Fahy: It’s going to get worse
Government Senate Leader Michael Fahy has warned that Bermuda still faces tough economic challenges — and that the Island's unemployment situation could get worse before it gets better.
Wrapping up Wednesday's debate in the upper chamber, the Home Affairs Minister said that Government was “setting the stage” for job creation, but that it will not happen quickly.
“We have talked about the creation of 2,000 jobs — that's 2,000 jobs over a five-year period,” the One Bermuda Alliance Senator said.
“I wish I could snap my fingers and have full employment and I don't doubt that the Opposition have the same aim, and that's full employment.
“What the Government is trying to do is set the stage for that job creation — but it won't happen quickly. I say to the Senate and Bermuda that we will do anything and everything we can to bring about that employment.”
He pointed out that, with one exception, all aims of the Home Affairs Ministry as laid out in February's Throne Speech could now be ticked off and that extra sessions of Parliament could become the norm in order to get legislation approved.
“I am not prepared to sit back for a long summer when work needs to be done. We will not rest until we can turn the economy around,” he said.
“A lot of people have found the last ten months tough and I am telling you now that it's going to get tougher, it is going to get worse.
“We haven't turned the corner. We're going in the right direction but we haven't turned the corner.
Referring to a soon-to-be-filed report by the Spending And Government Efficiency Commission, Sen Fahy said: “SAGE is coming and they are going to make recommendations that no one is going to want to hear and it will mean cutting costs.”
Responding to allegations from the Progressive Labour Party Senator Diallo Rabain that Government was courting foreign business leaders at the expense of suffering Bermudians, Sen Fahy said that it was essential for the Island to “take into account the wishes and desires” of international business because the sector provided up to 80 percent of investment into Bermuda.
“We're not just about big business, we're about the opportunities that big business brings,” he said.
Addressing differing attitudes to international business, Sen Fahy acknowledged that the sector could be “unthick-skinned”.
“We just want to be careful in the language that we use with international business,” he said.
“I have found in meeting after meeting after meeting over the last ten months with people coming into my office lobbying, the constant theme is that we have to be careful how we put things.”
He stressed he believed that both the OBA and PLP had the same goals, but disagreed on how those goals could be best achieved.
“I encourage us all to let's find some agreement on how the Bermuda economic model works.
“We don't have to like everything that we do here, so I simply say that if the Opposition is on the same page as the OBA as to how the economy works, let's say we're on the same page.”