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We do have a choice

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David Burt’s last big election victory was to see off the PLP leadership challenge from Curtis Dickinson. Vic Ball believes that next General Election should be just as tense (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

The Progressive Labour Party has been in political power for 22 of the past 26 years. During this period it has convinced the majority of voting Bermudians that it is the best government that Bermuda is capable of. It even goes as far as to suggest that it is the only government possible. The question being raised is, what does our nation have to show for its boastful hold on power?

The PLP has sold us the idea that it is the party of working-class Bermudians, if for no other reason than it has the word “labour” in its name. Therefore, it will champion the plight of the working masses, protect us from labour exploitation and improve the quality of life for the working class.

For some reason, the sales job that it speaks to us is contradictory to how it governs. Based on its 22-year-old track record, PLP governance does not know how to grow the economy, improve our education, eliminate our national debt, fix our roads, increase the value in our homes, lower the cost of living, or put more money in our pockets to feed our families, send our children to university or pay our bills.

PLP governance, having failed miserably to meet even this basic bar, has definitely not afforded working-class Bermudians the opportunity to enjoy the good life of increased financial security, having extra resources to invest and to enjoy overseas family holidays.

During the years of PLP governance, our sense of security has significantly declined. Gangster life has now infiltrated our existence. Gun crime and murders are now accepted permanent features in our society. Additionally, our elders, who built this country, are now deciding whether to eat, pay bills or leave the island their hands have built up.

Bermudians have come to accept that our economy is now a one-legged stool overwhelmingly dominated by international business. Unfortunately, tourism, which is the bedrock of income for the labour class, is dying a slow and painful death under the PLP.

The majority of us have lost any hope that the PLP will revive the Fairmont Southampton. However, you can bet that the Premier will create some grand promise around the time he finally decides to call an election. He has deceptively used that building to maintain his hold on power, so you can guarantee he will sell us another promise in the near future.

One question keeps springing to mind concerning the Southampton hotel: where would another 30,000 tourists magically appear if it were revived? In typical Burt fashion, he has seen to it that Bermudians are on the hook for would-be private investors to foot the bill if the project fails.

Additionally, how desperate must PLP governance be to grant a hundred million dollars in concessions to a developer that reneged on paying the labour-class workers their redundancy of $11 million after closing its doors? At the same time of granting concessions to wealthy foreigners, our “can do nothing right” government is charging Bermudians an extra $500 per apartment to submit their architectural drawings to the planning department. Is this what “standing strong” for Bermudians means?

Bermuda, now that we have sifted through the PLP rhetoric and have considered based on reality and actual performance, what is this form of governance factually telling you?

If you drive to work, if you still have a job, the rattling of your suspension against our crumbling roads is telling you.

The exodus of students from public schools to go to private schools for parents who can barely afford it is telling you.

The pessimism of young people and our elders who see no future in this country is telling you.

The absence of loved ones and friends who have already left our island to seek better opportunities abroad is clearly telling you.

If you have not noticed yet, the PLP does not even waste its time any more denying its failures or providing a better way or plan forward. It simply resorts to saying the Opposition would not do any better. The PLP has given up trying to instil hope into the country; instead, it tells us that we should be thankful for its governance because the alternative would be worse.

There is scandal after scandal that is shrugged off with smug, self-serving arrogance, as if to say, “So what? Who are you gonna vote for instead?”

Our retail sector is on life support, but the PLP continues to tell us how great the economy is performing. The fact is, if it persists in believing it is doing a great job, it will never fix the glaring challenges that the nation faces.

The PLP doesn’t have to account for the blatant waste of money ($100 million) occurring at the Bermudiana Beach Resort on South Shore, Warwick. It has not even tried to maintain our roads, but simply patch them up until the next downpour washes away the remedial work. We also had a cyberbreach that has gone largely unanswered. However, in its arrogance, it tells us that we have no other choice at election time.

It has recently told us it will balance the Budget, but we can be sure that will not happen. We need $100 million to resurface the roads, the education system is significantly lacking resources, our elderly require a safety net, the recipients for financial assistance are growing, our healthcare system requires assistance, but the PLP lets us know quite often that it is our only choice at the polls.

Recently, the PLP passed the Loans Amendment Act 2024, which gives David Burt, the Premier and Minister of Finance, the opportunity to further deplete what little reserves we have left. He gave himself unlimited authority to do as he sees fit with our resources and nothing can be done about it because Bermudians have no choice.

October 2025 is the absolute deadline to call the next election. Use your choice wisely.

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)

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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Published April 05, 2024 at 6:59 am (Updated April 05, 2024 at 6:16 am)

We do have a choice

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