Rich need to help us spend our way out of trouble
Ruling party Senator Vincent Ingham has called on members of the community, especially the private sector and higher income individuals, to do their part in bringing about economic recovery.
Sen Ingham noted that the latest Bermuda Omnibus Survey had found a lack of confidence in the economy and that most residents do not expect the recession to end soon.
Concern about the economy increases with household income and where persons are older than 35, he said.
“We will not move out of this recession unless every single person on this Island tries to make a difference,” he said. “We will not move out of this recession unless every single company tries to make a difference.
“If we believe that the only entity responsible for changing is the Government then we have got it wrong. We need the people of Bermuda participating in every way possible.”
Sen Ingham said that the Island’s rich, especially, had a role to play.
“They need to spend their money,” he said. “They need to contribute in every way possible to what can trigger activity in our economy whether it be that small job, that roof, that interior modification to the house. Every person with money should be looking at ways to support our construction sector.”
The Senator said that renewable energy was a $100 million industry.
“If those folks who have the money were really about doing their bit to reduce their greenhouse gases, if they were serious about reducing our dependency on oil, if they were prepared to do their part in looking at these systems and engaging contractors to build these systems, that would be a tremendous stimulus to our contracting community,” he continued.
“But how many are doing it? How many are wiling to step up and do their part?
“Unfortunately, that same group are probably the most pessimistic about what needs to be done and what can be done. Because they are looking in the wrong direction.”
He said: “If they were looking within their own households and they were looking for the opportunity to make a difference, they could make a real difference.”
The Senator went on to say that there were some local companies which still had “solid bottom lines” and challenged them to do their bit with measures such as investing in physical plant or building new warehouses.
The Senator also argued that the Island was booming until 2008 when the global recession kicked off.
“In 2008, everything started to become unravelled in the States, precipitated by the crisis in the banks. Lehman Bros going down caught the world by surprise,” he said.
“Back home in Bermuda we were still riding the wave but we did see change coming.”
He said some international businesses made decisions to relocate, pressured by the downturn and US regulatory pressures.
“This recession in the States was indeed having an impact on decision-making in Bermuda,” Sen Ingham continued.
“I can remember when Bermuda was placed on the grey list. And all this attention was being placed on Bermuda because of what was happening in the world economy.”
Banks also stopped lending money which negatively impacted Bermuda as financing for projects dried up.
And US corporations started looking internally for places to hold their conferences because they didn’t want to look unpatriotic.
“The global economy had an impact worldwide. And I don’t think it’s fair as we look back to that critical period, 2007 to 2010/11, to simply dismiss it.”
In her presentation, Opposition Senator Toni Daniels agreed with Sen Ingham about everyone doing their part. But Sen Daniels said that Government should admits its failings as a first step toward restoring public confidence in Government.
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