Video: Premier & Minister Press Conference

November 7, 2022 | 2 Comments

[Updated] Premier David Burt and Minister of Education Diallo Rabain are holding a press conference this afternoon [Nov 7] to discuss the 2022 Throne Speech. We will have additional coverage later on and in the meantime the live video is below.

Update: The live broadcast has concluded and the replay is below

Update 6.16pm: The Premier’s full statement follows below:

Good afternoon Minister of Education, Members of the Media, and the people of Bermuda watching and listening to us today.

Let me begin my remarks by mentioning the incredible achievement of McKenzie-Kohl Tuckett, who spoke in the House of Commons in London on Friday. I know that all of Bermuda is immensely proud of the eloquence and substance of her presentation.

This young woman continues to go from strength to strength, and I did communicate with her and her mother over the weekend to congratulate her and express the pride felt by so many Bermudians. In her speech in London, she spoke about a Throne Speech Initiative from 2020, the National Youth Policy. The Government delivered on that promise by launching the National Youth Policy in 2021, and Ms Tuckett is an active participant in the National Youth Policy working group.

To meet the challenges that confront Bermuda, the Government has set out a clear legislative path that touches all aspects of our society. The actions to be undertaken in this parliamentary session support our economic recovery plan, continue the assistance we must provide to the most vulnerable and build on the foundation already laid for making our systems more just.

The increase in the amount of the childcare benefit and the expansion of the pool of parents eligible to receive it comes as a direct result of listening and responding to a critical need among Bermuda’s working population. The cost of childcare has risen along with other costs, and as parents work to provide for their families and to play their part in the Island’s economy, this deliberate action on the part of the Government is what is required at this time.

A tremendous amount of work lies ahead, and across every Ministry, there is a focus on delivering what we promised the people of Bermuda. Promises which won their strong endorsement of our policies and programmes just over two years ago at the ballot box.

Over the next two weeks, Ministers will take the time to outline for the media and the people of Bermuda updates on the progress of initiatives in last year’s throne speech and provide additional details on the work proposed for this legislative year.

Legislation, whether new Bills or amendments to existing Acts, is one of the principal ways we can deliver change for the people of Bermuda. MPs and Senators are representatives, but they are principally legislators.

The Government is determined to advance a legislative agenda that gives statutory authority and reality to the mandate provided to this Government by the people of Bermuda.

As I turn now to address matters related to the Ministry of Finance, the legislative goals for the Ministry mirror those of the Government as a whole. Streamline processes for residents and businesses; promote equity in financial matters and the treatment of working people; and create the conditions for job creation and continued economic growth.

Significant work has been done to advance the Government’s commitments to reduce interest rates and address issues relating to bank fees as outlined in previous throne speeches. In the first phase, a number of discussions were held with local banks to encourage them to take action in this area voluntarily.

I’m also pleased to see certain that banks have now changed their approach to credit card over-limit fees, with such fees only being charged once if the customer breaches its authorized limit, rather than imposing multiple charges in the same period.

Other fees have been reduced or eliminated, particularly in relation to seniors. In addition, one of Bermuda’s major banks is now reviewing its approach to establishing mortgage rates in Bermuda to evaluate opportunities for further reduction of rates charged to residents. This review is a direct result of discussions with the Government and senior bank officials having oversight responsibilities for banking operations in Bermuda.

In this current interest rate environment where the US Federal Reserve Bank has increased interest rates by 3.75%, causing local banks to increase their rates with one bank this year alone, increasing their base lending rate by 1.5%, it is important for the Government to advance initiatives to cushion the impact of global increases in interest rates on residents.

The recently announced Mortgage Guarantee Program is an initiative which allows eligible persons to get a discounted mortgage rate on the basis of a portion of their mortgage being supported by a Government Guarantee. This program also speaks to the Government’s commitment to building a nation of owners as the first of the three phases of the program is open to first-time homeowners, and the subsequent phases will be open to persons seeking to refinance existing mortgages.

With a guarantee commitment of $50 million, this will allow for approximately 250 persons to benefit however it must also be emphasized that the mortgage guarantee program is a pilot programme, and work has already commenced on the broader program that will allow for international businesses, local banks and the Government to collaborate on a structure that will allow greater participation in a mortgage rate reduction scheme.

To further ensure customers’ rights are protected, amendments were made in the last session to the Banks and Deposit Companies Act to allow for a banking code of conduct to be developed and issued. This will allow for conduct issues to be taken into account in monitoring and enforcing compliance with regulatory requirements. The Bermuda Monetary Authority has completed the necessary steps to finalise the codes and will continue its work to progress the rules on banking fees.

All of this work highlights the priority the Government gives to the protection of consumers, to reducing the cost of financial services to the customer and to the promotion and support of Bermudians in achieving their goal of home ownership.

In the 2021 throne speech, in addition to conduct measures for banks that I just mentioned, the speech pledged that the Government “look to protect consumers by reducing the fees charged by service providers to residents with private pensions”.

By way of update, the Pension Commission has undertaken a review of fee charges and fee structures in Bermuda by third-party pension plan administrators in their financial institution pension plans established and operated under the National Pension Scheme. The Commission has had initial discussions with members of its Advisory Committee on the findings of the review.

The Advisory Committee is made up of representatives from plan administrators, unions, employers, the international business sector, and legal and accounting firms.

It is recognized that pension plan administrators have, over the years since the introduction of the National Pension Scheme in 2000, voluntarily undertaken to reduce fees incurred by pension plans and their members. However, in comparison to international standards and the significant impact fees have on the long-term value of pension benefits, the Government recognizes that additional reductions in fees should be advanced.

Further discussions will be held with the Commission’s Advisory Committee in order to make recommendations to the Commission, which will in turn, provide advice to the Ministry of Finance on opportunities and specific approaches to make further cost savings for plan members and their beneficiaries. It is anticipated that the Commission will provide its advice and recommendations in early 2023.

The government has committed to implementing a prudent and well-considered fiscal and economic strategy. The work done in this area has been positively assessed by international rating agencies, investors and other independent experts. This strategy includes initiatives to increase revenue while appropriately controlling expenditures, with a view to ensure that we are also appropriately managing the country’s debt. This well-developed strategy is being applied to the Government’s oversight of its various quangos.

There is now an even greater focus on ensuring that there is effective governance of these entities, carried out by persons with the appropriate skills and expertise to fulfil the responsibilities. and that compensation levels are consistent with the nature and scope of the work of the quango.

The Ministry of Finance has worked with quangos to achieve better financial accountability and ensure that these entities are operating in as cost-effective a manner as possible. Definitive steps have already been taken to ensure that these entities are providing good value for the money that has been entrusted to them and have the appropriate level of oversight.

Participation in Board discussions and review of annual work plans/budgets, as well as assessment of structures, is now being undertaken to an even greater level of detail than before, and the benefits of such actions are already evident. Reductions in financing costs and other overheads in various quangos have already been experienced.

One such example is the decision to merge Wedco and BLDC, and as mentioned in the Throne Speech, which was delivered on Friday, the appropriate legislation to effect this merger will be presented to Parliament in this session. This was the result of significant analysis and assessment, and similar work is being done in relation to other quangos to determine how and to what extent consolidation can improve effectiveness, create further efficiencies and provide better value for the taxpayers of Bermuda.

The government has been working to address a long-standing problem. Namely the significant unfunded liabilities in Bermuda’s two main pension Funds, the Contributory Pension Fund [CPF] and the Public Sector Superannuation Fund [PSSF].

Using the services of an independent firm with considerable expertise in this area, as well as our actuarial consultants for the funds, options to increase the contributions and/or more effectively manage the benefits are under review and discussions to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Funds have been held over the past two years.

In addition, steps are being taken to progress a critical aspect of this reform which will reflect this Government’s commitment to a fairer, more equitable society and bring Bermuda’s social insurance system in line with other countries around the world. In relation to social insurance contributions, it is intended that contributions will be changed from the current fixed rate for all persons, regardless of income, to one that mirrors other countries in the world where social insurance contributions are paid as a percentage of earnings.

The effect of this change would be to increase the take-home pay of low-wage earners while having high-wage earners pay more into the fund. Changes resulting from this work will be revenue accretive to the CPF, which will help to address the underfunded nature of the pension plans. It is anticipated that the relevant legislative amendments to address this issue and to address the problem of underfunding these pension funds will be enacted in this legislative session.

As highlighted already, this Government recognises the importance of ensuring effectiveness and efficiency as part of its fiscal and economic strategy. However, it is realised that further streamlining is necessary to enhance Bermuda’s competitiveness and promote greater efficiency under the Companies Act.

As licensing and regulatory requirements in other areas have been put in place or strengthened, there has been limited evaluation of related corporate approvals under the Companies Act to determine if they are still relevant or required. A detailed review of the Companies Act and the permissions required by the Minister of Finance under the Act has been completed, specifically the need for continued Ministerial approval of proposed actions and transactions.

By way of example, approval from the Minister of Finance is required to approve the establishment of a range of businesses, including those in the health field, legal field, and accounting field; all of these are areas where there are additional licensing requirements in place.

Streamlining the approval process in a number of areas is expected to be a very positive step for Bermuda, facilitating greater ministerial focus on policy and strategy, potentially reducing the cost of doing business, creating savings for the Government and increasing the attractiveness of the jurisdiction as a place to do business.

Another example; if companies wish to sub-lease their property or lease their property, they must go to a lawyer and apply for permission to do so to the Minister of Finance in order to do these leases. These are things that are rather antiquated in a 40-year-old Act, which will be updated because that is not the way that we want to do business efficiently in Bermuda.

If we are going to focus on reducing the cost of business to local companies and also to international companies, these are the streamlining changes that we can make happen inside of the Companies Act.

The ongoing actions to address the problems resulting from the structure and inadequate resources put in place to support the guarantee given to procure and develop Morgan’s Point have been extensive. The taxpayers of this country, to date, have had to invest considerable resources [human and financial] and over $210 million in funding to date in this project. Due to the failure of this project and the calling of this guarantee.

Approvals have been given by Cabinet for the establishment of a new company, which will be modelled after the Bermuda Land Development Company to progress a plan to return as much value as possible to the Government of Bermuda while providing appropriate benefits to the people of Bermuda. And the most important benefit is getting as much of the funds expended back.

Legislation to progress the establishment of this company will be progressed as a matter of priority in this session. As the Throne Speech mentioned, the MOrgan’s Point Act 2014 will be officially repealed.

The government has already demonstrated its commitment to providing support and assistance to the people of Bermuda to mitigate the impact of rising global inflation. The measures outlined previously and passed in the last session regarding duty reduction for essential goods have been brought into force. The Throne Speech mentioned that the monitoring process under the Cost of Living Commission will be brought forward by the Attorney General & Minister of Legislative Affairs and advanced.

But there was another step promised in September that the Ministry of Finance will deliver in this legislative session. That was a promised review of the Sugar Tax. The Government is reviewing the application of the sugar tax with a view to reducing the goods that are subject to the sugar tax.

In our discussions with importers and retailers, there was a discussion about the wide range of products that the sugar tax is now applicable to, and the Ministry of Finance is working with the Ministry of Health to narrow the application of the Sugar Tax to provide additional relief, while not going against the main purpose of the Sugar Tax, to reduce the consumption of sugary items to enable long-term benefits for healthcare as we know we have severe issues of chronic disease in Bermuda, specifically those of diabetes.

Those are the items mentioned on behalf of the Ministry of Finance during the Throne Speech. I will now hand it over to the Minister of Education to speak to the Education matters that were contained in the Throne Speech. And I am very pleased that he will be discussing the promises that the Government has laid out and the promises that the Government is going to deliver. Specifically on the issue of advancing education reform, advancing the Education Authority, and advancing Parish Primary Schools.

Thank you.

Update: Minister Diallo Rabain’s full statement follows below:

Good day Bermuda,

I would like to echo the Premier’s comments by also acknowledging the incredible achievement of McKenzie-Kohl Tuckett, a 2021 Ministry of Education Scholarship Recipient who spoke in the House of Commons in London on Friday. Ms. Tuckett is a role model for all young Bermudians, and I look forward to actively watching her achieve all that she is destined to.

Recently, I had the honor of representing Bermuda at the Global Education Leaders Partnership [GELP], a gathering of Ministers, system leaders and change agents in education from every continent around the world where I was invited to address participants and present on what we are doing to reform education here in Bermuda. In preparing for that event, I had the opportunity to reflect on the past 5 years since being elected, and specifically the last 30 months where we have invested dedicated resources and effort to reform public education. Without a doubt, there is much to celebrate. The most recent being the opening of the Signature Learning Programmes at CedarBridge Academy and The Berkeley Institute, recognizing the magnificent work undertaken by the many involved to get us to that point.

But it goes back much further than that. During the last five years, we have seen our pre, primary and Middle Schools be outfitted with fibre-optic internet

connections to increase bandwidth and install Wi-Fi throughout. Creating educational opportunities for Bermudians to attend Bermuda College or overseas institutions can be seen in programmes like the annual $300k grant for financial aid in partnership with Bermuda College introduced in 2017 and the College Promise Programme introduced in 2019. Our Scholarships and Awards budget has grown from under $1 million to over $1.4 million to support overseas schooling. Programmes within the BPSS like the introduction of ASD Classes at the preschool level have expanded opportunities for Bermudian Students. The Brightstart Programme has reduced the financial burden on parents from having to pay for child care for their 3-year-old while giving our students an even earlier start in their academic journey. Competitions like the now Annual Father’s Day Essay competition and the Fathers Speak series have given our male parents a spotlight that simply wasn’t there before. The introduction of STEAM programmes and the Math Intervention program in our Primary schools are showing positive results.

In 2020, despite the onset of COVID-19 and the challenges it brought to our education system, we continued to move forward with our Education Reform agenda, albeit slightly changed due to COVID. The hiring of Innovation Unit as our change partner has helped guide our forward movement in a methodical and purposeful way. The establishment of Governance, Learning First and System Redesign teams introduced our Educators, Education Leaders, Parents, Students Community and Industry Partners to the concept of Co-Design. This was a means for all of our stakeholders to have a say in how the system would be redesigned for the future. 1000s of hours have been spent among the 100s of persons on the various teams to get us to the point of introducing the first Signature Senior Schools at The Berkeley Institute and Cambridge Academy.

Redesign models of learning, teaching and schooling

The introduction of Financial and Insurance Services along with Health and Social Care Signatures at The Berkeley Institute and the STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math] along with Trades and Professions Signatures at Cedarbridge Academy marked the start of a new era of education in Bermuda.

We passed legislation in March 2021 to allow for the phasing out of Middle Schools in favour of Signature Senior Schools and completed the Parish Primary School consultation in June 2021. All of this work that had come before laid the foundation for Signature Schools to open in September 2022, but there is still much work left to do.

In fact, it was in March 2022, some 6 months before the opening of our Signature Schools, we announced that we were beginning the work necessary to have our first Parish Primary Schools open in September 2023. The schools chosen are Francis Patton Primary and Purvis Primary. In this upcoming legislative session, we will bring the necessary legislation forward that will allow for a P7 and P8 class to be added to these schools. Over the last 6 months we have:

  • Selected, inducted and onboarded the School Transformation Teams for the new Parish Primary Schools which will be on the sites of Francis Patton and Purvis Primaries and the new Signature School which will introduce the Hospitality and Tourism and Education Services Signature Learning Programmes for S1 students in September 2023.
  • In addition to continuing to support the implementation of the current Signature Learning Programmes at CedarBridge Academy and The Berkeley Institute, we have also expanded the transformative work being undertaken at our existing senior schools to include developing the S2 curriculum and learning experiences for both Signatures, spreading the new Advisory curriculum to S2 to S4 students and begun work on some of the core curriculum, specifically Math and Science.
  • All School transformation Teams have been out and about in the community since school returned, socialising the blueprints for learning they have developed and the vision they have for the transformation of their schools. I was able to visit almost all of these sessions, and one thing is clear, this is the change Bermuda has been asking for.
  • In order to achieve this, the 5 School Transformation Teams [Francis Patton and Purvis Primaries, the new Signature School, CedarBridge Academy and The Berkeley Institute] have been supported to build their capabilities. Not only in change processes like co-design but also in the new models of

teaching, learning and assessment that we are beginning to introduce across our schools.

Many further opportunities will exist in the coming months to get involved in this exciting and ambitious work, and I encourage everyone to get involved. You may not realise the difference even 5 minutes of your time could make.

Reorienting the system

This brings me to our work which is less focused on the day to day relationships between our most precious resource, our children and young people, and their educators and school leaders, to another critical relationship; the one our system has with schools. As we have been clear on from the beginning, a goal of the Education Reform is to reorient the Department of Education to be even more nurturing, and empowering in order to sustain the transformation of our schools. To achieve this, a number of legislative changes have already been made, but that is just the beginning. Just as we want our educators to empower and nurture our children, so we need our system to empower and nurture our educators, our Principals and our schools. We need a system that moves from being hierarchical and directive, models that have worked for us previously, to new models of public management, models that cradles and enables, that puts children first and at the centre of everything we do.

Work has been underway to develop the policies, procedures and practices in areas like educator professional learning, graduation and partnerships with business, industry and the community to name a few. In this school year work has been initiated on inclusivity and cultural responsiveness and school leadership development and work will accelerate on school choice and admissions and learning environments including how we use time, technology and space/facilities across the island. It is only when these policies, procedures and practices are consistently embedded across all schools in the island that we will be confident that we have the conditions in place to not only make the changes now, but to make them stick, to learn as we are continuing and to continue to evolve as a school system.

Revised Governance and the Education Reform Unit

Equally as important to celebrate what we have achieved has been the opportunity to identify what we have learned and what we can do better. The work of transforming outcomes for children and young people is not only unprecedented in education circles in Bermuda, this level of whole system change is also unprecedented in the public service in Bermuda. Like our work to reform the health system, we know that the work is critical to the success and prosperity of our nation. So now is the time to strengthen our resolve.

We will always look at what we are doing to improve our processes, how we can increase our efforts, and, where possible, where we can accelerate the work. In short, this Government is increasing our commitment and investment to ensure we have the right people in place to govern, lead and deliver Education Reform for Bermuda. As a result of our own self-examination of our operations, there are changes that key stakeholders and the community can expect to see in place in order to progress our Education Reform agenda.

The first of these is a new Governance Committee. As we prepare to introduce an Education Authority, we are increasing the independence and decision-making authority of the committee governing Education Reform. I am delighted to announce that the refreshed Governance Committee will be co-chaired by myself and Mr Phillip Butterfield, Chair Bermuda First. Other members of the reformed Governance Committee will be:

  • Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, to which I welcome Ms Jasmin Smith to the role as part of the changes announced by the Head of Public Services last week;
  • The Commissioner of Education;
  • The lead of the Education Reform Unit;
  • A representative of the Education Authority Working Group; and
  • Representatives of the Innovation Unit

The second change you can expect to see as of next week is the newly formed Education Reform Unit to replace what was formerly known as the Learning First

Team. The Education Reform Unit will reside in the Ministry of Education’s Office, reporting to the Office of the Minister of Education. A group of experienced Bermudian Education professionals will be released from all other duties to focus solely on our ambitious, but critical agenda. This team will continue to be supported by our global education partners, Innovation Unit, with the Government recently extending a contract with them for an additional 12 months.

While the Education Reform Unit members are transitioning into the team, I am delighted to announce that Ms. Lisa DeSilva, a well-respected education veteran with over 25 years of experience in education in Bermuda, is taking up the helm to lead the Education Reform Unit. We look forward to her guidance and leadership as she works to ensure the team works collaboratively toward the same goal.

Our previous governance structure was successful in getting us to where we are today. However, after reviewing our work during the last 30 months and talking to all involved, we agreed to revise the governance and that the people working on Education Reform on a day-to-day basis needed to be able to focus solely on that job.

I am delighted with the progress made over the past few weeks. With Innovation Unit back on the island to work alongside the Education Reform Unit, we are poised to continue the exciting and highly collaborative work that has been underway since March 2020.

Education Authority

The formation of an Education Authority has always been part of the Government’s Education reform. A key element of any successful education reform is establishing system governance arrangements that are fit for purpose and fit for the future. Plan 2022 recognised this in calling for a review of current arrangements and Bermuda First called for the introduction of an Education Authority in their 2019 Future State Report. There needs to be good governance to sustain and support reform. Governance that is not subject to day‐to‐day

political interference. Governance that has the independence to be flexible and agile in ensuring that the needs of Bermuda’s children, economy and community are best and efficiently served.

We need to move away from our current [seemingly subconscious] philosophy of ‘system of schools’ to a collaborative school system. A system that supports each young person to be the best they can be, follow their passions and interests, build on their talents and capabilities, and achieve their aspirations. An equitable system is a system in which all schools achieve excellence while having their own ethos and culture.

A system whose governance reflects the philosophy, the approach and the pedagogy of the system as a whole. Governance which is based on and learns from the governance of successful 21st-century learning systems. Governance arrangements that hold the schools to account but are supportive and enabling, not directive and controlling.

Since establishing the Education Authority Working Group in 2021, steady progress has been made in collecting data and meeting with relevant stakeholders to start to formulate what the eventual Education Authority could look like. In the coming months, more meetings between the relevant stakeholders and the working group will be held to progress the formation of the Authority. As stated in the Throne Speech, we are looking to advance a bill to start the creation of the Education Authority in this legislative session.

Historical Legacy Committee

As an African Proverb says, “…If we stand tall, it is because we stand on the

shoulders of our ancestors…”

As we move forward with Education Reform, we recognise that we are walking on paths that have been tread for us by those that came before us – our parents, grandparents, educators, and political and community leaders. Their efforts to develop the Bermuda that we live in today have created opportunities for us to

continue to improve Bermuda so that we can make our nation better, so that we can all thrive within our community.

From lived experiences, discussions with our family members, concerns of our constituents, and prior debates in this House, we know that our country’s history is a difficult and painful one, especially for those of our parents’ and grandparents’ generations.

It is rich with examples of our great history of building and trades, seafaring and shipbuilding, and developing and shaping young minds and leaders. However, it is also a painful and difficult history of racial segregation, separate and unequal schools, and class stratification.

Along with my predecessors, I recognise that decisions have been made in decades past that continue to have profound implications on current and former students of the Bermuda Public School System and Bermudian society. Many members know about the vital history of schools such as the Bermuda Technical Institute, Howard Academy, Warwick Secondary School, Prospect School for Girls, the Robert Crawford School and others that have closed or been repurposed. During the recent consultation on parish primary schools, I was reminded and reminded and reminded again about these critical issues – of the need to teach, learn, know, understand and appreciate our educational history and legacy. In addition to listening and reading the numerous submissions from community members, I also received many messages of support and met directly with community members passionate about protecting and preserving the history and legacy of schools.

As a result, the History and Legacy Working Group was formed with the remit to provide a report on how we can record and preserve the rich and powerful history of Education in Bermuda. Having received this report, the key recommendation to establish a History and Legacy Committee with statutory responsibilities will be in acted this legislative session.

I look forward to the critically important work this committee will be charged with and encourage the community to be prepared to assist them when called upon.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Government’s commitment to Bermuda’s children and young people hasn’t changed. Our dual-purpose agenda remains the same. Many would have heard of the 3Rs of education – Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic. These important pillars do not go away, and the Department of Education will continue to support each and every teacher and leader in schools across the nation to focus on the children we have in classrooms right now.

In addition to this, the talented team of professionals from within and beyond the education sector taking up roles in the Education Reform Unit will be focused on the future and our 6Rs of Education Reform:

1.Reconceptualising how the system and schools are governed through the introduction of the Education Authority.

2.Reorienting the Department of Education to be more nurturing and empowering to sustain our schools’ transformation;

3.Redesigning models of learning, teaching and schooling including introducing Parish Primary and Signature Senior Schools by phasing out middle schools over the next 5-7 years

4.Refreshing and rebuilding where necessary, the physical infrastructure of our schools;

5.Re-engaging stakeholders and the community in what we know is everyone’s

business; and, importantly;

6. Remembering the history and legacy of education in Bermuda.

I began my statement today discussing the opportunity to be at the Global Education Leaders Partnership [GELP] recently. It was both an affirming and challenging experience.

It was affirming to know that we are not on this journey alone. Many countries across the world are engaging in similar transformation efforts. Big countries and small countries, high performing countries and those that have room for

improvement. Everyone agreed that the models of schooling that may have worked in the past are insufficient should we genuinely want to help our young people develop the skills, knowledge, values and relationships that will enable them to access – and be creators of – the jobs of the future, to be active citizens and to tackle increasingly complex challenges.

And challenging in that we cannot shy away from the reality that reform does not happen overnight. It will take several years, a decade even, for us to have established and developed all 10 Parish Primary Schools, to have put in place all 10 Signature Learning Programmes and our Signature Schools for Exceptionalities and for Alternative Education, and to realize our vision for learning.

This work is not optional or something that is a “nice to have”. As remarked in the Speech from the Throne, education remains the most significant priority of this Government. We will proceed incrementally and in a measured way. We will continue to act with intent, every step of the way. Not everything will be right the first time and we will need to learn from our mistakes and ride the discomforts that major change inevitably brings. Why? Because our children, our future, deserve nothing less.

Thank You

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  1. Ringmaster says:

    “Promises which won their strong endorsement of our policies and programmes just over two years ago at the ballot box”. A Burt lie. Only around 25% of registered voters voted PLP, hardly a strong endorsement.

    “approval from the Minister of Finance is required to approve the establishment of a range of businesses” Just happens to be me, and haven’t I done well so far with Arbitrade and Savvy to name 2.

    Underfunded pensions. Stop the Defined Benefits Plan enjoyed by the public sector, and paid for by the private sector who do not have these benefits. Oh, and increase the contributions by higher paid employees should really go down well with IB. Remember what happened last time the PLP tried that?

  2. Joe Bloggs says:

    “it is intended that contributions will be changed from the current fixed rate for all persons, regardless of income, to one that mirrors other countries in the world where social insurance contributions are paid as a percentage of earnings.”

    Introducing income tax!

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