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OBA dismisses Burt’s Budget as ‘epic failure’ that ‘lacks courage’

Cole Simons, the Opposition leader, who will present the Reply to the Budget (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

David Burt has an out-of-touch “sunny” view of Bermuda’s economic reality, the One Bermuda Alliance has said.

The Opposition is making the dig at the Premier ahead of Cole Simons, the party leader, delivering his Reply to the Budget in the House of Assembly today.

Mr Simons is branding the Government’s set-piece financial statement an “epic failure”, accusing Mr Burt of losing control of the economy and not understanding the problems faced by Bermudians.

He is accusing Mr Burt of mismanaging taxes and fees and Mr Simons, who is also the shadow finance minister, is expected to say: “Why penalise our people and corporate citizens with increased taxes when the Government has totally mismanaged the recovery of the hundreds of millions due to it in taxes and fees?

“Clearly, the PLP Government cannot get its house in order, despite the offers of assistance by members of our international business community.

“The PLP’s 2023-24 Budget lacks courage.

“It should support Bermudians by creating new opportunities in the trades and by helping people to develop the skills needed to succeed.

“It is a clear sign that the Burt Government has had an epic failure, and they cannot continue to beat their chests and proclaim victory in the evidence of these failures, especially at the expense of Bermudians.”

The OBA is stating that the economy needs to be run like a business.

Mr Simons is expected to say: “A Bermuda economic recovery plan needs to be more than aspirational.

“Just like running a business, the plan must have measurable timelines and milestones, so that progress can be tracked and, moreover, so that we can define our road map to economic recovery.

“As it stands, the Government’s economic recovery plan has proven to be ineffective in delivering real growth to the economy, and a large portion of our economic wellbeing.

“Support must also be given to our retailers, restaurants, healthcare and tourism sectors. The continued reduction of payroll taxes is not enough.”

Mr Simons is set to accuse Mr Burt of not being in full control of finances.

He is expected to say: “How can the country raise $50 million to close a current account deficit, as suggested by Bermuda’s Fiscal Responsibility Panel’s annual assessment, when it cannot effectively manage and recover the $300 million due to it in accounts receivables?”

Mr Simons is expected to call for a greater emphasis on encouraging business creation and immigration.

He is set to say: “For years, the One Bermuda Alliance has been sounding the alarm for the need to attract new businesses and people to the island.

“Those cries have fallen on deaf ears.

“This Government has known for quite some time that the size and composition of our population can only be addressed by increasing immigration and strengthening and expanding Bermuda’s workforce.

“This should have been one of their top priorities, as our workforce challenge is likely the biggest challenge facing Bermuda and her people today.

“The glaring lack of new foreign investment in our economy supports the premise that there will be little growth within our economy for the foreseeable future.”

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Published February 24, 2023 at 8:13 am (Updated February 24, 2023 at 8:13 am)

OBA dismisses Burt’s Budget as ‘epic failure’ that ‘lacks courage’

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