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OBA’s Woolridge hits back at survey findings

Senator Lynne Woolridge

The ruling One Bermuda Alliance has hit back after a major business survey suggested political strife is denting business confidence in Bermuda.

Senator Lynne Woolridge, the OBA chairwoman, spoke out after the Business Confidence Index Report found that private-sector leaders were concerned over political strife.

The report said: “More than one third of business leaders feel that better Government leadership/political stability would positively impact the business climate in Bermuda.”

At the launch of the report last week, John Wight, the Chamber of Commerce president, said that March’s protests which saw the House of Assembly shut down over proposed legislation on pathways to status had “shook the island big time”.

He added that there was “great uncertainty in the political arena” and that had fuelled nervousness in the business sector and a reluctance to increase staff or make major investments.

But Ms Woolridge said: “In democratic countries all over the world, political parties approach their work in Government with enthusiasm and zeal, determined to do their best for all the people they serve.

“As we see every day, doing their best sometimes generates controversy, which can be noisy.

“That noise doesn’t mean that governments are failing or even that they are particularly stressed. It just means politics is sometimes a noisy business.”

Ms Woolridge added that the survey had provided some “very, very encouraging signs”, including that eight out of ten businesses reporting that they felt better off in 2015 than the year before. And 75 per cent expected the economy to continue to improve this year.