Welcome to the land of illusions
Today's Royal Gazette (Tuesday, September 10) reminded me once again that Bermuda is very often an environment that is hypocritical, contradictory and full of people who follow the dictum “I'm all right, Jack”.
The paper notes that Butterfield Bank is making redundant from its Bermuda office a further 12 positions. The positions themselves still seem to be required; they just will be more efficiently performed from Halifax rather than from Bermuda.
We hear so often that we should “buy in Bermuda”, but what about “employ in Bermuda”? The outsourcing of jobs from Bermuda is slowly, but surely approaching epidemic proportions, with many “help desks” and other positions farmed out to far-flung locations. Despite the high prices here, people are expected to support Bermudian businesses, but businesses domiciled in Bermuda are considered justified when outsourcing positions to less expensive jurisdictions.
Think about that for just a minute or two — do you consider that a balanced position?
Bermuda usually features in the list of the top ten richest countries in the world, but I suggest that this is a ludicrous claim. Bermuda has some wealthy people living here, and many other people are being paid great salaries, but Bermuda itself is broke.
Bermuda is in debt up to its eyeballs, has deficit positions in several public pension funds, is unable to balance its annual budget, has a vastly expensive public education system that fails miserably in its attempt to educate, a public health system that simply does not live up to the standards it should when compared to its cost, a public transport system that is in dire straits, and several other areas where standards simply do not reach that of a wealthy country, let alone a top ten.
To say that Bermuda is a rich country implies that Bermudians are doing well — but Bermudians in general are not doing well. Little wonder some are preparing an exit strategy.
I do not envy any political party that is charged with governing Bermuda today, for the problems facing the country are difficult simply to manage, let alone resolve.
There is an immediate need to have more tax dollars in the government coffers, but how do the powers that be achieve that? No one wants to be taxed any more than they already are: the high-flyers with great salaries do not want to pay higher rates of income tax, corporation tax is considered foul language, and we must never again suggest taxing dividend income.
We are all in this together, but, like rats on a sinking ship, there are those who have one eye on when to get out.
Too much hypocrisy, too much contradiction, not enough togetherness. Of course, we are guided by our motto, Quo Fata Ferunt, but maybe it's time we started rowing.
E. HAV TROTT