Critics cannot say Bermuda is facing different challenges from other countries
“I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.” - Margaret Thatcher
One of the exciting things about Bermudian politics is that some folks have the luxury of hiding behind keyboards and typing to their heart's content. Anonymity gives them the comfort of making personal attacks without showing who they truly are.
While others have the decency to use their real names to make claims, even then they are essentially inaccurate.
Today, let us look at two of those claims made in response to last week’s column.
This particular one tops the list:
“When the OBA warned of the coming economic storm, your response in Parliament (Hansard: 29 Nov 2019) was to ignore our warnings and instead attack the OBA. You said then: ‘Well, sometimes this party [the OBA] seems to be the doom-and-gloom party. ”Oh, the economy is this. Oh, the people are fleeing the Island. Oh, everything is wrong with Bermuda”.’
“Clearly your denial in 2019 was mistaken. Perhaps now you will accept the OBA’s solutions?” - MP Scott Pearman
MP Pearman fails to acknowledge two things.
First, the time period in which that my statement was in made was in 2019, before a pandemic that has cost this island over $300 million in lost revenue. In 2019 our deficit had narrowed. The Budget passed in March of 2020 had to be radically altered once we had lockdowns, loss of revenue, and added covid expenses.
Secondly, as a corporate lawyer, Mr Pearman knows this is the global reality for all governments.
Most importantly, what Mr Pearman fails to admit is that even after the Opposition made their claim that they had “economic solutions” in 2019, they went on to lose another election in 2020.
Maybe Mr Pearman forgets that the OBA lost five seats in 2020. He himself barely scraped by with only 56 per cent of the votes in Paget East, which was once considered an Opposition stronghold.
So, the question was and remains, what solutions did the OBA have in 2019 or 2020? It’s all very well to call for reducing the size of government and reforming immigration now, but what about then?
Because clearly the voters of Bermuda did not have faith in those solutions.
Moving on to yet another circular argument.
Blogger Mr. John Joseph, well, I am taking a leap of faith that is his actual name, had this to say.
“All those extra restaurant customers, shoppers, home renters, etc. Think of all the secondary jobs that a progressive immigration policy would create.”
My question from years ago remains as follows; “Which industry/industries will demand hundreds, if not thousands of new jobs/boots on the island?”
Mr. John Joseph and others are yet to answer that question.
For those who continuously, point to the Cayman Islands as an example, here are some facts. Cayman’s biggest employer is the construction industry, and the next biggest employer is the hospitality industry.
The Cayman Islands has a wage rate for persons in those fields of roughly seven to ten Bermuda dollars per hour. Is this what people like John Joseph equate to “progressive immigration policies?”
Additionally, The Cayman Islands have 100 square miles with roughly 70,000 persons, whilst Bermuda has 21 square miles with 63,000 persons.
So, it is clear that The Cayman Islands has much room for both construction and population growth.
Economics 101 dictated that it is for the private sector, not governments, to create industries that leads to economic activity and job growth.
The present administration has changed quite a bit of legislation in property ownership, planning, banking, fintech, and immigration to allow for business entities to do as they need to.
The world is full of armchair quarterbacks who would have the world believe that they could win the Super Bowl with their ideas.
The stark reality is that all economies are on a downturn, restaurants closed in Canada, globally thousands of flights cancelled every week, supply chain issues, inflation, and rising healthcare costs.
Yet, some will attempt to paint the picture that Bermuda alone faces these issues.
It would be great if these armchair quarterbacks, full of contempt and personal attacks, could point to any country that is not facing a long and hard winter ahead.
The stark reality is that they cannot.