OBA urged to focus on policies, not PR
David Burt, the Acting Leader of the Opposition, last night chastised the ruling party for failing to concentrate on policies for the people over bettering its communications.
Mr Burt's address was billed as responding to a July 25 national address by Michael Dunkley, the Premier, shortly before Cup Match.
Mr Burt said that the Progressive Labour Party had learnt from its mistakes since losing the Government — and would deliver an administration that listened to the concerns of the people if successful in the next General Election.
The statement focused on the ills of ordinary Bermudian families, who Mr Burt said had been left out in the One Bermuda Alliance promise of an economic turnaround.
The Shadow Minister of Finance said that stagnant wages, seniors left with a choice between medicine and food, and a scarcity of jobs had become “the reality of life for hardworking Bermudian families”, causing many to emigrate in search of opportunities.
It was a chance for Mr Burt to take a shot at the OBA's concessions to business, with another charge that the plan for a new terminal at L.F. Wade International Airport would benefit the Canadian contractor, Aecon, at the island's expense.
“Meanwhile, our children attend crumbling public schools and Bermudians struggle to pay their monthly power bills while earning less than 1 per cent interest at local banks,” Mr Burt continued. While Mr Dunkley had commended the Government's record on senior citizens, Mr Burt said the elderly were paying more even as their first pension increase in five years fell short of inflation.
Touching on recent concerns within the OBA over the party's image and connection with ordinary Bermudians, Mr Burt said the ruling party “might” have a communications problem.
“But more importantly, they have a policy problem,” he said. With an election approaching, Mr Burt said the Opposition had spent the last four years “learning from our mistakes in Government”.
The PLP, he said, had been receptive to the public and vigilant in holding the Government accountable.
“We have a plan, Vision 2025, to position Bermuda and Bermudians to meet the challenges of the rapidly changing global economy. As a people, we can work together to reform our education system, empower Bermudian entrepreneurs, and to build a diversified 21st-century economy that works for all.”