Roban wants Bermuda to have 100 per cent renewable energy
Diversifying the economy and using new technology to compete will be vital to the future prosperity of the country, a Government minister said on Friday.
Lawrence Scott, the transport minister, said during the debate on the Throne Speech: “The only way is a contemporary approach using the latest innovations and trends, changes to the economy through economic diversification, financial markets, investment in infrastructure, an increase to the residential population and healthcare and regulatory reform to help the shortcomings and inefficiencies that were established and perpetuated under prior eras.
“We are doing this in the interest of future success.”
He said red tape had to be cut to promote success in business and criticised the Opposition One Bermuda Alliance, which joined forces with independents in the Senate to delay legislation on guided tour vehicles.
Mr Scott also criticised the Opposition’s reply to the Throne Speech.
He said that One Bermuda Alliance leader Cole Simons had failed to “sow seeds of hope or show that there was light at the end of the tunnel”.
Instead, he said Mr Simons was saying to the public: “Although you see light at the end of the tunnel, it is a train headed in your direction.”
He said the PLP government wanted an environment where a level playing field meant all Bermudians could succeed.
Scott Pearman, the shadow minister for legal affairs, applauded the Government for reassessing its healthcare plans, referencing a statement announcing the Ministry of Health, is to work with a steering committee “to develop a refreshed approach to health system change”.
Mr Pearman said: “I think the government is entirely right to press pause on the basic health plan. It is a chance to get it right.
“Government has described it as a multiyear journey towards universal healthcare coverage, and yes, we are supportive of that journey but again it has to be right.
“The previous iteration was a government-led, unified system which was a tremendously bad idea. Universal healthcare is a tremendously good idea but it has to put patients first, patients have to be at the centre of what is driving the reform.
“We have to bring costs down and we need to rely on private sector professionals not the government because very rarely is the government any good at service delivery.”
Mr Pearman voiced concerns about the Government curtailing freedom of information, saying the Pati [Public Access to Information] Act had been “good for Bermuda’s governance on both sides of the aisle”.
He also called on the management of the Bermuda Tourism Authority to remain “in the hands of industry professionals”.
Walter Roban, the Deputy Leader, said improving the healthcare system was a priority.
“After the past nearly two years, one should not doubt that a better way to finance and provide quality care is sorely needed.”
Mr Roban said he hoped to see 100 per cent renewable energy in Bermuda.
“It makes great economic sense and environmental sense,” he said.
“I am hoping to tell the country how we will get to 100 per cent and I look forward to telling that story. It will take innovation, it will take new technology, it will add new skills, investment and diversity to the sector.”
He said Bermuda would become “the hub of the North Atlantic” for the sub sea cable industry, adding that global companies had expressed interest in Bermuda.
Jarion Richardson, Opposition Whip, said the government needed to tackle gang violence.
He said the violence was “interconnected” with other problems such as dangerous driving and domestic violence, issues that had been left “undone or half done” and which will take a unified effort to overcome.
Mr Richardson said the Government helping to secure loans for faith organisations and the third sector was misguided.
He said: “It’s certainly not for the benefit of the charity over time”.
David Burt defended the move, saying: “We are being responsive to the call which has come to us as a government, recognising that helping agencies need help and we are going to do our best to provide that help inside of the constraints that we have.”
The Premier said the replacement of the Tynes Bay facility was “the biggest infrastructure issue that this country is facing”.
Diallo Rabain, the education minister, said it was “an insult” that Mr Simons was seemingly unaware of public education reforms publicly announced months ago.
They included the selection of CedarBridge Academy and The Berkeley Institute as the first two signature schools which Mr Simons said in his Throne Speech reply he was “surprised to learn”.
Mr Rabain urged the Opposition to “pay attention”.
Susan Jackson, the Opposition spokeswoman on transport, applauded the government’s aim to transform the way the country operated.
She said: “Those words resonated with me. It’s a humbling situation that we have had to live through, but it’s a rare opportunity.”
Ms Jackson added: “There’s nowhere we can go but up. Maybe we can begin to reinvent ourselves as a community.
“We have been doing things the same way with the same mindset for so long. For many of us it has not served us well.”
But Ms Jackson said: “I’m not sure we have got the innovation and imagination to make that change.”
Mr Burt closed the debate, saying it was important that the island unite.
“What I would encourage all of us to do is to reflect on the need for us to be unified as we approach the challenges,” he said.
“I hope we can have constructive debates and criticism from the Opposition. It is vital that where we find ourselves in this cross roads we must all be rowing in the same direction …
“This mission is to ensure we have social renewal and economic recovery in this country.”