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Job creation and education keys to Covid-19 recovery, says OBA

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One Bermuda Alliance MPs said they hoped that the year ahead would attract job creators as well as bring a reduction in violent crime and calm to the roads.
Jarion Richardson (File photograph)

Jarion Richardson, the Opposition Whip and Shadow Minister of Labour and for the Cabinet Office, the MP for Paget West, said: “What 19th century industrialisation did to the craftsman, technology was already doing to the service worker before 2021. Stagnant wages were already pressuring employees along with increased cost of living.

“In 2021, Covid hastened all these effects. And it now adds inflation along with supply chain problems. In a country overly dependent on imports, these factors culminate to inflict real harm on service workers, particularly. It’s not been a kind year.

“And yet, the knowledge worker has done better than ever. Technological advancements made work mobile and convenient. Wages and bonuses for skilled knowledge workers will either be unaffected by Covid or improve.

“Bermuda in 2022 must navigate this dichotomy. How can a place so small be impacted by seemingly all the bad and all the good simultaneously? And it will do little good to rely on our normal approach – find a political scapegoat.

“Whether its inflationary pressure, supply chain interruptions or the steady march of technology, none of these are within our control. And the control we do have has resulted in deteriorating infrastructure, uncontrolled roads, ever-expanding violent crime and reduced social programmes.

“In 2022, Bermuda will be short of scapegoats. Now, the problems themselves must be adversary. Solutions must deliver a workforce for a 21st century Bermuda instead of a Bermuda that has already seen her best days.“

Scott Pearman, the shadow Minister of Legal Affairs and Home Affairs and the MP for Paget East said: “In the extreme immediacy, Covid caused loss of life and livelihood. For children, parents, teachers – coping with a third school year interrupted – education has been upended.

Scott Pearman (File photograph)

“Economically, the pandemic made worse an already debilitated local economy. Those working in the hustle economy have been hardest hit. Bermuda’s debt is a staggering $3.35 billion, excluding our underfunded public sector pension. Decades of reckless spending when times were good leaves nothing in the cupboard. Yet debts to foreign banks must still be paid.

“Government must focus on the creation of meaningful private sector jobs. This means attracting job-creators back to our shores. Long promised comprehensive immigration reform has yet to arrive. We desperately need to attract foreign capital back into our Island. Tinkering around the edges will not solve the problem.

“As this current wave shows, Covid will be with us for some time. We need a long-term strategy to cope with the next variant before it arrives.

“Let’s hope the onrush of 2022 brings some semblance of normality. If anyone failed to appreciate it before, now is the time to realise that our best chance of success requires us to come together as one Bermuda, one community where we put others before self. Turbulence will continue, but we can better weather the storm if we do so together.“

Susan Jackson, the shadow transport minister, shadow education minister and the MP for Pembroke South West said: “There’s no mistaking 2021 has been another challenging year. So many have suffered loss to Covid, violence towards one another and on our roads.

“Families are struggling from personal and financial loss. Our children haven’t had a solid year at school and we must make up the lost time.

Susan Jackson (File photograph)

“Our experiences in 2021 hold lessons and these learning must be considered and prioritised in our planning for 2022, whether it’s through legislation, services or otherwise.

“2022 is already welcoming the successes of entrepreneurship, environmental awareness and the arts. There have been a number of new ventures introduced to the local economy and are being well received.

“One of our challenges for the new year is how we continue to have businesses flourish in our local economy. Through all our challenges, we have budding entrepreneurs who have demonstrated our resilience as a community to forge ahead.“

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Published January 06, 2022 at 7:50 am (Updated January 06, 2022 at 7:49 am)

Job creation and education keys to Covid-19 recovery, says OBA

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