Column: “Bermuda That Works For Bermudians”

July 22, 2016

[Opinion column written by MP Jamahl Simmons]

Across the island, there is a growing sense that something is deeply wrong in Bermuda. For too many of us the economy isn’t working for us. Many of us have come to the realization that the people we elected to government have spent more time looking down on us than standing strong for us.

Our people are beginning to ask, “When will our issues matter?”

This growing sense that Bermuda isn’t working for Bermudians has worsened the divisions that separate us and hindered our ability to come together to build a fairer, more inclusive Bermuda.

When the quality of our children’s education is determined more by their parents’ income than on a child’s intellect and work ethic, that extends the divide.

When job opportunities are determined more by who you know than what you know, that extends the divide.

When the only group experiencing job growth is everyone but Bermudians, that extends the divide.

Bermudians understand all of this. They also understand that OBA attacks on the PLP have so far failed to produce jobs and opportunities for Bermudians.

Jamahl Simmons Bermuda July 21 2016

The father who hasn’t worked in two years doesn’t care about what the OBA thinks about the PLP. Our Bermudian fathers want to know when the 2000 jobs they were promised will be delivered.

The mother who has been forced to skip meals just to keep her children fed, doesn’t care about what the OBA thinks about the PLP. Our Bermudian mothers want to know when their hard work and sacrifice will move their family out of poverty.

The PLP’s focus is on building a Bermuda where:

Our government invests in US, training and retraining Bermudians to fill jobs and opportunities at every level at the economy and not just at the bottom.

Our immigration laws work for US, protecting Bermudian jobs and opportunities.

Our economy works for US, so that any Bermudian willing to work hard and sacrifice has an opportunity to work, build wealth and eventually buy a piece of the rock.

Our schools work for US, building 21st century entrepreneurs and a world class workforce.

The OBA has a choice; spend what little time they have left continuing to focus on and demonize the PLP or get on with the job they were elected to do – create jobs for Bermudians.

We hope that they are hearing what we are hearing; their current approach isn’t working and isn’t focused on what is really important; helping our people.

The PLP understands the challenges Bermudians are facing and while we will continue to hold the government accountable, we will also aggressively push our vision of a fairer more inclusive Bermuda that works for Bermudians.

- Jamahl Simmons

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Comments (52)

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  1. Joonya says:

    “The PLP understands the challenges Bermudians are facing”

    Of course you do.. YOU CREATED THEM!

    • Eyes wide open says:

      Joonya since you know so much, care to enlighten me on why so many black Bermudians don’t trust the OBA/ubp? Why does the small majority of black Bermudians join the OBA/ubp and then later jump ship or flip-flop over to the PLP/BIU.

      The few blacks that have graced the shores with senior position in the OBA & UBP tell my people a different story. They all can’t be liars. Then also explain to my people why the last election they had to front a black man to win votes.

      Trust me I’m not saying that the PLP is even better with their tone. What I can say is when white Bermudians have publicly joined the PLP their own white friends CUT THEM OFF FIRST!!!

      This island is full of racial tension and you’re Premier continues turning a blind eye to it.

      • Smith says:

        Be careful on this friend. I’m willing too wager what people will hit dislike and continue acting like blind sheep for the oba. This is what a certain segment of the population fears most. When someone blogs the truth about the difference in both political groups.

        Whites always vote ubp oba
        Blacks always vote plp

        • Starting Point says:

          Whites and Blacks vote OBA
          Only Blacks vote PLP

          remind me again which party seems to resonate with all Bermuda?

          • Double S says:

            The exact same dynamic plays out in US politics.

            US minorities, especially African-Americans, vote en bloc for the Democrats as the other option just isn’t palpable as they show no love or interest in their well-being and believe only the majority matter.

            Much like how the PLP has always and continues to treat with the minority population of this island with disdain.

          • Django Unchained says:

            What percentage of blacks?
            20% :)

            What percentage of whites?
            95%

            Do you see the big difference buddy stop acting blind we have 2 Bermudas?

            The OBass have and always been aware what percent they need to secure a victory.

            Next election it will be less. The witting is on the wall thanks to the OBA.

          • Spit Bouy says:

            @ Starting Point,

            Exactly. All the PLP do is bleat on about lack of unemployment yet not many have opened businesses that actually creates any employment, I wonder why?. Seems to me they prefer living off of the public purse, the bunch of sponges.

          • Rhonda says:

            Approximately 90% plus of whites blindly vote ubp renamed oba..

            60% can be said for Black Betmudians..

            Bermuda has approx. a 10% of swing voters that will decide any election..

            Swing voters tend to be singular items voters…

            Which means appeasing that swing voter is more important than the stability of the country…

      • Double S says:

        Because black Bermudians won’t vote for a Party led by a white person. Heard that numerous times and still do to this day. Does that make them racist?

        ‘They’ didn’t put a black man in front. Cannonier was voted in by the ENTIRE OBA membership and not by some central committee cabal as in the case of the PLP.

        • Wake up Bie says:

          Stop the crap Mr. Cannonier was placed their as a front MAN to sway a few black voters to vote OBA. Stop the BULL –it. It was political strategy at it’s best and it worked.

          In 2012 the One Bermuda Alliance win with 19 seats to the Progressive Labour Party’s 17 is not much, but it’s still a win. Now on to the 2017 election!!!!!!!!!!

          • Double S says:

            Yawnnnnnn…..

            Cannonier was voted in via a vote by the entire OBA membership. He wasn’t placed in anywhere by anybody. h was the leader of the BDA at the time of the merger with the UBP.

            But either way your hatred for certain people clouds your rational judgment and so what is the point.

            Keep on hating my friend.

            • Bermy male says:

              He wasn’t hating he was stating a fact.

        • Rhonda says:

          UBP can’t win without the black vote..

          That’s the incentive for UBP renamed OBP to keep Blacks divided…

          I’m reminded, of the analogy, of the Master’s burning house..one set of blacks fetch water the other gas…

          We blacks vote the same way. .one brings water the other gas, while all whites are bring water to protect their interest. …

  2. Justin says:

    Oh shut up. The PLP spent years wrecking the economy and had no idea how to fix it. In comes the OBA and there is clear evidence that the economy is better now than when they inherited it. With no money in the bank it is hard to pay for social programs that you speak of. That’s common sense, but clearly the PLP didn’t pay attention to that when they were in office. Why don’t we work together to fix the economy first and worry about the social programs once we can pay for them!

  3. LiarLiar says:

    What I don’t understand is the constant attacks by the PLP on the OBA for not fixing what they (PLP) broke in just a few years.

    But then they turn around and say give us to 2025 to fix everything.

    If the PLP needs two terms to turn around Bermuda then why bitch at the OBA for not doing it in 3.5 years?

    The OBA isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but in that limited time they have halved the $400mn PLP deficit and stopped the economy from contracting as it did for the previous 7 years.

    It took years to bring Bermuda down to its lowest point and will take years to recover.

    And as someone said above can Mr. Simmons and the PLP please provide the source of funds that will be used to fund all your ‘free’ programs again? You did that in 2007 and had to reverse the majority of your ‘freebies’ (i.e. free college, free public transportation for all, free daycare with the eligibility threshold having to be increased etc.)

    Are you going to cut other budgets to fulfill your spending spree or are you going to revert back to $400mn deficits and simply ignore the mountain of debt that will suffocate us all in the not so distant future?

    Seems to me you are making promises, much like the OBA’s 2000 jobs, that you can’t keep or if you do would put hasten the demise of Bermuda. But then again this is the same gentleman that noted his desire to see Bermuda ‘burn.’

    • Rhonda says:

      Did the plp break thing or the private sector tge spending spree was damaged control for what IB did….and tge OBA is doing the same borrowing.

      We can have zero deficit and debt to..

      But what would be the consequences of such actions like ..

      Fire 80% of police
      Fire 80% of Civil Service
      Close all public schools…

      Make Medical care at KEMH cash only

      Like I said on budget at what consequences. .

  4. NCM says:

    Drivel. Lot’s of buzz words and phrases but no actual substance. The irony, too, that he critizes the OBA for attacking the PLP and then writes this piece which is an all out attack on the OBA.

  5. CF says:

    Is there anyone out there that is not anti-OBA and not anti-PLP but pro Bermuda? If you are, I have an earnest appeal. Please stand and voice your concerns. If we continue to let the OBA/PLP politics dominate then we will surely have an irreparably divided Bermuda.

    I am amazed at how our division has grown in the last 10 years or so and our way of politics is the number one driver of the divide. I am now convinced that ‘Standing Strong’, ‘Bermuda First’ or ‘One Bermuda’ are simply contrived slogans as the actions don’t match on either side.

    I urge you, whether a PLP supporter or an OBA supporter, please hold them accountable and demand a stop to the divisive tactics. Remind them that we are not dumb sheep and that we can see the tactics coming from both sides!

    Demand not a black Bermuda or a white Bermuda, not a socialist based Bermuda or a purely capitalistic approach but a Bermuda that fully recognizes the need for a broad approach to fit the varying economic rungs.

    Again, is there anyone out there that is not anti-OBA and not anti-PLP but pro Bermuda? We need to come together. Stay tuned for more.

    • Starting Point says:

      Please don’t be just bluster – if Bermuda ever needed a new party, one without a single person from either PLP/OBA, he time is now.

      definitely staying tune for more.

    • Sickofantz says:

      What are YOUR concerns?

  6. Jus' Wonderin' says:

    People aren’t “given” jobs you have to GO OUT AND APPLY AND EARN THE JOB! Also the attacks on the OBA by the PLP/UBP don’t give people jobs neither….smh!

    • question????? says:

      So what has the OBA/UBP done for the people? Notttting!

      • Jus' Wonderin' says:

        What has the PLP/UBP done for my people? Nothingggg!!

        • Time to change the name back UBP 100% says:

          Well the PLP didn’t use their friends in the Banks to foreclose on people’s mortgages like the UBP/OBA did if you wasn’t on the team.

    • aceboy says:

      Under the PLP the Civil Service was the friends and family employment plan.

  7. MB says:

    Good points JS but you haven’t thought them thru.

    Doesn’t working for Bermudians mean growing the overall economy…?
    Money does not come out of the sky on a dot in the ocean with
    nothing but financial services to offer and a
    boring tourism industry. If we want more jobs and
    better education we need more money to invest in that.
    If not for AC and airport we would be sinking back
    into recessions.
    we can protect Bermudians by OPENING Bermuda to
    casinos,
    gay tourists, removing idiot burocrats who
    stifle business, removing 60-40, ENDING CARELESS WILD STRIKES

  8. Ty says:

    “When job opportunities are determined more by who you know than what you know, that extends the divide.”

    All of the opportunities YOU – Mr. Simmons gained over the past have been by WHO YOU KNOW. It definitely it is not by WHAT YOU KNOW.

    Pot calling kettle PINK much. :) :)

    • wondering says:

      so so true and he flip flopped around the decks of alot of political boats

      • Samantha says:

        You didn’t know that black bermudians flip flop? How do you think the OBA won the last election.

  9. steve says:

    Dunkley personally employs lots of Bermudians. How many do you employ Simmons? Zero?
    Yet i never see the premier writing anything about you.

    • Yahoo says:

      Agreed. Dunkley would never write anything about Jamal because Flip Flop Jamal is insignificant and not worth the time.

    • Spit Bouy says:

      @ steve,

      Top post! The PLP moan about people who are employers yet most PLP MP’s wont even open a lemonade stand. Yeah lets put these jokers back in power, NOT! Losers.

  10. serengeti says:

    In 2011 under the PLP 1,100 Bermudians lost their jobs.

    In 2015, 250 Bermudians lost their jobs, of which 230 were voluntary early retirements.

    It was the PLP who ruined the economy and threw Bermudians out of work.

    • LostinFlatts says:

      Damn you and your actual facts. Empty rhetoric is what gets votes!

    • wow says:

      What about the years in between 2011 and 2015 ?

    • JAWS says:

      This doesn’t compute anymore. Everyone with half a brain and 1 gill knows that the economy World wide took a dive into the deep.

      Every Country was in turmoil. The only business that flourished were selling alcohol and weed.

  11. Tired of it all says:

    In less than 2 minutes the amount of ‘dislikes’ more than quadrupled.

    Well done Alaska Hall, got those autobots in overdrive.

    I love election time! Good stuff.

    • Wake up Bie says:

      I can’t wait to vote you people OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Tired of it all says:

        I am sure you can’t.

        Then you can put your mates back into power who decimated the economic and financial position of Bermuda.

        That will show ‘us people.’

        I thought ‘you people’ was a derogatory term with underhanded connotations. Ahh, nevermind. How silly of me to forget the double standards to which some adhere.

        Carry on.

      • Jus' Wonderin' says:

        And enjoy what comes after lmfao…the 2025 “plan.” We’ll all be so rich by sea bed mining right?

      • Spit Bouy says:

        @ Wake up Bie,

        and I can’t wait to see the PLP do another number on Bermuda costing hundreds of millions and thousands of jobs, again. Hopefully yours as well. What then? I guess you and others will stay away from the polls and let them get voted out again. LMAO

        Pity as it will probably be lights out for the ‘miracle of the Atlantic’ by then.

    • joly says:

      Yup – it’s obsessive for them.

    • steve says:

      I got 60 dislikes in 30 minutes. I am interested to know more about this technique

  12. Starting Point says:

    ‘When the quality of our children’s education is determined more by their parents’ income than on a child’s intellect and work ethic, that extends the divide.’

    Fallacy – quality of education is determined by parents ability to raise inquisitive kids, kids who learn from their generations and not from their TV. This is most common disfunction in Bermuda, the idea that the education system should fix the irresponsible, ill-equipped parents who never intended to have a child or should have.

    Now if you want to talk about why those parents exists and the legacy of racism, structural generational dissolution of family dynamics then we can can talk, but the education system has nothing to do with it.

    BTW the statement by the writer is also a direct attack on Bermudian teachers who work in the public school system, by inferring income and ability to attend private school is the factor the PLP are saying private is better than the public school system. Shame on you.

    • wow says:

      That is a known fact!! It is also a known fact that it costs more money to educate a student in the public school system than it does private school.

    • Bermy male says:

      Private is better ask all the Bermudians that send their children private.

      Please tell the truth. We even have public school teachers that prefer to send their own kids private lolololol

  13. Axlerod says:

    After Kenny Bascombe of the OBA, Jamahl Simmons is the second worst politician in the HoA! Let’s raise the pay of Parliament members to $100k and let’s pay cabinet members $200k this will increase competition for the seats and help attract badly needed talent to politics and parliament. Both parties are brain dead with no plan other than the current one…best described as…..KEEP DIGGING!

  14. Rhonnda Oliver says:

    There is no doubt that the OBA has some issues.

    They have little clue on how to talk to the general public and they don’t seem to be getting any better at it. This is a HUGE problem. If you can’t engage the public, they’re not going to recognise the positives that are happening.

    They need to listen to the people who have been trying to wave red flags in front of their faces.

    The OBA took over a huge problem. A much bigger problem than they had a clue of going into the election.

    The entire problem was not created by the PLP, it was however, compounded by the PLP government. They were, in the early years, naive and learning how to run a country, and then things seemed to shift into financial mismanagement, and possibly worse. The PLP was also dealing with holdover mistakes from the UBP in their final years and a worldwide recession.

    Aside from the OBA’s inability to reach the general public with their ideas, they are also dealing with the PLP electioneering machine from day one post election. They have not been a viable opposition, they have been a loud voice of negativity on both the economic and social front. They have successfully whipped the fears of their grass roots support into a frenzy and lain all of Bermuda’s problems on the doorstep of the OBA. Instead of loudly praising all the successes of Bermudians, they point out all the problems.

    The other problem lies with the general Bermuda public. For some reason there seems to be this belief that it’s the Government’s responsibility to fix all that ails the island. It’s not.

    It’s up to Bermudians to do that, while the Government goes about trying to stabilise and build our foundations.

    On the plus side, every day I hear about Bermudians who are trying to do this. Companies taking on apprentices. Students getting financial help with their goals. Small local businesses starting, trying new things, expanding. Bermudians succeeding in sports, and business.

    Yes, things are bad. Yes, people are struggling. But if you look at nothing but the bad, that’s all you’re going to see, it’s what you’re going to feel.

    Look for the positives. Do something positive, no matter how small.

    Maybe that’s the thing.
    Hate Pathways to status… make yourself find one thing positive about it, maybe more than one.
    Hate the new airport … make yourself find one thing positive about it, maybe more than one.
    Hate the OBA … you get my point.

    It doesn’t mean you have to change your stance. It just means you’ve stopped and really thought about the issue. It means for at least a few minutes you’ve stopped thinking negatively and feeling the weight of that.

    Maybe it’ll be the first glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel.

  15. Hey jahmal…OBA is still paying debt PLP put us in…
    We are all paying back what your butt borrowed and spent!
    We are indentured to people because of you.
    Your lot has done its’ deed and veritably cast all of us unto indentured slavery…thanks…but no thank you…I don’t need no mastah.

  16. LostinFlatts says:

    I see, so he’s saying that the PLP will make Bermuda GREAT again?