Schools back to normal and social equality the PLP’s hopes for the new year
Christopher Famous, the MP for Devonshire East said: “Any politician can speak fluffy words about ‘goodwill to all men’ or ‘wanting peace on earth’. The public is generally unmoved by such overused words.
“In the years ahead, leaders in all areas need to do adequate research of facts then speak those facts with both unvarnished words and direct actions. As a country and region, we face challenges far beyond petty partisan politics.
“In 2022, subjects such as the rising costs of foods, the slow but eventual rise in sea levels, lack of adequate numbers of skilled tradespeople, the lack of road safety, and, eternally, threats to our sovereignty, are but some of the issues that must be thoroughly examined, discussed and digested by the people of Bermuda. Everyone must realise that these issues, along with violence and our economic realities, will adversely affect the entire community.
“In 2022, we will transition our education system to teach our young people skills that will provide them with a lifetime of employment.
“We will continue to employ Covid mitigation measures in order to prevent more loss of life and jobs.
“As leaders, we must not be afraid of public criticism when we have to speak and act in the best interest of the entire community.”
Owen Darrell, a senator and junior labour, finance and health minister, said: “As I reflect on 2021, I cannot help but pay tribute to the outstanding work of Bermuda’s healthcare workers. With their work alongside the Government and Bermuda Health Council, over 70 per cent of our population was successfully vaccinated and that success has continued with our booster vaccination programme.
“We ensured that those on the front lines have the resources they need to continue their critical work with the opening of the new Molecular Diagnostics and Research Laboratory in July.
“The hard work and dedication of our teachers and students with remote learning ensured that our students' education was disrupted as little as possible.
“Bermuda saw the opening of the first new hotel on our shores in decades as the St Regis opened its doors to the public in May.
“However, I also cannot reflect on 2021 without remembering the 106 lives lost to the pandemic, and those 17 people that have passed on our roads. These are real people who were sorely missed during this holiday season.
“As I look to 2022, my hope is for minimal disruptions to our lives from the coronavirus and that we can move beyond the pandemic. I hope that our country can continue along the path to economic recovery, and recovery of our tourism industry that supports so many Bermudian workers.
“I look forward to continuing to improve our education system for our students and for the future of Bermuda, and hope for the healing of our collective mental health which has been greatly challenged over this last year.”
Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education and MP for Devonshire North Central, said: “The biggest concern as both a father and the Minister of Education is the pandemic's impact on our children and their ability to attend school and learn.
“While I am incredibly proud of the efforts put in by our educators and our students, I am well aware that this is anything but normal for them. However, as we continue to learn how to live with Covid, I am confident that we will see a return to our children being able just to be children and grow and learn in a more normalised way.
“Since March 2020, we have lived differently and I am grateful that, while I have not been able to visit my constituents face to face as much as I usually would, the use of technology has helped us stay in contact with each other.
“Despite it all, I am grateful for being on a team that has led Bermuda through this crisis. While it has not been all smooth sailing, my parliamentary colleagues and I have weathered the storm and provided for those who needed providing for.
“Lastly, I am grateful for the ability to still get together with my close family and celebrate our Christmas tradition of dinner and gift exchanges.
“I encourage Bermudians to remember that we are one big family and we all need to look out for each other. I am sure we will navigate this pandemic as long as we continue to be a source of inspiration for each other.“
Jamahl Simmons, the MP for Sandys South, said: “2021 was tough for us as a government but it was even tougher for those who were unemployed, underemployed, under-housed or struggling to survive.
“For 2022, I truly believe it's all about addressing the systemic challenges that maintain economic and racial inequality. I believe we have the team that can move to close the employment gap, the wage gap, the housing gap, the opportunities gap and all of the other things that make up the ‘two Bermudas’ we were originally elected to address in 2017.
“As the MP for constituency 33, I haven't forgotten who elected me and why. That's why I will do all in my power to help make that vision a reality.
“Also, too many of us look down on the poor and struggling, forgetting the old adage ‘there but for the grace of God.’ While personal responsibility must never be brushed aside, a significant number of our people struggle not because they are lazy, not because they don’t have an education but as a result of the systemic imbalances in our economy and our society.”
Kim Swan, the MP for St George’s West, said: “I’m excited for St George’s as we led the way with the opening of the St Regis hotel, the restoration of St George’s Golf Course with its rebranding to Five Forts Golf Club and government’s commitment to the building of a new marina in 2022.
“All three represent major infrastructure upgrades for the East End that made it necessary to also upgrade sewage and water systems. Having a newly developed hotel, golf course and marina within the same community justifies much needed infrastructure upgrades, now well under way, and others forthcoming. The knock-on benefits for our community are appreciated.
“The Bermuda Tourism Authority experiences initiative featuring White Horse’s bands on a barge helped St George’s become the light of hope for more promising economic fortunes in 2022.”