Election 2020: OBA would drop sugar tax
A One Bermuda Alliance government would remove the sugar tax and help to develop sectors that are particularly attractive to younger people, the party said today.
Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, its finance spokeswoman, added that the OBA's economic framework included tackling immigration policy “to derive more spending and long-term investments in Bermuda”.
She said: “The OBA will also pivot Bermuda from its somewhat disconnected approach to development to a more integrated, well informed and results oriented paradigm that will link education and training to development needs on the basis of research data.
“Along with encouraging the platforms for our young people and Bermuda to seize the lucrative opportunities in the tech world and worldwide cultural industries, the OBA will position our country as an international resource and research centre around our natural assets.
“There is much to do.
“But one critical step will be the rationalisation of the heavy taxes on Bermudians and the removal of the sugar tax.” Ms Gordon-Pamplin added: “We urge every Bermudian to pause and consider the current circumstances of reckless management of your money, the Progressive Labour Party's addiction to borrowing, Bermuda's mountain of debt and the harshness of everyday living because of high and climbing prices.
“We urge every Bermudian to analyse our solid proposals which are well-considered, achievable, will stabilise our economy and set us up for growth and jobs.
“We urge every Bermudian to understand that there is no investment confidence in Burt and the PLP.
“The wild running around at this last-minute handing out money that Bermuda cannot afford for electioneering purposes is exactly the reason why investors have no confidence in Burt and the PLP. And without investments we do not grow.”
David Burt also spoke on the economy at a PLP press conference today.
The Premier argued: “In these tough times, we need a government that has a plan to address the economic crisis and a record of delivering for Bermudians.
“These are going to be tough times, and some tough decisions need to be made and the question in this election is who is best able to see us through a possible second wave of the virus as well as the economic recovery.”
Mr Burt said the PLP had successfully met the challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic and added: “That's exactly what we're doing now with the economic recovery — with programmes like Work from Bermuda and how that model can be scaled.
“And, leveraging the revolution in digital payments to allow us to create a new digital bank that will allow us to offer low-interest loans to Bermudian entrepreneurs and homeowners.”
Ms Gordon-Pamplin, who will go up against the PLP's Christopher Famous in Devonshire East, said that the OBA's “overall framework for progress” included “a check on massive borrowing” and the removal of disincentives to doing business.
She added that the party planned small business development targeted at Bermudians.
Marcus Jones, the OBA candidate for Pembroke West, where he faces Jache Adams of the PLP and the Free Democratic Movement's LeYoni Junos, said that his party planned to “reduce the tax on purchasing US dollars and reassess all new and burdensome Burt administration taxes, which have increased your cost of living”.
He said that job creation would be the primary focus of all economic planning and that living standards could be improved “by creating an environment that attracts foreign investment into our country, allowing for job creation”.
Mr Jones added that the party would work with banks, international businesses and other organisations to “address the systemic inequalities that affect Bermudians”.
He said: “The social impact of Bermuda's high cost of living has impacted negatively in many areas, including the emigration of Bermudians to other jurisdictions.
“We must stem the flow of our intellectual capital — our people.”
Mr Jones added that the OBA planned to “integrate green technology into all aspects of Bermuda, including encouraging the increased use of solar power” and “gradually stop social assistance once a job is secured that pays sufficiently to give hope to the recipient and a clear path to self-sufficiency”.
He said that the 60 per cent ownership rule would change “from ‘Bermudians' to ‘residents' to encourage investment into Bermudian businesses from those who are already committed to Bermuda”.
Doug DeCouto said that the OBA would promote jobs in entertainment and technology — including robotics, animation, design, music and the environment — “so that our young people who are naturally oriented towards these cutting-edge sectors can monetise their creativity”.
He added: “We also need to place more emphasis on future generations and ensure young people are able to enter the job market.
“Too many of our young people do not see upward mobility or job offerings that entice them to stay in Bermuda. We need to give them a foot in the door.
“To that end, the One Bermuda Alliance will look at introducing tax incentives for employers who hire young people in entry level jobs, such as in hospitality. And we would also look to increase paid internships that lead to job placement.”
Mr DeCouto is standing in Warwick North Central where he faces the PLP's Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the FDM's Collingwood Robinson as well as independent candidates Antoine Raynor and Maria Seaman.