♦ The following statement was released by PLP MP Dennis Lister III this morning, Monday, November 19, 2018
The second Throne Speech of the PLP Government is one that is in total alignment with our historic vision for a better, fairer Bermuda.
It speaks to:
* Dismantling systems of inequality
* Addressing the high cost of living
* Promoting policies of greater fairness and equity, where the potential of Bermudians is limited only by their individual determination to succeed.
* The belief that one’s primary employment should provide for one’s primary needs, and that no one should have to work back-breaking hours just to remain in poverty.
* Strengthening protections for employees, whether unionised or not
* A move away from the preservation of the status quo. Bermuda faces specific challenges, and those particular challenges are stopping our people and our economy from reaching our country’s full potential Because Bermuda’s healthcare costs are too high, it’s adding an ever-growing burden onto families, seniors, and businesses that just isn’t sustainable and doesn’t make sense.
The Government has pledged to change the way we pay for health care and make it more affordable by expanding access to coverage at better rates. This means that the needs of Bermudians will finally take precedence over insurers’ profits.
Because too many Bermudians are struggling to find affordable housing, the government, via the Bermuda Housing Corporation, will construct residences in the City of Hamilton. This property will provide affordable studio and one-bedroom apartments for rent or purchase.
This will put independent living in reach of many of Bermuda’s young people who want to own their own place and move out of their family homestead.
Because Black Bermudians are falling behind in gaining access to higher education, the government has pledged to expand access to a college education by increasing the financial aid grant so that more young and mature students have a chance to earn a degree.
We have also committed to launching the merit-based “College Promise” programme which will award scholarships to the Bermuda College to public school graduates with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Because Bermuda’s tax system is unfair, creating circumstances where a CEO pays the same amount in contributions as their lower paid employees, will, in turn, modernise the tax system.
Because Bermudian families are struggling to make ends meet, the PLP had pledged to provide relief to hard-working families through a series of measures. This includes, but not limited to, engaging alternative financing regimes, which guarantees to reduce mortgage costs and repayments, and where required, legislation.
Because Black Bermudian entrepreneurs have been locked out from being able to compete for government contracts, the government will introduce a Public Procurement Bill that will require local company participation through partnership or investment. This will occur whenever a high-value government contract is awarded to a foreign company.
Because our young people deserve more opportunities, the government will begin basing young Bermudians in London, Brussels, and Washington DC to shadow the Government’s representatives in those cities, thus gaining invaluable experience on the world stage. This programme will be further enhanced by a revived internship initiative to secure fresh talent for careers in the Public Service.
The initiatives that I have laid out, why they are being done, and who they benefit, ties back to the values and vision of the PLP. Initiatives like these, and all the many other items that the government will execute in the coming year, are what Dame Lois and L. Frederick Wade fought decades to bring to reality.
It is what Bermudians called out for over the past 4 years facing pepper spray and being forced to protest against their own government. We are the inheritors of that vision, and it is our job to make it a reality.