The PLP held their “Big Night” on Wednesday [Oct 17] at the Ruth Seaton James auditorium, which saw five speakers address the audience of PLP supporters.
Deputy Leader Derrick Burgess delivered a 20 minute speech covering a variety of topics, and spoke extensively on expenditures Government has made in recent years.
Mr Burgess said: “Do you remember when the combined opposition would criticize us for not providing sufficient housing for Bermudians? Now you can go out and look at the seniors housing at Rockaway…cost us $14.8 million.
“The Harbourview at Southside – that was the lottery housing – $32 million. Loughlands $96 million. Perimeter Lane $38 million. Butterfield Lane $12 million. Anchorage $16 million. Harmony Hall $6.3….and I haven’t named them all.”
“That’s about $215 million. I venture to say this Government has spent over $300 million on housing for our folks,” Mr Burgess said to applause from the audience.
20-minute video of Mr Burgess’ full speech:
“Then you had the rent geared to income. 300 families benefited from that scheme. No more noise from the UBP, now OBA. What they are saying now is you have too much housing,” Mr Burgess continued.
He also mentioned the new Court/Police building, and said moving the employees from rented buildings will save $1 million in rent each year.
He also spoke about the ferry system, noting the ride from town to Dockyard to use to take an hour. “Your PLP government has built a ferry system that has taken hundreds of cars off the road every day.
“Yes we have faced challenges regarding the frequency of service, but at least we have a system that moves Bermudians to and from work,” continued Mr Burgess.
He also spoke about buses saying: “Since we have been in power — since 1999 as that would be our fiscal period — we have purchased over 70 buses. It cost us over $30 million.”
Speaking on the airport, Mr Burgess noted the Americans used to maintain it, but now the Bermuda Government is responsible. “We have spent $80.6 million on the airport infrastructure,” he said.
“They said we’re overspending….maybe we should not have done that….maybe we should not have done a lot of things we had to do. How much, how much are you are your neighbours saving every month because the PLP introduced day care.
“Right now, if you have a child 4 and under, you can get $175 per week – that’s $9,100 a year into that household. And if you have two children that’s $18,200. 425 families benefited from that. That’s what this government is doing…they are taking care of our people,” said Mr Burgess to applause.
Mr Burgess said since March 2003 they have spent $1.136 billion on capital expenditure.
Saying he was “going to run down some figures and numbers,” Mr Burgess said they spent $30 million on buses, $80.6 million on airport infrastructure, $73.7 million on waste disposal/incinerator, $18.3 million on new water plants, $95 million for the police/court building, $32.8 million on youth & sports, $3.9 million on improvements at the Aquarium, $5.3 on the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre, $24.4 million on Port Royal, $8.3 on a new recycling plant, $18.5 million grant to WEDCo and $12 million for Club Med.
“These historical accomplishments by the PLP was achieved through intelligence and strategic spending of your money on you,” said Mr Burgess. “Under the leadership of the PLP we have worked diligently for Bermuda.”
He also said that white Bermudians have been “economically punished” and “socially ostracized ” for joining the PLP . “We want to eradicate racism. We want every man – as the Bible says – to be equal.”
Mr Burgess continued: “Do you think things have changed? Ask Zane DeSilva….” Mr Burgess said “dozens” of his contracts were cancelled and also said the National Trust has tried to “destroy his business”.
“And they say we play the race card?” said Mr Burgess.
“He also spoke about hotel concessions and assistance provided to the Bank of Butterfield. “This government is active in stimulating the economy with the public purse,” said Mr Burgess. “The question is – is the private sector doing as much as us?”
“Your PLP government – despite the hostile media movement/environment – has pressed on. Cousins, we cannot go backwards, we cannot interrupt our march now, we must not deprive our young leaders of the opportunity to aspire to leadership.”
“We must suppress our petty differences and respond to the call. The call is coming from the people of Bermuda, they want to be governed by those who share their history and their interests.
“We must retain political power. PLP all the way, all the way PLP,” Mr Burgess concluded.
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