Do you really mean that about private pensions?

I just cannot resist adding my comments (in bold) to an opinion piece by the Shadow Finance Minister David Burt.

In recent months, two things have become increasingly clear about the One Bermuda Alliance: they have run out of ideas to create quality jobs for Bermudians and diversify our economy, and they are now in permanent election campaign mode.

Twenty-five months into their term in office, Bermuda is experiencing continued economic contraction, loss of jobs, business closures, and an OBA stuck in a recession-prolonging austerity cycle.

The Ministry of Debt is the second largest Ministry and unlike other countries, Bermuda cannot print its own money and engage in quantitative easing, thus we have to pay off the debt in order to have more money to invest in local job creating initiatives.

Yet instead of promoting ideas that will diversify the economy, create quality jobs, and end the recession, the OBA resorts to puerile attacks to deflect from their failure to turn around Bermuda’s economy. Talking of puerile, how about this factless piece

The latest salvo from the OBA permanent campaign comes from Senator Vic Ball, whose opinion piece last week, Getting Serious About Improving the Economy, seems a repetition of previous OBA articles which try to reduce the entire Progressive Labour Party plan for the economy to online gaming and “marijuana”.

But that is where Senator Ball’s piece ended.

Nothing about the OBA’s plans, nothing about how they will reverse the 1,500 jobs lost under their watch, nothing about diversification, nothing about new industries for the future.

The PLP, under new leadership, has returned to its progressive roots and has advocated for the regulation of cannabis, but surely one would think that a Government desperate for tax revenue would at least examine that possibility and not dismiss it outright?

The regulation of cannabis has, IMO, to be taken step by step. There are lots of potential implications – for one, as a tourist destination do we want to be associated with that? Is it good for our brand?

Similarly with online gaming, an industry that drives the economy of other overseas territories — why not look to take some of their business in the same way they look to take it from Bermuda?

As above. Also, why were these initiatives not put into place five years ago?

One would think that a Government desperate to create jobs would examine the industry, as called for by Independent Senator James Jardine, rather than dismiss it outright. The OBA and their permanent election campaign want you to forget about the PLP’s plan to create the Bermuda Fund to use a small portion of our public and private sector pension funds to invest in companies that bring jobs to our shores.

How underfunded are the pension funds already? And are you really going to take money from private sector pensions? Sorry, but I work hard to contribute to my pension: and I mean MY.

They want you to forget about the PLP’s plan to open up the local legal industry to allow international law firms on-Island to promote investment and drive more business to our shores.  Talking of shores, who dropped the Blue Halo which could have brought revenue?

They also want you to forget about the PLP’s proposals to invest in alternative energy on all Government buildings, which would provide short-term stimulus and long-term savings.

How would this be paid for in the first instance? How long would the savings take to have an effect? What about the OBA plans to open up the electricity network? Would surplus power be allowed back into the grid? What about the announcement of using the Finger at the airport for solar?

IMO there is little in this article that suggests meaningful new areas of business. They carry reputational risks, or involve more Government spending or taking out of an already underfunded pension pot.

Yet there are other ideas – how about seriously investigating how gains in new technology can benefit Bermuda; how about seriously investigating how we can benefit from the so-called Blue Economy? Personally I would much rather be associated with those over cannabis and gaming …..

The OBA wants you to forget that while they have taken an austerity approach that has left our schools underfunded and our teachers lacking the supplies to teach their students, the PLP in February 2013 advocated for the creation of a Revenue and Government Earnings — or RAGE — Commission to bring more money into Government’s coffers.

Are the schools any more underfunded than under the PLP?

The OBA and their permanent election campaign look to conceal the fact that the PLP in February 2013 pushed for a joint committee on immigration reform, so that both parties could agree a mutual path forward on this important topic. This is vital because Bermuda will not secure long-term investment if those considering investing in Bermuda believe that immigration policy may change after an election.

The OBA offered the PLP a Ministerial seat. Who turned that down?

A joint stance on immigration reduces that political risk and improves the investment environment here at home. Waging a permanent election campaign that attacks ideas and offers no solutions may benefit the OBA, but it does not help the thousands of Bermudians who are out of work and looking for hope.

Twenty-five months into their term, the OBA must change their approach, recognise the necessity of presenting a unified position to potential investors, and finally start “getting serious about improving the economy”.

It is so difficult to improve the economy when you are fighting with one hand tied behind your back because so much time and effort has to be put in to reducing the debt.

Lastly the Shadow Minister has completely failed to make a single mention of the America’s Cup, progress on new hotels and gaming that is coming soon. And … this

3 thoughts on “Do you really mean that about private pensions?

Add yours

  1. They are in opposition. Can’t/don’t expect them to support the good things – they wont.

    Just expect them to be (a) critical of everything, and (b) highlight their own dumb ideas – which they will.

    My problem is, I don’t know who they are trying to impress with this crap. Can’t be the PLP die hards, so presumably it’s the swing voter. For the life of me, I can’t see the swing voter (that had the brains to see the crap created), suddenly being convinced they got it wrong at the last election.

    But – as the saying goes – “there’s nothing stranger than folk.

    The missing ingredient here – is time. It will take time to see a turn round that yields jobs. And sadly, I don’t think the OBA can tread water for the time that is needed.

    That is the real problem as I see it.

    1. As an official unaffiliated “swing voter”, I am definitely *not* impressed by the crap.

      There has been very little constructive or progressive dialogue produced by the exchanges from party officials, and I fear it will continue on its merry way for the next few years.

  2. The truth is worse than you’ve said.

    The “alternative” energy proposals that Burt advocates would both cost a lot on the short-run and cost a lot in the long-run. The OBA are actively investigating “alternative” energy that would save money in the long-run but it’s being done quietly because they’re terrible at communication.

    The reason we can’t have a RAGE commission is that we had one for 10 years under the PLP, especially post 2003. This ultimately ended up in disaster when the PLP tried to grab more revenue and tanked the economy in 2010.

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