Senator Woolridge On Politics, Business & More

December 23, 2013

lynne-woolridge-OBA senator[Opinion column written by OBA Senator Lynne Woolridge]

‘Twas the week before Christmas, and in the upper House, Senators debated and had a little grouse!

Last Wednesday’s was the final session of the Senate for the year, a full day of dealing with legislation, together with a three-and-a-half hour discussion of the SAGE report – a constructive and honest exchange of views on a document that has great importance for Bermuda’s future.

The Government is now reviewing the many recommendations to determine which can be implemented andin what time frame, and they’re looking at the likely financial impact of implementation in time for presentation of the budget in the New Year. The recommendations for cost savings span a four-year period, so time is of the essence.Doing nothing is not an option.

The themes of performance accountability, sustainability and work efficiency were common throughout the discussions. The younger generation and future generations featured prominently as we addressed the issue of pension plan challenges.

Both Senator Jeff Baron and Senate President Carolanne Bassett reminded us that if we as a Government wanted our young people to return home to Bermuda once they had completed their studies, or gained overseas experience, then we needed to ensure that there was a culture of excellence throughout the civil and public service to entice them to work for the largest employer in Bermuda.

As the session drew to a close, Senators were trying to end the session in the spirit of the Season, until Opposition Senate Leader Diallo Rabain chose to go down the path of accusing the OBA of being untrustworthy and focused only on providing opportunities to our “wealthy friends”.

I can fully appreciate that the One Bermuda Alliance and the Progressive Labour Party would have differing ideologies regarding the best way to restore Bermuda’s financial and social situation to one that benefits all Bermudians and residents, but I have to wonder what makes the PLP frame the Government’s efforts in quite so negative a way. Is there a fear that if the OBA is able to bring about positive change, this will mean a further downfall of the PLP?

To be clear, and for the avoidance of any doubt, the only way to correct both our economic and our social challenges is to attract money to this island.

People loosely refer to “International business” as though it’s only the insurance and reinsurance industries, but frankly, “international” means anyone outside this island who can bring funds into the island – whether that’s insurers, reinsurers, banks, trust companies, mutual fund companies, hoteliers and the like. We need to attract that money here rather than allowing (or worse, encouraging) it to go elsewhere to jurisdictions deemed to be our competitors.

In order to attract that money, and the people who hold or control it, we have to show them that we want them to work with us. Knowing that we are being closely watched and listened to by people and investors both inside and outside of Bermuda, why is it necessary for the PLP to continue to denigrate the actions of the government in such an exaggerated way?

In my commentary on the SAGE commission’s report, I observed that there had been nine straight years during which government’s actual spending exceeded budgeted spending (2003 – 2012).

That spending pattern began well before the documented “global meltdown” in 2008. Was anyone paying attention? Could anyone of us do that with our personal finances?

Can you imagine approaching your employer to ask for an increase in pay, just so that you could continue your wild spending habits? You wouldn’t do that, partly because you know perfectly well what kind of response you’d get.

Some have claimed that the spending benefited Mr. & Mrs. Bermuda, providing social programmes and increased opportunities to those who hadn’t benefited under the United Bermuda Party administration.

We’re also reminded that a government can’t be expected to operate like the private sector because the private sector is focused on making a profit, not caring for the welfare of citizens. But with government comes responsibility. I daresay that charities are focused on caring for members of our community as well, but they’re equally focused on prudent use of the funds made available to them because they are accountable to those who provide them with financial support.

I make no apology for my contribution to ensuring that this government does its utmost to attract business to this island, so that money flows into and throughout our local economy.

The OBA government is made up of Bermudians who care about all our fellow Bermudians, regardless of their level of wealth, and we want everyone to be able to benefit from an improved economy, through the provision of jobs, provision of affordable and appropriate healthcare and opportunities for future generations. We don’t want to go back to the bad old days, we want to create good new days for everyone.

I wish you and your families a joyous and safe Christmas, and look forward to serving you in the coming year.

Blessings to all.

- Lynne Woolridge

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Comments (49)

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  1. watching says:

    Oh gosh where did this come from? Senator Woolridge has said very little since her appointment by Premier Cannonier last year. Perhaps because he is now under fire, she has decided to step up to his defense.
    She and Senator Swan are routinely silent in the senate on any significant matters yet, now this op-ed is released. Perhaps because her opposing senators Rabain and Daniels and Ming have been getting much more press and publicity on the topics that are meaningful to the Bermudian people. In fact as the Junior Minister of Health I would have thought Senator Woolridge may have spoken to the Lamb Foggo issue or the issue of Pre certification, but we haven’t seen her speak on any major national issues.

    • inna says:

      under fire from who? the PLP? HAH!

    • Reality Check says:

      Well Done Senator Woolridge! This is a well written column and shows that Mrs. Woolridge is about helping to move the country forward and and making things better for all; rather than stepping back into the past and making excuses. In order for things to change for the better forward and progressive thinking needs to occur and I commend Mrs. Woolridge for this.

      • Betty Trump says:

        Stuart Hayward SH: “They (UBPoba) have not done well in forming, articulating and implementing a cohesive direction and plan for steering Bermuda out of its current problems.

        “This is particularly disappointing when ‘change’ was the foundation word of their election campaign. I felt let down by the wording the government chose for the gambling referendum. The obvious bias in the wording seemed to signal a creep away from the ideals of good governance. I was further disappointed with the decision to abandon the referendum and with the process leading up to that decision. ”

    • ERJ says:

      Incorrect. Listen to Senate proceedings or get yourself copies of the minutes – this will highlight the truth that not only does Sen. Woolridge speak – it’s of substance. Unlike the waffling and aimless ramblings of Sen. Daniels & Ming- talking a lot just to make a noise.

    • Betty Trump says:

      Well said Senator Rabain “OBA of being untrustworthy and focused only on providing opportunities to our “wealthy friends”. This is the reality, one only has to examine the reason actions of the UBPoba and whom they have given out contracts and jobs too. Look folks there is no change here !!

      This is most disappointing by a government whom promised us much change, yet I see none !! On the doorstep the UBPoba made several promises, yet none have been kept so far. Why make such a promises, and yet fail to live up to it.

      Senator Woodridge seems to reading the typical script of the UBPoba, as this is not what I and many others see or feeling. Is she for real, or working hard to cover up the MESS of the UBPoba over this pass year? The reality is this government seems to be doing little if anything to benefit the average man, I do see much being done to ensure the wealth of their “Friends and Family PLAN”.

      WHERE IS THE TRANSPARENCY AND HONESTY of the UBPoba government, as promised ? REALLY

    • Concerned Citizen says:

      Another Don Grearson speech. Last week it was Sylvan’s non-Howard passiveness and delusion, now this in the name of a very silent senator. Man, that dang poll really must have pressured Grearson into writing overtime!

  2. jt says:

    Certainly seems a bit out of the blue and no doubt released with a purpose given the last 2 weeks. The devil is in the details, many of which we are still waiting on. Until the details are presented and acted upon it’s hard to view this release as much different from the emptiness of the PLP’s words, other than the fact that the sentiments are more sensible.

    • In Good Time says:

      It is good to sit back and have a look at everything before making comment. Senator Woolridge has taken sometime to grasp what the country needs and is now speaking on it. This is not out of the blue! Silent rivers run deep!!!

      • Betty Trump says:

        It is out of the blue, as the country now are finally coming to grips with the fact that UBPoba are the Old UBP just rearing their ugly heads again. Folks also feel that little of their interest is being taken care of by this current government. Folks are feeling it, and many now realize that all the Pre-election hype was merely just that hype.

        As J.Starling puts it: “Failure to live up to their pre-election hype of transparency and ‘doing politics differently’. They’ve proven to be lacking transparency, lacking credibility, prone to rather rookie mistakes (‘Jetgate’ and the handling of Lamb Foggo UCC for example) and from the parliamentary (House and Senate) sessions I’ve been able to attend or listen to online, well, it’s politics as usual, perhaps even more vindictive and petty than I had expected.”

        • Mike Hind says:

          and you’d know all about vindictive and petty…

        • jt says:

          Don’t use my words to support your ill presented and biased positions Betty. If you choose to then take them in context and reference my entire entry.

          • Betty Trump says:

            May you enjoy this festive season. have a great XMAS, and all the best in the New YEAR !!

            GIVE and God will give back to you

            Much love..

            • Hmmm says:

              So you think you can control God now by giving….. You are one sick individual.

  3. Let me say thank you Diallo Rabain for striking a serious political nerve and before we get entrenched into the festive season, The sage commission has offered many valuable suggestions and quite frankly I think they are only being taking very serious because of who they are and who they represent across the board, because I truly believe that those that are connected to the sage commission can make a serious negative impact against the O.B.A if they ignore the Sage report.

    While saying this it is very evident that the O.B.A is pressing forth with the likes of taking care of the upper class and middle class and below just need to grab for the crumbs under the table, I have said it before and I will say it again, if the O.B.A is any bit serious of helping our struggling economy and those that are struggling to survive, then it needs to consider a bail out plan. they need to go to the U.K. and have talks with Mr. Cameron, Don’t give me the crap that we can’t or we don’t need to, Bermudians have flocked to the U.K for financial relief because they can’t find work at home, but we keep making excuses that we have more jobs then people to fill them, but yet over 5000 Bermudians are unemployed and foreigners from Filipino’s to Indians and Africans/Dominicans/Colombians/Europeans are all here doing jobs we can fill.

    Before the house rose for the Christmas break in the U.K. it gave $500,000.000 That is five hundred million dollars, to Syria for humanitarian relief for those that are struggling to survive and while we may be a more sophisticated society on the outward appearance, we have Bermudian families into the thousands right now struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over there heads,we are a British colony and if this government cares a damn about what it is that is happening before our very eyes, they would be pro-active and not re-active when it becomes far to late.

    Oh before some loud mouth OX comes talking out the wrong end, let me remind you, that it was the slow B.A, that painted the picture for us of just how bad off we were before they took office and how far in the ground the claim the former administration took us, so if this is fact and there is a lot of evidence pointing to it, stop playing the blame game of what was done and get on with the job of using your resources, like the U.K and old money from deep pockets in the old U.B.P.I am sure Pippa still has a lot of grand dads money sitting in foreign locations.

    • jt says:

      …and after the Christmas pudding is served – then what? My guess is – ask for seconds.

    • Betty Trump says:

      Mr. Santucci, It is always interesting to read some of your comments. Some points you make are very strong, I can see your standing up for the average man or women whom are suffering, and yet the government it appears is not working in their best interest. Often folks do not like your direct and often honest approach to the dialogue, but I think each man is entitled to their perspective, as long as they indicating FACTS…

      Have a great XMAS and best in the new Year !!

    • campervan says:

      I can see the UK tax payers stumping up humanitarian aid for the Syrian population that have been gassed, raped, murdered and exterminated; but if you think they will dip into their pocket for the residents of a palm fringed beach with a GDP three times that of the UK just because they frittered away their bank account on Beyonce, you are more deluded and blindly entitled than I could imagine.
      Your comparison is distasteful and crass.
      Sort your own crap out and stop begging like a jakey on Front Street from people who have less than you.

  4. Vote for Me says:

    Unfortunately this OpEd is very self serving.

    The key request from Mr. and Mrs. Bermuda is to ensure fairness in the workplace. The mantra that we need foreign investment falls on deaf ears if qualified and experienced Bermudians are still denied access to upward mobility.

    Ms. Woolridge, as an example, how do you explain that it is ok to have a majority of black Bermudians in jail but not ok to have a majority of black Bermudians in the boardroom.

    How do you explain the disparity of incomes between Bermudians, non Bermudians and black Bermudians vs white Bermudians? The disparity notwithstanding that black Bermudians are generally more qualified?

    With SAGE, you make any comments you want but the debate in the House of Assembly was very disappointing. A total of 9 MPs spoke, including several from PLP. If they were serious, we would at least have heard their comments. The report has an analysis of the financial impact over the next four years!!

    Where are your comments about the referendum!! How is it possible that the OBA laid a bill before the House after several promises to hold a referendum and then cancels it on the guise of blaming the PLP. This is not good for voters who want to have their say, even if they support the position.

    Lastly – where is the Premier on the recent allegations of lying by MP Bean. This is more than politics, it goes the general abilty to have confidence in the overall governing process. What comments would you have been made if the reverse was true and the Premier specified that MP Bean was lying, without the benefit of privelege attached to statements made in the House.

    We understand the nature of politics but we deserve better than this superficial OpEd at this time of year.

    • clearasmud says:

      I agree with your comments and ask an additional question: Where was Mrs. Woolridge and the opposition during those 9 years that she points to where the former government overspent. It is the oppositions job to keep an eye on the government and identify these problems to the public when they occur not 9 years later! Clearly this article is self serving!

    • @vote for me, I would suggest you take a look at the 2010 census report before you make statements with regard to the difference in income between black Bermudian and white Bermudians. It would surpirse you with the facts of who is making what.

    • Betty Trump says:

      WELL SAID, VOTE FOR ME< This is indeed Self-serving and the Script as written by the UBPoba political strategy….REALLY !!

    • Girl on Fire says:

      I think the question about income disparity becomes readily apparent when you read the census in full.

      “With respect to the distribution of workers by race, there was a sharp contract between whites and the other two racial groups among managers, professionals, and associate professions. The share of all whites who work in one of these three occupations groups was 65% compares to 40% and 39% for blacks and persons of mixed or other racial heritage, respectively. In contrast, the proportions of workers by racial group in the remaining occupation groups, i.e. clerical, service, trades, machine operators and elementary occupations were 34% for whites, 58% for blacks, and 60% for the mixed and other racial group.”

      So, here’s a question. Which do you think earns more: machine operator or actuary? And which one is more likely to be black or white? The census tells us that the fields most populated by black and other tends to be the lower paying jobs. And reading the 2012 report it shows the white bermudians with the same qualification (ie bachelors or masters ) earn 19% more than black bermudians. If you factor in career fields. it begins to make more sense.

      I’m not being flippant – we need to understand why our young black men don’t choose to go into these fields (see Mincy report) but the income disparity is pretty apparent. Accountants make more than teachers, even if the accountant only has a BA and the teacher has a doctorate. That’s true no matter what colour you are.

      • i agree with what you say and have read it also, but the problem with the black/white comparison is the white actuary is not Bermudian, and thats one of the problems i have with the statistics on black versus white income, i want to know what the black Bermudian versus the white Bermudian earns. Take a look at the middle figure of income, between 150,000.00 to 250,000.00, thats one of the largest groups of almost 5000 and the black Bermudians earning this figure out number the Whites.
        When the numbers get higher , in the millions per year earnings, and which includes the actuary’s is when the whites outnumber the black earner. But these numbers are very low as per the rest of the census and are not an indication of what the average Bermudian earns , black or white. Like i said it makes very interesting reading .
        Thanks for your input

        • Girl on Fire says:

          Thanks! But I have two more thoughts – sometimes there is a Bermudian actuary although admittedly few. Also, the Dept of Statistics does provide Bermudian income for black/white, which are the numbers I used.

  5. Suzie Quattro says:

    So this is the PLP ‘plan’? Ask the UK for a handout?

  6. Rhonda Neil says:

    Min. Fahy has the house covered, the rest are there to vote the correct way…

    • Unbelievebale says:

      Y’all like to pick on Michael Fahy but I bet he could talk circles around you. He’s doing a good job anyway. Unfortunately, he’s going to end up like Grant Gibbons. Meaning everyone (The Opposition) is going to continue shouting at him and denigrating him to the point that he goes into silent mode.

      So far he hasn’t given a damn about the Opposition’s silly childish taunts. It’s what they are known for and all that is on record.

      • Betty Trump says:

        I think the smarter younger and gifted Senators that are giving him Fahy a run for his buck are Rabain and Daniel. Natural talent and intelligence there…. they out wit him with pure intelligence and know how..no need to do what the UBPoba does on a regular basis and that is play the Blame Game. These guys are a treat to listen to each week in the Senate. The quality of debate they bring to the house each week is way above that of Senator Fahy or Wooldridge…both become somewhat dull after speaking for more than 10 mins…listen in

        • ERJ says:

          Outwit him?!? LOL. Totally delusional. How many times has Sen. Daniels been corrected by the Senate President? He had to apologise at the last session for his previous ridiculous and ignorant remarks. He rambles far too much. His point and arguments would be far more effective if he was more succinct. But he gets high from hearing himself.

  7. Question says:

    I have a question – who is this person and why is she relevant?

    She is nothing more than a seat warmer in the Senate as she and Senator Swan haven’t spoken to a single issue since their appointments – fact.

    Polly want a cracker?

    Q

    • ERJ says:

      Not a FACT. Check the minutes. Fact is she does regularly speak – and with purpose.

      • Mike Hind says:

        Shhh… don’t confuse the issue with the truth!

        The demagogues have a narrative to push, facts and truth and reality have nothing to do with it! They have a story and they’re gonna stick to it!

        Well, at least until it’s totally debunked, then they’ll run away with their tails between their legs as usual.

      • Betty Trump says:

        Sorry but what I have seen and heard is that Wooldridge and others often, Contributes very little, and somewhat dull in their presentation…..I listen as well as go to the Senate House… recall most of the UBPoba Senators and MPs can not speak out of turn, they must be given permission by key folks within the party.

        FAHY is the only one given permission to speak on most days… others might be given a script.. IT is so well rehearsed with in the UBPoba, that folks know this is the style of now of the UBPoba…. now………Most are merely show pieces and often must not speak, unless they are reading from the UBPoba script.

        One only has to recall those MPs in St. Georges…Mr. Kenny had his a muffler put on his mouth during the issue of the Lambe/Foggo Clinic closure…>REALLY …real example ….he was not able to stand and speak in regards to this issue. MOst merely are taking photo ups… look at the 2 young girls….pictures only..please, please….

        CLick dislike now….only the truth from my bird’s eye view and close observations…… perceptions are often true…..

        • Suzie Quattro says:

          Hansard works against Betty’s version of events so often that she regards it as an organ of the OBA publicity machine.

          • Betty Trump says:

            @Suzie Q….YOu better be sure to do a good qualitative analyses, as they have seldom spoken. Now because the younger brighter Senators of the PLP speak up, the UBPoba are now trying to lighten up the room a little bit….speak when your told…. only….Hansard taken out of date of the most recent events, would surely be interpreted in the wrong context, wrong situation…get it right now….UBPOba tend to apply it to wrong situation and context to make a false case. REALLY !!

            Have a nice XMAS< but sure to be the change you want others to be !!

            BLESSINGS.

        • jt says:

          Betty – you confuse noise coming out of an oriface with meaningful contribution. Understandable.

  8. Sign Up says:

    I read this letter and immediately the song “It’s all about the Benjamins” started playing in my head. What are we prepared to do to get that money flowing again? If the general nature of man is any indication, I think the answer is quite clear. The thought scares me.

    Money isn’t the route of all evil. It’s man, and their obsession with money. Wars are fought over it. Those who are unable to defend themselves are exploited in pursuit of it. We have become nothing more than prisoners of our own device.

    I, unlike some, wish the OBA, or any government for that matter, all the success in the world. This isn’t a competition to me of who’s party is better. A successful government would mean my people thriving and living well, regardless of who made that a reality. My only concern is, what price are we willing to pay to stimulate the economy. Just a thought.

  9. Dread says:

    This lady has class,please run for the OBA in 4 yrs time.Senator Woolridge is a person for the people!

  10. Concerned Citizen says:

    Senstor Fahy gets protection fom the Senste President, whines like a baby when challenged, and then adds that oligarchical attitude of the 40s and 50s in between. The PLPs senate team, with 3, are obviously stronger then the ubpoba team. It’s actually 3 v 1 up there. Rabain and Daniels continue to school the ubpoba, and when it gets hot, Fahy whines to the President. The other 2 independent Senators rubber stamp EVEYTHING. senator Jardine in fact, s a former UBP chairman. Smh! Senator Woolridge is that example of being a buffer for the evil the Ubp are. Now, off to buy some Zimbabwe art down front street for Xmas……..

    • Mike Hind says:

      Why bring me up? Hm?

      If you have a point, surely you can make it without “whining like a baby” about me.

      Seems like the lady doth protest too much…

    • Betty Trump says:

      Good Point made there @Concerned Citizen, I am not sure why we have independent Senators, seldom do they vote based upon the issue. After all your correct Sen. Jardine is a former UBP senator…Not sure they are free from any bias voting or working in the best interest of the country and most important the people.

      The two independent Senator do rubber stamp everything, as well as the other UBPoba Senator…vote one way, and NO other way…. This is something I always wonder, why there are there Independent Senators anyway if they seem not to think for themselves. Money wasted there….

      The young brilliant PLP Senator team, is extremely effective in debating the issues, and bringing forward suggestions, ideas for moving Bermuda forward. They seem to have a strong command of the issues at hand, and able to provide solutions to the presenting problems.

  11. somuchless says:

    Can someone please tell Betty to go away. She is like a virus. Always returning with her negativity and PLP cheer.

    Go away, please just go away.

    • Betty Trump says:

      truth and Transparency are killing the UBPoba ah…I understand somuchless…

  12. Bermuda123 says:

    Do any of you commenters actually KNOW Senator Woolridge? I do and have known her for years. Her comments are her own, she is committed to fighting for all Bermudians and the bulk of you commenting here should either get a life and stop denigrating remarks or get behind the only strategy that has a hope for the next short while – more investment and more on island jobs. As I sit here, I see a gardening team outside my window. Two years ago they were all non-Bermudian. Now I can see 2 of the 4 are Bermudian. Well done to both those guys for taking on a job traditionally not thought to be attractive to Bermudians. If others did that, then our hospitality culture in particular would improve big time. Think about it.

    • Betty Trump says:

      Not if your apart of the UBPoba party, one can only speak if they get permission too. Recall many are even afraid of doing interviews with certain journalist. This is a controlled party, and they better not speak unless granted permission by higher ups in the party, the ones whom really control the UBPoba party…. Oh did you overlook that fact…she is following the script.