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House: PLP job creation motion rejected

Motion spurned: Wayne Furbert led the motion to form a bipartisan job-creation committee (File photograph)

A Progressive Labour Party proposal to form a bipartisan job-creation committee has been unanimously rejected by the One Bermuda Alliance.

PLP MPs responded angrily to the snub, with Jamahl Simmons accusing the Bermuda Government of being “uninterested in the input of the wider community” and Wayne Furbert, who led the motion, taking to Facebook to claim “they really do not care about us”.

Mr Furbert had suggested the Joint Select Committee be appointed to help “create new jobs [and] explore the impediments that are preventing the creation of new businesses and the barriers for Bermudian entrepreneurs”.

“We need a national agenda that all parties sign off on particular issues,” he said on Friday at the House of Assembly. “We’re either going to work together, or we’re going to die together.”

Acting Opposition Leader David Burt also urged the OBA to approve the committee.

“We can have more comprehensive solutions by working together. This has been proven time and time again,” he said.

“We are not trying to run the Government. We are trying to make recommendations and suggestions for the Cabinet to consider.”

However, Minister of Finance Bob Richards said the Government planned to “keep on doing what we’re doing”.

“There’s no magic bullet here. You can’t press a button, pull a lever or flip a switch and have a bunch of jobs here for people,” he said.

“What we have to do is make Bermuda more competitive. If we can get international businesses and tourism to expand, then we can create jobs for Bermudians.

“There is a need, and this need has been seen by the Government and we are executing a plan to address these issues.

“It’s not simple, but I do believe we’re making progress. We’ll continue on that course and we’ll be successful.”

After the motion was spurned, Mr Furbert said: “It is clear that the OBA doesn’t have a monopoly on ideas on how to get our people back to work and remove the obstacles to local business creation.

“Far too many Bermudians who believed in the OBA’s undelivered promise of 2,000 jobs are still unemployed, still underemployed or still seeing anywhere but Bermuda as the land of opportunity.

“We believe that we have a contribution to make in getting Bermudians back to work and it should begin now through a bipartisan approach, rather than forcing out-of-work Bermudians to wait for a change of government.”

Mr Simmons, the shadow tourism and economic development minister, added: “While the OBA remains uninterested in the input of the wider community, we will reach out to stakeholders, community groups and entrepreneurs to see how the next PLP government can create more opportunities for Bermudian entrepreneurs.

“We know there is more work to do, and though the OBA Cabinet think they have all the answers, we will listen to the people.”

• This article was amended to correct an error. The comment from Bob Richards, the Minister of Finance, had been incorrectly attributed to Sylvan Richards, the Minister of Social Development and Sports.