Opposition Leader Cole Simons, One Bermuda Alliance

The following statement was released by Opposition Leader Cole Simons on Friday, November 5, 2021, as his initial response to the Throne Speech on behalf of the One Bermuda Alliance…

“This by far is the weakest and least impressive Throne Speech presented,” Opposition Leader Cole Simons said today [Nov 5], adding that “the people of Bermuda deserve better.”

Mr Simons said, “Today I stand here shedding a tear for Bermuda. I have been in the House for 23 years and this by far is the weakest and least impressive Throne Speech presented.

“It appears that the that the Government has lost the plot and is short of details on which the people of Bermuda can hang their hats on.

“The Country is still in a pandemic and the people of Bermuda wants comfort that we have this under control and that we are on the way to rebuilding our economy. The people of Bermuda is looking for leadership, hope, direction, and comfort. They want assurances from our Government that things are under control, and that the Country will be on a path for social cohesion and economic recovery.

“The Government has thrown around high level concepts with very little detail which will show how peoples’ lives will really impacted.

“In fact, it has left us seeking clarity. What is meant by, “Changes that were deferred have now become imperative for survival”?

“Are these constitutional changes? Immigration reform? Why leave the public to make assumptions instead of openly stating what it is referring to.

“Regarding the Economic Recovery Plan that the island so desperately needs, why is the Government continuing to pay for a bloating Civil Service. The fat needs to be trimmed and it needs to be sooner than later.

“The last thing Bermuda needs is a lost generation. It is imperative that we get the Bermuda Public Education System right. While we appreciate that it’s important for students to be aware of the trajectory of their education, and hence the introduction of signature schools, we have to ask the question? Why now? It seems like it’s being rushed. Students have struggled with the instability of the school system due to the pandemic…only now having to prepare for major change in the near future?

“There are higher priorities for education right now, including the continual improving for the quality of teaching and more support for students in the classroom.

“The One Bermuda Alliance is pondering…what does an integrated Health Care Model look like? While we give the Government credit for recognising that the current system is failing and needed to be revamped, will it be equitable for all? We’ve noticed that the interests of women are being addressed but what about males?

“What is being done to address the cost of implementing a new healthcare system and what is going to happen in the interim as the Government transitions from one system to the next. How will it be sustainable as we have a shrinking working population?

“The One Bermuda Alliance finds it incomprehensible that the Government is asking the Third Sector to lean on the private sector for funding. Charities cannot afford to take out loans at this time. It is not a sustainable model for their longevity.

“Regarding CCTV…the current islandwide system was implemented in the not to distant past. Why introduce a new system instead of enhancing the existing? It seems to me like another way to waste Government coffers when the monies could be better spent. What about addressing gun violence and road safety?

“It feels as if the days of the Bermuda Tourism Authority are numbered. One can’t help but to see the writing on the wall which clearly states it’s being dismantled and the Government is looking at taking back the control of the Tourism reigns.

“Let’s be honest..who can forget then Tourism Minister Zane DeSilva clearly stating on the floor of the House of Assembly….’We are going to rip out the engine.’

“Again, the OBA is disappointed with the fluff presented today. The people of Bermuda deserve better. You will hear more in depth from us during next week’s Throne reply.”