*iStock photo
*iStock photo

Budget 2014-2015 is a clear indication of where the OBA wishes to take Bermuda.

The welfare of Bermudians seems almost secondary in their thought process.

Rich staying rich

Payroll tax break for employers who hire unemployed Bermudians will continue

Reduction in taxes for the non-Bermudian purchasers of property will be extended for another 12months 

Tax breaks will continue for the hospitality, restaurant and retail sectors.

Privatization 

OBA has stated that there are “no plans for redundancies”. The truth is that there will be job cuts and these will come via a “Public Bodies Reform Act” which is planned to be tabled during this Budget session.

This piece of legislation will give authority to the Minister of Finance to privatize, mutualise or outsource various Government functions. The Act will establish an Efficiency and Reform Authority to oversee the process and will have seven members; a CEO, five people drawn from the general public, two union representatives and ex-officio members from the Ministry of Finance. 

The following departments will be targeted:

Airport Operations/Causeway

Emissions and Vehicle Testing

Aircraft Registry

Ship Registry

CITV

Waste Management including Tynes Bay & Garbage Collection

Vehicle & Equipment Operations & Maintenance

GEHI & Health Insurance Dept

Parks Maintenance

Water & Sewage

Dept of Social Insurance

Highway Maintenance

Conservation Services

Hundreds of Bermudian workers in these departments are now under direct threat of losing their government jobs and union membership. In one swoop, the OBA is attempting to transfer government work and contracts to foreign and local business owners. At the same time, this will effectively cut membership of the BIU and BPSU.

Let’s call it for what it truly is: Smash And Grab Everything (SAGE) and union busting.

Abolishment of 60/40 rule

Going hand-in-hand with this is the OBA’s plan to relax the 60/40 rules to allow foreign investors wide access to opportunities in Bermuda. Two questions must be asked;

How many Bermudians will be able to compete against rich foreigners for capital to start up their own businesses?

Why has there been no consideration of protecting Bermuda ownership by seeking financing to ensure Bermudian businesses first benefit?

Selling out Bermuda

“To allow the Bermuda economy to grow, immigration policy must be liberalized to allow easier entry of persons with financial or intellectual capital to fuel the recovery of our economy.”

— MP Bob Richards

It appears that the OBA is going to implement Commercial Immigration. With the current public vexation with the OBA, they need as many of their friends as possible to vote for them. So hey, why not just give them status, right?

The OBA is placing zero emphasis on getting Bermudians residing abroad to return back home. They, too, contribute to the economy.

Stand up

The OBA has clearly shown who they are standing with. Bermudians need to stand up now, or we will be steamrolled by the flood of open doors of immigration, and marginalized by the loss of Bermudians’ government jobs.