The following statement was released on Monday, (Feb 27) by Opposition Leader, Cole Simons – One Bermuda Alliance…

As a longstanding Member of Parliament and leader of the Opposition, I am a firm believer in accountability; not just accountability to the people who I serve, but to my colleagues as well, whom I hold in very high regard. 

On Friday, in my Budget reply, a portion of my statement triggered a lot of discussion. 

When outlining the numerous ways the OBA would turn the economy around, I said we would reintroduce the Travel Authorisation fees, which can be embedded in ticket costs or paid upon arrival to Bermuda—a suggestion which was supported by the international business sector to help our struggling economy. 

I also stated we would examine the possibility of introducing a minimal Value Added Tax (VAT) on health care services. 

While the aforementioned were included in my Reply, I did not adequately consult with or vet these suggestions with our caucus – our Parliamentary representatives and candidates. 

It was an error in judgement for me to do this without consultation and I would like to extend a public apology to them and the people of Bermuda.  

Let me stress…the OBA does not want to see the residents of Bermuda burdened with any additional taxes and they do not wish to see the reintroduction of the Travel Authorisation or any affiliated fees. 

The OBA will not reintroduce the TA in any form. 

Over the weekend, I apologised to my colleagues; there was never any ill intent and our commitment, as a team, is to continue to work together for the betterment of Bermuda. 

We cannot lose sight that many people in Bermuda are barely surviving under David Burt’s PLP Government. 

The One Bermuda Alliance has a choice—we can sit back and allow more residents to hurt, or we can, in solidarity, hold the Government accountable for its actions.