‘We need to remove poisonous racial envy, incompetent government management — and resume liberal and intelligent immigration.’
FRIDAY, MAY 25: For the first time in more than 60 years, Bermudians are experiencing unemployment. The world’s premier economy was relegated, almost overnight, to the financial second division.
The PLP government policies had thrown a noose around the neck of the Bermudian economy, and then tightened it.
One almost needed a Supreme Court search warrant to find any economic sense in the government policies.
Poverty stared Bermuda in the face; not poverty of the historical grinding sort or the misery of the third world, but a significant drop in incomes from what had been enjoyed in the recent past.
The cost of keeping political promises had run up against the wall of reality — namely, the unmalleable laws of economics.
Now I doubt if a poverty Czar, or a “Poverty Reduction Strategy Plan” as proposed by Nicola Feldman, will do the trick of resurrecting jobs destroyed by the stupidity of Bermuda’s politicians.
Self-inflicted wounds take time to heal and non-Bermudians are not in a hurry to return to a place that told them they were stealing the jobs of Bermudians.
What is the answer to Bermuda’s dilemma? I have my own views, as do others — most notably Sir John Swan and Larry Burchall, who have spend much effort clearly stating what our economic problem is, and coming up with sound ideas as to how to resolve it.
We have a government that thinks that the laws of economics can be ignored if they get in the way of pet projects, wishful thinking and ambitious political schemes like a National Health Plan.
The Minister of Finance has erred on a monumental scale and it is unlikely that she will change anytime soon.
The continued adherence to moronic economic policies has paralysed Bermuda and until there is a willingness to change course, poverty will continue to endure in Bermuda.
The tragedy is that Bermuda has a superb economic history. Indeed, it would be no exaggeration to say that Bermuda in the last decades of the 20th century, had the best economy ever known to man. I wrote two books on that theme. Bermuda was also fortunate to have highly talented individuals exercising political power. Sir David Gibbons, Sir John Swan, Dr David Saul and Pamela Gordon were all extraordinarily talented leaders, and Bermudians owe them a huge debt.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, every generation of Bermudians has been better schooled and has enjoyed a higher standard of living than its predecessors. That was no mean achievement.
The 21st century, under a radical PLP Government, promises to be the first period in modern Bermudian history for which the foregoing is not true.
This is a major tragedy for the younger generation of Bermudians who have seen their future jeopardized by financial incompetence on a massive scale.
We need to get away from debilitating debt, allegations of corruption, reckless spending, useless foreign travel by politicians and civil servants, a bloated civil service, to remove poisonous racial envy, incompetent government management — and resume liberal and intelligent immigration.
Government needs to get out of the way and enable, as it did in the past, freedom for entrepreneurs to weave their magic — and once more give ordinary Bermudians a dignified way of life — not unemployment, hunger, impoverishment and sleepless nights.
• Editor’s note: The first two parts of this three-part commentary ran in the May 18 and May 23 editions of the Bermuda Sun.