jobs but everything seems to continue to rise. How can people afford to live? This is insanity and then we wonder why crimes continues to increase.

    Government needs to look very closely at getting the banks to lower their interests rates, specifically on mortgages at this time. Although we are two plus years into a recession, all of these things have remained the same. How can this be??

    How does the little fish survive??

    The PLP and Paula Cox especially as premier, needs to wake up because at the next election THE PLP WILL NOT BE GETTING MY VOTE. They have done nothing in these last years to help Bermudians, Paula Cox is yet to cut her pay and the rest of her party to show good faith to the same people she points fingers at telling them that they need to do more with less.

    This is utter nonsense. The OBA will have my vote.

    This island needs a change!

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    • star man says:

      It seems bank mortgage rates are artificially frozen in Bermuda at 9% (7% +2%), way higher than the market rates in, say, Canada, which start at 3.8% for a five years mortgage. Back in the day John W Swan Limited used to pay 7% on savings. The banks have been ripping off Bermudians for years, they lend at 9%, yet pay less than 2% on savings accounts - quite a profitable spread! Once BELCO turns your power off (at least 1400 homes are apparently in this predicament) your mortgage is next. Oh well, when you have nothing, you have nothing to lose! Thanks Dr Brown & the PLP, thanks a lot.

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  3. Got to go says:

    Finally, a group with concrete plans and not knee jerk reactions!

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  4. Al says:

    tl;dr

    The same problem as always. Communicate clearly, simply.

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    • Hmmm says:

      Please don't vote.

      If cant take 5 mins to read the statements above you are no doubt ill-informed on all matter aside from your own baseless opinion. 5 minutes to make an informed decision on the future of your country is not too long at all, perhaps we should put it into a comic strip so simpletons such as yourself can understand.

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      • Al says:

        Ha, the irony is dripping.

        I'm perhaps the only person in Bermuda who read the UBP's Agenda for Change in 2007.

        My point was more toward the communication style that emphasised setting the stage, with winding background, and with little emphasis on high-impact repeatable political and policy statements. It also does little to place the blame squarely on the feet of the PLP and Paula Cox - the truth, as they say, has an OBA bias.

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        • star man says:

          I don't believe the OBA strategy is to heavily criticise the PLP, just to offer ALL Bermudians REAL positive solutions to our problems. It's still gonna take years to dig out of the hole the PLP put us in, because the PLP obviously never heard of the 'First Rule of Holes:' When you're in one, quit digging! Dummies.

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  5. Keep them Honest says:

    Yes, Yes and Yes, next election cannot come sooner!

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  6. Can't Take It Anymore says:

    Question is, if OBA get in, will they stick to this priliminary plan. I have heard it all before and am still waiting. We shall see.

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    • ap says:

      heard it from who? cuz it was surely not the PLP in the last 13 years

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      • Can't Take It Anymore says:

        Heard it from UBP, PLP and BDA.

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        • Sandgrownan says:

          Heard what specifically? And from whom?

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          • Can't Take It Anymore says:

            I gather you need it spelled out for you. All have said that they will turn things around. That will cut gov spending and cut minister wages. Basically, they all have promised a better life, and I am still waiting. UBP sat there around 30 years and the people suffered. PLP has sat there for 10 years and the people suffered. BDA spewed that same garbage, now they no longer exist, hmmmmmmmm. Enter the OBA, which is a combination of UBP and BDA, hmmmmmmmm. Now it doesn't take a genious to see that the promised "change" seems to be along the "the same" promises. I'm not saying that is will go that path, but rather i hope it doesn't go that path, because from my point of view, we all seem to be going in circle!

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            • Can't Take It Anymore says:

              Meant, not saying that they will take that path, but rather I hope they do not take that path.

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              • openmind says:

                well instead of criticizing why don't YOU be a product of the change you expect....

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            • star man says:

              I would venture to say that there are a lot more black folks suffering now under the PLP than did under the UBP. Those were the days with enough MONEY for all, and TWO JOBS - now we're penniless and can't even find one job! Thanks PLP, we love you. All de way PLP. NOT!!!

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    • Al says:

      It's pretty cut and dry. There's no wiggle room in what the OBA are saying - it will either be done or not... and many sound very simple and easy, no pie in the sky stuff like we got from the PLP last time.

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    • YES MATE! says:

      This is the first time the OBA have said this, so you couldn't have heard it from them before.

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  7. Can't Take It Anymore says:

    OK, quick question all. If the OBA were to lose this coming election and then lets say a few people split from the party and then form, lets say the ODA, will all the OBA the supporters jump ship again?

    Don't get me wrong, I like the OBA, but I have a few trust issues concerning loyalty. 3 parties in less than 2 years. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.....

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    • YES MATE! says:

      How many premiers have the Pee El Pee had? At least the other guys have the balls to get up and go do something new, whereas the PLP/EBP squabble and fight over power but are so addicted to the kool-aid that they stay and lie to us and say everything's just fine in the PLoP (flush) we just had to deceive you, we don't like white people, especially rich ones but Inzane and Dannis De Dockbuilda are fine by us. I'll tell you what if I don't like what the chef is cooking then I will go to another restaurant but it looks like the average Pee El Pee member likes the taste of sh!t.

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    • Bermyman says:

      I think that certain former UBP supporters will vote for any party that is organised other than the PLP and likewise certain PLP supporters will only vote PLP till their graves. It is the swing voters in the middle that both parties will grapple over. But the present administration has done such a bad job of late that for the sake of the country it is probably a good idea to vote against the PLP. If you read the statement above and then think about the intellectual capital the OBA has, they are miles ahead of the PLP. You need smart people running the country in the current time and nothing that the PLP has done or said recently indicates that they have the ability to do the job that is needed. Voting this time around is not really about what you whole heartedly believe in terms of ideals, it is about saving Bermuda from economic peril. It is as simple and as scary as that in my opinion.

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      • Can't Take It Anymore says:

        What you said def has substance to it. And I agree with you, we need leaders will save Bermuda from this economic peril. I also beleive that given the way things are going now, the Bermuda economy is starting to sway in the right direction, though minimal, it is swaying none the less.

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        • Bermyman says:

          I think the global economy has a long way to recover but at the same time the benefit of being such a small country is that we can adapt and change very quickly compared to larger economies. A few smart decisions and Bermuda could turn itself around. In my honest opinion this winter is going to be a very tough time for local business and people in general.

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          • Can't Take It Anymore says:

            Yup, a tough winter is ahead of us, however, 2012 will show promising results. Though we will not see those results until 2013.
            This is the moment that seperates the men from the boys, can we all come together and look out for our fellow man, or will we just repeat ourselves and ponit the blame finger citing its there fault.

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      • star man says:

        "the intellectual capital the OBA has" That's what we need, intelligent, experienced BUSINESSMEN (who have already earned their money legitimately) making well-thought-out political decisions for ALL Bermudians - not these racist PLP idiots who throw simplistic knee-jerk ideas up against the wall to see if any will stick. The PLP have NOTHING to offer us.

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    • Bermudian@heart.. says:

      AGREE .. BUT WE ARE IN SUCH A MESS THAT WE NEED TO SEND A MESSAGE ACROSS TO ALL POLITATION THAT THEY ARE THERE CAUSE WE VOTED THEM IN AND RIGHT NOW PLP IS JUST LIKE UBP THEY ARE NOT LISTENING TO THE PEOPLE SO THERE FOR SAME MESSAGE NEEDS TO BE SENT ACROOS ....NEW PARTY...AND IF THEY DONT DO NOTHING WELL VOTE THEM OUT TOO. ANY PARTY THAT GETS INTO POWER HAVE TO REALISE THAT PEOPLE NEED TO BE HEARD OR ELSE...

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  8. Again says:

    Why is is that we have recylced UBP Ideas and falsehoods?

    My response to Craig Cannonier, the voters will recject your made up statistics and soundbites.

    Does the OBA just make stuff up.. Unemployement at 10-12%, did this come from thier crystal ball?!?!

    No evidence of insurance slowdown anywhere, ok folks, now you must really think people are stupid, everything has slowed down, except gold mining!

    Regards to Cayman and Term Limits, their policy if faaaar different than ours, to call them the same is a lie. But thats what we get from the OBA, lots of lies.

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    • Al says:

      As you say, the unemployment rate is misleading since many of the jobs destroyed by the PLP's policies have left the island.

      The OBA didn't mention that the PLP's budget deficit and debt cost every Bermudian worker $2500 per year.

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    • navin johnson says:

      The statistics for unemployment certainly would not come from the PLP for the last stats they released were for August 2010. The number of people employed in the insurance business is bermuda is certainly fewer just look at the restaurants, parking in town anytime, all sorts of business and services letting people go....its just that your government chooses to release statistics when they want...when tourist arrivals are up they release them in the blink of an eye and somehow magically know how many people arrived from anywhere yet they cannot track how many people are out of work....they put in mindless legislation for spouses of Bermudians and how ownership and they killed the real estate market due to their inefficiency in getting the licenses out and they still do not have the courage to change the legislation because it would admit that they were wrong. Get real this government is made up of people who have no clue other thatn self enrichment....have your pension gone up at the same rate as theirs? people work reduced hours for lower pay and that is not even in any "UN" employment numbers....how anyone can defend the record of this so called government is beyond me...except specialgirl4 she would defend anything they do at least until they drop her from the payroll....

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    • Riley B King says:

      "Falsehoods"? "Made up statistics"? "Lies"? So you're accusing them of making up the whole 'unemployment'issue? They're exaggerating, is that what you think? Good grief. What does it take to talk some sense into you.

      If you want an idea of the unemployment crisis, and you refuse for some reason to believe the OBA, have a look at the Government National Economic Report (the one that Kim Wilson refers to), and the Bermuda Job market Employment Brief, released in August. Look at Cordell Riley's report. You might change your mind about there being "no evidence of a slowdown". Unless Kim Wilson and Cordell Riley use 'made up statistics' as well.

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    • Bermyman says:

      Actually Coal mining has increased dramatically in the last 2 years due to China's appetite for cheap energy.

      Mining for most raw materials is on the up.

      On the other hand Insurance is an industry that has not slowed down, certain areas of the market are in a soft cycle right now which impacts pricing but not volume. In fact there is more demand for insurance and reinsurance products than ever before and there are more diverse products to offer the market as it evolves. Keeping the market in Bermuda though is a problem that could manifest itself in the near future. But due to our competitors Insurers do not have to stay in Bermuda should they see a more accommodating environment. And no it is not just about costs it is about having the ability to keep high quality key people on the Island that make the market tick. Term limits, employment policies, property restrictions and other actions that were taken by the Government have without a doubt damaged their ability to do so. People shooting guns on a main roundabout does not help either.

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  9. Jus' Askin' says:

    When will people be able to see the politics behind this? I was asked a very simple question that I was unable to debate and I challenge anyone to try it. "If money is Man Made, then doesn't that mean Recessions are Man Made?" hmmmm ;-)

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    • Truth (Original) says:

      Recessions are not just about money. They are about consumer confidence as well. People have no confidence and stop spending money ..which feeds the recession. There is no conspiracy. It is merely the worlds way balancing things out. After years of gross excess, recessions are necessary.

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      • Can't Take It Anymore says:

        I think u just conirmed Jus'Askin's point,"no confidence and stop spending money." Money - man made.
        Think along the lines of Star Trek. yes I said Star Trek. Think, if we got rid of money and everyone on this planet just worked to better themselves there would be no recessions, no poor people, no third world's, no wars etc. I think Biggie said it best, more money, more problems, now reverse that statement.

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        • Waiting Patiently says:

          we'd all just be fighting for our own food, housing? like old tribes?

          the physical "man made money" is the only man made thing. "money" as we describe it is simply the physical form of "worth". What is your service, or product "worth". how much "worth" are you willing to give for a product or service. This all started with teh bartering days. I have a pig, you want a small hut built. Is your building service/time/materials "worth" a pig?

          Even if there were recessions back then one would ask, if i get this hut built, how much confidence do i have that i can get another pig sometime?

          sure we can ignore that worth stuff, and just do everything ourselves... but we all know that would turn into animalistic chaos.

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      • Jus' Askin' says:

        "There is no conspiracy." LOL but yet the OBA would have us to believe that the PLP are to blame for our current economic conditions and that they (OBA/UBP) can make it right again. So are you saying that in time things will get better? This means to me that OBA is not needed. ;-)

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    • g man says:

      @ Jus'Askin Thats an onion,the layers of which you will NEVER finish peeling

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    • Away says:

      Recessions are the natural cycle of everything so the answer is no. The water RECEDES at low tide, hot weather RECEDES in the winter and vise versa, happiness RECEDES into sadness at different points in our lives, and economies RECEDE when certain events happen in the business world. There is a natural pulse to everything. Without negative there would be no positive.

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      • Jus' Askin' says:

        How can you say that 'Recessions are natural..' when it comes to money? The 'certain events (that) happen in the business world' are done by MAN ;-)

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        • James says:

          He means recessions are a natural economic event and in the LONG RUN are actually good, overall.

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          • Jus' Askin' says:

            "...recessions are...good, overall" for who? There are plenty of unemployed, homeless, starving, suffering people that would debate that ;-)

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            • navin johnson says:

              Jus askin I believe you remind me of Pee Wee Herman who always said "I know you are but what am I"? your responses and fascination with the word MAN are down right dopey... know what I mean MAN?

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            • James says:

              Recessions are good, in the sense that they "cool" overheated economies. Yes, there are hardships and job losses but its a necessary evil because on the other side of the recession there is usually prosperity and even more growth than before the recession. As I said, its a natural (and sometimes necessary) economic event, albeit very difficult to go through. We'll be ok, Um Jus' Sayin' :)

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  10. Goodluck says:

    I'm sorry...many of these suggestions are already in place. And those that aren't are not going to make significant difference economically.

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    • What? says:

      Which ideas are in place already?

      And why do you think that by increasing cash positions in local businesses, via the ideas above, that the economy and more importantly Bermudians would not benefit?

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  11. Sandgrownan says:

    All good ideas and a decetn start. Doesn't go far enough in my view, but it's a start.

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  12. Not Surprised says:

    What they have suggested is a heck of a lot better then what we have right now. I swear, sugestions are made and yet ignorance prevails. I can't belive some of the comments, are Some people that naive and brainswashed to the PLP rhetoric, that they can't see what's in front of their eyes? Poor OBA will now have these ideas stolen from then and PLP will so use them to advance and stay in power. May evern pass it off as their own ideas!

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  13. Jim Bean says:

    finally!! some solid points - i also thought they did well on the retail points

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  14. Let's Talk Some Sense says:

    What fools would we be to continue to keep the same trash party (PLP) in power. Politicians will always be politicians. The OBA will need to deliver or eventually they will have to go too.

    Some party needs to step up to the plate and govern this country. We are in chaos. Just wait until the riots and the looting start...

    I've been disappointed by the PLP for far too long, watching this island fall into the gutter. Paula Cox has become our very own Marie Antoinette. Watching her people starve and live in poverty while she continues to live in her castle, eating cake...

    Whichever party gets voted in needs to do for the people to make long term changes!

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    • James says:

      I'm with you most of the way. But how about the people start to help themselves by changing themselves and their families for the better?

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    • What? says:

      Obviously Bermuda is full of fools. Just read the dubm comments supporting a Party that has overseen our economic and social decline.

      But that's why they keep the education system dumbed down. An intellectual electorate is a dangerous electorate and the PLP knows that. Just throw around some racial rhetoric and facts and figures fly right out the window and over their heads.

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  15. Tahir says:

    Look at the following:

    http://asktahir.blogspot.com/2011/09/political-program.html

    That plan should fix everything alright.

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  16. Anyone says:

    I am now a FORMER PLP voter!!!

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  17. OBA is out to lunch! says:

    We would freeze the size of the civil service, which has been bloated by the PLP, and reduce it through attrition. Its cost, which is born by everyday Bermudians and our customers, has made us less competitive.

    Response: The premier has already taken the attrition position and is enforcing it. OBA and critics of the PLP continue to miss lead the public on the facts.

    Surveys show Bermuda with an unemployment rate between 10 and 12%. That means approximately 4,000 people without a job.

    Repsonse: What survey(s) are reporting 10-12% unemployment? The OBA need to stop making things up.

    We would reduce ministers pay by at least 10%
    Ministers must lead by example. We cannot expect Bermudians to tighten their belts without their leaders doing the same. Anything else would be sheer hypocrisy.

    Response: OK, cool will save $200,000, what are their other plans?

    We would require government to pay its bills in less than 30 days. It pays its bills too slowly. This would put cash in the hands of struggling local businesses.

    Response: Does the OBA know bills aren’t paid within 30 days? Most are paid in less than 30 days. Additionally govt is upgrading its financial system to speed up payment.

    In an effort to encourage the formation of new jobs in Bermuda, we would grant employers a two-year payroll tax exemption for new hiring. So, if a company employs 10 people and they add 3 more staff, for the next two years the company will not have to pay payroll tax on those additional 3 employees. Of course we would need proper oversight to ensure that there will be no abuse of the policy. We would eliminate the employee portion of payroll taxes for employees earning less than $50,000 a year. This would put more money in the hands of those folks who are struggling in this shrinking but still expensive, economy.

    Response: This is a plan that is not thought out! With our current system it will be very hard to police. This is short sighted election trickery that cannot work and the OBA know it.

    Retail sales have been falling for 38 consecutive months.

    Response: SURPRISE!!! The financial crisis stared 43 months ago

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    • Chart says:

      "Does the OBA know bills aren’t paid within 30 days? Most are paid in less than 30 days"

      Government has a reputation for being a slow payer.

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      • What? says:

        Shhhh...facts are also not a strong point of the PLP and their zealous supporters...

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    • Jazzy says:

      As a supplier to Govt. I KNOW that it is unlikely I will be paid within 90 days!!

      I also know that if you add up the Civil Servants + temp staff + consultants, there are more people in the Civil Service than 2 years ago - where's the attrition?

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    • Jazzy says:

      Also $200k might not seem a lot to you, but that $200k could be spent on improving education, employing an extra planning officer to speed up the process, or an Architect that knows what they are doing and stops the projects overspending and overrunning!!!!!!

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      • star man says:

        Or use that $200 Gs to support the Sunshine League and our children!

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        • RN says:

          Have you made your donation to the Sunshine League Charity Fund....I did...but I don't want my tax dollars going to charities....If more of us put our money where are mouth is, the Sunshine League would not need to but funded but Government, partially or fully.

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  18. LOL (original) says:

    Funny PLP supporters on here constantly asked for what would the OBA do not that they have said what they would do were are all the informed debaters on the points above I see non. The only one I will concede to is that the civil service is frozen for hiring as the PLP government had no choice as they could not afford to continue "Buying Votes" this way.

    LOL it is still early they might personally poke at the OBA leader personally or some other nonsense. Let see a high level debt on the points mentioned then see how quick the PlP adopt them and say that was the plan all along (2007 plat form).

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  19. Clinton J.A. Paynter OBA Affiliated says:

    People must keep in mind that the information that was released by the OBA today is not their total plan to fix the economy... just a small portion. Plans for crime, economy, education etc. are in very advanced stages. So when people say this is not enough to fix Bermuda... well this is not the full package. The PLP have had a huge part to play in where Bermuda is today... blaming it all on the world wide recession is bull. The PLP has simply run out of gas. It's time for fresh ideas and change. If you want change don't vote the PLP back in again... simple. If you feel the OBA does not represent you or your views... join them and bring your views to the table. They are open to all. If they do not live up to the hype after getting elected... vote them out!

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    • Jus' Askin' says:

      Clinton why not affiliate yourself with the PLP and bring your views to the table? Bring forth your fresh ideas and give them gas. UBP/OBA have also contributed to our demise m8 ;-)

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      • Clinton J.A. Paynter OBA Affiliated says:

        Because the PLP do not care what we think.

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      • What? says:

        Our demise only started in the last few years. And as fas as I can remember the PLP have been in power for the past 13 years.

        So how has the Opposition contributed to the demise. The only way they have attributed is by the fact that they lost elections to the PLP. So in that sense I agree. Other than that the PLP is the one with the overwhelming majority in the House and Senate and it has been their disastrous policies that have created this mess.

        But I know, I know responsibility for ones actions and/or inactions is not a strong point or part of the PLP.

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        • James says:

          SOME, only some, of what has resulted currently is a result of some bad decisions many many years ago. Someone mentioned above (not that I agree totally with the idea) that keeping an electorate "dumbed down" was a strategic decision. Well that decision, if true, wasn't only made within the last 13 years. That decision was made by former Governments a long time ago that has ADDED to our current collective state.

          I'm not letting the PLP off by no means, as a matter of fact I hold them to a higher bar. But, as my mate says, "it is what it is"! Just my two cents after lounging on this earth for 40+ years.

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          • star man says:

            I know the PLP NEVER make mistakes. But I agree, the UBP did make mistakes, they're human. Education was one of them. But the PLP has had 13 years to fix it. They didn't. So whose ultimately responsible?

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            • James says:

              I hold the PLP ultimately responsible mate, they are the Government of the day!! My hope and belief was that they would fix education, starting 13 years ago. They have failed miserably, in the fact that all they have done is commission consultant after consultant, report after report, and haven't really DONE anything!

              I note your sarcasm but I'm not a blind following PLP member, they have, do, and continue to make many mistakes in my mind. At this point I honestly don't know where my "check" will fall, until a I talk to a politician on my doorstep. Which will hopefully be very soon!

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              • star man says:

                If you vote on PERFORMANCE there is only one choice, the OBA. And they have the intellectual capital to pull it off. Give the OBA a try, and as others have said, if they screw up we'll just vote them out.

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  20. Goodluck says:

    This is obviously the band of OBA cheerleaders sent her to post on their behalf because nothing presented here is new. There are recycled ideas that I'm sure the UBP proposed before. In addition, the areas of savings that they highlight will make very little difference in a billion dollar budget.

    Let's get real. You may not like the PLP and you have your right to support whoever you want. But these are not new ideas.

    The Civil service is already being reduced through attrition. Travel and consultants have already been cut. 10-12% employment? Where did this figure come from? The payroll tax policy is electioneering and they know it...it will not be sustainable.

    As far as making Bermuda more attractive to IB, are we really willing to give away the farm just for income. I really believe the OBA would let any and everyone come into Bermuda, buy what they want, take over whatever they can, despite any adverse effects on Bermudians.

    So much for One Bermuda. At that point we may as well call it the United Nations.

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    • Clinton J. A. Paynter OBA Affiliated says:

      Your obviously a member of the cowardly PLP pen name posters that defend the indefensible record of the PLP. Who has more credibility here? I stand behind what I say... Do you?

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      • James says:

        I hear and agree with you mostly Clinton. But "giving away the cow to get the milk" just doesn't work out in my mind. Listening to Bob Richards explain this OBA belief that foreign company executives should be given Bermudian citizenship and allowed to purchase land in my island home (willy nilly as I heard it explained) does NOT fly with me at all! I'm sure some other relaxation or extending of policies can be made to help Bermuda be even more attractive to IB. But giving my country away will never sit right with me and a lot of other Bermudians.

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    • star man says:

      Where do I start? First off, OBA ideas that you claim are not new are certainly better than NO IDEAS AT ALL from the PLP Gov't. I really think you should sit down with someone who understands that without IB and wealthy people living here the Bermuda economy will tank, is tanking. Ask some questions and learn how our economy really works, before you are so quick to make comments that, quite frankly, make you look silly.

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  21. Curious George says:

    Time for a change in Government boys. Otherwise, it's only going to get much, much worse.

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  22. OBA is out to lunch says:

    A level of high debate "LOL"! Tell your OBA party to use the facts and stop generating fake percent numbers! I understand emotions are high, however stop reaching! As far as adopting policy, I see the OBA adopting things that the PLP government have implemented or is currently addressing through action! Get real, this economic condition has troubled many nations and this economic condition had made even conservative governments look like mis-managers!

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    • star man says:

      Most of our economic problems were self-created by the PLP Gov't who didn't know any better. That's a fact.

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  23. STEWEY BABCOCK says:

    Hurry .. Send in the CLOWNS

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  24. drunkenUrsula says:

    i wish she would drop the writ I need the OBA as the govt before the next budget....i know they gonna rise the price of my liqour......lets kick those PLP people OUT

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  25. LaPersh says:

    DUNKLEY OWWWW MY GOD What more do you want the PLP to do
    About the gun war on the island knock on everybody's door
    an search maybe we should start in ya back yard the guns are
    Proudly coming in the way ya friends drugs were coming in
    But ow ya you didn't know about that now did you!!! Stop
    Running ya mouth mate the more you open it the dirtier
    Ya looking and please send ya spokes person for a drug test
    He looks f++k?! to me ....
    Now Bermuda's finances if the UBP's forefather
    Didn't pocket soooooo much money way back then
    We would proudly are a better leg to stand on today
    Um just saying !!!!!!!!!!!! Bunch of dame crocks

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    • Michael Dunkley...the milkman says:

      LaPersh your spin is amusing at best. I have nothing to hide and am willing to stand and be counted. I suggest you go back and look at a few facts before you post next time...guns were rarely used in years gone by but their use has grown rapidly in the past few years under a PLP Government. That is a fact. The PLP Government has been too slow to act. Your last comment about finances is also prevarication at best...just go look at the strength of the economy until the PLP Government went on wild and unaccounted spending sprees ( look at Auditer Reports for proof if you will not listen to me)and now look at the level of debt! Wake up my friend before it is too late!

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      • LaPersh says:

        Sir you all keep talking if ya really about 1 Bermuda
        Show us something stop running ya mouth I have frds that came to
        Ya company for a job nothing available but I come down an see
        A lot of ex pets let's just start there

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    • James says:

      Do yourself a favor mate, the next time you want to post something have a think about it. Then think about it again, and then finally just don't do it. That was just nonsense you posted, Um jus' sayn' too!

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  26. LaPersh says:

    Owww ya Dunkly if you and ya pp. Really want to H E L P bermuda economy go to ya company
    And send all them dame EX-PET workers home um sure if you alone were to do that 20-25
    Bermudian's can have a job !!!

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    • Michael Dunkley...the milkman says:

      LaPersh I am happy to extend the same offer I have to others that know little about the businesses which I am involved in...give me a call at 734-8153 and I am more than pleased to host you for a tour in which you can see first hand what we do and then be more informed. I look forward to hearing from you and don't worry...I do not bite and do not get offended by people's opinions but I do like people to know what they are talking about.

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      • joonya says:

        See, this is what we need. Someone who is not afraid to take action, and nothing to hide. Unlike the current arrogant government who listens to no one and hides behind a mess of coverups and lies. They think the public are stupid.

        Persh, Michael just gave you an opening to get informed. He called you out on your BS. What you gonna do? Let me guess, be ill-advised, uninmformed like you were in 1998. You sound just as ignorant as your grammar is.

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      • James says:

        Hey Michael, don't waste your time mate. You and I don't agree on some things but this guy is out in left field, no need to defend yourself from baseless critics.

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      • Joya says:

        Why not have a couple of open debates televised - candidates from PLP
        and OBA discuss/debate the line item issues of their election platforms they have to rescue Bermuda and her people from sinking?

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  27. OBA is out to lunch! says:

    A level of high debate "LOL"! Tell your OBA party to use facts and stop generating fake percentages! I understand emotions are high, however stop reaching toward desperation!

    As far as adopting policies, I see the OBA adopting things that the PLP government has implemented and is currently addressing through action! Get real, this economic condition has troubled many nations and even made conservative governments look misdirected.

    It is funny how the private sector gets no blame for the slightest mismanagement of operations and poor quality earnings. This also results in the weakest of companies not making it through recessions and thus them contracting operations and slashing jobs!

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    • Clinton J.A. Paynter OBA Affiliated says:

      The private sector doesn't use our tax money for boondoogles... the Government does. So the Government gets the blame when it wastes the peoples money.

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      • Joya says:

        Why not have a couple of open televised face-to-face debates/discussions
        with PLP and OBA candidates presenting their bottom-line resolutions from their election platforms to rescue Bermuda and her people from sinking?

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        • Micheal Smith aka Jus' Askin' says:

          LOL with Barritt gone OBA would lose any debate ;-)

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          • Clinton J. A. Paynter OBA Affiliated says:

            Tell me, who said that John Barritt is is gone? He may not be leader but he is still a party member and as such his voice is heard.

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        • Clinton J. A. Paynter OBA Affiliated says:

          Simple answer to that one... because the PLP would refuse as they have previously.

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    • sandgrownan says:

      That's pretty stupid.

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  28. concerned bda says:

    Everyone, can we please stop this constant attack on each other. We are on a sinking ship with a massive hole i might say, and if we don't JUMP ship we are sure to sink, with few survivals. I would rather put my life in the hands of those with the smarts to keep this ship afloat. Afloat on a course navigated by those of smart, brilliant, analytical, caring minds to go in the right direction. I have had the opportunity to be in the prescence of those of the OBA, MPs, Leaders, Candidates, Shadow Board Members, OBA Members, Interested, concerned persons...And never have I see a group so concerned, and working diligently to putting together a plan to get things back to who they should be. It will take time...but we need these fresh minds, with new wisdom along the older wisdom to keep us afloat otherwise we are doomed. We simply cannot continue forward with the same mind set of governing. I have witnessed for myself that the very, very few from the older party have themselves dug deep and very deep to a new level of thinking a rebirth so to speak. It's painful to hear such talk and slander back and forth from outside looking in. Why not come in listen and learn. I think then, we wouldn't even be passing our time back and forth with negative comments. Only comments of encouragement for the betterment of Bermuda. I encourage all to rethink and join those that are truly putting bermuda first....

    without a doubt and OBA Supprter, as I want to stay afloat!!

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  29. I'm not saying that the PLP is the best party to vote for but if the OBA gets in power, watch out Craig Cannonier cause Michele Dunkely(YES I SAID IT MICHELE) Is waiting in the back round to push right cross you an try take over. He knows full well aint nobody going to vote for him if he"s leader. He needs you to get the OBA in power then all his people r comin full throttle at you. I'm just saying

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    • Michael Dunkley...the milkman says:

      Tipical Bermudians thank you for the Friday morning laugh. Have a great day!

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    • Jus' Askin' says:

      I agree PLP did it with Jennifer and kicked her to the side for Alex. Now OBA/UBP are trying to 'Trojan Horse' us with Craig hmmm ;-)

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      • What? says:

        Do you have any proof. or is this just more electioneering nonsense based on hatre rather than actual facts. I know, I know you guys need the perpetual boogeyman out there as a means to justify your blind support. You guys are so sad that it is pathetic.

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  30. Red Flag says:

    So I must ask, what jobs will the OBA see is available for the Bermudian Civil service workers once they are put out of a job? Let's not forget that the Civil Service is made up of Bermudian workers yet the OBA wants to put as many of them out of work as possible but on the other had say that they want to create work for Bermudians.

    Why do they keep saying these IB company's are leaving because of term limits yet the CEO's of the company's tell a whole different story as to why?
    Why do the OBA insists on comparing Bermuda to other places as far as having term limits when we are way smaller the those places and do NOT have nearly as many jobs to go around?

    Why does it seem that they want to sell Bermuda to outside hands and leave little to no property for our sons and daughters to own therefore removing their chance to buy a piece of the rock?

    Why do they act as if nobody has benefited from the major services and assets the PLP have provided for the people?

    I swear a recession is the best time for a election for the opposition. It gives them a chance to mislead people on the facts and use their suffering to their advantage by filling their heads full of garbage.

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    • What? says:

      You don't need a recession to fill people's heads with garbage.

      Just look at the PLP campaign for the 2007 election. All you need are racists and zealots and the rest all falls in line.

      I find it also interesting that you have no problem, or have voiced none, regarding the PLP's constant comapison of BDA's debt levels to massive economies such as the UK, US, Europe et al. Hypocrite.

      I mean do you still believe that a vote for teh Opposition will land you back in shackles and on the plantation?

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    • LOL (original) says:

      Not to mention Tucker's Point who is giving away Bermuda what you forgot?

      LOL this is not a debit. You have not addressed the article. They have said above freeze the civil service not fire them nice spin. If you mad at that then guess your mad at the PLP as I said this is the one point the PLP are doing now so why are you not lambasting them for it? Right politics and you like your "team" like a faithful fan.

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  31. NO WAY OBA says:

    Those guys are only interested in self profiling. I too have seen them in action and they are only I, I, I and Dunkley out for himself. no thanks

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    • Michael Dunkley...the milkman says:

      NO WAY OBA please be assured I serve because I care. Spin it anyway you want if you choose but it will not change my passion to help make this island a better place for all of us.

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      • Jus' Askin' says:

        @ ... milkman - It's not your passion, as much as it is your motives, that concerns us. By putting Craig up was not smart and or wise. The OBA/UBP will not win the next election ;-)

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        • What? says:

          It scary that you seem to be so happy that a Govt that has overseen our economic decline will get in.

          I don't care how offended you guys get...but you are nothing but blind, kool-aid supporters. There is no other explanation for blindly suporting a party that has created so much damage to teh island as a whole. But hey at least it is the black man screwing you instead of some evil, underhanded white supremacist. Right?

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          • Micheal Smith aka Jus' Askin' says:

            LOL "...but you are nothing but blind, kool-aid supporters" are you serious? What does that mean exactly m8? Black - White - Grey or Green, no man screwing me. "...evil, underhanded white supremacist." who were you referring to? hmmm de 'milkman'? ;-)

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        • navin johnson says:

          Mr. Dunkley just keep doing what you are doing and ,in fact, keep doing more of it..There are so many failings of the current Government that you could pick a failing of the day for the next 13 years and not run out of topics....pound away on their financial management or mismanagement , their record with IB, their increased spending increased public debt increased civil service increased pay to themselves and increases pensions to themselves....and on and on and on...I'm sure you have your own transport and would not need GP194 to get around in.....you are doing great and take heart that I can read your posts and need a translater for theirs....keep it up

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  32. OBA is out to lunch! says:

    A better place for OBA members would be to:

    Cut the Civil Service
    Shrink Cabinet size
    Sell our land to foreign investors
    Let CEO's keep their unqualified cronies here as long as they want to keep capable Bermudians from moving up
    Bamboozle the island that they can fix crime. Watching the Milk Man and OBA's public safety spokesman on the news was amusing.

    I do want a better Bermuda (because we should always strive to be better), however not the vision that OBA wants! And if I said UBP=OBA then i'll be cast as foolish! Same policies and many same old faces from the UBP being merged into OBA. No thank you to this kind of tea bag party tricks!!

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    • LOL (original) says:

      By comparison what really makes the PLP different in your mind? It's the same faces same ideas for the past 6 years. The only difference is the PLP use of racial politics. You talk about Tea parties like this is the states guess what Blacks are the majority here and the plp are the ones running the Tea Party against the opposition based on the past and how the opposition are (some rich and white people and those who don't mind working together apparently).

      LOL @ Michael Dunkley I do not know your intentions but I do know that the Bermuda “Night of Long Knives” is a saying here that originated with PLP power struggles with their party. The only way you can prove your worth to them apparently is through non congratulatory action. Which they would probably only ever here from those you help.

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    • What? says:

      Tea Party tricks? You must be referring the PLP's perpetual far mongering tactics in order to sway support for themselves. But lucky for them they have supporters such as yourself that will lap up anything they say without actually having to use any brain power to confirm what they are saying is true.

      My bet is that you were one of those idiots who believed the PLP when they said that teh Opposition wants to lock us all up or put us back into shackles.

      Your PLP utilizes more teap party tactics (i.e. fear mongering based on baseless accusations) than any other group in this island. But your brain doesn't allow you to see that because it is died in green. Sad, sad, sad...

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    • What? says:

      Oh and guess what you lots xenophobic and hateful approach to immigration that you bang on about soooo much is no different than the Tea Party's approach to US immigration. Maybe you should use your brain before opening your mouth.

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  33. 5boro says:

    From the OBA website:
    Aug 4, 2011
    http://www.oba.bm/index.php/latestnews/14-economy/307-unemployment-rate-can-be-determined-government-just-needs-to-do-it

    "To figure it out, we recommend quarterly polling information cross checked against payroll tax returns and social insurance payments.

    Do that and the results will probably show unemployment closer to 10-12%."

    I am curious to where this statistic came from. Also, when did "probably" become a definitive adverb when it is synonymous with "maybe"?

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    • navin johnson says:

      some time ago

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    • LOL (original) says:

      Around the same time as breaking ground for new hotels in 2007 became 2011.er 12.um 13..um some time in the future.

      LOL

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      • Red Flag says:

        Lol (original you are a fool and a fake. When Sen Furbert post on here you have a problem with it but when Sen, Dunkley does its all good. Shut up. You are faker then Mickey Mouse playing Santa. And my post earlier was asking questions and it appears that the OBA nor Sen, Dunkely can answer them.

        You see how I don't agree with Sen. Dunkely yet do not disrespect him like you do Sen. Furbert and anyone who supports the PLP?

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        • star man says:

          Sen Furbert is a racist and outspoken fool, Sen Dunkley is not.

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          • Red Flag says:

            In yours eyes. Others might think in reverse of that statement.

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            • LOL (original) says:

              I do not have a probelm with either Senitors posting on here. Please show us the fake and point to where I have stated that I have a problem with Sen. Furbert posting on here. Right you can't.

              LOL the fakes are the supporters throwing out racits statements on here as a defence in the face of constructive talks about issues facing the whole country. Or attacking someone based color and or wealth which you seem to have no problem with.

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  34. Googlybda says:

    Paradigm shift needed....Financial Services sector is where the problem lies most deeply. Revenues in this sector have fallen rapidly with no replacement. Insurance cannot carry the load, tourism will take years to fix. We need a new Business model for Financial Services or a replacement industry. I see no focus on the crux of Bermuda's problem....More foreign currency in our coffers.Stop the myopic bickering and back biting get the crux of the problem. Wake Up Bermuda!!!

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  35. InNeedOfaJ-O-B says:

    I figured since tons of people come on here, that SOMEONE can help me! I really need a job..and I'd be so grateful if someone would help me...I work well with people and I'd make a great receptionist...someone please help me!!

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    • Clinton J. A. Paynter OBA Affiliated says:

      Good afternoon... I currently do not know of any jobs available but why don't you give my mate Micheal Dunkley a call.... Scroll up... He posted his number. He may be able to help... I hope you have luck in your search.

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  36. Clinton J. A. Paynter OBA Affiliated says:

    Isn't it interesting that so few people use their real names to post on these stories? Scanning through the 96 comments so far and it's only Micheal Dunkley and I that have.... Laverne Furbert is not my most favorite person but at least she stands by what she says, wrong or right. It's easy to hide behind an anonymous name and criticize. I used to do it... but there comes a time when enough is enough and you have to stand up for what you believe... I stand behind what I say... How bout ya'll?

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    • Micheal Smith aka Jus' Askin' says:

      The point of not using your name is so that the message is taken on, not the messenger. And by the way, your mate Dunkley never replies to my comments or questions. OBA/UBP are a Joke or to borrow one of yours 'levity and I stand behind that. hmmmm ;-)

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    • joonya says:

      You do what you want, and I'll do what I want.

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  37. InNeedOfaJ-O-B says:

    Thank you Mr.Paynter....I will give him a call!! Every comment helps...

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