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OBA Must Answer Union Allegations

 We listened carefully as Bermuda Union of Teacher's President Michael Charles explained that:
*  OBA ministers have only taken a 6.7% pay cut not the 10% they have publicly claimed

Bermuda Progressive Labour Party Spokesman, "We watched and listened
with great interest to ZBM's "Let’s Talk" discussion with Bermuda's
Union leaders.

We listened carefully as Bermuda Union of Teacher's President Michael
Charles explained that:

*  OBA ministers have only taken a 6.7% pay cut not the 10% they have
publicly claimed

*  There has been no expansion of pre-school as the OBA have claimed

*  There has been no Professional training for teachers as the OBA have claimed

We listened carefully as Bermuda Industrial Union  President Chris
Furbert explained that:


*  The Millenium ferry will actually cost the people of Bermuda 2.4
million in combined fees of leasing and fuel.

*  There will be 6 guest workers instead of 4 as the Minister of
Transport claimed

We listened carefully as Bermuda Public Services Union President Kevin
grant explained his organization's willingness to engage in a
discussion on true shared sacrifice as to date, the burden has been
heavily borne by the workers.

The PLP would like to commend these leaders and their membership in
their forward thinking. As a Party born out of the labour movement for
equality in pay and working conditions for all Bermudians, we stand
with the Workers, the Civil Servants and Teachers of Bermuda for the
uplifting of the people of Bermuda."

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PLP Congratulates VIP Best of the Best Award Winner

April 15, 2013

The Progressive Labour Party today congratulated Ms. Betty-Jean Gilbert on her "Minister of Tourism Best of the Best Award", received this past weekend at the 12th Annual VIP Excellence Awards.
 
Shadow Minister of Tourism, Mr. Wayne Furbert, JP, MP commented on behalf of the Party, "We are certainly pleased to extend our congratulations to Betty-Jean on this accomplishment.  She represents all that is positive and uplifting about the hospitality industry and we commend her on her success.
 
Party Leader, Mr. Marc Bean, JP, MP, echoed Mr. Furbert's comments, and also recognized the other successful award winners.  "I too pass on my congratulations to Betty-Jean on her award winning career, and I further extend congratulations to all the winners on Saturday night.  We of The Progressive Labour Party firmly support the hospitality industry as one of our economic pillars.  With mentors and role models like the individuals that were acknowledged on Saturday night, we can see that we are on the right track."

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PLP Leader on Boston Marathon Bombing

"Party Leader, Marc Bean JP MP, expresses his regret at the unfortunate events that marred the Boston Marathon.  His thoughts are with the city of Boston, the participants in the marathon, the families of those killed, and all of those that were injured.  Mr. Bean also would like to give a special mention to those Bermudian residents who participated in the marathon especially Chris Estwanik who finished a solid 21st. He is grateful for their safety."

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Bermuda Voted For Change in the Country and Change in the PLP

Op Ed by Party Leader, Marc Bean, JP, MP

 

Since December 17th many politicians and
political thinkers have been focused on understanding why the PLP lost and what
the next five years will hold for Bermudians. 
For many families however, those issues take a back seat to figuring out
how to pay their bills, feed their children and find a job.   Bermudians are deeply concerned about rising
costs that are destroying their quality of life.  In some, there is a growing feeling of being
displaced, pushed aside and unwanted in their own country.   More and more, our people are becoming
dissatisfied at a social, economic and political structure that benefits the
few and down presses the many.  Some have
given up on political solutions to what are essentially social and economic
challenges. 

By their vote and by their absence, Bermudians voted for
change and The PLP has to change as well. 
We lost on December 17th, but we had lost touch, lost our way
and lost our connection to the people long before that historic date with
destiny.  As many of our mothers taught
us, “Those who do not listen, must feel.” 
We did not listen, you expressed your dissatisfaction, disillusion and
disappointment and we felt it at the polls. 
Now we are ready to listen.  

Because of our collective action and inaction, you had come
to believe that all politicians were the same that our promises meant nothing
and that no matter who formed the government your life wouldn’t change in any
appreciable manner.  The lessons we’ve
learned are simple; if we don’t stand for you, you will not stand with us.  If we do not focus on the things that matter
to you, The PLP will not matter to you. 
If we do not acknowledge our mistakes, learn from them and never repeat
them, you will not acknowledge that we have changed and will not support us.

Over the coming years, we intend to show you that we have
learned, have changed and can be different. We will do this not through flowery
words or through outlandish promises, but by our action.  First, we are reaching out and reconnecting
with you through town hall meetings, open mic nights and of course,
canvassing.  We will take your advice,
criticism and when necessary chastisement, in the interest of building a new
PLP that speaks for you, works for you and fights for you. 

To change, we must encourage, support and enable a new
generation of leadership to step to the forefront.  New ideas, new ways of doing things and a new
vision will have to be welcomed, embraced and given an opportunity to
prosper.  All while honoring and
cherishing the wisdom and experience of those who came before us.

To transform into a new Progressive Labour Party we must,
with our partners in the Unions, craft a 21st century vision for
Labour.  The PLP has learned that to be
Pro-Labour we must also be Pro-business, as it is businesses and job creators
that create opportunities for jobs for workers. 
We must expand on this lesson and craft a vision that moves beyond
discussions of wages and benefits, but to one of ownership and empowerment.

We have learned that “nanny government” has stifled the
growth, development and political and social maturity of our people.  We suffer from a collective dependency with a
focus on consuming instead of producing. 
To change and combat this, we must craft a vision that creates a path
for individual self-determination with a view towards expanding our perception
of what we are capable of and what we can do for ourselves.

As we change to reflect the changes in our people, we must
also remember the values of those who came before us.  Values that speak to fairness and a vision of
a Bermuda where if you work hard, educate yourself and persevere you will not
be obstructed or impeded remain our values. 
Values that speak to faith and not being content to prosper while our
neighbour suffers remain our values.

We lost power on December 17th but have gained
something better.  The opportunity to get
back to our roots, take a long critical look at ourselves and make real lasting
positive change in both our Party and in our country.  We in the Progressive Labour Party know that
we still have a long way to go to earn back your trust, faith and support. But
we are prepared to put in the work to earn it. 
You require and deserve a strong voice that will put Bermudians first,
that will champion the forgotten and the suffering and that will empower our
people.  I hope that you will join us as
we build a Progressive Labour Party that can accomplish all of these things and
even more.

 

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Statement by Shadow Minister Michael Weeks

The name change for the Bermuda Day Half Marathon has created a great sense of anger and displacement among many Bermudians.  The historical and cultural nature of this event, the positive memories it evokes and the spirit of community it has created over the years, have been negatively impacted by the decision to change its name.

Culture means everything to a people.  In the interest of unity in the community, the preservation of an iconic Bermudian event and cultivating the spirit that Bermuda Day is intended to engender, we urge the sponsors to reverse this decision.

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Statement by The Hon. Wayne Furbert, Shadow Minister for Tourism

Shadow Minister for Tourism, The Hon Wayne Furbert today commended his
OBA counterpart for following through with tourism plans established
by the PLP.

For Immediate Release
April 10, 2013

Statement by The Hon. Wayne Furbert, Shadow Minister for Tourism

Shadow Minister for Tourism, The Hon Wayne Furbert today commended his
OBA counterpart for following through with tourism plans established
by the PLP.

Mr. Furbert said, “The Progressive Labor Party laid a strong
foundation in tourism which allowed the One Bermuda Alliance to
successfully move forward with ideas to revitalize this long stagnant,
critical industry. From the revamped marketing theme, “So much More”,
the establishment of a Tourism Board with authority to promote and
market Bermuda and most importantly, the National Tourism Plan; much
of the heavy lifting has been done already and now is the time for
results."

Mr. Furbert added, “I took note of Minister Crockwell’s comment and I
quote, “We are optimistic that the “So Much More” campaign is one that
will continue to help drive business. In looking at the campaign’s
impact since it was introduced in August, we saw load factors increase
every month – a positive sign that our message is getting through.’
With these words, the OBA has finally admitted that the PLP plan was
working.  I am delighted that the OBA is willing to acknowledge that
there were good things produced under the PLP and their willingness to
move forward with this plan is truly in the best interest of Bermuda.
For this we thank them.”

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"The Shadow Minster of Finance, E David Burt response to comments from the President of the Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Ronnie Viera

As a former member of the Board of Directors of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, I know firsthand that the Chamber is supposed to remain apolitical. If the Chamber has decided to abandon its apolitical stance and will now publicly attack and question the Progressive Labour Party, ...

For Immediate Release
April 5, 2013

"The Shadow Minster of Finance, E David Burt, Issued the following release in response to comments from the President of the Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Ronnie Viera, which appeared in the media earlier today"

--------------------------------
As a former member of the Board of Directors of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, I know firsthand that the Chamber is supposed to remain apolitical. If the Chamber has decided to abandon its apolitical stance and will now publicly attack and question the Progressive Labour Party, the members of the chamber and the people of Bermuda should be informed of this major reversal in policy. If this long-standing policy has not changed, then I respectfully suggest that the Chamber President reserve his personal political commentary for Facebook.

Regarding the Chamber President's claim that the Progressive Labour Party offered “no suggestions”, I will email Mr. Viera a copy of the Progressive Labour Party’s Throne Speech Reply and Budget Reply so that, in the future, when he speaks about the Progressive Labour Party, he can speak factually.

During the recent session, The Progressive Labour Party supported the majority of legislation that came before the House of Assembly. Not only did we support a majority of the measures, we also worked with the government to strengthen some bills, specifically the 2 year payroll tax exemption for new Bermudian hires. Suggestions contained in our Budget Reply, which the President of the Chamber is unaware of, were incorporated into the final bill that was passed into law. It was the PLP's recommendations that plugged a loophole which would have cost the government precious revenue!

It is our constitutional responsibility as an opposition to hold the Government to account, scrutinise their actions, and provide alternatives. As the new Shadow Minister of Finance I will continue to
be aggressive in doing my job for the betterment of Bermuda and will make no apologies for doing so.

As much as Mr. Viera would like to reflect on the past, the election is over; The OBA are now the Government and the PLP are now the opposition. I recommend that he take his own advice and, “move beyond what is often nothing more than petty politics and start working together to move this Country forward."

Part of that is realising that, despite his personal political leanings, the opposition has a vital role to play in a vibrant democracy such as Bermuda. Further, it is my view that Organisations such as the Chamber of Commerce also have an important role to play and enjoy greater credibility when they conduct their affairs in an apolitical manner. I look forward to having the chance to meet with the President of the Chamber of Commerce and my former colleagues on the Board of Directors to listen to their concerns and share the PLP's ideas for Bermuda's economic diversification.

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Shadow Works Minister Calls on OBA to Stop Ducking Questions

"A week ago we raised the issue of work permits and contracts being awarded without Bermudian workers and companies being given first and fair opportunities to compete for them. To date neither Minister Trevor Moniz nor Minister Fahy have had the decency to provide Bermudians with answers to the critical questions surrounding this project.

April 2, 2013

"A week ago we raised the issue of work permits and contracts being awarded without Bermudian workers and companies being given first and fair opportunities to compete for them. To date neither Minister Trevor Moniz nor Minister Fahy have had the decency to provide Bermudians with answers to the critical questions surrounding this project.
  
The OBA promised that 75% of the workers onsite at the Heritage Wharf project would be Bermudians
  
  The OBA needs to explain:
  
  1. When will the Bermudian workers be employed and for how long?
  
  2. What job category will they be employed in?
  
  3. How many Bermudians are presently employed on that site?
  
  4. What were the job categories for the 22 work permit holders?

  5.  How many work permit holders have failed the onsite welding test?
  
  With so many qualified, capable, hard working Bermudians out of work and so many Bermudian companies seeking opportunities, we must remain vigilant that the interests of Bermudians are protected.  The OBA cannot duck responsibility for their decisions and owe the people an explanation."
  
# # #  

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Shadow Health Minister Asks, Who Does This Change in FutureCare Benefit?

"The changes increase the burden on the people who can least afford it,
lower the burden for those who can most afford it and drives up government
spending on Financial Assistance..  Simply put, under the OBA, wealthy Mrs.
Jones in Tuckers Town now pays the same as Mrs. Smith in Back of Town.

Shadow Health Minister Zane Desilva today questioned the change to the fee
structure for FutureCare as outlined by the current Minister of Health
Patricia Gordon-Pamplin.

"The changes increase the burden on the people who can least afford it,
lower the burden for those who can most afford it and drives up government
spending on Financial Assistance..  Simply put, under the OBA, wealthy Mrs.
Jones in Tuckers Town now pays the same as Mrs. Smith in Back of Town.

Last year there were 2616 seniors on Future Care of which 563 were
also on Financial
Assistance  - with this increase Financial assistance will be expected to
fork out an approximate $37,000 extra per month! That's IF the number of
seniors on Financial Assistance hasn't increased.

Additionally , there were 312 seniors paying the higher rate.  This price
cut, for the people who need it least, means a reduction of
$60,880.00 per month. These two changes in premium add almost $1.2
million that will now have to be found by the OBA from taxpayers each
year.

The OBA's early record on seniors is depressing. First the OBA punished
seniors by raising their license fees.  Then they abandoned their commitment
to Lefroy House, now they are increasing the FutureCare for the people who
can least afford it, while giving their wealthy friends a price cut.

The OBA could have taken this opportunity to increase the prescription
benefit from $2000.00 to $4000.00 per year but didn't.  This despite the
fact that too many of our seniors are having to pay for their prescriptions
long before the end of the fiscal year and end up paying out of their
already stretched pockets.

The OBA could have taken this opportunity to pursue a more balanced
approach but didn't.  Instead the taxpayer and needy seniors are
expected to bear the brunt of this OBA decision.

The OBA has a part time Minister charged with looking after the country's
largest budget and as a result hasn't dedicated the time needed to look at
things from the correct perspective.  Unfortunately our seniors and indeed
our entire population will suffer in the future.

It is our hope that the OBA will pursue a more balanced approach going
forward and avoid asking our Bermuda's most vulnerable citizens to sacrifice
for their wealthier countrymen.

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PLP Reply to the 2013 Budget

Shadow Minister of Finance David Burt, delivered the PLP's reply to the 2013/14 Budget in Parliament on Friday, March 1. Read the full response here.

Shadow Minister of Finance David Burt, delivered the PLP's reply to the 2013/14 Budget in Parliament on Friday, March 1. The full document is available for download here. If you have feedback, MP David Burt can be contacted on dburt@plp.bm

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