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Hustle Truck faces axe

The Hustle Truck faces cancellation after its funding was cut to zero in this year's Budget.

Health Minister Zane DeSilva yesterday called for private companies to step forward and ensure the project designed to help unemployed people into work can keep going.

Speaking during the Budget debate on National Security, Minister without Portfolio Michael Weeks underlined the successes of the Hustle Truck introduced by Labour Minister David Burch.

However, Mr Weeks concluded his speech by saying it would have no funds this year. He told the House of Assembly: “No Bermudian should be disadvantaged by the end of the programme in this form.”

He said a new programme, Hope For Life, involving a bright orange bus visiting schools, headed by community worker David Bascome, would help young people.

Deputy United Bermuda Party leader Trevor Moniz said: “The Minister paid tribute to the Hustle Truck, but he ended up saying this programme would not be funded for the coming year it would be simply cancelled.

“The Hustle Truck seemed to be a very much an initiative of Senator Burch. It seemed to have had some difference.”

Mr DeSilva said many people given temporary manual jobs on the Hustle Truck had found permanent work in areas like pot washing and landscaping.

“The private sector might want to come in to keep that going,” he said.

“All of the businesses in Bermuda are well aware of the success and need for the Hustle Truck programme.”

Bermuda Democratic Alliance MP Shawn Crockwell said he hoped the business community would take up the suggestion, saying: “We have heard for many years of how outstanding the Hustle Truck has been. It begs the question now, especially as unemployment goes up, that the programme that helps in that area has gone.

“You would think it would not lose its funding.”

UBP MP Charlie Swan said: “I have to admit when that programme first came into being, I thought it was a good idea.”

Mr Swan suggested incorporating it into the National Training Board.

Also during the National Security debate, MPs spoke of the importance of the Bermuda Regiment, which has suffered $1 million in cuts, affecting local training operations and wages.

Mr Weeks said his time in the Regiment broadened his outlook in life and introduced him to the kind of people he never met growing up in the back of town.

Mark Pettingill of the BDA, Progressive Labour Party backbencher Randy Horton and Mr Moniz all said the regiment was performing an important service.

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Published March 01, 2011 at 1:00 am (Updated March 01, 2011 at 8:45 am)

Hustle Truck faces axe

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