[Updated with videos] Following the release of the PLP platform and the OBA Jobs & Economic Turnaround Plan yesterday, the PLP held a press conference this morning to both expand on their plans and give feedback on the OBA plans.
Patrice Minors said: “While others have beaten the drum for radical cuts and promoted the failed and discredited philosophy of austerity, The Progressive Labour Party has stood strong on the belief that investment in our people, our infrastructure and our communities are the best ways for our country to move forward together.”
“I had the opportunity to take a look at the OBA’s economic plan, and, I can tell you, I was disturbed,” said Glenn Blakeney. “I was disturbed first and foremost by their approach to radically cutting government programmes.”
Wayne Perinchief said: “Now more than ever, the governing of our country must be driven by a social conscience……. compassion for the most vulnerable of our people…a vision that puts Bermudians first and a team of experienced, talented, energetic and hardworking public servants”
“Jobs, Jobs, Jobs are our number one priority, and we have a Plan that will make this happen,” said Wayne Furbert. “The Bermuda Economy grew from $3 billion to $6 billion from 1998 – 2008, under the Progressive Labour Party Government.
“We did it once, and we can do it again, by creating and fostering an environment that has market driven policies, combined with sound regulations and minimal government intervention.”
Minister Patrice Minors’ full statement follows below:
Getting Bermudians back to work and keeping those Bermudians with jobs, in jobs are the main priorities of this government. While others have beaten the drum for radical cuts and promoted the failed and discredited philosophy of austerity, The Progressive Labour Party has stood strong on the belief that investment in our people, our infrastructure and our communities are the best ways for our country to move forward together.
We are facing the worst global economic conditions since the Great Depression of the 1930s and while Bermuda is truly another world, we have also been affected with many of our neighbors, friends and family struggling to find work and finding it tougher and tougher to provide for their families. We believe that by investing in our people, protecting social programmes and jobs within the civil service from drastic and radical cuts we have prevented this recession from being even worse.
The PLP has:
- Introduced new Economic Empowerment Zones in the east and west
- Implemented the Payroll Tax Relief Training Scheme for apprentices
- Used the $1.15M Unemployment Fund to re-train and re-skill unemployed Bermudians
- Established an unemployment register allowing government to track and assist Bermuda’s unemployed
- Adjusted immigration policies to protect Bermudian jobs and
- Established the National Training Board skills assessment programme
- Established the Hustle Truck Programme to assist casual workers to become more skilled and active participants in the island workforce
- Created the Economic Round Table – to bring key stakeholders together to determine areas for job growth
- Started the Woodshop Training Programme
- Expanded educational opportunities for civil servants through the expansion of scholarships for mature students
A lot has been done, but as long as one qualified, capable, competent and willing Bermudian is unemployed our work remains unfinished. To get Bermudians back to work we will continue to put measures in place to stimulate the economy, remove barriers to employment, increase opportunities for Bermudians as well as retooling, retraining and re-equipping our people with the skill sets needed to find and maintain employment
Moving Forward Together, The PLP will:
- Launch the “One Stop Career Centre”
- Implement Job Corps
- Increase the lending capacity of the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation
- Give more Bermudians the opportunity to seek careers in international business by expanding professional and continuing education options at the Bermuda College
- Develop a New Business Initiative through the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation
- Improve regulations surrounding the debt collection process
Our economic recovery plan is making progress. Our Economic Empowerment Zones in North Hamilton and St. George’s have helped entrepreneurs create new businesses and helped other businesses stay afloat. Times have changed and the challenges are different but we have real, responsible solutions and we understand the problems faced by our people. I ask you to stand strong with as The PLP Is standing strong for Bermudians.
On another matter, I read with great interest OBA Deputy Leader Michael Dunkley’s response to our queries regarding the OBA cover up of the election recommendations presented to him and several other OBA candidates while they were members of the UBP. I have the following questions for him:
Was this report not commissioned by the UBP and paid for by the UBP?
Is the author of this document currently advising the OBA or has he done so in the past?
If this strategist produced a report that Mr. Dunkley said he was ashamed of several years ago before last week saying he didn’t remember receiving it, why would this same individual be consulting the OBA now?
We look forward to Mr. Dunkley coming before the cameras and providing answers to these questions
Minister Glenn Blakeney’s full statement follows below:
Yesterday afternoon, I had the opportunity to take a look at the OBA’s economic plan, and, I can tell you, I was disturbed.
I was disturbed first and foremost by their approach to radically cutting government programmes. They do not tell us what they are going to cut. Instead, they make wild promises of spending increases while simultaneously tell us that they are going to start a commission to examine cuts. My fellow Bermudians, beware of the OBA’s Cuts & Pain Commission!
The OBA has yet to tell us who will be on their Cuts & Pain Commission or who will appoint the members of the Cuts & Pain Commission. They have yet to tell us what exactly will be on the chopping block of that commission. Will it be your benefits? Will it be your salaries? Will it be education? Will it be FutureCare? Will it be DayCare?
Let me paint a picture of what could happen in the coming months if the OBA is elected. The OBA would appoint the Cuts & Pain Commission that would be made up of big businesspeople. These big business people will recommend a series of deep and radical cuts to jobs, education, and pensions – the very programs that Bermudians rely on and that have carried us through this economic crisis. The OBA will feign protest in public, but, then, they would accept the Cuts & Pain Commission recommendations and make these radical and destructive cuts..
We already know that the UBP had a secret plan to gain power. The real question is, do they and their secret Cuts & Pain Commission have a secret plan to cut public education, infrastructure investment, the EEZ and much more?
My fellow Bermudians, we have a real vision for youth family and sports. The National Youth Plan will increase the number of youth apprenticeship and internship schemes. We will introduce the Youth Mentoring for Success” Careers Programme. This will connect young people with mentors who can introduce them to jobs and opportunities. We will increase the number of college scholarships available. We will develop a new sentencing framework and reclassify certain kinds of drugs to make sure that our young people are not unfairly punished. We will provide returning college graduates with a red carpet treatment which includes career counseling, internships and mentoring. This will help our returning college students access job opportunities and career planning.
We will support the family by introducing shared parenting legislation, allowing physically challenged Bermudians to qualify for Financial Assistance, require able-bodied financial assistance clients to undertake a minimum of 10 hours of community service, giving them experience and connections to help bring them out of financial assistance and into the work force. And, develop a new Equalities Act to ensure that all people are treated equally.
On sports, we are putting the finishing touches on the Aquatic Centre and look forward to this investment attracting sports tourism and providing opportunities for our young people. We have done much at the National Sports Complex, we’ve hosted CARIFTA, international football matches and much more. The fact that we have invested in our sporting facilities enables us to host international sporting events which brings sports tourism revenue into Bermuda. In the next term, we will continue to invest in our sporting infrastructure to make sure that our athletes have opportunities to excel.
Minister Wayne Perinchief’s full statement follows below:
The pursuit of and commitment to, freedom, justice and equality has been the hallmark of The Progressive Labour Party. Throughout our history, the PLP has fought for change and pushed our country forward. The PLP has always believed in steady progress for our people and change that moves us forward together. While much has been done, much remains to be done to expand fairness for all.
Your PLP Government has
- Introduced one man, one vote of equal value
- Introduced fairness and equality to our municipal elections by expanding voters rights
- Modernised the Legal Aid Scheme ensuring that lacking funds is no barrier to having legal representation
- Created the Witness protection Unit to protect vulnerable witnesses
- Enacted the Jurors Amendment Act to increase the numbers of potential jurors for trials
- Implemented PACE
The next PLP government will:
- End conscription, changing the policy that saw young men drafted into the Bermuda Regiment. This system will be replaced by a move towards a smaller, full time, paid, professional Regiment
- Introduce new sentencing frameworks to reclassify sanctions related to different types of drugs
- Implement a Judicial Complaints Authority
- Establish a Small Claims Court
- Enhance the Bermuda Police Service’s Victim Liaison Officer Programme
- Move to change laws that see Bermudians imprisoned for civil debt
Now more than ever, the governing of our country must be driven by a social conscience……. compassion for the most vulnerable of our people………. a vision that puts Bermudians first and a team of experienced, talented, energetic and hardworking public servants. Stand strong with us as the PLP stands strong for Bermudians
Minister Wayne Furbert’s full statement follows below:
Good Morning, Our theme “Moving Bermuda Forward together” is significant and the foundation of our belief.
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs are our number one priority, and we have a Plan that will make this happen.
Before I speak on this, I must declare my interest; I have family members, cousins and friends who are without a Job. So my drive to create opportunity is personal, and I do not apologize for it.
The Bermuda Economy grew from $3 billion to $6 billion from 1998 – 2008, under the Progressive Labour Party Government. We did it once, and we can do it again, by creating and fostering an environment that has market driven policies, combined with sound regulations and minimal government intervention.
In 2008 the world economy slapped us in the face, and we could have cut jobs, and stopped capital expenditure, but we did not.
We continued some capital works and kept people employed, because we are not a Government that push people in the streets.
We are not standing here today talking about a promise but we are talking about action.
The Progressive Labor Party Government has been working since mid 2011 to create an entity capable of increasing business for companies in the International Business sector.
The entity will be empowered to sustain the businesses that are here, and to develop brand new business in areas. In particular we will focus investment and competition within the key sectors of Insurance, banking, fund management, wealth management, telecommunications, information technology and legal services..
Partnering with stakeholders in the international sector, Business Bermuda and the Bermuda Insurance Development Council are being merged into the new Bermuda Business Development Corporation (BBDC). The BBDC will be the business development engine that will be engineered to drive business into the international sector.
The Bermuda Government will ensure that the BBDC has the resources needed to accomplish its mission.
This new entity, with the support of the businesses in the international sector, will succeed.
Increased employment in the IB sector (whether Bermudian or Non- Bermudian) will ripple through the entire economy. The new workers will do the following:
- - Buy groceries
- - Eat in restaurants
- - Buy clothing
- - Open bank accounts
- - Buy bikes, cars and boats
- - Purchase insurance on those bikes, cars and boats
- - Buy cell phones and other electronic equipment
- - Rent homes
- - Use taxis
All of the above will create employment in various sectors (including the wholesalers), cause payroll taxes to increase and drive sharp increases in customs duties. Government revenues will also increase because the new workers will:
- - Pay licenses fees on the bikes and cars purchased.
- - Purchase items for overseas and pay duty to the Bermuda Government when the items enter the country
I have not covered the entire impact but the above shows the potential BBDC impact with more specifics.
What will success mean?
Success will mean increased GDP, increased jobs in the international sector and increased jobs in all of the supporting sectors in Bermuda like retail, hotels, construction, transportation and local insurance.
This increased economic activity will mean a significantly increased tax base and resulting revenues to the Bermuda Government. That will increase the likelihood of a budget surplus and the ability to pay down National Debt.
This project will be in full swing by April 1, 2013 but the BBDC has already been empowered to support business development activities that arise today.
Update: Minister Glenn Blakeney:
Minister Zane DeSilva:
Minister Patrice Minors:
Minister Wayne Furbert:
30 min Q&A with the media:
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