Column: “Easing The Burden On Bermudians”

July 21, 2015

[Opinion column written by PLP MP Jamahl Simmons]

Today, there are Bermudians who work 40 hours a week or more and are taking home less than $2000 a month after taxes, pension and health insurance are deducted. Over half their monthly income is spent on just keeping a roof over their heads. Add in an electricity bill and transportation costs and their salary is gone before they have even put food on the table.

As the recession has worsened the numbers of Bermudians in this position have moved beyond the traditional working poor. They are the educated and the not so educated. They are the responsible and in some cases the irresponsible but most importantly they are us; our neighbors, our friends, our family.

When your salary barely covers your necessities, when your working conditions are poor, stressful or physically demanding and when you have little chance of advancement or improving your condition, the smallest thing can push your family into deeper poverty, debt or despair.

Whether it is an increase in bus fare, a rise in health insurance or your car breaking down, you have no margin for error and it is easy to fall behind on your bills, fall into debt and give up hope.

Too many of our people are working extremely hard with little or nothing to show for it. More and more Bermudians are beginning to believe that they have little hope of ever building a better future for themselves or their children.  We can point the finger at them, look down at them and call them names or we can begin to take a serious look at how we can improve their lives and Bermuda for the better.

While the business community has been extremely resistant to the introduction of a Liveable Wage, we must work on raising the relative income of our working poor. The PLP’s Vision 2025 proposes:

  • Comprehensive tax reform; updating our outdated tax structure so that those who earn the least, pay the least in taxes and have more money in their pockets at the end of the month.
  • Driving down monthly electric bills by reforming how fuel is taxed, making monthly bills lower for everyone with a particular emphasis on easing the burden on those who can least afford it.
  • Investing in the Training and Retraining of Bermudians to fill roles in higher paying jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign expertise
  • Comprehensive Education Reform to provide our children with the necessary tools for occupational and entrepreneurial success, social mobility, financial literacy and for future generations of Bermudians to move from being spectators to positions of leadership in our workforce and our economy.
  • Putting more money in Bermudians pockets enables them to begin saving, spending a bit more in our stores and restaurants and contributing even more to to our economy.  Yet we can’t stop at just increasing Bermudians take home pay. We must also create a pathway to upward mobility.

In the months ahead, the PLP will continue to roll out Vision 2025 and our upward mobility agenda that not only eases the burden on Bermuda’s working poor but also:

  • 1] Addresses structural and Institutional Impediments to upward mobility
  • 2] Expands access to training, retraining, career development and higher education
  • 3] Addresses life choices that hinder upward mobility
  • 4] Promotes entrepreneurship and “Doing For Self”

Reducing income inequality and poverty are critical components of creating economic growth and maintaining social stability.  We envision a Bermuda that cares about our poor, seeks ways to improve their lives and that has a pathway out of poverty for anyone who is willing to put in the work and sacrifice.

To learn more about the PLP’s Vision 2025 visit our website on www.plp.bm

- Jamahl Simmons

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Comments (31)

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  1. Lets just get pass today, tomorrow and the next few years before looking beyond the horizon “mate”…

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      I am more disturbed by the comment, ‘will continue to roll out Vision 2025 and our upward mobility agenda that not only eases the burden on Bermuda’s working poor’… how can they continue something they haven’t even started to do yet. Their ‘Vision 2025′ has thus far been a very poorly written fairy tale, what, few ideas they have tossed out have been lacking the required substance of an actual plan, such as, implementation, funding, sustainability, but have amounted to nothing more than pretty electioneering promises. Without substance, without any ideas of how they intend to finance these pretty pictures of what things should be, all thy will effectively do is sell our children to the IMF, and we can watch those pretty pictures fade and fall apart. I mean how can he talk about ‘raising the relative income’ of anyone, without then recognizing that the cost of goods and services and living will then get even higher? Are they planning to regulate private business’s salaries… How is that going to bring employment to the island? Don’t see how they intend to manage the inevitable rise in inflation otherwise.

      • Kangoocar says:

        Agreed, but I get even more infuriated by the fact that the plp sheeple believe this nonsense?? Without a doubt some higher up plper wrote this nonsense and put Jahmel Simmons name next to it??? Have they no shame??? Jahmel after his tweeting should have first off never been allowed to be a candidate ( I can assure you if he was an OBA candidate, it would never have happened ) and secondly, the plp should never put his name to any article!!! How desperate are the plp for candidates?? And secondly, how stupid are those that voted for him and put him in Parliament over a very we’ll qualified attorney that is respected in her profession!!! this is why I actually NO compassion for all those that voted plp last election and they are looking for jobs and are hungry!!!!! They deserve everything they voted for!!!!!

        • frank says:

          kangoocar again you show how stupid you are it was an election and the people of sandys south made their choice
          because ms marshall is a lawyer does not meen that she should have got in
          i lived in the area for 28years never saw her nowhere in the area
          .

    • Ramond Ray says:

      By the looks of all the “Dislikes” I must have touched a “sensitive spot” :-(
      But as mentioned further down by SMH says: “Jamahl very predictability neglects to mention how they plan to pay for all this? Fairy dust or cutting the civil service?”

      • Ask SpoongeBob, he seems to be the economic Savior, just make sure under the hood is clean because it might get Fuzzie.

  2. Terry says:

    One does not even have to read the articles supplied by BERNEWS who do a fantastic job.

    I read the headline and see PLP and I make a comment as this is.

    Just more propaganda for the supporters to keep them fed and fueled that “We” -PLP are out there keeping watch and looking out for you.

    Cup Match.

    Wonder which twelve will drink from the cup at the “Last Supper”.

  3. jt says:

    Bzzzzzzzzzz.

  4. Buzz Words and Talking Points says:

    The PLP like to paint a pretty picture of what the island will look like should they come back into power. They don’t have a plan on how to achieve those things, but they know that doesn’t matter. As long as they get reelected, they can go back to their old ways of diminishing the public purse.

    • inna says:

      There is no purse to be diminished! The govt historically and currently spends more than we pull in. We are running on borrowed money, plain and simple!

  5. Boston Baked Bean says:

    Dream on. We’ve been listening to this garbage for years and nothing ever happens to improve the lives of the “have-nots”. But it always looks good on paper, doesn’t it??

    • Betty Boop says:

      Yes, how true. They always tell you what they should do with no plan on how to ever achieve it. LOL Bunch of garbage.

  6. Cool says:

    Non of your proposals are new (some are already in place), nor do they recognize the debt Bermuda current carries and the implication of a shrinking population.

    To sum it up, your proposal won’t get us any further ahead…perhaps further behind.

    Another spending proposal…? Anything that reduces government tax revenues without reducing government spending is a NON-start!

    Less taxes means bigger deficits, means increased government debt…

    Our effort should be to reduce government spending and increase government revenues (from new business).

    Simple economics!

    P.S. If you want to reduce costs, i.e. transportation, health insurance, etc. we should also consider other ways to increase our local market size, e.g. more people/citizens.

  7. San George says:

    Jamahl – we borrowed the money to pay civil servants. Now we have to pay it back. Welcome to the real world. Cut the civil service or we all die a slow and painful death. We need to and will be paying more and higher taxes. The OBA does not have the political will to cut. C’mon man! Grow up.

    Quo Fata Ferunt

  8. SMH says:

    Jamahl very predictability neglects to mention how they plan to pay for all this? Fairy dust or cutting the civil service?

  9. serengeti says:

    2025 is no good. What good is making pie in the sky promises for things that might happen 10 years from now?
    The PLP had 14 years and didn’t do these things.

    Is Jamahl still living in his constituency, or has he moved back home?

  10. SMH says:

    So far this week we’ve heard from Jason, David and now Jamahl. No doubt next will be the good reverend and his band. Right on queue

  11. Huh says:

    PLP playbook pages 1 – 100 – KEEP serving up divisive pablum. Hope THEY aren’t smart enough to figure THAT PLP HAVE NO PLAN…..

  12. Starting Point says:

    “3] Addresses life choices that hinder upward mobility”

    he buried the only real issue pretty deep.

  13. Navin Johnson says:

    Ok first off I would guess when you say those who make the least pay the least…would that mean those who earn the most pay the most? Translation more high earners leave ….vision 2025? Thanks to the amount of money you borrowed to meet payroll and the pension obligations of the vast civil service you created when interest rates rise in the near future our interest payments on your debt will balloon ….we have 3 years to solve the problem of your creation

  14. North Rock says:

    Jamahl, I’ve been with the other side all my life. I read your thoughts today and I am switching sides – going PLP all de way, mate !. Your ideas are such a breath of fresh air and its almost impossible to believe that you could analyse not only the problem but the solution so well and all by yourself.

    You should be the Finance MNinister – I mean it – Bob Richards, Grant Gibbons, Dunk, Glen Smith – none of those guys got no idea how to do any of this. ….YOU are the man.

    What a crock of cockamamie PLP drivel….

    • Yes he’s certainly a real dreamer…Rekindles members of that song about,”wishing and hoping”

  15. theothersidebermuda says:

    Is this acknowledgement by the PLP that the ship helped to steer off course can not be righted until 2025? But in the same breath they expect the OBA to fix it in a matter of a few years???

    • theothersidebermuda says:

      “To learn more about the PLP’s Vision 2025 visit our website”…did…saw nothing…what am I missing?

      • theothersidebermuda says:

        nevermind, it’s their budget reply. The title of the link wasn’t descriptive. I see it now.

    • inna says:

      Fair point! The PLP is always screaming why arent the OBA doing more, then put out their vision for 10 years down the road.

      Talk about a bunch of losers!!

  16. Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

    I hear it on talk shows. ..I read it on blogs…It all sounds great…until you open your eyes and realize…This life that we are living is on a downward spiral…whether you want to believe it or not,our quality of life WILL NEVER be as we have become accustomed to…by design there is racial tentions being fuelled…civil unrest is being fuelled…pure corruption will set off distractions while the NEW WORLD ORDER gets implemented “for your safety”…hahahaha…If y’all don’t WAKE UP NOW…you will be in a nightmare for the rest of your days here on earth.

    • theothersidebermuda says:

      Ok, so let’s assume you are right. Let’s assume the NEW WORLD ORDER is being implemented under our noses. What exactly do you plan to do when you “WAKE UP NOW”?

  17. bermy bud says:

    The guy hasn’t been seen since the by election in sandys! Go figure!

    • Love it says:

      Stop lying Paid OBA blogger. You OBA folks are so obvious with you polticial strategy, its funny

  18. Jurist says:

    More gibberish from a full time political opportunist .