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Getting Bermuda on track

All of the factual information that we have provided over the past few months in the form of articles and town hall meetings were designed to start discussions among both Bermudians and guests in which ideas would emerge that would help Bermuda survive in these harsh economic times. We are pleased to see that people are getting involved and having discussions.

The overall sentiment that has appeared on various online blogs, article comments and talk radio is that Bermuda needs to be open to new ways of doing things and those things that might have worked in the past, such as certain policies and attitudes, are no longer appropriate today. Although Bermuda means everything to us, in the grand scheme of the world, we mean nothing. Bermuda must learn to compete in the world today by being more open, welcoming and inclusive.

The following is a selection of the ideas, concerns and recommendations that we have received from the public in response to the articles:

Jobs/Foreign Workforce

We must realise that Bermuda has no natural resources, exports or industry. The only way we are going to create more job opportunities for Bermudians, is by making Bermuda more attractive and welcoming to foreign investors with foreign cash who will come to Bermuda, live in Bermuda and operate their businesses from Bermuda.

The question was also posed — why are Bermudians afraid of competition?

Bermudians must learn and accept that qualifications alone will not guarantee you a job. If there is a job to be had:

l Qualifications will land you the interview

l Your personality will get you the job

l Your working habits, attitude and results will enable you to keep your job

With an island the size of Bermuda, with its limited Bermudian population, and its limited 27,000 person Bermudian workforce, we cannot provide the number of educated, qualified Bermudian people needed to sustain all the positions in IB.

Nor can we supply all the Bermudian people to work in the hospitality Industry, all the Bermudian people needed to work in infrastructure support services, nor even all the Bermudian people and skillsets to work in Government. That’s why we need to import foreigners.

Foreign Component

Bermuda has always needed the foreign component in our economy and society. They have helped to form the Bermuda we know today. They have helped in the building and execution of many of our major infrastructure projects such as the airport, the new hospital and the initial formation of Belco and Telco.

Our attitude must change. We need to make non-Bermudians feel welcome as they contribute to our society by way of volunteering and charitable donations and immensely to our economy by renting our houses, buying food, buying clothing from our local retailers and using services such as Belco, telephone, cable and taxis all of which creates income and jobs for Bermudians.

International Business

We must make IB feel comfortable and accommodate their requests. With the advances in IT, a company can move their operations in an instant and leave Bermudians without jobs and the economy without foreign exchange income.

Our attitude must also change when it comes to the types of businesses that Bermuda traditionally attracts. Technology giant Google has more than 70 offices in 40 countries around the world including Tel Aviv, Istanbul, Ghana and Kuala Lumpur. Why not Bermuda?

IB needs to have a more visible representation and become more vocal in public about how they are being treated and their wants and needs.

Our professional reputation is on the line and once an individual/company leaves the island they are not very likely to come back if they are not treated fairly and with respect.

Policy and legislation

Policies and legislation that were put in place to protect and secure opportunities for Bermudians should be reviewed to see if in fact they have done what they were designed to do or have in fact harmed Bermudians or have outlived their usefulness in these changed and modern times.

Work permits should be processed in days and not months if all the documentation is in order and no qualified Bermudian has applied or is available. Stop issuing moratoriums. Get things done and issue the permit. Make it look like we are efficient, professional and interested in getting businesses here. Have a “can do” attitude rather than a “won’t do” attitude.

We would like to thank everyone who has expressed their opinion or submitted a recommendation. All residents, be they Bermudian or non-Bermudian, have a vital part to play in making Bermuda a success. We must restore confidence, hope, trust and belief and get rid of the paranoia in our Bermuda. Even though we come from all walks of life, speak different languages, have different religious views and different heritages; we must all share a common goal and vision for Bermuda — grow the economy so that we all can share and enjoy the best that Bermuda has and will have to offer.

This continues to be a collective effort by all Bermudians and we need your continued support, comments and ideas. For further information or to express your views, e-mail Suzie Arruda at economy@challengerbanks.bm or visit us on FACEBOOK — Regeneration of Bermuda’s Economy.

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Published July 11, 2012 at 9:38 am (Updated July 11, 2012 at 9:38 am)

Getting Bermuda on track

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