Opposition Leader Cole Simons released this statement after the news conference held on Friday, February 25, 2022, to discuss the One Bermuda Alliance’s initial response to the Budget delivered by Premier & Finance Minister David Burt…

Residents of Bermuda have all been waiting to hear the 2022/2023 Budget with anticipation.  

It’s no secret that many are struggling to make ends meet.  

It was hoped that this Budget would offer all of us a glimmer of hope for a better tomorrow. 

As the One Bermuda Alliance examines the Budget at first glance, we can’t help but to feel that all Premier Burt’s Government has done is kick the proverbial can down the road. 

This was not a responsible Budget.

Instead, it felt like a political one — an election budget. 

Hard decisions have to be taken in order to improve Bermuda’s financial position, and this Budget did not fit the bill.  

It lacks courage. Premier Burt surely played sweet melodies to rock our residents to sleep… but don’t be fooled. 

A 10 percent saving in vehicle tax does not compare to the increased inflation rates and cost of living in Bermuda. 

However, we have not been given a realistic view of where we are going to be fiscally in the next year.  

The Government says that it will refund taxes. Our question is…how is this plausible when we are lacking revenue? There are scant details where the revenue is coming from besides stamp duty, customs and tourism.  

How can we provide this with the colossal debt that we have? 

Once again, the Government is misleading the people. 

The people of Bermuda need tangible and measurable ways to grow our economy, not offer people false hope by creating smoke screens. 

We have to ask…. does Premier Burt’s Government possess any real solutions? Very little was said about the Economic Recovery Plan. 

The Fiscal Responsibility Panel, which was birthed by the former OBA Government, has done an excellent job. However it seems the panel is repeating itself. This is the third year that it has asked for the Tax Reform Commission to be embodied, and still nothing. How do we know that today’s recommendation will not fall on deaf ears yet again? Just do it. 

Although he is stopping short of saying it, Premier Burt is finally admitting that in order for the island to thrive, immigration policies must change. The OBA has been calling for this since it’s inception. We need a minimum of 10,000 new residents to bolster our economy. There is no if ands or buts about it. We need bodies on this island. 

The interest payable per hour is approximately 15,000 an hour for Bermuda’s outstanding debt.

 24 hours a day.  

Seven days a week.  

Each and every one of us in Bermuda is paying it back. This debt service payment is 10 times more costly than what the Government gives our young people and 5 time more than seniors. 

The Government Actuaries have indicated that the public sector  pension fund is due to be depleted by 2044. Imagine what that sounds like to a young person at the beginning of their career. This simply cannot happen. If we stay on this trajectory, we see even more young Bermudians emigrating. Let’s do everything we can to keep them here and attract talented Bermudians back to the island. But Bermudians need to see and believe that they are returning to something that will offer them real opportunities. 

The Progressive Labour Party cannot keep blaming the OBA for its failures.  

The PLP have been the Government for over 20 years and the people of Bermuda are tired of this narrative.  

The time has come for the Government to acknowledge that it has played a great hand in where the island is today.  

It’s time for the Government to create a better future for Bermuda. 

We need to focus on solutions.