Why can’t the PLP government get anything right?
“You can tell a bully from a leader by how they treat people who disagree with them.”— Miles K. Davis
I recently accepted an invitation to appear on the radio talk show Motion to Adjourn, co-hosted by none other than Progressive Labour Party MP Christopher Famous. I was informed that the conversation would be focused on my opinion pieces, the reason for my getting involved in politics and issues facing our country. I expected that this would be an opportunity for us to discuss political issues that are of interest to the Bermudian public.
However, the discussion on January 26 turned out to be the usual emotional rantings and banter about things that have happened in the past that are mainly PLP hot-button issues. He griped about the airport project, the 2008 financial crisis, accused me of disrespecting public school teachers and stated that my commentary regarding Belco's pollution was libellous.
Mr Famous took great delight in attacking the One Bermuda Alliance’s time in office, which ended more than five years ago. As expected, he vociferously defended the PLP and its leadership while negating the socioeconomic suffering and health concerns of Bermudians. The cohost, Dwayne Robinson, stepped in a number of times to remind Mr Famous that the integrity of the broadcast was being undermined.
At present, Bermuda is more socioeconomically and racially polarised than we have been in the past quarter-century. Under PLP leadership, statistics inform us that the gap between the “Two Bermudas” has widened and continues to do so at a rapid pace. The racial divide, continuously flamed by divisive PLP politics for political gain, is deepening. Rich and poor Bermudians are fleeing our country weekly under PLP rule, seeking greener pastures because they have given up faith in the local economy to provide hope and opportunities.
Fellow Bermudians, we should no longer dance around the subject. When we soberly examine the policies and practices of the PLP, they are more aligned with the United Bermuda Party, with the exception of the latter’s economic track record.
The PLP, which has the last sitting leader of the UBP [Kim Swan] firmly in its ranks and another former UBP leader [Wayne Furbert] firmly in its Cabinet, uses the UBP to cast aspersions and point blame at the OBA. At some point, our nation will have to mature enough to see past the smoke and mirrors, and the political deflection used for political gain to the detriment of Bermuda — especially Black Bermudians.
Instead of growing the economy to provide hope, opportunity and employment, the PLP has opted to pass legislation that Bermudians can be paid as low as $12.50 per hour. Even it should admit that this is a derisory and insulting wage when global reports consistently cite Bermuda as having the costliest standard of living in the world.
While on the radio talk show, I constantly tried to bring the discussion back from emotional tirades to meaningful and constructive dialogue. I asked Mr Famous why a government with a 30-6 majority in the House and having been the Government for 20 of the past 25 years, “can’t get anything right”.
To back up my question, I will cite headline after headline:
• “Consumer Confidence Falls as People Worry about affording retirement costs – survey”
• “Hamilton Princess Casino plans fold due to time delays”
• “Government meets fishermen – 24 hours after in-person talks ruled out”
• “Investment analyst downgrades Bermuda’s fintech bank”
• “PwC survey: CEO confidence in growth declines dramatically”
• “Casino delays blamed on regulator’s lack of autonomy”
• “American Airlines to suspend 2023 summer Miami flight”
• “Inflation and taxes battering middle-class families”
• “Six jobs on the chopping block at Appleby”
• “Realtors fear rising construction costs could dampen new building”
I could go on and on. What is most alarming is that these headlines are all since January 2023.
These headlines and many others capture the prevailing mood of the country. We are a country in decline and we do not have the political leadership that has answers to the questions, challenges and problems that face our nation. What is even more frightening is that we have no room for constructive discourse regarding the state of the nation. Instead, all we have is deflection, disinformation, twisting of words, excuses and more excuses.
Mr and Ms Bermuda, there is no escaping it. No amount of posturing and PLP chest-beating can hide the facts staring us in the face. Our country is in trouble. We need to grow the economy to provide good-paying jobs for Bermudians, grow our population, pay down on our debt, lessen the tax burden on workers, improve our crumbling infrastructure, improve the quality of our public education, provide affordable healthcare especially to those most in need, entice local and foreign investment to our shores to provide sustainable growth, and to provide a safety net for our seniors and vulnerable citizens who require it the most.
Therefore, I will again pose the question that many Bermudians are asking, Mr Famous: “Why can’t the PLP government get anything right?”
• Vic Ball was a One Bermuda Alliance senator from November 2014 to July 2017, and more recently a candidate in the 2020 General Election in Smith's West (Constituency 9)
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