OBA: ‘Speech Noticeable For What It Left Out’

November 14, 2018 | 26 Comments

cannonier craig bermuda “As I said previously, there is a lot in the Throne Speech that the One Bermuda Alliance welcomes, however when we look at it closely, the Speech was most noticeable for what it left out,” OBA Leader Craig Cannonier said.

“Here is an example: Bermuda is facing some serious external threats, but there was hardly a mention of them or how they are being addressed. The UK Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee is holding hearings into the future of the Overseas Territories and has heard submissions from many organisations and people, including one by former OBA Finance Minister Bob Richards.

“One of our biggest critics, Oxfam, has made a submission and so far it appears that Bermuda has been unwittingly represented by former Governor George Fergusson. In my opinion, this Government is fumbling the ball on external issues and Bermudians remain unaware.

“What else was missing? There was no mention of plans to balance our budget and there was no real mention of plans to stimulate the economy or create jobs other than the Government’s apparent total reliance on Fintech – but we cannot keep imposing taxes while the economy continues to contract.

“The creation of an Events Authority to replace the ACBDA was a promise made long ago by Government and, because it is so late coming, you could say it has now missed the boat, if you will excuse the pun. It will also be interesting to see how this is funded, another important piece of missing information,” Mr Cannonier continued.

Regulating home grown marijuana therapies sounds like a great idea. However, who’s to say that we can produce cannabinoid oils and lotions for therapeutic use for less than it costs somebody to bring it in? Just because it’s grown here it doesn’t mean we can produce a derived product cheaper than the equivalent import which has the huge advantage of economies of scale.

“Remember, we’re not talking about allowing patients to merely smoke weed. We’re talking about making a product. Will government ban the import of such products so that patients will have to pay the higher prices of locally produced therapies? Who will Government hire, train and pay to provide the necessary oversight – things that will add to the cost of local production.

“Making social insurance progressive is a good idea, in principle. However, it’s all about the details of the demographics and how much the richer contributors will have to pay? Bear in mind that many of the rich in question are IB people who are already complaining about how much government is picking on them. I fear that this only increases the flight risk and where would Bermuda be then?

“I am also concerned about its effects on small businesses here in Bermuda which have already been harshly treated by this Government with its dividend tax and sugar tax.

“The OBA had already recognized the need for tax reform but this part of the Throne Speech – ‘Bermuda’s tax system will be reformed to establish a fair system based on a citizen’s ability to pay’, sounds very much like income tax. I will be very interested to hear more details about this in the Budget next year.

“In health care, it is all very well saying that ‘the needs of Bermudians must finally take precedence over the insurers’ profits’, but what will the effect on local companies, who employ scores of Bermudians, be?

“And the biggest issue in health remains unaddressed by this Government and there was nothing in the Throne Speech to indicate that it has the guts to go down this road: until we clamp down on over-use, health costs are not going to go down in any substantive way. Some doctors will continue to benefit from the system whatever Government proposes and that means costs will never be truly managed down.

“There are other issues. The Throne Speech said high energy costs impede investment and development but then proceeded to commit to ensuring that large business and developments will pay a lot more for electricity through a progressive consumption tax on energy. It is another tax on businesses and the people of Bermuda dressed up as an effort to conserve energy.

“Why is Government building yet more low cost housing? Did it not learn its lessons from that multi-million dollar white elephant called the Grand Atlantic? How will raising the retirement age for civil servants create opportunities for young people? Why was there so little mention of education?

“In immigration, who will determine who has been a good corporate citizen and who has discriminated against Bermudians and thus face penalties? What is the criteria going to be? Jobs for Bermudians is critical but we want to see more details on this as soon as possible.

“The idea of making the Bermuda Plan a ‘living document’ is also hugely problematic – does this mean rules and regulations will be made up as they go along? It’s the bible for architects and builders and needs to be amended in a disciplined manner, otherwise it will cause havoc if the industry cannot keep up with ad hoc amendments.

“The ban on single use plastics is good. The increase in maternity leave is welcome, but why no mention of paternity leave? Why do we need a Police Authority and what will its role be?

“I understand that more detail will, hopefully, be forthcoming but it is nonetheless our duty as the Opposition to raise relevant questions now so that the public is aware of the issues that need addressing.

“On Friday I will deliver our response to the Throne Speech but given that major economic indicators are down and that there are no signs of new investment in Bermuda, I will say this: what if the OBA had not been successful in reducing our huge budget deficit, what if no new hotels had been built, what if we were not feeling the job-creating effect of the airport, what if there had been no major stimulus such as the America’s Cup, what if we the Bermuda Tourism Authority had never existed? Where would Bermuda be today?”

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  1. lol says:

    well put

  2. 2 Bermudas says:

    Great response, indeed the Pee El Pee are bereft of ideas and are still riding the success of the OBA.

    Pee El Pee got their heads in Wakanda!!

    • Sinking ship says:

      The PLP elite are too busy drinking titty milk in the kingdom of Wakanda to care about the rest of us. $1.2 Million goes a long way in Wakanda

    • DeOnion says:

      Ha, not to mention the First Lady tea party at Tuckers! Hahahahaha!

    • Onion says:

      I know you think you’re funny but that is offensive to a lot of people and does nothing but detract from the message. There’s nothing wrong with holding a superhero theme party as the PLP did.

      Let’s focus on the issues and build bridges.

      • 2 Bermudas says:

        It takes two to build bridges and the Pee El Pee are definitely not in the mindset to build bridges. In fact, they like divisive politics because it keeps them in power. At some point you have to sit back and say we need to stop being the fool and call things for what they are. Unless your head is stuck in Wakanda too?!

  3. Mike says:

    Cannonier tell us about Jet Gate?

    • 2 Bermudas says:

      I wish he would. Then PLP can tell us about:

      Four Seasons Gate (i.e. Casino Gate)
      Port Royal Gate
      Berkley Gate
      TCD Gate
      $800m Unaccounted For Gate
      Global Hue Gate
      Playboy Mansion Gate
      Faith Based Tourism Gate
      Black Mayors Conference Gate
      Heritage Wharf Gate
      Ewart Brown’s $1.2m Gate
      Grand Atlantic Gate

      Shall I go on? Keep drinkin’ de titty milk!!

    • Toodle-oo says:

      Well , let’s see ..
      I went on my old school buddie’s private plane a few times and gave him multiple untendered contracts to his tourism advertising/promotions company that had a very , very poor return on investment.
      In the end it cost Bermuda taxpayers untold millions but it was after all ‘the platinum period’ .
      Oops , sorry , that was someone else and a different political party.
      Facts .

  4. Mike says:

    Cannonier you have all criticism but no ideas.

    • sandgrownan says:

      He didn’t criticize numb nuts. He asked pertinent questions.

    • 2 Bermudas says:

      Oh shut up! If he did offer ideas then you’d be quoting Jim Woolridge talking about white boys don’t mind black people in power as long as they do as they are told. Just no pleasing you titty milk drinkers!! Ha ha ha!!

      • And Jim was right, so just go in ya corner and be quiet.
        I will be enjoying this milk for de next 4 years. Plus its healthy for ya bones and it comes in an appealing container.

    • 25-11 Baby! says:

      You make me giggle.

      OBA is in Oppostiion its their job to criticise. PLP have won 25-11–its their job to bring the ideas that won them the election to fruition.

      Fact, in the short time in office–the OBA had some wins–can’t gloss over it.

      Time for the PLP to shine and deliver their own wins–if that happens we all win.

      PLP need to stop acting like the Opposition and govern the country for ALL Bermudians!

    • Just a Thought says:

      He’s the opposition leader, it’s not their job to have the ideas, it is their job to hold the government to account. or at least that what PLP post have told me the last four years.

    • Blankerchief says:

      That’s because he’s the opposition. His job is to keep the sitting party in check not tell them how to run the country. If you wanted his ideas I think you voted for the wrong party.

  5. clearasmud says:

    Other than the comment about housing ( i am sure Mr Cannonier knows that the government did not build Grand Atlantic) This is indeed a good first response and hopefully these questions will be asked again in the House.

    • Question says:

      The government DID build the Grand Atlantic, A $60m PLP waste of money.

      • Avg Bda Male says:

        I think they mean the current government did not build it but the previous PLP administration did. There is a difference.

  6. Herb A List says:

    Thank You Mr. Cannonier for talking common sense. Now, if you could just show us a little ruthlessness and purge Dunkley altogether (the rest of the Gang will follow) I’m thinking you might be in with a chance next time out…

  7. Bob&Margaret says:

    The Premier has already provided some insight to a few of these questions for example the home grown marijuana licenses will be granted exclusively to drug dealers, or at least those with criminal records for possession. To be fair they are the most likely to make a go of the economics in such a small economy given that they will have two distribution models with very different customer bases.

  8. Sister Nancy says:

    Mike why should Mr Cannonier share his ideas in public. The PLP is in charge it’s up to them to figure it out. IF they are capable and that’s a big IF.

  9. Anon Ymous says:

    A familiar sense of pre 2012 apathy seems to be creeping in again while the 25/11 party party, who it appears still don’t care what I think, continue to be aloof and unaccountable.

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