How they did: a look back at last year’s Throne Speech
With the Throne Speech scheduled for tomorrow, we look back at what happened to the pledges made in last year’s legislative blueprint - which was shorter than usual because of the Covid-19 emergency.
Of 22 key pledges made last year, nearly half, 10, have not been met, a total of six were honoured and six remain partially done.
Promise: “The Government will introduce a Bermuda Health Plan that will, through technology, maximise efficiencies via an integrated healthcare model.”
Reality: No comprehensive plan has emerged.
Promise: ‘The Government will mandate pharmacies to provide pricing information on the most commonly prescribed medications to establish a national drug formulary.“
Reality: Ministers followed through on the pledge to reform drug pricing.
Promise: “The Government will complete the transformation of the public school system, collaboratively designing an improved system for Bermuda.
“Middle schools will be phased out, and Bermuda’s public schools will revert to a two tier system of primary schools followed by signature schools at the secondary level.”
Reality: Some changes have been made, but this is still a work in progress.
“The Government believes that we must respect and value young people’s contributions to society and in so doing will develop a National Youth Policy to foster direct engagement of our youth in the creation of government policy.”
Reality: No such policy has yet materialised.
SUPPORT FOR YOUNGSTERS LEAVING CARE
Promise: “To fill the void that exists when young people ‘age out’ of government care, the Government will establish Independent Living Coordinators who will devise individual plans for our young people coming out of care.
Reality: The initiative has made slow progress.
Promise: “Create the Bermuda National Digital Bank, to reform banking laws and regulations, and to establish a Bermuda base interest rate.”
Reality: While progress has been made on a code of conduct for financial firms, creation of the digital bank and a home grown interest rate has failed to materialise.
FIRST TIME BUYERS
Promise: “To assist families in their home ownership aspirations, the Government will introduce further pension reform to allow for the use of a portion of pension account balances to fund a down payment on the purchase of a home for first time homebuyers.”
Reality: This has been done.
Promise: “Capital projects will be advanced to keep people employed while refreshing our infrastructure.”
Reality: The Government has followed through on this commitment.
Promise: “Reform laws and policies that will aid in developing an ecosystem so that technology companies can base their operations in Bermuda.”
Reality: This has been achieved.
Promise: “Revisions to the long-term residential certificate policy to require those granted the right to live in Bermuda to make economic investments in the Island or to invest in the new Bermuda Trust Fund, which will be set up to benefit those who have not had the benefit of historic, inherited wealth.”
Reality: This has gone through.
Promise: “Modernise Bermuda’s intellectual property regime. This Bill will protect the rights of local innovators and add to the arsenal of legislative underpinning required to promote the development of this potentially lucrative area of economic diversification.”
Reality: Has not gone through.
Promise: “During this session, the Government will lay the foundation for the necessary changes to our system of taxation, which currently exacerbates economic inequality while stifling much needed economic growth.”
Reality: Little sign of any substantive reform.
Promise: “Recommendations for necessary changes will focus on achieving a revised constitutional model that provides the Government with the flexibility needed to best advance Bermuda’s economic growth.“
Reality: Nothing has really happened on this front.
Promise: “The Government will introduce a Bill to address “revenge porn”, and online “assaults”.“
Promise: The Government will establish the Office of the Public Guardian to provide independent services and support for seniors, children and other vulnerable persons.“
Reality: Has not happened.
Promise: “The outdated Child Care Placement Board will be replaced by a Children’s Commission.”
Reality: It did not happen.
Promise: “The Government will develop and invite the Legislature to consider a National Seniors Strategy, with particular emphasis on dementia care and a prevention plan for seniors’ abuse.”
Reality: Still a work in progress.
Promise: “The Legislature will take under consideration a Bill to grant a leasehold interest in the St. George’s Club to the developers of the St. Regis Hotel and a Bill to support the construction of a Marina in the Town of St. George.”
Reality: Failed to be fulfilled.
Promise: “A national crime prevention plan will focus on prevention, rehabilitation and reintegration.
“A Bill to create a Police Authority will be introduced.”
Reality: No significant plan has emerged from Government. And there is no Police Authority.
Promise: “Reform to the system of financial assistance that will better place recipients on a pathway to employment.”
Reality: Little progress has been made in this area.
Promise: “Take under consideration a Bill to harmonise the licence fees for public service vehicles and to modernise various aspects of the Motor Car Act 1951.”
Reality: There has been movement, but a lot more still needs to be done.
Promise: That MPs and Senators would consider nine specific Bills in the parliamentary session.
Reality: Only some of them were enacted into law.