*Photo by Nicola Muirhead
*Photo by Nicola Muirhead

On Friday, I had to decide whether to attend the opening of Parliament or to attend Dr Clifford Maxwell’s home going service. So I put on my suit and headed to Hamilton.

Upon hearing the Throne Speech highlights, a few things stood out to me.

• 20% of Government spending to Small Business

Small businesses are an integral part of Bermuda’s economy. According to the 2012 Employment Survey, of the 3,866 registered businesses 85% were deemed small businesses ie employing less than 10 employees.  So why is the OBA only earmarking 20% of their spending on goods and services to 85% of all businesses?  

• Lack of any plans for jobs for Bermudians 

According to the Labour Force Survey 2012, the number of unemployed Bermudians is estimated to be 3,305 persons.  This is our most pressing issue and yet no mention of any plan of substance to address how the OBA will get Bermudians back to work.   

Was the removal of term limits the ‘Plan’? Or was the payroll tax relief the ‘Plan’?

 “We put the incentives in there and these people got hired. ….the long contraction is ending. The nightmare is almost over.” — Bob Richards, The Royal Gazette August 23. 

What he failed to highlight was that a large portion of these hires were in the seasonal hotel and restaurant sector – a sector which already receives a payroll tax exemption.  MP Richards refuses to provide updated unemployment statistics.   

In October, the OBA amended the “Incentives for Job Makers Act 2012” which lowered the criteria set for businesses wishing to employ non-Bermudians. Under the PLP, a company had to employ 25 Bermudians to be eligible. Under the OBA that number has been reduced to 10. 

Under the PLP, only five guest workers were eligible for work permit exemptions. Under the OBA unlimited guest workers can be employed.  

• Jobs for Bermudians or non-Bermudians?

Pathway to Bermudian Status for non-Bermudians 

Ask the OBA these questions:-

1. How many persons will be eligible for Bermuda Status under this initiative?  

2. Are PRCs and their families next? As of the last count, there are 1,878 PRCs, 1,237 spouses of PRC holders and 2,960 children of PRCs, totalling 6,075 persons.  

During a radio interview in March 2012, both Craig Cannonier and Michael Dunkley denied that OBA had plans to grant Bermudian status. Who do you believe now?  

 “And If I have to make it easier for rich white people to own land in Bermuda that is fine!”  — MP Bob Richards, House of Assembly, March 1, 2013

 “Major steps were needed to boost the property market, including granting Bermudian status to its long-term residents and their families.”  — Scott Lines, RG, July 24, 2013 

I decided to hang with my Berkeley family and honour a Bermudian hero by carrying him when he couldn’t carry himself. Anti-Bermudian OBA policies are a daily occurrence. Saluting a ‘Real General’ is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Our fight for Bermudians continues. 

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