SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 18: The OBA and the PLP clashed over the opening and closing of businesses, as has been the norm for the pair in the run up to the December 17 general election.

The OBA fired the first salvo tonight over the closure of Computer City.

A statement by Sylvan Richards, spokesman for the Shadow Board on the Economy and OBA candidate for Constituency 7 was issued with regard to Friday’s news that Computer City was closing after 12 years in business with the loss of nine jobs.

Mr Richards said this news “is one more example of bad government policies costing Bermudians jobs.

“One of the company’s senior officers said the turning point for the company was the Government’s out-of-the-blue payroll tax hike in 2010. The tax hike shocked the local and international business community, whose leaders described the Government action as a ‘breach of trust’.

“The company director of Computer City said: ‘We started seeing customers – companies and individuals – leaving or downsizing after that.’   

“Computer City provides a ground-level perspective of the impact of bad government action on a company’s ability to succeed. The end result is lost jobs for working Bermudians. Computer City’s closure will put nine Bermudians out of work, after the company struggled over the last few years to stay afloat with fewer people coming through its doors.

“These workers will add to Bermuda’s growing unemployment numbers, including those of young Bermudians whose unemployment rate is approaching a staggering 40 per cent.

“The impact of Computer City's decline in business has been registered in other ways: Computer City had supported 18-month overseas technical training for a couple of young Bermudians who had to be let go because of the fall-off in business.

“The One Bermuda Alliance has a plan to grow the economy, with specific measures to support local business owners and entrepreneurs, attract foreign investment and stimulate hiring.

“This is the change Bermuda needs, and it’s the change Bermuda’s workers need.

“The people of Bermuda can’t afford five more years of rising unemployment and government actions that drive away businesses and jobs.”

Less than an hour after the OBA statement, the PLP fired back.

A spokesman said in a press release: “Today, the One Bermuda Alliance put out a statement on the closure of Computer City. The PLP questions why the OBA didn't put out a statement praising the opening of RED Steakhouse & Bar and the government policies that supported the opening of that business.

“Over the last several months, six new businesses opened in St. George's. Just last week, RED Steakhouse & Bar opened in Hamilton employing 15 Bermudians. The media didn't lead with stories about this good economic news and the OBA didn't put a statement out about it.

“There are new Bermudian owned businesses opening every month, but, instead of praising these business owners and promoting these new Bermudian owned businesses, the OBA chooses to harp on the negative. Instead of praising government policies that offer duty and payroll tax concessions for restaurants the OBA choses to exploit the loss of a jobs for political purposes.

“The OBA is all about talking down Bermuda for their own political gain. It's really sad that a party stoops so low. Instead of harping on the negative, we hope that the OBA will join Bermudians at the next ribbon cutting to encourage Bermudians to patronise some of the new Bermudian owned businesses that are opening on a regular basis and that are providing jobs for Bermudians."