Opinion: “Political, Social & Economic Truths”

November 28, 2014

[Opinion column written by Chris Famous]

It’s crazy. When you feed people the truth, you don’t know how they’re gonna react.” -Nas

Over the last two years, a lot of truth has been revealed: political truths, social truths, and economic truths.

Many already knew these truths, whilst others began to learn about them. One truth all have learned is that is that many things in Bermuda have changed and many more things must change.

As Bermudians, we must become both the ‘Architects and Agents of our own change.’ Some of these changes are economic, others are educational.

Let’s take a look at some proposed changes put forth by the PLP in the 2014 Throne Speech Reply.

Economic Diversification

The need to diversify our economy has been highlighted by leading rating agencies. The PLP believes that both new job opportunities and revenue streams for government can be created through diversification.

Within a blue economy model, industries with potential for economic growth include:

  • Seabed mining
  • Aquaculture
  • Off-Shore Fishing

In addition to the blue economy, diversification of the banking industry and implementation of a global, mobile money service business sector could also enhance our economy.

Our strategic geographical location allows us to explore options that would make us a transhipment hub in high valued commodities. Land owned by the Bermuda Development Corporation may be used to establish an Economic Free Zone as a means of attracting high-tech companies to our shores.

Education

Education reform is vital for our future. The PLP proposes phasing out the middle school system and converting Clearwater, Whitney Institute, Spice Valley, Sandy’s Secondary and The Berkeley Institute into secondary schools. Students would be placed according to academic assessment and other non-geographic factors.

GCSE examinations will still be offered but students will be able to sit other exams, such as the

  • CXC
  • IB
  • RSA
  • City & Guild
  • Trade exams
  • SAT

CedarBridge may become a part of the Bermuda College, which will be accredited for full bachelor’s degree programmes, offering degrees such as:

  • Nursing
  • Accounting
  • Business Administration
  • Education
  • Information Technology

Healthcare

Efficient and affordable healthcare is essential and should include:

  • Promoting prevention and healthy lifestyles, with an emphasis on improved health education in the schools
  • Allowing international insurance companies to compete in our health insurance market given that competition drives down prices
  • Creating legislature for insurance companies to include coverage for alternative medical services, including traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy, mind/body stress management, kinesiology and naturopathy.

Truth forward

So, you see we can no longer just give lip service to the term ‘Change.’ Two years ago, we heard much fanfare about change. In hindsight, how has that worked out for Bermudian, civil servants, musicians, seniors and students ?

It is safe to say most Bermudians now realize change must go beyond politics. Changes must be fundamental and long-lasting to benefit Bermudians in our own country.

Again, it is up to us to become the ‘Architects and Agents of our own change.’

That is the truth towards which Bermudians must move.

- Chris Famous can be contacted via email at Carib_pro@yahoo.com or Twitter at @ryderz777

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Comments (20)

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  1. Archie says:

    Seabed mining
    Aquaculture
    Off-Shore Fishing

    These three together are not compatible. There is no evidence that there is anything to mine, there is widescale concern about environmental effects of mining – which could hurt fish stocks.
    Mr Famous and the rest of the PLP should do some research before just spinning stuff like this out ….

    • hmmm says:

      How much money would this generate Chris…please state you knowledge on set up costs, legislative costs, enviromental cost and how many cents on the dollar Bermuda would get.

      If you can’t do that, then you are throwing around buzz words.

      Bermuda could only levy a tax or licence fee on these industries…we would not be sharing in the profits and the PLP seem to believe.

    • “If” (and I use that hypothetically) there are profits to be made off of the Seabed Mining, along with Aquaculture and Off-Shore Fishing why hasn’t anyone done research to product evidence there are profits to be made?
      Out of the three suggestions I can see two that can possibly be introduced as a source of revenue. Fisheries is one but the price of our fish must be competitive and for that to happen there’s a need for a large catch everyday.
      I’d fished in the Florida Keys a number of years back,(out of Stock Island) We’d done net fishing, it had been a seasonal event for myself, (for King fish & Mackerel also Lobster trapping) While out netting King Fish and Mackerel along with others i.e. a fleet of 14 other vessels plus an air spotter plane to give us a co-ordinance of the fish we sort. This required many hours of hard work but it had been extremely profitable…I say that to say this, can we here in Bermuda afford what is required to set-up a Fisheries business as I’d mentioned? Fuel is expensive, wages are high along with maintenance, (which is ongoing) another necessity. Aquaculture just maybe something to look further into but again who will “kick-start” these venture off? Bermuda Government is broke :-(

  2. Claudio says:

    Good Day Mr. Famous,

    While I applaud your party’s effort for ideas of diversifying the economy, I am just wondering if it was seriously thought through, especially since Government is broke.

    For example for sea bed mining – Who will pay for the exploration of our sea bed? Any mining company that gets involved would want heavy concessions – especially of extracting minerals (if any) becomes expensive. And from some of your supporters and politicans, whenever Government makes concessions to business of foreign entities for investment they cry ‘Selling out Bermuda”

    Furthermore it is not even guaranteed that they will find anything so by saying it is a plan to diversify our economy it is more like playing the lottery.

    Aquaculture, please give details how this will be regularized and estimates on the amount of money we can get and people employed? Furthermore, how many B’dians will want to work in such an industry, especially if it does not pay well. If we have to import labour in order for the industry to be sustainable then what?

    Again, I applaud you for providing ideas… but many of us require more details i.e. legislation you would want to pass for these initiatives, an assessment of how many B’dians you look to employ? We are tired of Government implementing half-witted ideas without thoroughly thinking them through.

    Please provide more details and plans so you don’t sound like you are pulling stuff out of the air for sound bites.

  3. Unbelievable says:

    I’m an OBA supporter but I’m not opposed to diversification of the economy. I’m not sure how those examples that the writer has provided would do however.

    It’s been proven already that seabed mining is a time waster because there is nothing down there to mine. Someone correct me if I am wrong but aquaculture is already being looked at with a trial programme and off-shore fishing has been tried and it’s not economically viable. It’s too expensive to go out there, get the fish and have it stored.

    I’m still not entirely sure that the PLP understands how the economy works based on this opinion piece.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Not understanding how an economy works has never stopped the PLP from coming up with hairbrained ideas before.

      Actually the aquaculture proposal is a very old one. The UBP looked into it many many years ago & found it to be unworkable.

  4. Jackie Chan says:

    Please expand on how much it will cost us to move on Blue Halo, how is it proposed that this is funded, and what are the projections for income and jobs from this initiative. Is there any study or papers written on this and how can we get our hands on them to understand the proposal sufficiently to support it.
    Same thing with Education changes, I recognize that middle schools have been identified as being an issue, but what is to stop us from introducing those other exam options for our students with the schools structured as they are?

    Bermudians are beginning to accept the changes we are faced with but we can’t take on anymore debt, we are already working with a deficit. I think that the initiatives being done by the OBA are beginning to turn us around, though it’s too bad that the work permit policy is delayed. We first have to fix our economy and get our people back to work. These initiatives sound much more long term.

  5. Christopher James says:

    “Changes must be fundamental and long-lasting to benefit Bermudians in our own country”.

    You are correct – this is exactly the opposite of the fundamental changes PLP made which completely ruined our country.

    They didn’t understand the economy then, and they don’t understand it now.

  6. hmmm says:

    Chris you say ….Again, it is up to us to become the ‘Architects and Agents of our own change.’

    but you are not even throwing sketches or back of postage stamp plans.

    this is stuff plucked out of thin air…

    I also see that Online gaming was left out, whoops not towing your party line.

    • Edmund says:

      The on-line gaming model that Gibraltar uses was touted as the “truth” by the PLP. A few of us went to the Gibraltar economic development site and researched the actual stats. The PLP on-line gaming “Truth” boat was shot so full of holes that it sank.

  7. Stunned... says:

    All of the initiatives save for the Economic Diversity seem plausible and worthy of further discussion/implementation. Thank you.

    More research, analysis and development are required for the following topics:
    Seabed mining
    Aquaculture
    Off-Shore Fishing

  8. Rhonnie aka Blue Familiar says:

    Good ideas, though I’m on the fence about the ‘blue economy’.

    The problem I have is that there is no offered information about how these things might be implemented given the state of our economy today, oh.. .and what the expected timeline would be for the implementation. Obviously less than two years given what you’ve stated, but are we talking a month? Six months? a year at most? It would help people to know how much longer they’re going to be out of work. A solid date would be something they could look forward to.

  9. Creamy says:

    The PLP had no-hope schemes when they were in power as well. They spent years telling us the satellite business would be Bermuda’s third leg of the economy, while attending shuttle launches and satellite conferences in Paris.

  10. No longer a member says:

    More big dreams without any idea of how to do the big dream. Explain how the dreams will become reality? Please don’t put any hate or racial undertones into it because you will need money to back the dreams.

  11. Balanced Facts says:

    East End Hotel Development- Reality
    Ariel Sand Development-Reality
    Air Port modernization-Reality
    Americas Cup- Reality
    72% increase in Re-Insurance – Reality
    Casino Gaming- Reality
    Crime reduction- Reality

    Blue Economy- nice- but its a Green Dream as opposed to a reality…shows use plan on how to finance it, time of project, International Exploration partnership (tender?)…PLP lotta talk…and only Capital projects and millions of tax payer money is the reality!

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      Grand Atlantic conversion-Reality
      Hamilton Princess Upgrade-Reality
      Pink Beach Upgrade-Reality
      Sonesta Beach Club-Reality
      Morgan’s Point-Reality
      $60M reduction in this years annual deficit over 2012-Reality
      Increase in commercial real estate transactions-Reality
      Increase in volume of home sales-Reality

  12. Sky Pilot says:

    CF and the rest of the plp have no idea of what they are talking about.

  13. aceboy says:

    Seabed mining again.

    One question for Mr. Famous:

    Seabed Mining of WHAT???????

  14. tom cooke says:

    Not that I know much about the seabed, but we have 2 choices… mine off north Shore in 60 feet of water… .. or in the drop off at 12 thousand. .. Anit no Bermudien got that kind of cash to even do the necessary exploration. .. never mind the mining… bring in the multi nationals.