Video: OBA Press Conference On Economy

September 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

The OBA held another press conference this afternoon [Sept 25], with candidates Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, Marcus Jones, and Doug De Couto all delivering remarks on the economy.

Patricia Gordon-Pamplin’s remarks:

Bermuda’s main problem today is its broken economy, clearly evident by massive – and rising – debt, a lack of investor and business confidence, rising cost of living, high job losses and employment attrition.

The unfortunate, harsh, results of this economic morass are all too personal for an increasing number of Bermudians.

It is hurtful to the OBA to see the numbers of Bermudians who daily line up for support – needed just to get by – and to hear the stories of suffering as we canvass constituencies.

Our declining economy is one all Bermudians must confront now.

It is one of several reasons – but the most compelling one – why you should vote for a new One Bermuda Alliance government.

The OBA’s record for economic stability and fiscal responsibility is second to none.

It was an OBA government which in just four years brought one billion dollars of investment to our country and created jobs.

It should be noted here that the One Bermuda Alliance increased payroll tax on the highest paid and decreased it for the lowest.

It was a very firm foundation for the Burt administration to build on.

But, prudent policies have been replaced with fluff, the majority of which has been an anticlimax for our people, as unrealistic promises have not been fulfilled; and the few projects that saw any light were way short of David Burt’s lavish promises.

Today, a massive PLP debt is choking the economy. The Burt administration has added One Billion Dollars to the debt in just 12 months.

The Burt administration has flattered to deceive. Even now, they are playing politics with the people’s money.

This works in the mind of magician Burt.

But such deception and ineptitude destroys investor confidence and, worse, people’s lives.

What can be more frivolous and offensive than the Burt administration putting forward as a policy an arrangement for seniors to borrow money?

What seniors want is the protection of their hard-earned assets so they can enjoy their older years without the worry they feel now.

We are now hearing about $800,000 given by the Premier to a carpetbagger.

This is money that could have gone to alleviating the suffering of our citizens.

We are all left to wonder what else will come out of the shadows.

But there is hope ahead.

We will not pretend the road ahead will be an easy one.

It has never been Party policy to make fanciful promises simply because it is an election – and we will not do so in this election.

The OBA believes in the people of Bermuda over politics.

We believe in the resilience of our people and our strength in overcoming the hurdles as long as there is transparency: a Government that tells it as it is and plots a clear path ahead.

And that is what the OBA is promising.

The OBA firmly believes that it requires the inclusion of all sectors and all Bermudians to take our country forward.

The welfare of the people will inform our policies and we will engage all relevant groups in framing the economic initiatives that we intend to execute to make Bermuda better.

We pledge that the OBA will exercise fiscal responsibility whilst ensuring a safety net for the most vulnerable.

Our economic policies and programmes are seated in reality – what is necessary and doable – and will always be people centered.

We will also be guided by a simple economic truth – you cannot borrow your way out of trouble, you cannot borrow your way to prosperity.

That is Economics 101.

Everyone knows that except, from the clear evidence, the Premier.

Mindless borrowing, instead of the needed proper management, only postpones the inevitable day of reckoning when the sleight of hand and band aids can no longer hold.

David Burt knows that day is at hand for the PLP, hence the rush to have an election in a pandemic – another unconscionable action that disregards the priorities of our country.

Apart from stifling growth, increased debt also saddles our young people with a PLP inheritance that leaves nothing in its will as, if left unchecked, all they will have is debt repayments.

Our country, especially our young people, deserve better.

So, our overall framework for progress will be:

  • a check on massive borrowing;
  • removal of disincentives to doing business;
  • small business development targeted at Bermudians and nurturing of new sector around young people and their love and acumen with technology and entertainment;
  • and addressing issues such as immigration policy to derive more spending and long-term investments in Bermuda.

The OBA will also pivot Bermuda from its somewhat disconnected approach to development to a more integrated, well-informed and results oriented paradigm that will link education and training to development needs on the basis of research data.

Along with encouraging the platforms for our young people and Bermuda to seize the lucrative opportunities in the tech world and worldwide cultural industries, the OBA will position our country as an international resource and research centre around our natural assets.

There is much to do.

But one critical step will be the rationalization of the heavy taxes on Bermudians and the removal of the sugar tax.

We urge every Bermudian to pause and consider the current circumstances of reckless management of your money, the PLP’s addiction to borrowing, Bermuda’s mountain of debt and the harshness of everyday living because of high and climbing prices.

We urge every Bermudian to analyse our solid proposals which are well-considered, achievable, will stabilize our economy and set us up for growth and jobs.

We urge every Bermudian to understand that there is no investment confidence in Burt and the PLP.

The wild running around at this last-minute handing out money that Bermuda cannot afford for electioneering purposes is exactly the reason why investors have no confidence in Burt and the PLP.

And without investments we do not grow.

We need the best for Bermuda now. And the best for Bermuda is the OBA.

We will do better.

Marcus Jones remarks:

Good afternoon,

Before Covid-19 struck, Bermuda’s economy had stalled.

The level of GDP – a key indicator of the health of the economy – was falling.

Taxes have been increased and new taxes introduced. Government charges have also increased.

No-one can say – with any honesty – that they are better off under the Burt administration.

Seven hundred jobs have been lost with the closure of the Southampton Princess – where will those people turn to?

What jobs will they be able to get? Will they be forced to leave Bermuda to see opportunities that do not exist here?

It is against that backdrop that I want to outline some One Bermuda Alliance policies that will help Bermuda and Bermudians.

The OBA will:

  • Repeal the Sugar Tax, reduce the tax on purchasing US dollars, and re-assess all new and burdensome Burt Administration taxes, which have increased your cost of living.
  • Make job creation the primary focus of all economic planning. We must revive future Bermudian job opportunities, to anticipate how best to renew our economy.
  • Improve standards of living in Bermuda by creating an environment that attracts foreign investment into our country, allowing for job creation.
  • Ensure our people are empowered with the necessary skills to take advantage of job opportunities, so Bermudians flourish as entrepreneurs and business owners.
  • Work with banks, international businesses, and other organisations to address the systemic inequalities that affect Bermudians.
  • Enhance circulation of cash flow by increasing loans available to small businesses.
  • Work to reduce Bermuda’s massive debt by controlling public spending and generating economic growth in existing and new market sectors, to ensure job creation for Bermudians.
  • Implement a duty deferral system for the retail sector to ensure these Bermudian jobs survive.
  • Identify ways to reduce the cost of living. The social impact of Bermuda’s high cost of living has impacted negatively in many areas, including the emigration of Bermudians to other jurisdictions. We must stem the flow of our intellectual capital – our people.
  • Implement recommendations from Bermuda First, the SAGE Commission, and the Fiscal Responsibility Panel.
  • Integrate green technology into all aspects of Bermuda, including encouraging the increased use of solar power. The green economic recovery is central to recovery overall.
  • Gradually stop social assistance once a job is secured that pays sufficiently to give hope to the recipient and a clear path to self-sufficiency.
  • Adopt a ladder scheme whereby small businesses progressively gain access to larger Government contracts.
  • Redefine the 60% ownership rule from “Bermudians” to “residents” to encourage investment into Bermudian businesses from those who are already committed to Bermuda.

Thank you

Doug De Couto’s remarks:

Good afternoon,

One of the most important things any Government can do is to create the framework that maximises opportunities for job creation.

Having a job is the biggest social safety net. Having a job leads to better self-esteem.

We have over the last few days outlined some initiatives that the One Bermuda Alliance believes will help people find jobs.

We have pledged to create Economic Development Scholarships which will help students’ development and progress in existing, and newly emerging industries.

And we said that with the aid of our workforce development team, we will streamline the transition from education to working life.

But we will do more. A One Bermuda Alliance Government will:

Use connected thinking and real data about our job market skills and opportunities to connect Bermudians with jobs that actually exist.

  • Reduce the cost of doing business in Bermuda by removing red tape wherever possible.
  • Encourage and promote next sector jobs in the entertainment and technological areas, including robotics, animation, design, music and the environment, so that our young people who are naturally oriented towards these cutting-edge sectors can monetise their creativity.

We also need to place more emphasis on future generations and ensure young people are able to enter the job market.

Too many of our young people do not see upward mobility or job offerings that entice them to stay in Bermuda. We need to give them a foot in the door.

To that end, the One Bermuda Alliance will look at introducing tax incentives for employers who hire young people in entry level jobs, such as in hospitality.

And we would also look to increase paid internships that lead to job placement.

I believe that initiatives such as those I have outlined, along with the plans my colleagues have spoken about will lead to a better economy – one that will provide opportunities for all.

We will do better.

Thank you.

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