Opposition Deliver Reply To The Throne Speech

November 16, 2018

cannonier craig bermudaOpposition Leader Craig Cannonier delivered the formal response to the 2018 Throne Speech today [Nov 16] in the House of Assembly saying that we are “on a path of perpetual contraction.”

In his reply Mr Cannonier said: “The Government’s previous announcement of the doubling of guarantee capital at the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation may sound good politically, but in reality it does nothing. The existing loan guarantee capital at BEDC was only at about 30 percent capacity. As I’ve already mentioned, the real struggle for Bermudian entrepreneurs is getting access to bank loans. What Bermuda needs is more financing options, not meaningless political gestures.

“The OBA therefore proposes that private pension schemes invest a portion of their portfolios locally. We also propose that all companies that operate in Bermuda, including those in the exempted space, participate in the mandatory private pension scheme.

“This will help mitigate the immediate outflow of capital from our shores and drive the development of our local capital market. The Bermuda Stock Exchange has seen a marked decrease in the participation of local non-finance companies over the years.

“The 60/40 rule should also be amended again, so that all Bermuda residents may qualify under the 60 percent ownership portion, subject to a carefully designed set of criteria. This will allow more of the wealth already on the Island to be invested into our economy, which again increases the availability of domestic capital. This provides more competition for the banks, which will drive better lending rates for Bermudians.”

Mr Cannonier added: “We must also pass bankruptcy legislation. The ability to fail, and rise again, is essential to innovation. It is essential to business creation. Our present framework makes it far too difficult to start again. Bankruptcy legislation is essential to the development of a successful entrepreneurship ecosystem. Bermuda can be a hub of innovation. We must create not only the educational programmes, but also the legal framework, so that when business start-ups encounter risk this need not be life-ending.

“The BMA should be empowered through legislation and budget to monitor the effects of legislation on our economy. The BMA should have a specialized economic unit, staffed with trained economists. The BMA should also have the ability to monitor – and regulate if necessary – the fees that banks charge, both for services as well as lending to deposit spread.

“The Government should also review each and every public service and department to see which ones can be funded by Government, but delivered by the private sector, in order to inject much needed innovation into those services.

“There could even be models whereby the same civil servants that presently deliver the services could be empowered through ownership in the newly spun-off ventures. Government could provide fixed term multi-year contracts to ensure a stable income stream. This would allow these entrepreneurs to expand and reinvest, thereby delivering more successful outcomes.

“The efficiencies created will lead to more economic activity and increased growth. The same employees will benefit from the resulting profits previously lost to bureaucratic inefficiencies. Business management support can be provided from Government during the transition period. At the end of the period, the economy will have a more competitive and efficient service delivery system, a new generation of small and medium business owners, and — in the medium to long term — a more productive tax dollar spend.”

Mr Cannonier added: “We propose that Government adopt a ladder scheme whereby small businesses progressively gain access to larger Government contracts. The first rung of the ladder would be for smaller contracts, thereby affording small businesses responding to their first Request For Proposal [RFP] greater chances of success. After the first success, both Government and the small businesses will find comfort signing contracts for the successively larger and more complex jobs higher up the ladder.”

On health, Mr Cannonier said: “The reality is that within five years, healthcare costs will reach $1 billion. We believe that a public register to track utilisation across the whole system will lead to a more transparent and meaningful conversation about which services are being overutilised. This will remove the ability for those with vested interests to divert progress towards a sustainable and affordable health care solution for all Bermudians.”

The OBA leader outlined a series of initiatives to improve education, including: budgeting per term for teachers to buy supplies and equipment for classrooms; establishing an independent standards board – the education equivalent of the Auditor General — to provide independent and objective reports on schools and overall student performance and establish a professional development centre for teachers to focus on teaching skills, effective classroom discipline and on-going training.

“An OBA Government would also reduce the number of school holidays so that they are aligned with other G20 countries so that students spend more time in school, extend the school day to allow for more time for the arts as well as sports and academic support, incorporate coding training into schools and explore same sex schools for male students that would combine a solid academic foundation with a strong technical education curriculum to provide good career options upon graduation,” said Mr Cannonier.

“We would create standards for a national physical fitness programme that addresses health, exercise and diet beginning in primary schools. We would create a specialist team for each school that provides academic, remedial and social assistance to students and parents and allocate resources for support and counselling.

“We would invest in continuing education and re-training and partner with the business community, unions and the Bermuda College to define the skills required for professional and trade careers. I always think that if it is a good idea then use it. Removing politics from tourism brought results. We believe that an Independent Education Authority would do similar great things for our children.”

Mr Cannonier added: “The OBA’s record in government was one to be proud of in terms of what we achieved. Before the 2017 election we were on track to balance the budget in fiscal 2018/19. Major projects were either being completed or had broken ground. Business confidence was once again on the rise. The opportunities for Bermudians were bearing fruit. Jobs for Bermudians were being created.

“The recent economic indicators show that Bermudians were better off in the first quarter of 2015 than the first quarter of 2018. We have compared the data from 2015 so that no-one can say there was an artificial increase because of the America’s Cup. When you include the GDP boost in 2017 due to the America’s Cup, the PLP numbers for the first quarter of 2018 become even more dismal in contrast to the successes of the OBA.”

The full 2018 Reply to the Throne Speech is below [PDF here]:

click here Bermuda 2018 Throne Speech

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Comments (19)

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  1. Deep Throat says:

    Wow – good response. rips the PLP apart bit by bit and some good ideas! Craig is BACK! The opposition is BACK!

    • sage says:

      Return of the Surrogate II.

    • Go says:

      Anyone can critique anything. What is important is if that critique can be implemented and funded which in reality the majority of his suggestions cannot as they are just blue sky thinking and hope dreams! We need real and today thinking and not these 5 year plans trying to morph civil service into independent quangoes. Bob Stewart any comments? We need people like you to weigh in!

  2. Tony Brannon says:

    You cannot cherry pick discrimination. Discrimination is discrimination – end of story”. Mark Pettingill

    Craig Cannonier gave a “fleeting nod” to Same-sex marriage in his reply to the Throne Speech.

    The disgraceful treatment of #gay Bermudians by the PLP via discriminatory legislation will soon be struck down a 3rd time by the courts. The Government spent a reported $400k on a #HumanRights #Lawyer in their cynical attempt to continue denying #MarriageEquality in #Bermuda.

    The Opposition leader needs to “COME OUT” and pin the PLP discrimination of gay Bermudians on the Premier and his government. It is time that Bermuda treats all its citizens and visitors equally.

    • Go says:

      Oh be quiet Tony! If God had his way the PLP will prevail and the spineless OBA will be shown as poor leaders yet again! Let’s do what God says as we are all in his hands!

    • Remember now Brannon says:

      Bro the Sour Dunkely and oba/UBP circus that you voted for didn’t do crap for you and same sex marriage when in power. LOL Craig was also in the same failing government and he didn’t support it at the time.

      Craig Trump is only saying this to get your vote. He’s needs all the help he can get after 25 to 11 beating they took. Like I said he’s already received your vote he’s trying to convince the PEOPLE to return. Lets not forget how the PEOPLE march against this saying NO to SSM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Remember now Brannon says:

      He needs to give a nod and “COME OUT” on JETGATE. He lost his Premier position and it was truly embarrassing. Did the UBP set a black man up to fail. They have a history of holding back the people. Why else would they change their name. Nick Kemp even wants to kick them out!!

  3. andrew says:

    Awesome read. Let me tell u, if the present government in power was the OBA with what is going on…how many strikes and marches would be going on?

    Watching comments on the news from people on the street saying ‘ I wouldn’t want to talk bad about my government’ it blows my mind.

    I pray for this island, the island we all call home. And what will be left of it in 10 years for our children.

    • cpm says:

      Foreigner tweed and the peoples campaign would be marching and hunger striking

  4. Something is Majorly Wrong says:

    An amazing reply. Laughable comments regarding surrogates! Get a grip trolls

  5. Sister Grace says:

    So sad the OBA was not left in control. Look at the state of this island wake up people it’s not good and will get worst. People know the PLP are not capable of moving us forward. Nor do they have the expertise to move us forward.

  6. Rhonda says:

    Ha ha the surrogate is back..

    The vast majority of Bermudian are not into Trumpism politics..

    The reply was embarrassingly Trump like..

    Unnecessarily rude..with nothing in it to benefit the island..

    • Goose says:

      Maybe the opposition should be a bit rude at this point. Taxes are going to increase by about $8,000 per resident per year and there’s no real plan for controlling expenses. Sugar tax, rental tax, income tax and increases to all of the existing taxes.

      That 50-odd million raised by increased taxes is less being spent in businesses. More people will be laid off. The middle class will shrink, the economy will continue to contract.

      But Cannonier is a surrogate so all of that must be fake news, right?

    • sandgrownan says:

      Facts hurt eh? 15/20 years in power and nothing but failure.

      • LaV says:

        Rhonda, the PLP are following Trumps policies to a “T”…..you can’t see this, because you’re a bigot. Bigots, like you, are stupid, greedy people with no regard for your fellow man.
        It’s fun to watch your stupidity from the outside…embarrassed for you, but I don’t know you, so I don’t really care.

    • Keepin' Real!...4Real! says:

      Shhhhh…you sounding very misinformed…you know nothing about Trump except for what the fake news wants you to know..,Trump haters are just like cannabis objectors…If you object to legalisation of cannabis then you definitely are not fully versed on the subject…

    • sandgrownan says:

      Somebody else posted this in another thread, it’s worth repeating here:

      Burt and PLP have:

      Taxed Dividends to companies which means government is punishing a businessperson for making money. Defeats the whole purpose of being in business.

      Kept Import Duty at its highest levels ever. 25% -35% on almost all everyday items. A business person cant make money but the government think it is okay to take 25-35 % just because they can.

      Payroll Tax remains at its highest levels ever. business owners love the idea of government paying payroll tax knowing that the government pension program wont be around for most of them to get any of it back thru government pension.

      And now Burt plans (read the throne speech)to introduce his own form of income tax. He’s not calling it income tax, but that is exactly what it is. Like my mom used to say. If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, chances are its a duck!

      Add to that the at the last PLP gala event there were calls to seek independence. Businesses love instability and the thought of their money , investments, property and businesses being devaluated along with the dollar.

      Still surprised . Well there will be more to come. One of the banks will be announcing more layoffs coming soon due to shifting of departments overseas and outsourcing.

      Not sure what Premiere Burt plans to do if his big push for digital currency comes to fruition. Companies will finally be able to convert money into BitCoin and use it to pay a portion of staff salaries, bonuses, dividends and make purchases. What is the biggest benefit to crypto currency – YOU CANT TRACK IT. PLP Policies and attacks on businesses and certain sectors of this community are causing business to shut down, relocate AGAIN!

    • Andrew says:

      HUH? lol

    • Something is Majorly Wrong says:

      Rhonda did you read the replies from the PLP when they wee in opposition? I am constantly amazed at the pure rot and contradictions when it comes to your beloved PLP – the real Trump is Burt – he is a nationalist, anti foreigner, anti women (based on the fact Caines was not really punished) and full of you know what