Amid unprecedented unemployment levels, compounded by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Progressive Labour Party has pledged to “introduce further pension reform to allow for the use of a portion of pension account balances to fund a down payment on the purchase of a home for first-time homebuyers”.
Outlining the Government’s agenda for the next legislative session, Governor John Rankin said the move was designed “to assist families in their homeownership aspirations”.
“A new generation of Bermudian owners will be urged to use this opportunity to transform the City of Hamilton into a living city again,” he added.
“Concurrently, these new owners and existing mortgage holders will be protected by a Bill to mandate enhanced consumer protections for loans and mortgages.
“Fulfilling the moral imperatives of these times will be realised by fiscal management that sustains the most vulnerable and creates the foundation to deliver the transformed society the Government has promised.”
On that note, he said: “During this Session, the Legislature will be invited to consider Bills to create the Bermuda National Digital Bank, to reform banking laws and regulations, and to establish a Bermuda base interest rate.
“Shares in the Bermuda National Digital Bank will be available for Bermudian ownership, providing an opportunity for a new generation of investors to create lasting wealth by supporting the next wave of financial services, connecting Bermudians to the global world of digital payments.
“The reform of banking laws will increase competition in this sector, introducing new classes of banks to Bermuda to boost the economy, and harmonising the Bermuda base rate charged by local banks while working with these banks to reduce the interest
rates charged on mortgages.”
Bermuda’s parliamentarians will also “be invited to approve additional capital development spending to stimulate Bermuda’s economy” during this parliamentary session.
To boost the island’s ailing economy: “Capital projects will be advanced to keep people employed while refreshing our infrastructure,” said Governor Rankin.
“A revised capital development plan will be produced, setting out targeted project expenditure to keep Bermudians working while the global economy recovers from the economic shock of the Coronavirus Pandemic.
“The uncertainty of these times cannot be allowed to deter the efforts to promote diversification of this economy. Bermuda’s effective management of the Coronavirus and the rigorous testing regime at our borders has provided an avenue of growth which the Government will continue to exploit.”
What the electorate has yet to hear is where will all of this money to fund these capital projects come from, or just how much further Bermuda’s national debt will climb as the deficit continues to grow.