Inflation forcing people to leave Bermuda in ‘droves’ – OBA
The island’s real rate of inflation has reached double figures and is forcing Bermudians to leave the island “in droves”, according to the opposition One Bermuda Alliance.
Cole Simons, the OBA leader, spoke out after a survey released this week showed that the majority of residents were buying less in the face of rising prices.
Last month David Burt, the Premier and finance minister, said that a 2.75 per cent increase in pension payments “fully covers the overall rate of inflation”.
But yesterday Mr Simons said that the number “does not add up”. The last official figures showed that inflation was at 3.7 per cent.
He added that the real rate of inflation was ten per cent – a rate that was “gouging the pockets of most Bermudians”.
Mr Simons said: “Some people are cutting back on essentials just to make ends meet, while others are cutting back on sheer principle to send a message that they refuse to pay the rising price of food and consumer goods. Enough is enough.”
Mr Simons said that the young and seniors were mostly impacted by rising prices.
He said: “I recently met with a group of young professionals who are just starting out in life with their young families. They are very pessimistic about their future in Bermuda. They see a recession on our doorstep and are seriously thinking about moving overseas.
“They believe they will never be able to own a house on their own island. They cannot afford the cost of preschool, childcare, not to mention the rising healthcare costs. They are stressed because they cannot afford to save for their future.
“The story is similar for retirees. The cost of healthcare, monthly maintenance for their homes, food – these costs are all quickly becoming out of reach. Wherever I go, I hear people openly complaining about the hyperinflationary cost of these essential items. In fact, people are quietly leaving the Island in droves.”
According to the latest Consumer Price Index, inflation currently stands at 3.7 per cent – the highest level in 15 years.
But critics say that that figure – compiled by the Department of Statistics – is also false because calculations are based on outdated data.
Mr Simons claimed that the current crisis was “leaving gaping holes that show no sign of repair.
“ Unfortunately, the situation has created a sense of hopelessness for many people in our community. They believe that the Government is not doing enough to either support or empower them economically,” he said.
“Premier David Burt and his Cabinet must do more to empower Bermudians so that they can feel encouraged and confident about living in Bermuda, not overseas.”
In a statement yesterday, Mr Burt acknowledged that “we face a new challenge” – but blamed outside factors such as the Covid pandemic, rising inflation in the US, and the war in Ukraine.
“We have led our country through it all,” he said.