Still working hard for the people
While the Government is focused on diversifying our economy and expanding jobs and opportunities for Bermudians, the One Bermuda Alliance seems more focused on fighting for the status quo, protecting the privileged and undermining the work we are doing to improve the lives of Bermudians.
The OBA has opposed the introduction of a living wage, opposed mortgage relief for Bermudian families and opposed healthcare reform that will lead to better, more affordable healthcare for Bermudians.
With the Government attempting to diversify our economy via technology, the OBA has chosen to focus on one of the 82 tech companies that have come to Bermuda under the Progressive Labour Party government in a futile attempt to undermine the success of our vision.
The Premier has invited the OBA to ask questions on issues of concern during Premier's Question Time. Instead, the OBA has chosen not to ask questions in Parliament in favour of a campaign of innuendo, scaremongering and outright falsehood.
For example, the deputy leader of the OBA, speaking about a building legally acquired by a Bermuda company, referred to it as “an acquisition, which, by the way, proceeded before the company was even incorporated”. One hundred per cent false. The irresponsible dissemination of an outright falsehood reinforces our belief that the OBA is more interested in disrupting progress than in operating in the best interests of Bermudians.
Many companies that are looking to establish operations in Bermuda have expressed concern about the campaign of innuendo and the level of malicious probing that they have witnessed others experiencing while seeking to establish ties with Bermuda. We are aware of at least one instance where a company decided to domicile elsewhere as a direct result of probing that it determined was both malicious and harassing in nature. This undermined our efforts on the global stage, damaged Bermuda's reputation in the tech space and, perhaps worst of all, Bermudians who had been offered jobs saw those jobs disappear, landlords who were looking forward to earning income from the rental space saw their potential tenant withdraw and an opportunity that would have benefited Bermuda as a whole was lost.
The Bermuda Monetary Authority is a globally respected body that acts as the independent gatekeeper for Bermuda in the digital asset industry. It has contributed immensely to Bermuda's sterling reputation and all of Bermuda — especially the OBA — should have every confidence in its ability to scrutinise companies that wish to operate from our shores. Global companies have choices and any company that is willing and able to meet the standards of risk management and disclosures, as determined by the BMA, is welcome to do business in Bermuda. Those who cannot meet that standard are invited to choose another place to domicile.
The PLP is working to diversify our economy and is bringing forward solutions to change the status quo and build a better, fairer Bermuda. The only solution the OBA has offered to improve our economy is more of the same; a return to the OBA approach of opening the immigration floodgates and pushing Bermudians to the sidelines, which was rejected by the people.
By its policies and legislation while in office, the OBA demonstrated that it was more interested in protecting the status quo than working to improve the lives of all Bermudians. Its actions surrounding economic diversification demonstrate that it cares more about political point-scoring than working collaboratively to increase economic opportunity for all in Bermuda.
• Dennis Lister III is a government backbencher and the MP for Warwick West (Constituency 28)