Residents feel the economic pinch
Residents highlighted greater support for the underprivileged, seniors and people with mental health problems as areas for improvement as The Royal Gazette hit the streets of Hamilton to canvass views on the Progressive Labour Party’s performance in government.
Kobe White said: “Based on what I’m hearing, it seems like they’re doing OK, but people are saying the economy’s not really going up or down, it’s not changing, so I don’t know, is that good or bad?
“We’re not losing money, but we’re not making any.”
The 21-year-old said that events such as MS Amlin World Triathlon Bermuda had helped people to feel “included”.
However, he was split on whether Bermuda was working for Bermudians.
Mr White, from Pembroke, said: “Once you’re established, it’s a good place because other Bermudians will come to you, but trying to start a business or being a young person trying to get into business, I would say no. People don’t want to take the risk, even though you’re a young Bermudian.”
The chef added: “I do culinary, so my prospects are pretty good. I have a lot of potential.”
One woman said the PLP’s approach had failed to support her.
She explained: “As a middle-aged lady looking after a senior, there aren’t many benefits that will assist me with helping her out.
“The pension scheme is not great at all — with the cost of living, it’s not enough to assist looking after a senior citizen.”
The 46-year-old, who asked not to be named, said Bermuda was not succeeding.
She added: “I work in health and there isn’t anything in place that assists people that have mental illness, so that they can be successful out here in society.
“I think mental illness is stepped over, and seniors, those two things I think they need to work on.”
The woman said she thought that young people could find more opportunities than her generation only through a move abroad, which was “worrying”.
She added she was no better off under the PLP than she had been under the previous government.
The woman said: “I think I’m the same as I was with the One Bermuda Alliance.”
A taxi driver said the PLP’s approach had “not entirely” worked for him.
He explained: “The underprivileged — there’s nothing been done for them, for us.”
The taxi driver added: “I think more focus has to be on the people who need the help, not so much as giving them handouts, but a way to make it up, and I don’t see anything being done in that regard.”
The 57-year-old, who also asked not to be identified, said: “I wasn’t looking for miracles, but I think it’s time for something to be shown, especially for the underclass.”
He added that he did not think young people today would benefit from better opportunities.
The man said: “When you look around the world and see how things are going on, it’s hard to imagine that happening. I’m hopeful, though.”
He added: “That’s not something just in Bermuda; that’s a worldwide problem.”
The man said: “I do think I am better off under the PLP than I was under the OBA government because, as a black man in Bermuda, I don’t feel I stood a chance with what they were promoting.”
Maria Medeiros highlighted “too many taxes” as the reason the PLP’s approach had not worked for her.
The 62-year-old said: “No ... I think they’re catering to certain groups.
“It’s not the whole of Bermuda.”
Ms Medeiros, an office manager from Devonshire, added she was not optimistic about the chances available to young people “the way things are going”.
She said: “There’s fewer people on the island and because of that there are fewer opportunities. A lot of people are leaving the island.”
Ms Medeiros added that she did not feel “better off” under the PLP. She said: “No, I was hoping that they would make things better.”
Ms Medeiros added: “They haven’t handled the immigration thing at all; they’re going on three years now.”
She said: “I also think that they’re trying to control everything.”
Ms Medeiros singled out the Government’s attempt to abolish the two municipalities and its plan to overhaul healthcare finance.
However, King Simons said the PLP administration was working and that “they’ve done a lot more than the OBA”.
The 41-year-old added that it took time for a government to “fix things that are broken”.
Questions were based on those posed by David Burt in November 2016 when he gave his Reply to the Throne Speech as Leader of the Opposition:
“Has the OBA government’s approach ... worked for you?”
“Do you feel more included and more a part of our island’s success?”
“Do you truly believe that Bermuda is working for those whom it should?”
“Do you believe your children will have more opportunities and greater success than you?”
“Are you better off under the OBA?”
Eight months later, Mr Burt’s party secured a landslide victory in the 2017 General Election.
Live: Burt press conference at 5.30pm
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