OBA vindicated by rise in employed Bermudians

  • Major event: the 35th America’s Cup put the island on the global map (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    Major event: the 35th America’s Cup put the island on the global map (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

I want to thank my counterpart in the Progressive Labour Party for giving me an opportunity to highlight some of the achievements the One Bermuda Alliance was able to accomplish during its tenure.

In a statement, Owen Darrell, in an effort to bring attention to the present government’s achievements, noted that “Bermudian employment in the economy is up”.

Indeed it is, and I want to thank him for his kind acknowledgement of the work done under the OBA government.

You see, Mr Darrell did not quote the source of this good news, which was the 2018 edition of the Bermuda Job Market Employment Briefs.

This report stated: “The number of Bermudian job holders rose from 23,494 in 2016 to 23,667 in 2017, an increase of 173 jobs. This is the first increase in the total number of jobs filled by Bermudians since 2006.”

There are two very important takeaways from this report. The first is that these findings focused on 2017, and of course we all know the PLP was elected only halfway through that year.

We also know that it takes time before government policies take effect, so it is virtually impossible that this rise in the number of Bermudians employed could be attributed to the PLP.

In objective reality, it was owing to the job-creating policies employed by the OBA, which oversaw huge new investment in the country in the form of hotels, the new airport and, of course, the America’s Cup.

Second, and I want to repeat part of what the report said: “This is the first increase in the total number of jobs filled by Bermudians since 2006.”

That means between 2006 and 2012, six years of PLP government, there was no increase in the total number of jobs filled by Bermudians.

Maybe the PLP should wait for another year to see how its actions are reflected in the jobs total instead of unwittingly confirming what the OBA has said all along — we produced results.

Mr Darrell also tries to claim a rise in tourism numbers as a PLP success, which is equally disingenuous.

It was an OBA decision to set up the Bermuda Tourism Authority, and it is the Bermuda Tourism Authority which is responsible for the rise in visitor numbers, but Mr Darrell seems happy to ignore its existence.

Once again, Mr Darrell, on behalf of the OBA: “You’re welcome.”

The PLP should focus on why employment income is down, why GDP is down, why the volume of retail sales is down, why business confidence is at its lowest, why new taxes that punish Mr and Mrs Bermuda have been introduced, and why the PLP has broken its promise to lower healthcare costs, next year’s premiums are really going to hurt us all.

When Mr Darrell’s party has addressed those issues, then perhaps he can begin claiming victory.

More likely, however, the PLP will continue to parrot the Trump Administration’s playground antics: taking credit for the previous government’s achievements while failing to deliver on its own promised outcomes.

It will cynically keep trying to convince voters that the OBA is the source of their woes despite overwhelming empirical evidence to the contrary.

That may continue to work for a while, but the worse things get, the more the PLP’s supporters will realise that they’ve been misled by the very people they put their trust in.

The truth shall always set you free — manipulative populist anger has a very short shelf life when it becomes harder to pay your bills and feed your family.

Simone Barton is the chairwoman of the One Bermuda Alliance

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Published Oct 15, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 15, 2018 at 8:55 am)

OBA vindicated by rise in employed Bermudians

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