Michael Weeks: “Make Our Youth A Priority”

September 24, 2014

weeks michael[Opinion column written by PLP MP Michael Weeks]

Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I’ll tell you what they are.” ~ James W. Frick

Since taking office the OBA has taken a series of steps that have impacted our youth and that have created even greater challenges for those young Bermudians who are either unemployed or underemployed. The OBA have slashed scholarships putting a major stumbling block on the efforts of our young people to use education to earn the skills needed to compete in our economy.

They have slashed the Education budget, the Training and Workforce Development budget, funding to the Bermuda College and funding for Child & Family Services. Most disturbingly, the OBA tried to give the children of guest workers the right to compete against our children for summer jobs in an already shrinking job market.

When we look at the state of our young people, there is deep cause for concern. Young Bermudians represent one of the largest segments of Bermuda’s unemployed and underemployed. Many young Bermudians are declining to return to Bermuda upon completion of their education or are moving to other countries seeking better opportunities. Others have given up on looking for work altogether

This will all set many young Bermudians back in terms of earning power, work experience and being able to compete for jobs and opportunities in our own country. This will also lead to a loss of skilled workers and force by necessity the further importation of guest workers into Bermuda.

To address this we must make Bermudians a priority, in particular our young people by:

  • Restoring the scholarship funding slashed by the OBA
  • Launching the PLP’s Job Corp Programme that would reduce barriers to employment for our youth while giving them with the opportunity to develop and use their strengths in cooperation with employers, training providers and community organizations
  • Properly funding training and workforce development programmes
  • Launching the PLP’s Infrastructure Development Plan creating business opportunities for construction companies and short term employment for Bermudians
  • Investigating the merits of expanding the number of protected job categories to allow young Bermudians to have the opportunity to compete for entry level positions and gain work experience
  • Diversifying the economy through the introduction of a Blue Economy, a new industry capable of injecting millions of dollars into our economy as well as online gaming and the regulation and taxation of cannabis

Every young Bermudian represents a potential success story on whom Bermuda’s future success depends. Let’s make our youth a priority, by our actions show they are a priority and work together on solutions that elevate the condition of all Bermudians, and not just a select few.

- Michael Weeks

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Comments (32)

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  1. Do the Math says:

    It’s called being fiscally responsible, you shouldn’t spend money you don’t have! I paid my own way through university without help from the government or my parents and I valued my education because I had to work for it.

    • 32n64w says:

      If the PLP were truly concerned about youth opportunities why did they saddle our children and grandchildren with crippling debt and the related interest obligations that will severely hamper future success?

      They have sold multiple generations into financial slavery.

      PLP – party before country since 1998 – $2,000,000,000 in debt and growing by the day.

      • Raymond Ray says:

        Thanks 36n64w.Had they only been concerned,(not more concerned)then generations of upcoming Bermudians will not be burden with these debts we now face. Many fail to accept these facts that there’s X amount of profit that must be paid off on them “loans”. That alone will be millions more than what one wants to believe…Millions that should have gone elsewhere:-(

    • Rich says:

      Boo hoo, so did many others but that doesn’t negate the need to provide scholarship monies or at the minimum, low interest loans to families to pay for their childrens university education.

      I find it astounding that many of the same folks that are opponents of providing proper funding for education; be it teacher salaries or scholarships and bursaries simply turn a blind eye to the outrageous amounts that this government and others around the western world pay to incarcerate their citizens.

      The US has made it an art form and we aren’t to far behind.

      • Do the Math says:

        Scholarships should be handled by non-profits, not by the government. Why should everyone have to pay for an individual’s education?

  2. Hmmm says:

    How are you going to pay for it?

    Grand plans, but just words. The PLP completely destroyed opportunities for young Bermudians.

  3. front brake only says:

    Is this the same guy who was a member of the political party that said it has the concerns of the poor and uneducated black people at the forefront of their agenda but done nothing to help them unless I missed the part where they fixed the education system that was far less than what was required to educate the masses during the reign of the UBP and done miraculous things for the young people and the education system and the OBA has come and torn it apart and you have a duty to tell us the OBA haven’t made the young people a priority and dont care about them ———- Please tell us more of all the great things the PLP did for our young people so that they have a solid educational system behind them and how you had it all going so well until OBA showed up !!!!

    • smh says:

      front brake, check ur timeline, the UBP messed up the public education system, but the PLP had 14 years to fix it and didn’t

      remember Cedarbridge opened September 1998, PLP weren’t elected into power until November 1998

      • CRAZY RIDER says:

        re-read my comment and you will see that i gave the UBP their credit or discredit for their sub par contribution to the education system

  4. Onion says:

    Using his logic by shackling this country with crippling debt payments the PLP’s priority for Bermuda was foreign debt holders and banks… to say nothing of the fortune they spent on their Friends & Family programme.

    As for the rest, the OBA is busy launching things in their first 2 years that the PLP promised but never acted upon like PATI and ending Conscription. My guess is they’ll get other things done that the PLP ignored as well.

  5. Truth (Original) says:

    Mr. Weeks. Even you cannot believe this nonsense. You have to appreciate that working on rebuilding the Bermuda economy and restoring confidence in Government IS for the youth of Bermuda. Every time the OBA provide an incentive for businesses to set up and operate here IS for the youth of Bermuda and is not anti-Bermudian. Money doesn’t grow on trees ! We need to increase revenue (through business), maintain our debt repayments AND cut expenses.

    That’s a tough balancing act and your party have proven that they couldn’t do it (hence the mess in the first place) and you are proving again that you still don’t get it !

  6. Bermuda Bouy says:

    This has always been a problem, youth are very important but seniors should be a priority. The older you get, the more you need doctors and pills. The older you get, the harder it is to pay for the doctors and pills. Things are a little rough here right now but keep this in mind for the future.

  7. Tolerate says:

    Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I’ll tell you what they are.” ~ James W. Frick

    From a PLP representative this is priceless. Hell, I have not caught myself to read the full opinion piece yet; but does spending MILLIONS on crap (Concerts come to mind) not contradict what your trying to say and actually highlight what the PLP wastefulness has created in this country?
    Oh, but Mr. Weeks is correct “our youth is a Priority”

  8. serengeti says:

    The PLP sold Bermuda’s financial independence.
    What did they give us in return? Permanent structural unemployment.

  9. Joonya says:

    We COULD have had $60M+ for all this Weeks..

    • Tolerate says:

      It’s either selective memory or the past Finance Minister hide the true state the economy was in from her Party?
      Because ONCE AGAIN we have the PLP highlighting the obvious as to what programs/resources are required on our Island; knowing we are not in a financial position to address?
      So blame the OBA and label them as Anti-Bermudian. Next play the victim card

      And NO; I’m not a paid blogger but I am a person who pays attention and is getting tired of the weekly BS.

  10. Triangle Drifter says:

    Ummmm…Mr Weeks remind us again who got us into this situation that is costing some $250,000 per DAY just to service the debt they caused.

    Imagine what could be done with that money if it was not needed to pay interest on loans that your band of fiscal experts created.

  11. Onion says:

    It’s time for a new opposition. Every time the PLP come out to criticise the OBA it just reflects on what a bad job the PLP did.

  12. Build a Better Bermuda says:

    The PLP seem to have priority conflicts within their ranks, can they sit down together and determine a priority. One day it’s seniors, the next the abused, then the youth, jobs, crime, road safety, infrastructure, tourism and now and then Bermudians. Where the hell do they think we can get the money to tackle all these priorities, having been the in power only 2 years ago, you would think they could grasp some degree of financial response to deal with these… course under their watch they could account for $800,000,000.00, so it would be safe to say they have a bad track record for financial responsibility.
    The OBA have made it clear, the first priority is to rebuild our mismanaged and neglect economy, once that is back up and running then the additional money that will bring in can start being redirected to other priorities. But without that money, it would just simply be like bailing water into a sinking dingy. Perhaps the PLP could stop wasting energies campaigning on priorities they themselves don’t have solutions for and maybe try to figure out actual comprehensive solutions.

  13. Muhammad Goldberg says:

    The PLP also came out today saying that funding the Abuse Shelter should be a priority. So many priorities and so little resources….Gee, who could possibly be to blame?

    • Sara says:

      It is amazing to me that some of these PLP leaders can actually sat some of these things with straight faces. I mean did they forget all the time and money WASTED during their 14 years? It is scary that he STILL doesn’t understand that their is NO MONEY TO DO ANYTHING. Wonder why????

      • God Grant me the Serenity - please says:

        Even more mindboggling is the fact that Mi hael Weaks believes that he and his country ruinig party can fix anything. If the had not messed it up we would not be having this conversation today!!!

        A little bird from within told me that you are hoping to be nomimated for deputy or even better the leader of the almost useless PLP. A simple word of advice Mike ….. please figure out where your lane is and stay in it.

  14. more than enough says:

    Apparently there is enough money to fly out constantly.

  15. Dreadlocks says:

    The PLP sold out the youth and put a 2.5 billion $ debt on them.

  16. Ringmaster says:

    Thanks to the PLP, Bermuda pays out around $110 million a year to foreign bankers just in interest on the debt they created. Think how this money could be used today to benefit Bermudians as opposed to making foreign bankers rich. How much? $110 million. Who is anti Bermudian? Yes, the PLP.

  17. D says:

    I’m in my mid 20′s I’ve been unemployed for 18months I have a toddler all I do is cry because I can not get a job in my own country I am not a lazy person

    • PBanks says:

      I feel your pain. Maybe you’ve already tried this, but have you contacted Workforce Development? Failing that, your constituency MP?

    • No Handouts says:

      What job do you want? Why haven’t you applied to work at a restaurant or hotel? I’m always surprised at the number of ex-pats working at Southampton Princess. They could not have been hired if a Bermudian was willing to do the work.

  18. JUNK YARD DOG says:

    If parents had a vested interest and paid half the public school fee,the standard of education would improve over night.

    • PBanks says:

      Without a doubt… although you’d think that since people are already funding public education through taxes, they’d have overall more interest in ensuring their children have a better chance to achieve success.

  19. JUNK YARD DOG says:

    Is he trying to make a name for you self by stirring up discontent amongst the young people ?

    When I was a young person I knew the sting of the cane, I never had a :-

    Motor Bike
    Cell phone
    Fancy clothes
    Rain coat
    Gold chain
    Trip to Disney
    Parents car
    Free bus service
    Bad attitude.