Video: PLP Press Conference On Seniors

September 11, 2020

The Progressive Labour Party [PLP] held a press conference this afternoon [Sept 11], with Premier & Party Leader David Burt, Derrick Burgess, and Senator Ianthia Simmons-Wade speaking on issues regarding seniors.

Premier & Party Leader David Burt’s remarks:

Good afternoon.

With seniors aged 65 and up eligible to vote next week, we’re focused on our record and vision for seniors in the next term. We have a heart for seniors and care about social issues impacting our seniors.

During this campaign we’ve spoken about the strength of our leadership team. Part of that team is MP Derrick Burgess. MP Burgess served as the Deputy Speaker in the last Parliament.

MP Burgess is a tireless advocate for our Seniors, and was responsible for ensuring that we pushed through the Charter of Rights and Responsibilities for Elders in Long-Term Care.

The PLP Team is stronger with MP Derrick Burgess on it, and now he will speak to what the PLP has done for our seniors since we were elected…

Thank you, Cousin Derrick.

Next I’d like to introduce Senator Ianthia Simmons-Wade Like MP Burgess, Senator Simmons-Wade is passionate about our seniors. She adds depth to our team and as the Chair of the Ageing well committee she ensures that Government policies take into account out aging society.

As Seniors go to the polls next week it is important they know what is in store for them if they vote for the PLP and Senator Wade will give us a sneak preview of our platform commitments to our seniors…

Thank you, Ianthia.

Derrick Burgess remarks:

Thank you Mr. Premier and Good afternoon Bermuda,

Next week, our seniors will go to the polls. All voters aged 65 and over are eligible to vote. As a reminder, the polls are open from 8 am to 8 pm at 4 different locations depending on your constituency from Monday, September 14th to Friday, September 18th. Constituencies #1 to 9 will vote at Midland Heights Seventh Day Adventist Church Hall. Constituencies 10 to 18 will vote at the National Sports Center, Sports Pavilion. Constituencies 19 to 27 will vote at the Horticultural Hall, Botanical Gardens. And, constituencies 28 to 36 will vote at St. Mary’s Church Hall. If you need a ride to the polls, please call 703-8757. As a note, all our rides will be equipped with masks and hand sanitizer.

That being said, as seniors go to the polls, it is critical that seniors be aware of what we’ve done to uplift our seniors during our term.

First, we instituted annual cost of living increases for social insurance pensions. Those increases are now linked to the rate of inflation and designed to lessen the hardships that too many of our seniors now endure. In contrast, under the last government, the OBA made seniors wait five long years for a pension increase. That wait was the longest period of time between increases since the OBA’s predecessor, the UBP, was in power.

If increases to pensions are important to you, it is clear based on our performance, which party you can count on.

We added affordable housing units for seniors and we signed the Bermudian charter of the rights and responsibilities of the elderly and adults in need of long-term care and assistance. This charter is a guideline to protect the human rights and civil liberties of our seniors who are the fastest increasing segment of our population. Age and dependency is not a grounds to take away the rights of our seniors. Restrictions of rights if caused by age and or dependency must rest on clear legal grounds.

Working with Age Concern and the Bermuda Housing Corporation, we introduced interest free loans of up to $15,000 to support home modifications to allow seniors who choose to remain at home to do so.

And, of course, the PLP is the party that years ago introduced FutureCare, providing an important healthcare option for Bermudian seniors. The most important thing to note when it comes to future care, is that under the OBA Future Care Premiums went up by 30%. That is right, under the OBA seniors paid 30% more for health coverage. Under the PLP, since elected in 2017, future care premiums have not risen at all. Seniors are paying the same amount for future care today as when we were elected – because we look out for our seniors!

As our seniors go to the polls next week, we ask them who has stood strong for them? Who increased seniors pensions, increased affordable housing for our seniors and strengthened rights and privileges available to our seniors, raised the retirement age for public servants and ensured that seniors didn’t pay more for their health care? The answer is the PLP and that’s why we humbly ask you to vote in the Advanced poll and vote solidly for the PLP.

Senator Ianthia Simmons-Wade’s remarks:

Thank you so much Premier & MP Burgess for looking back at our accomplishments in government.

With our Seniors voting next week I want to give a “sneak preview” of what is in store in our Platform moving forward.

The coming year will be a difficult time for all of us. We will see declining tax revenues resulting from the severe damage to our tourism economy. All of us will have to tighten our belts.

Bermuda, we will have some tough choices to make. One very important choice will be to protect our seniors’ pensions. As MP Burgess said the PLP kept its promise to increase seniors’ pensions by the rate of inflation every year, and we will keep that promise again if the PLP forms the next Government.

The PLP reveres its Seniors. In response to this growing segment of our community and recognizing the value that keeping them engaged has to their quality of life, purpose and worth, the next PLP government will:

  • Continue to increase seniors’ pensions every year by the rate of inflation
  • Take into account that we are living longer and in the development of all of our policies
  • Will finalise a National Seniors Strategy which will include a strategy for dementia and a better prevention plan for seniors’ abuse
  • Facilitate the construction of Seniors Housing in the City of Hamilton that allows Seniors to downsize their accommodation with easy access to support services that enable them to age well
  • Create partnerships with the private sector to create or renovate seniors’ recreational centers using existing government buildings to provide more spacious, accessible and energy efficient buildings.
  • Enact laws to reduce age discrimination so thhat Bermudians over 65 who wish to continue working are able to do so
  • Reduce vehicle licence fees
  • Eliminate Land Taxes for Nursing Homes and Rest Homes
  • Market the Interest Free Home Improvement Loan program to persons 50 years and older in preparation for ageing at home when they are in the position to repay the loan.

In these very difficult times, Bermuda needs safe hands to see us through a potential second global wave of the Coronavirus pandemic. At the end of the day, this election is about who will lead us, David Burt or Craig Cannonier and which team will see us through.

Next week, your choice is between an experienced PLP leadership with a record of performance who has always looked out for our seniors or you can choose an OBA led by Craig Cannonier that has a record of broken promises who increased pensions once in 5 years and increase future care premiums on our seniors by 30%

In these trying times, we ask for your vote and together, we will steer Bermuda through difficult times while always ensuring our seniors live in dignity.

Thank you.

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