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Fahy: Economy not yet ‘totally bottomed out’

Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy has vowed “not to rest” until Bermuda's unemployment rate is down.

Currently listed at about eight percent, the Minister does not expect it to get much higher than that. But he warned “Bermuda's economy has not yet totally bottomed out”.

Reiterating the analogy he shared with Senators he said Bermuda's ship “still has lots of water in it, it's plugged, but it still leaks”.

“We're plugging those leaks but we have to right the ship first and we're on that track. We're moving in the right direction to do that.

“I think you will still see some businesses that will close because it's rough out there. It will then bottom out and things will improve.”

Part of that process he said will be the timeline for new immigration policies to kick in by generating results.

“We cannot rest until the unemployment rate is down; it's about eight percent,” said Sen Fahy.

Asked to respond to criticism that the new administration is primarily concerned with big business he said the main objectives have more to do with creating jobs for Bermudians.

Setting the stage for the future of Bermudian employment in the long term is about “stopping the capital flight” out of Bermuda first.

“No one is more frustrated than I in terms of these things because I like to see things happen as quickly as they can.

“I would say by this time next year yes things will be better but we have a five year mandate to get things to a place where we feel comfortable Bermuda is back where we need it to be.”

Based on the economic indicators for Bermuda from about 2007 up to to mid-2013 he said “things were not looking good”.

“They are starting to go in the right direction but they haven't bottomed out yet; that's my assessment.

“But what I'm saying is we know that we will start going in the right direction — as I said, the ship did not sink.”

To Bermuda's electorate he said: “They need to give us that opportunity to prove that we are doing what we said that we would do.

“When you look at the Throne Speech initiatives we're 90 percent there; we're getting there.

“Everything that is in the platform for the One Bermuda Alliance is a five-year plan. It takes time.

“Everything we've been doing in terms of job creation, the acts that we're doing, the apprenticeship programmes, that's for Mr and Ms Bermuda.

In follow up to his Labour Day announcement he said talks are ongoing between Government, Belco and a leading grocery chain in a bid to reduce the cost of food and electricity.

Said Sen Fahy: “We have got to get the formula right and they are now in a working group altogether with the Minister of Economic Development and others making proposals that will be reviewed.

“That's what they're doing, they are coming to us with proposals.”

Beyond that he would not be drawn on the status or contents of the proposals being drawn.

But he said: “They're aware that Government has concerns about prices. The same as with every day costs of living and every day costs of living for energy.

“Those are the two items of course that people need to live by.

“I said in my Labour Day speech this is something that we have taken on, as we said we would, to come up with some form or solution.

“What we're not going to do is come out and say this is going to come out tomorrow. We need to hear back and see what is palatable to them and what's palatable to us.

“I can't say what sort of things are being put on the table at this stage.

“If I say something that then turns out that that's not what we do, the next question is ‘why didn't you go that way'.

“I'd rather hold back until we have until we have the answer that everyone is comfortable with.

“As I said, the ship was sinking, we plugged that hole and there's still leakage. The ship hasn't sunk but we have to start bailing it out.

“It's important to note that's what we're doing, we're bailing it out to try and right the ship.”

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Published October 23, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated October 23, 2013 at 11:47 am)

Fahy: Economy not yet ‘totally bottomed out’

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