Chamber lends support to BermudaFirst report
The Bermuda Chamber of Commerce has praised the efforts of the BermudaFirst advisory group and called for a holistic approach to acting on its recommendations.
BermudaFirst’s Future State report was released last week and its proposals included an independent education authority, reform of healthcare aimed at an outcome-based system and a balanced approach to immigration to better meet the needs of business and spur economic growth.
Dennis Fagundo, the chamber’s president, said: “Many of our members participated and formed part of the diverse group of individuals on the working groups.
“We believe the key to success in this endeavour lies in the holistic nature of the large-scale recommendations. Simply taking small pieces and declaring a victory upon their implementation is not enough.”
He also suggested that the Government’s healthcare financing reform was unlikely to bring down the cost of healthcare, and commented on the two other top priorities of the report.
“Addressing healthcare financing in an unbalanced way without addressing first the main drivers of healthcare cost will not likely be successful,” Mr Fagundo said.
“We believe it is critical that a holistic approach be taken with a view to creating an environment where the participants can be profitable while at the same time better value for the healthcare dollar is achieved.
“A long-term, apolitical approach to education is essential to Bermuda’s ability to be successful into the future. A move to the recommended independent authority will not be easy, but maintaining the structural status quo is simply not an option.
“A return to a positive attitude surrounding the topic of immigration is also critical for the country’s success. Control is very important, regulating and encouraging good behaviour is very important, and making our guest workers welcome, recognising the positive contributions that this island relies on is absolutely essential.”
BermudaFirst, which is chaired by Philip Butterfield, the former chief executive officer of HSBC Bank Bermuda, based its findings on the work of eight working groups and about 90 contributing individuals, none of whom are politicians. The report was commissioned by David Burt, the Premier.
“The chamber applauds the Government on empowering this initiative, on receiving the reports with open hands,” Mr Fagundo said.
“We stand ready to participate in any way that is helpful in moving this into the implementation phase and starting to see progress for our island home.”
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