[Updated] “Bermuda’s continuing job losses can be stopped, but it will take a government committed to real reform and change to stop the bleeding and grow the economy once again,” Shadow Minister of Finance Bob Richards said.
This year there have, or will be, redundancies or job losses at entities including Elbow Beach Hotel, JP Morgan, ACE Insurance, Gibbons Company, Bermuda Zoological Society, Jupiter Fund Management and more. The 2012 Bermuda Job Market Employment Brief indicated that 698 jobs were lost in 2011; there were 37,399 jobs counted in 2011 compared to 38,097 in 2010.
Mr Richards said, “The OBA over the past year has put forward plans to grow jobs across the board. These plans are designed to stimulate hiring through tax incentives, cutting red tape to facilitate economic activity and reforming immigration to make it work better for Bermuda.
“Some of our plans are innovative, others are just plain sensible; all our doable. It just takes a government willing to change. That is Bermuda’s problem today. We have a government that is hung up on policies from another time, policies that no longer work for the people.
“Bermuda’s challenge starts with the fact that the Government can’t bring itself to even acknowledge a problem exists. Here’s an example of what I mean:
“In May, members of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers (ABIR) reported staff numbers had been cut over the past four years, with many Bermudian job losses resulting from the departure of executives.
“In its May survey, ABIR urged the Government to take action to reverse the situation: “Accelerated action by the Government to encourage ABIR members to locate senior executives here in Bermuda would be helpful,” ABIR said. “As the numbers from our survey demonstrate, there is a direct correlation between these senior executives being in Bermuda and employment opportunities for Bermudians.”
Mr Richards continued: “That same month, the PLP said: “The truth is international business has grown considerably under the PLP. Our balanced policies ensure that international business thrives while also ensuring that Bermudians benefit.”
“This is an example of a Government that has turned a blind eye to a problem that affects thousands of Bermudian families. It is an example of a mindset that is serving the Government’s political needs, not the real life needs of Bermudians.
“If you don’t know or admit a problem exists, then you can’t fix it. People need a government that’s focused on fixing their problems, not a government in denial. It’s time for change,” concluded Mr Richards.
Update 5.04pm: Replying to Mr Richards statement, Junior Minister of Finance Senator David Burt said, “FACT: In 1998, there were just 2,918 jobs in international business. As of 2011, there are 4,077 international business jobs.
“FACT: In 1998, international business contributed $438,517,000 to our GDP. In 2010, during the height of the Great Recession, international business generated $1,461,824,000 to our GDP.
“Mr. Richards and the OBA are entitled to their own opinions, but, they’re not entitled to their own facts. “Don’t take our word for it. Ed Noonan of Validus says that he sees “a bright future for International Business on the Island.” And Gary Devery of MS Frontier Re said that they view “the Bermuda market as leading in the reinsurance industry as a whole.”
“The facts are clear. Even during these tough global economic times, the PLP is surely and steadily moving Bermuda forward,” concluded Senator Burt.
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