The following Op-Ed was released on Tuesday (Dec 6) by Dwayne Robinson, Approved Candidate for Constituency 30 Southampton East Central – One Bermuda Alliance…

From my experience, most Bermudians believe everyone deserves a wage or salary which allows them to afford necessities. But the debate I keep hearing is whether a minimum wage which hopefully scales into a liveable wage is the way to go, or will rebuilding the economy cause wages to rise due to organic competition in the economy?

A minimum wage is necessary as it combats corporate greed and helps protect a standard of life for lower income workers. The PLP is correct in its choice to pursue a minimum wage and eventually a liveable wage. However as usual the problem is its method of implementing its policies. A 30-seat majority Government should be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. 

In order for a minimum wage to be effective, there needs to be a strong economy to support it. 

Overseas, it was used to force high earning companies to pay an increased wage to their staff, one which they could clearly afford based on their massive business profits.  

In Bermuda, the businesses who will implement the $16.40 minimum wage are not making record breaking profits. In fact, most businesses in Bermuda are being strangled by less consumer traffic on island and the steady rise of the cost of living. 

This is concerning because the so-called economic plan that we hear the PLP tout is merely a string of ham-fisted initiatives when compiled together, will achieve minimum growth at best.  

What we have seen the Government do is threaten the livelihood of farmers and fishermen with its economic “stimulus” ideas such as the blue economy and vertical farming. 

This Government has shown repeatedly that it’s the PLP’s way or the highway, and there is no room for expert opinion if it’s contrary to its political agenda. The PLP is intent on pressing on with its flimsy economic plan despite numerous protests from stakeholders. This does not bode well for the viability of a minimum wage. 

Bermudian entrepreneurs are currently held back by lack of capital, equivalent to the cost of doing business, and a suitable consumer base for their service/product. 

 Bermuda needs immigration reform which allows people who wish to invest and live in this country, to do so. Pathways to PRC only fosters a get in and get out mentality, which has foreign workers here only to send money back home and invest overseas.  

If people believed they had a future here, they would invest in Bermuda, and drive industry/investment here which would create jobs for our Bermudians who reside overseas to return to.  

Organically, creating more capital in the economy for Bermudians create profitable businesses. This would only help sustain a minimum wage and allow us to scale up to a liveable wage. 

We cannot continue to cling to outdated protectionist policy and thinking. All of the progressive policies Bermudians need are held back by the lack of consumers, tax payers, and workforce on island.  

We need to increase our workforce by attracting job creators and workers to widen the tax base. The influx of foreign capital is sure to create new job avenues and industries for Bermudians to work in or to become entrepreneurs.  It’s vital that active avenues are created to change our peoples’ opinion of immigration, after poisoning them against it for so long. 

 Our Government is unsustainable and therefore it cannot work for you effectively or provide a stimulating economic environment for private sector growth. 

I support a minimum wage and the PLP is right in principle. However, it must tackle other issues concurrently, or the island will experience further job losses or businesses folding, which in this current economy would be catastrophic.  

Policies and initiatives pushed forward for political gain, without any real plan to tie them together, tend to have poor outcomes. Just look at the arbitration centre—a symbol of Progressive Labour Party pomp and pageantry when it meets the brick wall of reality.