Don’t be cowed by the noise’ – things are really happening
Since winning the General Election of 2017, the Progressive Labour Party, through the Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism, has been busy providing opportunities for the people of Bermuda. These are opportunities for all Bermudians, the people who entrusted us with leading our island home.
The aforementioned ministry, of which I am the junior minister, has been busy expanding opportunities for our entrepreneurially minded citizens and enhancing our appeal for tourism investment.
With that said, let me outline what has been happening because, all too often, we do not highlight what is actually taking place and allow the “noise” to create doubt.
The ministry has accomplished much over the past year, including, but not limited to:
• Introducing the Tourism Investment Act to not only make Bermuda more appealing for hotel investment, but also to raise the percentage of Bermudians required to be hired for investors to qualify for tax relief
• Doubling the guarantee capacity through the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation to ensure new entrepreneurs have the opportunity to gain increased access to start-up capital, enabling them to create jobs for themselves and others
• Launching, through the BEDC, the Enterprise Incubator Programme, an intensive, nine-month development initiative where six entrepreneurs honed their business ideas and implemented strategies for success
• Introducing a Housekeepers Training Programme with our hotels, the Bermuda Hospitality Institute and the Ministry of Education and Workforce Development that protects entry-level positions for Bermudians, provides employment to Bermudians on financial assistance, and gives participants certification from The American Hotel and Lodging Association
• Creating a Summer Entrepreneurship Programme for our Bermudian youth to cultivate and encourage entrepreneurship while creating an opportunity to earn money over the summer
• Creating, in tandem with the Ministry of Finance, payroll tax relief for first-time entrepreneurs
• Launching the debt consolidation micro-loan debt programme
• Launching, in tandem with the Ministry of Public Works, the Bermudiana Beach Resort project
• Partnering with Bermuda Heroes Weekend to ensure the stability and growth of that event
• Appointing a Director of Co-operative Economics to begin the process of laying the legislative and policy framework that will enable the growth of co-operatives and to lead on the facilitation of social enterprise within Bermuda
Despite these accomplishments, we recognise that still more must be done to get Bermudians employed, trained, promoted and making a decent salary in their own country.
And there are many other wheels turning in the background to ensure that Bermuda continues to work for all.
In the coming weeks, you can expect updates on other aspects of the progress we are making for Bermudians. It is important to remember that the PLP did not cause a worldwide economic downturn in 2008, of which the whole world was affected and still feels the effects.
The Opposition falsely likes to attribute that kind of power to the PLP — would it not be great if we did have it?
But I digress. We are busy. Busy attempting to mitigate the effects of airport revenue that will not come to benefit the island for the next 30-plus years; busy figuring out how to recoup the $100 million that went to throwing a raft-up for billionaires instead of funding education, seniors and creating long-term employment opportunities; busy working to balance the needs of the business community and the residents that welcome those businesses, work in those businesses and help those businesses to thrive.
The noise emanating from the Opposition ranks is there to confuse and distract.
Rest assured that your PLP government is very much on track to achieve our platform promises and to develop a fairer and better Bermuda for all.
• Crystal Caesar is a government senator and the Junior Minister of Economic Development and Tourism
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