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OBA Offers UBP Economic Policies and Fairy Tale Stats

Today the OBA had a press conference where they read economic policies that were lifted directly from the UBPs 2011 Budget Reply and produced Fairy Tale Statistics.

These UBP/OBA economic policies would result in fewer jobs for Bermudians and put more of our land in the hands of foreigners.

Their commitment to end term limits for foreign workers would be nothing short of disastrous for the Bermudian worker. If implemented, employers at all skill levels would no longer be incentivized to hire Bermudians. So many of us have seen our resumes passed over not because of skill, but, because the bosses wanted their overseas man in the job. The OBA/UBP policy would mean more unemployed Bermudians and would cause many Bermudians to give up trying to even look for work.

In his statement, Bob Richards cited the Cayman Islands’ experimentation with term limit waivers. Let’s look to that example. On October 4th, the Cayman News Service reported on the policy’s critique by independent Caymanian Member of the Legislative Assembly Mr. Ezzard Miller:

The independent member said that since he was elected to the Legislative Assembly, as a result of pressure from special interest groups, the immigration law had been amended several times and each time the government claimed it would help business but this had not proven to be the case…

He said the idea that there would be a mass exodus was unfounded because when people are rolled over they are replaced, which is what would continue to happen if the law was properly enforced.

Miller said he understood that Cayman did not have enough people to meet its labour market demands and he had no sympathy for Caymanians that didn’t perform in the workplace, but his problem was those qualified and experienced Caymanians who were simply not given an opportunity in the first place.

In his experience, the North Side MLA said, employers sometimes go to significant lengths to avoid placing Caymanians in key roles and no matter what guidelines government puts in place to attempt to force them to employ locals, they find increasingly creative ways to circumvent those rules. He also lamented the amount of say government was allowing foreign firms to have over the country’s immigration policy, which would eventually lead to foreign nationals taking over the country.

Is this what we want for Bermuda? Do we want a government that makes it easier for employers to not hire Bermudians? Is this what Bob Richards and the OBA think is going to get Bermuda back to work? It’s not working in Cayman. And, it won’t work here.

The fact is that, unlike Cayman, the PLP has already struck a balance between ensuring that we do not create a new class of long-term residents or a glass ceiling for Bermudians while welcoming international business. The Party Leader has already signaled that in the next session of Parliament, there will be legislation that underscores our party’s commitment to those who invest in Bermuda. Unlike the OBA that have up to now have spent most of its time criticizing the Government, our party has been hard at work on the initiatives that it committed to in the Throne Speech and in the Budget, and will not be deterred from its job of getting Bermudians back to work and the recovery of our economy to engage in fighting the OBA.

The policies outlined by the OBA today are exactly the same policies we’ve been hearing for years from the UBP. When you read their policies, it’s clear – now, more than ever – that the OBA is little more than a renamed UBP. They’re the same people. They’re the same backers. And, they’re selling the same tired old policies to sell Bermuda out to foreign interests. The PLP believes in a balance. We value our guest workers and our international business partners. But, we also believe that we should ensure Bermudians obtain jobs that pay well. The PLP government welcomes, encourages and supports guest workers and investment in Bermuda, however we will never apologize for putting the needs of Bermudians first.

To blame term limits for job losses in Bermuda is nothing more that OBA electioneering accompanied by Fairy Tale Statistics. The Bermudian people, however, are smarter than that and they will not fall for the same old tricks from the new opposition with old ideas borrowed from the UBP.

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