Dickinson speaks of hard work, sacrifice’
A hush fell on the House of Assembly yesterday as all eyes turned to Curtis Dickinson when he rose to deliver his first Budget.
Mr Dickinson, who took the finance portfolio in November 2018, acknowledged the milestone.
He told MPs that he represented “a legacy of social justice and a struggle for equality”.
It was a nod to his family background, which Mr Dickinson said in a January 2018 interview with The Royal Gazette was “tough”.
Mr Dickinson credited his late mother’s work ethic and commitment to education for helping him to get ahead.
The Minister of Finance’s wife, Lisa, watched from the public gallery as he delivered a 90-minute Budget Statement.
Mr Dickinson closed with a nod to the “values of hard work, sacrifice, forthrightness and dedication I learnt from my parents”.
He won his first applause when he promised “a small Budget surplus and, consequently, a reduction in net debt”.
Another point that sparked approval from MPs was Mr Dickinson’s reprisal of the PLP’s platform promise to raise seniors’ pensions by the rate of inflation every year.
Rolfe Commissiong, a PLP backbencher who in 2017 stewarded a Joint Select Committee to look at a living wage for Bermuda, applauded Mr Dickinson’s mention of the initiative as he talked about modernisation of the island’s labour laws.
Kim Swan, the PLP MP for St George’s West, voiced his approval when Mr Dickinson told the House that the Government would bring legislation for “the long-awaited marina in the town of St George’s”.
But Opposition MPs were mostly quiet — even when Mr Dickinson accused the previous One Bermuda Alliance administration of hiking taxes “behind closed doors with no public scrutiny”.
However, Dennis Lister Jr, the Speaker of the House, called for MPs not to speak after comments broke out on both sides of the House.
MPs spoke after Trevor Moniz, the OBA MP for Smith’s West, interjected when Mr Dickinson told the House that the Government would not bring in a tax on residential or commercial rents, but increase land taxes instead.
Mr Moniz called out: “It’s the same thing.”