Cox praises resilience of Bermuda people
Premier Paula Cox has praised Bermudians for the way they have coped with the recession.She made the comments during a speech delivered on Friday in the Cayman Islands, which was released by her press officer last night.“I’d like to say something about the human contribution to Bermuda’s progress. How could I not, right? Recessions and financial hardships teach you something about the human condition, your own and those around you,” she said.“I’m talking now about the resilience of the Bermudian people as well as the way that our competitors have responded to us. It is said that the world loves winners. But in my experience, winners can also incur the jealous resentment of those who would like to have won.“In terms of lessons learned, it was clear that the economic downturn brought out the best and the worst in all of us. While some of our competitors saw it as an opportunity to score points, the Bermudian people saw it as an opportunity to close ranks, re-examine priorities and demonstrate caring leadership.”Ms Cox took the opportunity of her speech to recap on key achievements made since the Progressive Labour Party came to power.They included:l Free day care for eligible families, free tuition at the Bermuda College and free bus and ferry transportl The launch of Economic Empowerment Zonesl Attracting international businesses that led Bermuda’s risk management, insurance and reinsurance market to blossomHowever, she acknowledged the impact the global recession has had, and noted that Government recently raised the statutory debt ceiling.The Premier went on to say: “Job creation remains among our top priorities but we are also focused on job preservation. With this in mind we have introduced tax concessions and roll backs to protect thousands of jobs in international businesses, hotels, restaurants and retailers. Spearheading our national job stimulus plan is our Job Corps Programme and a new one-stop careers centre.“Of equal importance is the drawing up of new workforce development legislation and modification of our existing employment laws. Additionally, we will provide work permit exemptions and permanent residence to eligible job creators.”She expressed hope that “help is on the way” in that “the US economy is showing strong signs of resurgence”.In the meantime, she said, Government will focus on staying competitive in the future through educational initiatives such as the introduction of career academies to reintroduce vocational education in schools.The forum was hosted by the University of the Cayman Islands in collaboration with the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies, the University of the West Indies at Mona and the International College of the Cayman Islands.Meanwhile, Ms Cox is also set to receive special recognition in the form of an award from New York’s Woman of Great Esteem Organization, according to a report in the New York Daily News.The report states that Ms Cox will be both guest speaker and recipient of the group’s 2012 Award of Excellence when it hosts its annual awards dinner on Saturday. Ms Cox was previously honoured with an award from the organisation in 2006, when she was Minister of Finance.