[Updated] This morning [Nov.2] Governor George Fergusson delivered the Throne Speech, which outlines Government’s legislative agenda for 2013.
The speech covered a wide range of topics, some of the things covered include: a bronze statue will be made for Bermuda’s only Olympic medalist Clarence Hill, setting a concrete date for re-opening the St. George Golf Course, ending conscription, and introducing a new Bill that will address protection against discrimination based on age and sexual orientation. Some of the highlights are posted below.
To provide more economic stimulus, Government is extending the Economic Empowerment Zones, creating three new zones in North West Hamilton, Middletown, and North Village, and extending the existing North Hamilton Zone. There will be six economic empowerment zones in Bermuda, zones which should afford much needed relief and support to entrepreneurs and other small businesses and generate jobs
The goal is to further develop sports and culture tourism, wildlife and eco tourism, business and entertainment tourism, and even take advantage of the many shipwrecks in Bermuda’s coastal waters to promote underwater tourism.And the promotion of medical tourism with the help of the new and soon to be completed state-of-the-art hospital is on the drawing board.
A report earlier this year by the U.S.-based Brookings Institution described the Blue Economy as a “$500 billion-and-growing global water technology business sector.”
Tapping into this new economy starts with Bermuda developing a National Aquaculture Strategy, one that takes the necessary steps to develop a myriad of local marine-based industries—from water tourism to discovering new sources of energy from water.
Bermuda has enough ingenuity—and enough water—to lead this industry, which would provide a much needed diversification to our economy
Screening of children:
Accordingly, the screening of two-year-old children, presently provided by the Child Development Programme, will be made mandatory and extended to include children up to three years of age.
Honouring our athletes:
Each parish council will create a Hall of Fame to celebrate past sporting heroes, and all Olympians and Paralympians, past and present, will be honoured with bricks bearing their names in the walkway at the National Sports Centre. A special provision—a bronze statue in a special location—will be made for Olympic legend Clarence Hill.
St George’s Golf Course:
Government will set a concrete date for re-opening the St. George Golf Course, and ensure that only Bermudians will be employed in landscaping the course and managing the concessions.
BIU Credit Union
Government has determined to provide assistance to the Bermuda Industrial Union Credit Union. The mission of the credit union is to promote the economic interests of its members.
In these testing economic times, members of the BIU Credit Union have sought assistance from their cooperative in large numbers.
To assist the Credit Union in its time of need, your Government will provide the Credit Union with grant funding in this fiscal year.
Financial Assistance for Seniors:
The Government plans to amend the Financial Assistance Regulations 2004 to allow seniors who are homeowners, or who have an interest in real property, to be assessed for applicable financial assistance benefits.
The strength of the organisation makes it ideally suited for modernisation and the further amend the Defence Act 1965 to provide for an expanded full-time element in the Regiment and an end to conscription.
“The focus of a 21st Century Bermuda Regiment will be on an enhanced maritime role, greater engagement in border control and increased operations with the other uniformed services.”
“The timetable for the end of conscription and the transition to a modernised Regiment will be set out in 2013 by the Ministry of National Security.”
Discrimination based on age & sexual orientation:
Your Government has made a determination. Justice is about fairness and equality of access for all. Bermuda does not have that standard and it is to our collective discredit as a democratic country in the 21st Century.
Bermuda’s Human Rights Act 1981 no longer meets the standard for human rights in a 21st Century democracy. Government proposes therefore to replace the outdated Act in this Parliamentary Session with a new broadly based Bill that will address protection against discrimination for a range of characteristics including age and sexual orientation
The full Throne Speech is below here [PDF]:
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