MP Dale Butler has organized two meetings on jobs and the economy in his Warwick constituency. *File photo
MP Dale Butler has organized two meetings on jobs and the economy in his Warwick constituency. *File photo
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28: Worries over job losses and the economy are taking centre stage as the ruling PLP’s deadline for an election draws closer.

Observers say that it is possible fears about the future could lead to a drop in support for Government at the next General Election.

PLP Warwick North East MP Dale Butler — who has organized two meetings on jobs and the economy in his constituency — said the move was prompted by canvassing local voters: “A high priority issue on the minds of the residents of Warwick North East has been the economy, and more specifically, employment.”

Mr Butler added that opinions were divided on who is responsible for Bermuda’s recession — but that some would inevitably blame the party in power.

He added: “It’s quite a possibility — I’ve heard some people in my area say they’re very concerned and while they appreciate what I’ve done over the past few years, they are concerned about the party.

“Others say they understand this is a worldwide thing – everybody did the same with mortgages and Bermuda has been caught up in the backlash.

“I’m hoping it won’t affect us – you can’t really tell at this stage because I am getting mixed reactions. Political pundits can see what’s happened elsewhere when situations like this have arisen.

“I don’t know what the total picture is – I’m hoping it won’t impact the Government negatively.”

Bermuda College economist Craig Simmons said: “The pressure is certainly on the incumbent – it’s not clear that the incumbent is responsible for the present situation, but that’s the nature of politics.

“People take credit for things they have no part in and sometimes you have to accept the blame instead.

“The Bermuda Government is blamed for over-spending, but when you look at the Irish government, which didn’t overspend, but developed a war chest, they’re deeper in recession than we are.

“You can blame the Irish monetary authority or the private sector, but these days it seems you have to blame everyone.

“It’s difficult to say here – it could go either way. People might think we need a steady hand on the tiller or it could be a time of retribution and out with the old and in with the new.”

Mr Simmons added that the PLP – along with all Governments – should be going into any election with a degree of worry.

He said: “It’s a very good thing that the PLP should be nervous. No government going into an election should feel comfortable about victory. Democracy is based on people being nervous. I’d say exactly the same if the OBA was in power and about to go into an election.”

He added: “The economic situation is bad and it’s tough to see what the Government could have done to prevent from being so bad.

“I’m not trying to defend the Government, but some have called it the second great contraction – the first being 1929-38, the Great Depression.

“We’re all responsible for this – but we’re very quick to blame bankers or politicians.”

Mr Butler said the first forum – scheduled for last night – would focus on unemployment and young men.

He added: “I have met university graduates who can’t find a job and plumbers, carpenters and masons who I met as apprentices who don’t have jobs.”

Mr Butler said: “The purpose of this meeting is to bring these young men and their parents or supporters together, at one time, to form think tanks and to network.”

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