One Bermuda Alliance Leader Cole Simons delivered the Opposition’s Reply to the Budget 2021/2022 in the House today (March 5).

In his opening remarks, Mr Simons said: “Without a doubt, 2020 will forever be remembered as the year that the COVID19 pandemic struckthe world, and without warning, caused it to go into a free fall.It also helped to reset the dial for new global protocols.

We began the year with the presumption of living our lives in the normal manner; when suddenly, the world was abruptly plunged into a global pandemic.
We were mandated to shelter in place, work remotely in Teams, Zoom into meetings, study and worship online, purchased groceries online or on designated shopping days and spend more time with our families. Throughout riots and demonstrations of civil unrest around the globe, our new reality now includes social distancing, washing our hands with increasing regularity and compulsory wearing of masks in public places.
On the economic front, the societal disruption in Bermuda has been grave. Let’s face it, we were just not prepared for thistype of catastrophic event.
It was a shock to our economy. It was a stress test that revealed that Bermuda’s fiscal management under the Progressive Labour Party Government, was seriously lacking.
While Bermuda hasa great history of managing our way through disasters like hurricanes, the pandemic proved to be more than overwhelming.
We don’t have to look far to find that many of our sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, aunts, and uncles have lost, or are losing their jobs and we cannot stand idly by. We must do whatever we can, to support these families, both economically and socially. On this 21 square mile island, we are literally our brother’s keeper.
Mr. Speaker, 100yearold business institutions have closed, restaurants and popular retail stores have shut their doors and major sporting events were cancelled. Our tourism and travel industries are decimated, resulting in the closure of some hotels, guest houses, and the very dramatic rise Iunemployment across all sectors. This bleak economic picture will continue until
we have COVID19 under control. The One Bermuda Alliance believes that a healthy population is needed to support the development of a healthy economy. In addition, a robust national recovery plan must be crafted to guide Bermuda into an economic renaissance.
We’ll have updates in subsequent reports.