After the elaborate drumroll, was that a plan?

  • Leah Scott

    Leah Scott

David Burt’s speech at the opening of the Progressive Labour Party delegates conference is just a further demonstration that he just doesn’t know how to end his party’s inertia.

He has no ideas that are good ideas, and the ideas that he does have are targeted solely to a particular group of people.

Burt the man has become so intertwined with his role of Burt the Premier that he is totally entrenched in his philosophy that “it’s my world and we are going to do things my way”.

We need a radical reset of our economy, and it is clear that Burt is unclear as to how to accomplish that.

His plans to expand the role of government and quash corporate influence and support are tyrannical and nonsensical.

Burt’s leadership is in crisis, and Burt is not one to let a good crisis go to waste. He attempts to deflect his inability to get the economy going by perpetuating his myth of the One Bermuda Alliance’s “disaster capitalism”, when the truth is that the sustainability of this economy from 2017 to date has solely been because of the economic strategies put in place by former Minister of Finance Bob Richards.

Burt’s policies — not the OBA hand he claims he was dealt — are the key driver of the problems Bermuda is facing at present.

Burt is trying to force a more equitable distribution of resources, and I concur that an improved and fairer social and economic system is very much needed. However, how he is proposing to achieve it will cause economic dislocation to the very people he claims he is trying to benefit.

So what is his plan to help the people of this country weather the economic dislocation that must happen in order for income equality and other social and business equalisation to take place? What safety nets are proposed to catch those who will inevitably be displaced in the transition?

The continued downward spiral of our country is a real and present danger, and the need to address it is beyond urgent.

We all want an alternative future, whereby our daily lives are improved on a number of levels — full employment, affordable healthcare, affordable housing, reliable and accessible public transportation, resolution of gender and racial wealth gaps.

To get started, we can start:

• To restructure the Department of Workforce Development so that it delivers real results for Bermudian workers and Bermudian companies

• To scale up and be committed to apprenticeship programmes and bring together the high schools, the Bermuda College, the unions and all Bermuda companies to participate

• To pursue the unfulfilled promises and commitments proposed by Medici, Binance and others by implementing our own sectoral training programmes. Aligning the training of Bermudians with Bermuda’s job market, while ensuring that Bermudian workers gain skills that are transferable across employers, is a necessity

• To ensure that every student has access to a high-quality public education — no matter where they live, the colour of their skin, or how much money their parents make. This is achieved by making sure that all schools are adequately and equitably funded and that teachers and staff are treated like the professionals they are. While there is a university fund, our children have to get through high school to get to university

• To ensure that all of those schools that provide educational support to our students who may be challenged with disabilities are guaranteed adequate funding and the right to a free and appropriate public education

• To ensure that our immigration policies that do not allow companies to feel comfortable demanding more skills from prospective employees as an excuse to be more selective about who they choose to hire

• To consider how we can realistically afford and implement a basic income guarantee or some sort of support to help a person meet their basic needs

• To realistically begin to address climate change and teach people how to create lives with less stuff and better wellbeing

Burt needs to stop making excuses. Political stability, jobs and an economic stimulus package that leads to sustainable economic growth are what is needed.

Dwight Eisenhower famously said that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable. However, right now in Bermuda, a plan is essential.

Burt’s plan, if it can even be called a plan, will encourage capital flight, send jobs abroad, keep wages low, deter foreign direct investment and cause massive unemployment.

He needs to pursue fundamental, structural changes in his government’s approach to the economy, and his victimisation and retaliation ideology is not what is going inspire confidence in our investors and potential investors, our visitors or our country.

Time is of the essence and Burt better choose right.

Leah Scott is the Deputy Leader of the One Bermuda Alliance and the Opposition MP for Southampton East Central (Constituency 30)

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Published Oct 30, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 30, 2019 at 10:25 am)

After the elaborate drumroll, was that a plan?

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