Opinion: MP Leah Scott….Are We There Yet?

January 27, 2015

Leah Scott[Opinion column written by OBA MP Leah Scott]

When I was a little girl, my mom used to take us on road trips. I remember her getting out the Triple A Triptik, plotting the map, packing our bags, and loading we three girls in the back seat of the car. I don’t think that we were out of the driveway before we were shouting “Mom…are we there yet?” It seemed like it took forever to get wherever we were going, and we were so focused on the destination, that we forgot to enjoy the journey.

Yesterday and today’s island wide withdrawal of labour by the public sector reminded me of just that. People are essentially saying.”Minister of Finance – OBA Government – Are we there yet?” The government workers are tired of the furlough days. They are tired of participating in “shared sacrifice” in order to be a partner in Bermuda’s economic recovery.

When my sisters and I used to ask my mom if we were there yet, she would say “We’re almost there girls… just hold your horses.”

Bermuda, I say the same thing to you. We are almost there…can you please just hold on for a little while longer? I know that the past few years have been long and painful and our families are struggling to stay afloat. The general consensus is that shared sacrifice is being requested of the most vulnerable in our society — the seniors, the poor, the disabled and the sick. Shared sacrifice does not appear to apply to a privileged few and those of us who can ill afford any sacrifice at all are being asked to clean up this mess.

The reality, no matter what it looks like on the outside, is that all of us are sharing in the sacrifice. Stimulating a country back to economic recovery is not an easy task and it is and will continue to be a progression. This country did not arrive at this state overnight and it will not recover overnight.

The OBA Government is working hard to right the ship. Our main focus has been on hotel development, raising business confidence and creating jobs and opportunities for Bermudians. We have secured the America’s Cup. Morgan’s Point is proceeding. The airport project is en train. The Hamilton Princess is looking to hire at least 110 people in 2015. Pink Beach has started development. The redevelopment of Ariel Sands is on the horizon, as is a club in St George. The Casino Gaming legislation was passed in the last 2014 legislative session and licences will be granted to various hotels. We are working hard to move Bermuda forward.

I know that people are tired of the rhetoric, but we have to move beyond perpetuating divisive politics and work together to do what is needed to get our people working again. The Minister of Finance, together with his Government colleagues, is working feverishly to “jolt” our economy into recovery by investing in teachers and infrastructure, by trying to create an environment of confidence that is welcoming for both local and international business so that jobs can be created and by extending financial assistance to the unemployed until they can get on their feet.

I am not usually one to cast blame, because blaming never gets you anywhere. The people of this country are looking for solutions, and really couldn’t care less who did what, when and where. However, things need to be put into perspective.

The fact of the matter is that we, the people of this country, are the victims of bad policies and economic decisions made by the former PLP Government. Real shared sacrifice would require that we send the bill to those who had the party and created the mess, and ask them to pay their fair share. That would include, and would certainly not be limited to Former Premier, Dame Jennifer Smith, Former Premier Dr Ewart Brown, Former Premier Paula Cox and the Members of Parliament (at that time) of the former PLP Government.

In 18 October 2012, Paula Cox, following the 2012 PLP Delegates Conference said: “Let us remember that we inherited a country full of division where a forgotten group of people were sidelined by those who put the interests of business first. We changed that equation. Now it is the people first”. Ms Cox also said: “…at the coming election, the Progressive Labour Party will be calling on you to stand up… and to look at what we have done during our three terms in office.”

Well, let’s look at what a three term PLP Government did and how they put this “forgotten group of people” first:

  • 1] a surplus balance left by the former UBP Government was turned into a $1.5 billion dollar debt;
  • 2] unemployment increased to 8% – the highest it had ever been in Bermuda’s history;
  • 3] an increase in job losses due to the exodus of international business;
  • 4] reversal of free education at the Bermuda College, free licensing of cars for seniors and free public transportation for school students that could not be economically supported;
  • 5] failure to implement multiple consultant recommendations that would remediate the education system;
  • 6] the greatest economic disparity between blacks and whites with similar academic qualifications in fourteen years;
  • 7] increased gang violence, murders and unsolved crimes; and
  • 8] unprecedented financial hardship and ruin.

The above list is by no means exhaustive and outlines only some of the issues that the OBA inherited when it became the Government. I am not hurling criticisms of the former PLP Government. I am merely stating the facts.

How ironic is it that while there are many who allege that the OBA puts the interests of business first, to the detriment of the “forgotten group of people”, the disenfranchisement of the “forgotten group of people” was actually carried out by the former PLP Government, who blatantly and narcissistically put their own self-interests first.

Clarity is so important folks. The same issues we are facing in this country in 2015, are the same issues that were acknowledged by Paula Cox in 2012 and expressed in the previously referenced date of October 18, Ms Cox stated “We are standing strong at a defining moment. A moment when our economy is still recovering and many people are feeling vulnerable. It is far too difficult to find jobs, the cost of living is high, gang violence is a problem among our youth.”

The reality is that the OBA Government has been left holding the bag, and is serving as the fall guy and whipping post for the malfeasance of the former PLP Government, who continuously, deliberately and erroneously attribute the condition of this country to the current Government in order to deflect responsibility or blame from themselves and their mismanagement.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were certainly laying bricks every hour. That is what the OBA Government is doing – laying the bricks for a strong economic foundation that will facilitate our recovery. We cannot underestimate the importance of laying every single brick. While we cannot build or rebuild this country into what we want it to be right now – right at this very minute, we do have to find a way to continue to lay the bricks…one at a time.

We are almost there people! Keep calm and just hang on……We are almost there!

- Leah Scott

testimonial-divider

20 Most Recent Opinion Columns

Opinion columns reflect the views of the writer, and not those of Bernews Ltd. To submit an Opinion Column/Letter to the Editor, please email info@bernews.com. Bernews welcomes submissions, and while there are no length restrictions, all columns must be signed by the writer’s real name.

-

Share via email

Read More About

Category: All

Comments (25)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. SMH says:

    What a GREAT article Leah. I am so proud of you. You are so right this is not about blame at this point but people do need to understand the facts because trust me, the “facts” being I was hearing around the Cabinet Office had no basis in reality. None. I just wish Mr. Richard’s would incorporate some of these facts into his speeches. “You are now having to take another year of furlough days to cover the cost of the Grand Atlantic project and the $20 million over runs at Port Royal” Let people understand why they are having to suffer now and it’s NOT because of the OBA.

    • Unbelievable says:

      That’s the point: the OBA did not create this mess.

      • Unbelievable says:

        Someone actually dislikes my comment – which is the truth.

      • Mark says:

        But the OBA claims that they they can fix the mess.
        What happens if they can’t fix the mess.- Thats the big question. – they have two years to do it.

    • I dunno says:

      Who is foolin’ who?
      Prior to her election and many other ministers, NOT ONE article frm Leah Scott.
      Now we get a proliferation of them.
      The Minister of Education had one in the paper within one week of his selection. Not a word from him prior to his selection.
      So we get the same from her.
      It is obvious to all, that these articles are prepared by a press corps.
      How do I know? I saw one of these MPs and asked for explanations and they could NOT explain their article.
      Who is fooling who?

      • Just like we the people, “dunno” who you are :-( Who’s to believe what you’ve written?
        It’s them that hide behind pseudonyms that’s the vast majority of our problems and obstruction/s when it comes down to sorting things out…

  2. Quo vadis says:

    The most vacuous piece of nonsense I’ve seen in some time. The OBA deploys its black members to fight its white members’ battles. Another puppet. We’ve heard enough thanks. See you at the next election.

    • Guest27 says:

      @ Quo vadis – Wow racist.

      I guess you didn’t see Let’s Talk tonight did you? Premier Dunkley didn’t need anyone to fight his “battles” for him. Neither did our Finance Minister.

      P.S. If you live on this island then you’d best recognize that this “battle” is about ALL OF US!

  3. Jus' Askin' says:

    Leah Scott for Premier ;-)

  4. Think again Leah says:

    They gave Craig a Minister position over you, that shows your worth to the oba. lol

  5. ok says:

    whatever

  6. mj says:

    low blow leah—–we do not need a rehash of a previous governments faults at this time. oba begged to be government and now they do not want to do the work and see how difficult it is to actually run a country, Administration of government has not changed so I wonder what could be the problem, … the polititians possibly?

    • Guest27 says:

      How is stating the facts a low blow? We do need to rehash what the previous government did because obviously there are a lot of people out there that just don’t get it. This mess was not created overnight! It was created by the previous administration. The OBA have their faults, but they sure as hell are trying their best to fix this country.

      • mj says:

        stating the obvious is first of all the low blow! avoiding present circumstances to concentrate on someone elses faults is childish.. the voters obviously deducted as much when they made their decision.. I remember b 4 dec 12 2012!! and the oba were cocksure that they could do better! Now all they do is whine, whine, whine… plpl. did this,..plp. did the other.. i can’t read no more coz plpl. i can’t address the people correctly coz plp. i can’t deliver a decent speech or come on radio to address people coz plp did this and the other….. STOP WHINING OBA you already WOn so when are you gonna grow up!

        • BETTTYTRUMP says:

          Thanks…..stop whinning OBA. ..AND DELIVER THE promises you put forward preelection….where is your Economy Recovery Plan?….I told you your strategy to play “Blame it on the PLP”…has no effect…..changes nothing
          ..folks expect and want more….
          Merely falling down…

  7. observer says:

    Why don’t you Ms Scott and the others give up your MP Salary and pension for the next two years.

    • sebring says:

      to observer why not ask your green party the same they created this mess!

      • Guest27 says:

        @observer – Why the hell should they? They didn’t create the mess that we are in the PLP did. They are only trying to get us back on track.

  8. Inshallah says:

    well said Leah – the masses (which includes my blue collar tail) need to stop and think for a minute. The OBA is putting right years of the PLP’s wrongs. Bermuda is moving in the right direction now but it takes time to change the ship’s course. The OBA is not perfect (no govt is) but they are proving to me that they are committed to bringing about long term change that will benefit all.

  9. Ann says:

    Why does everything need to end up in color??? This mess is no longer about facts, it’s what color you are. Can a black person not agree with a white person and vis versa. We are not living 50 years ago, there is no slavery.

    • Guest27 says:

      @Ann – Sadly, “slavery” still exists in the minds of many. This whole issue is not about Furlough Days. It’s a rehashing of the end of Segregation. It’s Post-Pardon Depression based on the stories that many Black Bermudians grew up on 40, 50, 60 years ago. Many of the people that I am referring to were on the Cabinet House’s lawn for the last two days. This is all part and parcel of the “Big Conversation”.

      I don’t agree with what is going on, but I recognize that it needs to be addressed. There is still a large segment of our society that needs healing. But they also need education. Education is the key!

      Bob Marley said, “Free yourself from mental slavery”. That can only happen by getting an actual education AND letting go of the chip on your shoulder.

      Easier said then done…but it MUST be done!

      • Guest27 says:

        *That should have read Post Traumatic Stress Disorder*

  10. Valirie Marcia Akinstall says:

    I have read your comments with interest but I am simply unclear of your meaning in item 4 as stated below:

    4] reversal of free education at the Bermuda College, free licensing of cars for seniors and free public transportation for school students that could not be economically supported;

    I have read your comment to mean: free education…free licensing…free public transport for students was reversed. So, how would that reversed policy be detrimental to the public purse? Wouldn’t the collected funds go into the public purse?

    Or, do you mean that the PLP policy was reversed TO free education…free licensing…free public transport…?

    Ms Scott, now I’m going to invert your title’s question to ask you, are YOU there yet? Because the PLP’s rule came to an end at the last general election. They are the Opposition.

    And even as I note with enthusiasm the future under the OBA Government, the continual commentaries by OBA MPs about the failures of the PLP are now nothing more than stagnation and very disingenuous attempts to keep a very sinister view of past.

    We are all very aware of the PLP’s failings as WE voted the OBA into power. The time, energy and efforts spent by OBA MPs giving us the low-down on the PLP should be better spent working on…ARE WE THERE YET! Because it’ damn important to me, so it must be damn important to all those who are in the trenches sacrificing so that you all can preach and lecture to us.

    Spare us, Ms Scott! And note to your fellow MPs when commenting to show us the present and future in your political roadmaps because Bermudians have been given enough history lessons in civil and/or current affairs by the OBA bloggers who are very keen to share with us their takes on the PLP’s transgressions and nothing else.

    This is the rhetoric that keeps us divided and divisive, and politicians appear to be at the helm of this stagnated period.

    It is now time to change the rhetoric and move us forward. So, Ms Scott, I will humbly ask once more, are you there yet?

    London, England

    • BETTTYTRUMP says:

      Well said Mrs. AKINSTALL I was wondering where you were. …NICE to hear from ya

      Is the OBA THERE YET WITH AN ECONOMIC RECOVERY PLAN……OR ARE THE DEAD IN THE WATER WITH STILL PLAYING A STRATEGY THAT HAS LOST ITS EFFECTS…..