Forget me not: the OBA’s amnesia
The One Bermuda Alliance’s latest ill-conceived strategy is that we forget what it has done, and forget the damage it has caused to our country while seeking to block progress and change.
History cannot be rewritten.
It wants you to forget that it is the same party that promised not to drop term limits and a month later broke that promise.
It wants you to forget that it is the same party that oversaw the decline in Bermudian jobs in tourism while employment of non-Bermudians grew.
It wants you to forget that it is the same party that tried to open the immigration floodgates and further marginalise Bermudians in our own country.
It wants you to forget that this is the same party whose airport and Morgan's Point deals continue to cost Bermudians millions of dollars and severely handicap our economic recovery.
It wants you to forget how it spent more than $100 million of taxpayers’ money on the America’s Cup. According to its own Economic Impact Report, only 16 per cent of the people that benefited economically were Black Bermudians.
I would want you to forget these things if I were them.
We in the Progressive Labour Party know that we have not always got everything right, but we are continuing to make steady progress towards a better, fairer Bermuda.
There is cause for optimism as global rating agencies celebrate Bermuda’s fiscal prudence and good governance, tourists return to our shores, and Bermudians begin to return to work.
Our Economic Recovery Plan is positively impacting our economy. The tax relief given to Bermuda’s lowest-paid workers is putting more money into the pockets of so many Bermudians.
We have expanded maternity leave, introduced paternity leave and expanded protection for Bermudian workers. While we have a lot to be proud of, especially as we recover from a once-in-a-hundred-year global pandemic, we recognise that there is much more work that we are committed to do.
In the months ahead, we will be championing:
✔ A living wage to put more money in the pockets of hard-working but underpaid Bermudians
✔ Healthcare reform to drive down the cost of healthcare and ensure that all Bermudians have access to high-quality and affordable healthcare
✔ Education reform to give our children the world-class education and facilities they deserve and need to prepare them for success in 21st-century Bermuda
Yet, as we champion these things and develop many more policy initiatives to improve the lives of Bermudians, the OBA shows no interest whatsoever to see these positive initiatives become a reality for our people.
As it seeks to get you to forget who it is and what it has done, we know that the OBA will continue to stand up for big businesses and employers who profit significantly from the status quo, which results in so many Bermudians continuing to suffer.
Today, I issue a series of challenges to the OBA. First, I challenge you as the Opposition to continue to hold the Government accountable. Second, I challenge you to do a better job of fairly and honestly highlighting areas where we could do better. I challenge you to bring forward new and innovative ideas instead of pessimism, negativity and obstructionist thinking. Finally, I challenge you to work positively on behalf of the people of Bermuda as we move out of the pandemic.
• Owen Darrell is a government senator and the Junior Minister for the Cabinet Office, Education and Public Works