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If past performance best predicts future success, choose the OBA

By September 22, 2020September 25th, 2020No Comments

As former PLP Leader Marc Bean said, David Burt’s speech is part of the psycho ops employed by the PLP to distract people from the failings of his administration.

There is no question about whose past performance best predicts future success. It is not the Burt administration which has made, and broken, countless promises.

No-one can say they are better off under the PLP.

In the 2017 General Election campaign, David Burt said the PLP would accomplish more in its first 100 days in office than the One Bermuda Alliance had done in five years.

We are still waiting for that promise to be kept.

Under the Burt administration:

  • Lowest ever business confidence
  • A promise to pursue independence
  • Broken promises on putting Bermudians first with recent job figures for 2019 showing an increase of more than 300 jobs for non-Bermudians.
  • Broken promises on creating a living wage and reducing the cost of living
  • Increased cost of living with the introduction of the sugar tax.
  • New and increased taxes, including the dividend tax which hit small Bermudian businesses.
  • 200 retail jobs gone, pre-Covid-19.
  • An alarming slump in retail sales volume pre-Covid-19.
  • Statements labelling the retail sector, which employs more than 3000 Bermudians, as insignificant
  • Introduced legislation that increased health care insurance premiums
  • Broken promises on comprehensive immigration reform. In December 2017, Premier Burt said in an interview: “we will grow this economy and the way we will grow this economy is by having more people living and working in Bermuda.” We are still waiting.
  • Broken promise to create an Events Authority to replace the America’s Cup Events Authority
  • Falling Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth
  • Promises of $25m investment from fintech firms, broken
  • Promises of 120 fintech jobs, broken.
  • Two finance ministers, three tourism ministers, three gaming ministers and 3 immigration ministers: no progress
  • Failed bus schedule
  • A deal for an arbitration centre that freezes out Bermudian firms and gives away valuable land in Hamilton to a US company.
  • More civil service jobs
  • Friend and family deals – including a $1.2m payment to a former PLP Premier and hiring of friends and family consultants
  • Increased ministerial payroll even as people suffered under Covid-19
  • A $1bn increase in Bermuda’s debt in 12 months: more than $15,000 for every man, woman and child.
  • Broken promises on a $7m budget surplus.
  • Broken promises on a balanced budget.
  • $4.5m slashed from the police budget

Contrast that with the OBA’s track record:

In just four years, the One Bermuda Alliance:

  • Brought $1bn of investment into Bermuda. We performed an economic miracle.
    • We had a simple plan: bring excessive PLP spending under control while stimulating economic growth and creating new opportunities for Bermudians.
  • Construction of The Loren, the St. Regis, the Azura Boutique Hotel and Residences as well as the multi-million-dollar refurbishment of the Hamilton Princess all started while the One Bermuda Alliance was in Government.
    • All of these created, and have sustained, jobs for Bermudians.
  •  The PLP likes to try and undermine the America’s Cup but the facts show that for every $100 invested by Government in producing the event, Bermuda received more than $500 in additional spending. PwC’s report shows that AC35’s economic impact amounts to $336 million. Government’s three-year budget for AC35 was projected to cost $77m – the PwC report indicates that the actual spending was only $64.1m.
  • Had we won the election in 2017, we would have fast-tracked superyacht legislation to build on the AC legacy. The PLP has now belatedly recognised the worth of these yachts to the local economy.
  • The new airport has provided inward investment and hundreds of jobs – and when it is finished it will continue to provide jobs for Bermudians as well as a first-class working environment.
  • Government’s statistical reports over the last few years have shown how Gross Domestic Product – a key measurement of the health of an economy – has been buoyed by OBA projects. As they come to an end, GDP has fallen under the PLP.
  • The OBA created the independent Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) and under its leadership, Bermuda has seen record tourism arrivals.
  • Recognising the need to bring more tourists to Bermuda during the shoulder season, we worked with the BTA to bring events such as the World Triathlon Series to Bermuda.
  • For too long St. George’s had been neglected and we negotiated a deal that brought 12 cruise ships to the Olde Towne from 2017 to 2022 – another initiative we put in place that continues to benefit Bermuda.
  • Under the deal with Norwegian Cruise Lines, NCL agreed to bring two new catamaran ferries to the Island to run from Dockyard to the East End, along with a yearly investment of $150,000 by NCL to sponsor tourism enhancement projects.
  • We also created the Bermuda Business Development Agency to help bring new business to Bermuda. Indeed, company registrations reached new heights under the OBA, translating into more Government revenue. In 2015 the total number of new company registrations for the year was more than 1,200 bringing in more than $65m in revenue.
  • Long before the PLP, we were exploring the opportunities of space. We started the discussions with NASA over a more permanent facility located on Cooper’s Island. We granted a 15-year exclusive contract to develop Bermuda’s satellite slot. Along with other organisations, we signed an agreement which represented a significant milestone in the decade-long quest to develop Bermuda’s primary space asset while also playing a role in diversifying the economy.
  • Aware of the need for sustainability and to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, the OBA started the process of getting a Solar Photovoltaic Project on the “Finger” at the LF Wade International Airport.
    • One of the objectives of the project was to provide pricing stability for a portion of Bermuda’s electricity supply by ensuring that the price remains fixed over time. This is another valuable project the PLP inherited.
  • The small electric rental cars we see on Bermuda’s roads today were a result of legislation the OBA passed, allowing rental minicars in Bermuda for the first time. We now have at least four car rental businesses providing safer transport for visitors and jobs for Bermudians.
  • While initiatives like the America’s Cup and the hotel developments made the headlines, the OBA also worked on less headline-grabbing but nonetheless crucial areas of economic activity to further shore up our all-important IB sector.
  • We passed the Limited Liability Companies Act which allowed for LLCs as a new commercial structure on the island. It was the first new corporate structure in more than 100 years and was designed to encourage more entities to set up here.
  • The OBA passed legislation paving the way for the creation of a Civil Aviation Authority and a Bermuda Shipping and Maritime Authority to help grow the shipping and aircraft registries to provide more income for Government.
  • Under the Electricity Act 2016, the OBA paved the way to create competition – and reduce prices – by allowing entities other than Belco to generate electricity.
  • Legislation was passed to stimulate growth in Bermuda’s asset management industry and to ensure it maintained a good global reputation in the industry.
  • The OBA changed Bermuda’s Trust legislation to make the Island more attractive and competitive to help retain and create jobs for Bermudians. A survey showed that 15 Trust companies in Bermuda directly employed 158 people, 80 percent of whom were Bermudians.

We also:

  • Reduced our massive budget deficit from $300m to $8m
  • Passed Gaming legislation
  • Advanced plans to develop a new homeless shelter at Bishop Spencer building
  • Provided property and a start-up cash grant to support the Emperial Group’s mission of addressing the anti-social behaviour of some of our disenfranchised youth
  • Provided Cashback for Communities – $650,000 from proceeds of crime given to dozens of community groups across the Island
  • Implemented Payroll Tax relief for those earning $132,000 per year or less, representing about three quarters of the labour force
  • Maintained Financial Assistance at $53.5m, double the spend in 2008/9, showing concern for unemployed or underemployed
  • Enabled a reduction in Standard Health Benefit premium
  • Provided in-home care for seniors as a Standard Health Benefit
  • Stationed ambulances in the East and the West ends for quick emergency response
  • Worked with Belco to reduce facilities charge for low energy consumers
  • Introduced Team Street Safe, a gang mediation programme providing support and direction for people involved in, or susceptible to gang life
  • Introduced GREAT Anti-gang initiative courses
  • Supported the appointment of a Bermudian Commissioner of Education
  • Despite tight budget constraints, committed $3.2 million new money for school maintenance
  • Engaged in community consultation on a Vision and Strategic Plan for education
  • Enacted Public Access To Information (PATI) legislation to encourage Good Governance
  • Cut MP’s pay by 10%
  • Encouraged the Endeavour programme – a legacy programme of the America’s Cup team Oracle, enabling every middle school child in Bermuda to participate in a combination of STEAM subjects and sailing
  • Instituted a ministerial travel website to enable transparency
  • Updated the Human Rights Act to include sexual orientation and age
  • Passed the Bribery Bill
  • Commissioned the Fiscal Responsibility Panel to oversee government finances