Craig Cannonier, Opposition Leader

In response to Premier David Burt’s remarks at the PLP Annual Delegates Conference, Opposition Leader Craig Cannonier issued the following statement:

“The PLP has now been in Government for almost 18 months yet it is still acting as if it were in Opposition, taking cheap shots at the OBA instead of concentrating on governing and fixing an economy that is steadily in decline,” OBA Leader Craig Cannonier said.

“The Premier used his speech to his party’s annual conference to mislead the people of this country and to cast aspersions without answering key questions.

“He claims the OBA doubled the national debt yet fails to explain that there was no option in order to cover the huge budget deficits left by the previous profligate PLP Governments. If they had been in power, the debt would probably have trebled such was their poor record of spending the people’s money.

“They claim that 2000 jobs were lost but overlook a Department of Statistics report which showed an increase in jobs for Bermudians last year – the first such increase since 2006 – which was down to OBA policies which are still benefiting this country.

“It should also be noted that unemployment under the PLP almost trebled between 2000 and 2012 and when we came to power we continued to suffer from poor PLP policies.

“The OBA cut the cost of health care, unlike this Government which raised costs and paid $1.2m to a former PLP Premier and doctor, and it was the OBA that oversaw the creation of jobs with investment in projects like the new airport and hotels. The OBA created the Bermuda Tourism Authority which has successfully revitalized the industry, which is benefiting this current Government.

“”he PLP were in power from 1998 to 2012. They have been in power for 15 of the last 20 years – the issues we see today are a direct result of their policies and we were left with no choice but to make the tough decisions that had to be made to get this country’s spiraling debt, the legacy of PLP Governments, under control. This year would have been the year the OBA would have balanced the budget.

“”t is time for the Premier to stop trying to prop up his agenda by making personal attacks and to start telling the people of this country when the jobs they promised will arrive, when the burden of new taxes will be reduced, when health care costs will come down, when businesses can again look forward with confidence in Bermuda, when the fall in the volume of retail sales will be stopped and when the budget will be balanced.”

Mr Cannonier concluded: “Those are the issues Mr and Mrs Bermuda want to see addressed. They are not interested in puerile PLP rhetoric.”