FDM puts green revolution at heart of platform
The Free Democratic Movement has promised to use green energy to reduce the cost of living in its General Election platform.
The FDM said: “Energy costs in Bermuda are prohibitive and will remain high as long as we are trapped by our dependency on fossil fuels.
“We can and will do better. Therefore, our goal is to build a clean and affordable energy system that restores hope to our young people and brings pride to our community.”
The platform said the party would work to move the island from a traditional power plants structure to generation with renewable energy such as solar, offshore wind turbines and wave energy.
The FDM added that more work had to be done to promote technology that minimised pollution and conserved water and energy.
The party said: “Sustainable development, based on a system of economic growth that respects the needs of our people and the natural resources of our unique island, will allow us to improve the living conditions of our populace while safeguarding our future.”
The Progressive Labour Party proposed to develop an “energy regulatory sandbox” in Bermuda to encourage developers of new technology to test their products in Bermuda, investment in electric buses and amend legislation to give Government greater power to control energy costs.
The One Bermuda Alliance pledged “the introduction of low impact inputs, including renewable energy components, that improve efficiency and combat environmental destruction”.
The FDM, which will compete in its first General Election tomorrow, also proposed the development of “silver”, “green” and “blue” economies based on technology, cannabis and the island's marine resources respectively.
The party said fintech would not be a mass job creator and branded it a “replacement for human labour”.
But the FDM said the industry could still provide the island with investment and entrepreneurial opportunities.
The platform said the party would promote private sector development of the infrastructure needed to enable an international payments ecosystem based in Bermuda.
The platform also included a pledge to introduce a remote gaming industry through amendments to casino legislation.
It said: “Bermuda has wasted time and money on the outdated idea of ‘bricks and mortar' casino gambling with no benefit to the country with the exception of a select few.
“Meanwhile, since the pandemic, remote gaming has proven to be one of the few sectors that have created value for investors, entrepreneurs, job seekers, tax authorities and customers.
“It is the position of the FDM, that a Bermuda-based remote gaming sector will be a source of employment, tax revenue, entrepreneurial opportunities, foreign exchange, economic empowerment and a viable alternative to the demands of public sector job creation.”
The PLP and OBA have both proposed the introduction of casino gaming if they won power.
The FDM platform pledged to move forward with cannabis legalisation to address the “disjointed, contradictory” policies on the drug.
The platform said: “The FDM intends to not only fully realise the economic potential of legal cannabis, but right the social ills caused by the criminalisation of cannabis.
“An FDM government will legalise the use of recreational cannabis, creating a market-based, private-sector licensing framework for its production and distribution.”
The party said the set-up would include education and strict penalties for people who tried to sell to young people.
The last PLP government also proposed fresh legislation on the legalisation of cannabis and released draft regulation for public viewpoints.
The FDM said it would develop the island's fishing industry, coupled with protections to safeguard the environment.
The platform added: “The next FDM government recognises that our Exclusive Economic Zone is a key component of economic diversification.”
The party pledged to work towards the creation of a shore-side processing centre and help find capital investment for a fleet of modern fishing boats.
The platform also proposed the use of drone technology to monitor the EEZ.
The PLP has promised to create a fish processing plant and the OBA has suggested the introduction of a community fish market.
The FDM also said it would put Bermudians and Bermudian culture in the forefront of the island's tourism industry and remove red tape that prevented innovation.
The platform added: “This level of regulation must be relaxed so that the customers and business owners may freely engage in voluntary exchange.
“If we want the type of action that induces visitors to spend money, then it is the FDM's position that we need to use freedom and fun as our strategy.”
The party also proposed allowing entertainment venues to stay open until 6am and the removal of regulations that prevent the creation of beachfront businesses.
The platform also suggested a further relaxation of the 60/40 rule to allow overseas non-food franchises and the lifting of regulations to allow the development of vendors and small businesses in designated areas.
Collingwood Robinson, the FDM candidate for Warwick North Central, said he would work to provide better training in technical subjects and help to tackle the high cost of living.
Mr Robinson said: “Our country has become far too reliant on overseas trade workers which weakens both our domestic workforce and our economy since a large portion of their income leaves our economy permanently.
Mr Robinson added: “At a time unemployment is at an all-time high, the cost of basic living is over the edge and hard-working Bermudians are struggling to maintain mortgages, rent, food, health insurance and further education of their children, how does the average Bermudian household cope with making ends meet?”