The following Op-Ed was released by Progressive Labour Party MP Kim Swan…

The OBA makes a few claims that, on the surface, come across as if they are attempting toshow empathy with the working and middle class people of Bermuda.

Yet, when you do a tiny bit of research their claims are easily disproved.

As a prime example, they have claimed for years that the PLP is hostile to International Business. Yet, during their budget reply press conference they say that the success of IB and its effect on the economy is now a problem. IB are doing well, the PLP appreciate this and provide a collaborative relationship to ensure the voice of IB is heard to ensure they remain competitive and we remain their domicile of choice. The two most successful economic periods in Bermuda’s history that have both occurred under two different PLP administrations.

The OBA claimed that the Corporate Income Tax (CIT) would be harmful to IB. Yet, every IB association has given their verbal and written approval. The PLP took a collaborative approach and have taken the lead from the business community who fully support their views which were formulated into policy.

They also state that the PLP is unfriendly to guest workers. Yet, there is a rise in the number of both Bermudian and Guest workers across all industries. The facts are that the PLP introduced legislation that prevented the disruption of families and gave long term security to workers who had spent a substantial period of their life in Bermuda.

Emigration

They then go on to say that there is mass migration out of the island. Yet, the number of employed Bermudians has risen year over year. Let’s examine that claim:

● Are people emigrating? Yes

● Is there one single reason? No

● Is it the level that is being stated for political reasons? No

If one were to canvas any given constituency, approximately 95 percent of those on the voters list are either still there or moved to another constituency in the country. For further information, the constituencies with the highest level of movement in or out are C-16 Pembroke and 17 Pembroke.

Otherwise, the numbers in each constituency have not changed much.

As a prime example, there was a recent Bye election in C-8 Smith’s South. If the OBA were being honest, they would admit there were very few gaps between those registered and those still living in the same houses.

Every country experiences persons moving to different locations for vastly different reasons:

● Family connections

● Retirement options

● Education

● Career development

● Athletic opportunities

● Costs of living

Relief for the people

Let’s look at costs of living as a reason. Over the last few years the following has been put in place in order to lower the costs for the working and middle class people of Bermuda:

● Over 50 new affordable housing units brought on line

● Increased daycare allowance for young families

● Increased allowance for seniors at rest homes

● Increase in pay for Civil Servants

● No cuts to Civil Service

The facts are the OBA has never made any of the above social issues a priority. Both in government and out of government, their priority has remained: “Granting such individuals streamlined pathways to full rights” OBA Deputy Party Co-Chairman & C6 candidate Joseph Marable.

Simply put, their “math is not mathing up”.

No doubt, more can and must be done. Our balanced 2024/25 budget puts the government in a stronger position to do more for the people of Bermuda.

Kim Swan JP, MP