• The following statement was released by the Shadow Minister of Finance, One Bermuda Alliance Senator Nick Kempe following twelve (12) consecutive months of declines in Bermuda’s retail sales volume, which he attributes to a “direct result of Government policies”…

We have seen the Sugar Tax increase grocery bills, we have seen small Bermudian businesses hit with the dividend tax and we’ve seen increases in Government spending and related taxation.

“Business and consumer confidence is down yet Government continues to spend and tax. The effects of all the new taxes in this year’s budget have yet to be felt but will all take money out of people’s pockets and will surely further inhibit their ability to spend in local businesses.

“To make matters worse, employees and employers in the private sector will be disproportionately hit by Government’s recent rushed health care ‘reform’ which does nothing to tackle runaway health care costs.

While the Payroll Tax concessions were given to employers in IB and only the largest select retailers, there was nothing for the rest of Bermudian business in other industries or for the smaller players in the retail sector.

That needs to change as small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and employ thousands of Bermudians. There has been nothing to help them.

The OBA has stated that a clear and welcoming immigration policy is needed to ensure that we can attract the global expertise and capital needed to grow our stagnant economy and drastically increase our working population.

The OBA had a successful twin track policy – reduce Government expenditure while creating economic stimuli such as the America’s Cup which put some $340m into the economy and construction projects such as the hotels and airport – the only projects underway that have contributed to an increased GDP.

This Government has failed to control its spending, it has increased the cost of living and failed to stimulate the economy.