Partisan politics not the way forward on Morgan’s Point
“If you do not have a record to run on, then paint your opponent as someone to run from”— Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States
It is so typical of the Progressive Labour Party to try to paint the One Bermuda Alliance in the worst possible light at every opportunity, taking the focus off their own failures before 2012 and over the past 26 months since winning the election in 2017.
Just look where we stand today, with economic statistics portraying a dismal picture, confidence in Bermuda at its lowest point since the inception of the survey, and Bermudians emigrating on a regular basis.
The writer of the PLP op-ed will not face up to these realities, just like he would not stand up and take his party to task over the $330 million budget deficit that the OBA inherited in 2012, the astronomical increase in debt under the PLP watch, the doubling of the Berkeley contract from about $70 million to $140 million, the fiasco with the Dame Lois Browne-Evans Building, the $45 million squandered on the failed Grand Atlantic and the Auditor-General's report outlining serious challenges and potential lawbreaking in the way the PLP handled the public purse.
The writer also forgets that it was the PLP, under pressure before the 2007 election, which orchestrated the land swap with the principals of Morgan's Point to get them off the Southlands property and put them on the brownfield site that required significant remediation.
When the OBA became the Government, we faced very difficult circumstances with a government that could not meet payroll in January 2013, deficits that were threatening to drown Bermuda, an economy that was in a tailspin and many other significant challenges.
As former finance minister Bob Richards has said on numerous occasions, we took a two-track approach to turn the island around: a plan to balance the budget over the next few years and to attract badly needed inward investment of capital.
While we were not perfect — we made mistakes along the way — we did turn around the wellbeing of the island in spite of the constant headwinds we faced, often manufactured by the PLP to regain power.
In fact, the only positive signs in our economy at present started under the OBA. But what happens when the new airport terminal opens next year, Belco construction ends and St Regis opens in 2021?
Arbitrade is not the answer.
Fintech has not created the jobs promised.
The multitude of memorandums of understanding proudly displayed by the Premier, David Burt, are not even worth the paper they were printed on.
The situation at Morgan's Point is a concern and not what we envisioned when the guarantee was agreed to by the Government and by Parliament.
However, while hindsight is 20/20 vision, I am not going to question the decision today, but instead my colleagues and I are willing to work with the Government and Morgan's Point to turn this situation around, to get the project going again, make sure creditors are paid, complete the development and open it for business!
Wouldn't it be a breath of fresh air to work together for Bermuda, put aside the partisan politics and to help the people we serve!
• Michael Dunkley, the former Premier of Bermuda, is an opposition backbencher and the MP for Smith's North (Constituency 10)