After the PLP accused Shadow Finance Minister Bob Richards of a “flip flop” following his comments about the Cayman Islands, Mr Richards said “it’s rich of them to be accusing anyone of flip-flopping given their own appalling record in this area.”
These flurry of words come after news that the Cayman will impose a 10% tax foreign workers earning over $20,000 per year, which Cayman Premier McKeeva Bush said he did not want to do but he had no choice because the UK was demanding a sustainable budget.
Mr Richards pointed out that Finance Minister Paula Cox has presided over an 800% increase in Government debt since 2004/05, and said that Bermuda “should take heed of what is happening in Cayman Islands, where its Government is being compelled by the UK to raise taxes because of excessive debt.”
In response the PLP said: “Flip! Flop! It was only a few weeks ago that Bob Richards was lauding the Cayman Islands saying how great their economic model is and noting that they were getting everything right.”
Last night Mr Richards said: “The Government continues to shoot the messenger and distort his words. Today they called me a flip flopper for saying a Cayman tax increase caused by its huge debt situation should be a warning to Bermuda.
“There was no flip flop. I was pointing out a concern we should all have, given the huge increase in our own Government’s debt situation in recent years.
“But it’s rich of them to be accusing anyone of flip-flopping given their own appalling record in this area. They are, in fact, master flip floppers themselves.
“Here is a list of flip flops that immediately come to mind:
- “Payroll tax reversal
- Airport duty reversal
- Spouses of Bermudians ability to purchase a home reversal
- Watering down term limits
- Free day care reversal
- FutureCare backtracks
- Sale of real estate to non Bermudians reversal
- Extending the stay time for visiting sailors.
“By flip flopping, the Government is reversing policies they themselves put in place and defended,” said Mr Richards. “This causes them serious embarrassment and discomfort, and so they work overtime to besmirch and distort what others say in order to divert attention from their record
“That record is one that has weakened Bermuda, with more people out of work, more people feeling less safe and more people concerned about the Island’s future prosperity. It’s time we had a government that talks straight with the people.
“And on that score I have a constructive observation to make for the Government: The more you distort, the more you mislead, the more negative you get, the more people get turned off. Bermudians are smart. They can read politicians well. They know spin and distortion when they see it,” concluded Mr Richards.
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