PLP backed ‘radical’ policies which are now mainstream
In two years, Bermuda’s first political party will be 60 years old. I decided to look through our 1963 PLP platform to compare those pledges to those made in our 2021 platform. Lest we forget, back then the PLP was often vilified for proposing so-called “socialist’”policies and for using “coded” racist language.
We were told that our pledges and promises were far from the mainstream and we were labelled as dangerous, radicals, socialists and much more.
The PLP 1963 platform included such “radical and dangerous” ideas as quality, taxpayer-funded public education. The current Government increased funding for public education, former PLP governments introduced a Child Day Care Allowance and are now restructuring our education system to give students Signature Schools that will allow them to achieve their dreams in technology, arts, science, trades and more.
The PLP 1963 platform included affordable housing. PLP administrations, after many years of no additional units added, have led the way in having built hundreds of housing units including Loughlands, Perimeter Lane, Harbour View Village and, yes, the Grand Atlantic. We also provide housing assistance to persons through the Bermuda Housing Corporation by providing grants that enabled many people to live in private housing. We have increased these grants substantially over the years. And now we have been able to house many Bermudians who need it most.
The PLP 1963 platform included Unemployment Insurance, which is currently being advanced as one of the 31 priority initiatives of the Bermuda Economic Recovery Plan.
The goal is to develop an Unemployment Insurance Scheme so that critical social protection is provided to support displaced workers and their families, allowing them to receive a basic income in their time of need.
While this is being advanced, during the pandemic we provided more significant relief to the tune of $75 million to the unemployed, underemployed, as well as to small businesses than any government in our island's history. We also allowed people to withdraw money from their private pensions early to provide even more relief.
Finally, our 1963 platform included universal, basic healthcare. Our party introduced FutureCare for our seniors, which has provided significant benefits at an affordable cost. This pandemic has made it clearer than ever before that affordable and accessible healthcare for all people is a priority.
Our plan for healthcare reform was temporarily put on hold as the Ministry of Health addressed the many challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic over the past 18 months. We have restarted this critical process and are committed to the delivery of quality, affordable healthcare for all Bermudians.
Ianthia Simmons-Wade is the Progressive Labour Party MP for Warwick North East