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Diallo Rabain Wins C13 By-Election

5 February 2016

Diallo Rabain has been sent to the House of Assembly following a 461 - 351 victory at the by-election in Constituency 13, Devonshire North Central. MP Rabain not only increased the margin of victory, but also saw a higher voter turnout than in the 2012 general election.

In what many expected to be an incredibly close result, former Senator Diallo Rabain came out with a resounding and decisive victory over the OBA at the by-election in constituency, Devonshire North Central, following the retirement from politics of Glenn Blakeney.

MP Rabain, who was supported on election day by his wife, the Opposition Leader, family and friends, emerged with a 110 vote margin of victory, over the 19 vote margin achieved by the PLP in the 2012 general election. With 461 - 351 to MP Rabain, this election also saw an increase in voter turnout than was seen in the general election, which is by no measure a usual occurance.

MP Rabain was well recieved by residents during the canvassing process before the election, and he is pleased to have their confidence to represent them as their member of parliament.

Opposition Leader, The Hon. Marc Bean, JP, MP, issued the following statement following the PLP's victory at the polls;

For the second time in two years Bermudians have been given the opportunity to let their voices be heard at the polls. And for the second time the OBA's candidate and the OBA's policies have been rejected.

With a 11 percentage point swing towards the PLP, it is clear that many Bermudians perceive the OBA as a government that has broken too many promises, been caught in too many deceptions and failed to produce their much promised 2000 jobs.

After three years the OBA have a record.

A record of doubling the debt that they promised to reduce
A record of losing nearly 2000 jobs instead of creating them
A record setting 48 year low in air arrivals

Yet the results in constituencies 33 and 13 were not just a rejection of the OBA's record of failure, broken promises, deceit and anti-Bermudian policies.  They were also a recognition that the PLP has grown and evolved since 2012.

Bermudians are recognizing that:

  • The PLP have learned from our mistakes of 14 years of government and become more humble since being rejected in 2012
  • The PLP have a plan that is real, attainable and focused on improving the conditions of all and not just the few and not just friends and family
  • The PLP are putting together a team with the ability, work ethic, integrity and will to make our plan a reality.

This victory for the PLP, despite continued assaults from the Royal Gazette and their surrogates, is a clear indication that the people of constituency 13 have not been swayed, and believe in the principles of good governance, social justice, and a Bermuda that works for Bermudians.

We thank you for your support and we look forward to continuing the process of earning your trust, sharing our ideas and laying in place the foundation of a Bermuda that truly works for Bermudians.

Statement on Tobacco Control Act 2015 from Shadow Minister of Health and Community Affairs, Michael Weeks JP, MP

7 December 2015

After leading the Opposition debate of this bill, we applaud the Minister for recognizing the weakness in the policy, and I look forward to meeting with her in the days ahead to discuss amendments and solutions that will make this bill more effective in achieving it's goal and benefiting to all Bermudians. 

Last Friday, December 4th, the Progressive Labour Party Members of Parliament stood with me and debated against the Tobacco Control Act 2015, resulting in the Minister of Health needing to rise and report. 

While we agree with this bill in principle, in that we want a healthier society, and to ensure our children are protected from the ills of cigarette smoking, this bill presents several problems that prevent us from supporting it in it's current form.

Enforcement of this bill is one underlying issue that the Minister would be unwise to ignore. This bill will disproportionately penalize the patrons and owners of small businesses and sports clubs, with other places that facilitate smokers left to carry on business as usual. This not only restricts behaviour to an extent larger than necessary, but it also stunts economic growth for this business sector.

Enforcement, however is only one of the problems presented by this bill. Small businesses such as convenience stores, would be hit financially when made to keep snacks at least 9 feet from tobacco products. If stores do not have the luxury of much square footage they will be faced with decisions such as which clientele do I cater to at the expense of the other, tobacco product purchasers or snack purchasers?

Finally, banning the sale of single cigarettes has to be addressed. Purchasing single cigarettes is a way to not only have a cigarette without committing to an entire carton, but it also serves as a way for many to kick the habit of smoking. With the nature of this bill being to create a healthier population, it would be counterproductive to block an avenue many take to become non-smokers.

Additionally, the penalties proposed seem to be excessive.  This bill seems to be unnecessarily making criminals out of smokers and overly punitive with the proposed fines.

After leading the Opposition debate of this bill, we applaud the Minister for recognizing the weakness in the policy, and I look forward to meeting with her in the days ahead to discuss amendments and solutions that will make this bill more effective in achieving it's goal and benefiting to all Bermudians. 

The OBA Must Get Serious About Tourism

18 August 2015

August 18, 2015.

For Immediate Release

The OBA Must Get Serious About Tourism

Statement from Shadow Tourism Minister Zane DeSilva JP MP

 

"The Progressive Labour Party continues to be concerned about the lack of progress in the Tourism sector.  Today, once again, the BTA have announced that air arrivals are down from 2014. We have now hit a new low, as these arrivals are below the 48 year low seen in 2014. Who from the OBA or BTA will be held accountable and when?

 

The General Manager of the BTA, Bill Hanbury said that the BTA would own the 2015 numbers.  The Progressive Labour Party wants to know what will the BTA do to reverse this trend? Platitudes & promises are not enough.  We need to know what the strategic plan is for the BTA to reverse these record low air arrival numbers and how it will be achieved. These numbers show that tourism is in crisis mode and answers are required.

 

Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell has been a staunch supporter of Mr. Hanbury and the BTA, but how can we justify bonuses like we have seen paid to the BTA executives, when all important air arrivals are at their lowest in 48 years?  Something is not going right at the BTA and as the Opposition we will hold the BTA and the OBA government to account.  Why is the BTA paying more for staff costs & bonuses than they spend annually on advertising Bermuda overseas? How do we expect to see the numbers increase when the top heavy BTA isn't designating the required funding to market our island sufficiently?

 

A Progressive Labour Party government would invest the $11M gained this year from the increase in tourism taxes into tourism marketing & development.  In the mid 2000’s we increased tourist air arrivals by investing in marketing and associated resources and air arrivals in 2007 were 36% higher than they were in 2014. The PLP focused on maintaining our airlift and marketing our destination and the figures that are 36% higher than the figures than the BTA are producing are proof that with proper allocation of funding to developing and marketing Bermuda we can succeed.

 

The One Bermuda Alliance must get serious about Tourism in Bermuda. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses with no accountability is doing nothing to improve the state of tourism for our people. It’s not about us, it’s about our children and our children’s children."

BTA Spends More on Staff Costs than Advertising Bermuda Overseas

19 August 2015

PLP Calls on BTA to Stop Defending Bonuses in Light of Record Low Arrival Figures

August 19, 2015.

For Immediate Release

Statement from Shadow
Tourism Minister Zane DeSilva

 

BTA Spends More on
Staff Costs than Advertising Bermuda Overseas

PLP Calls on BTA to
Stop Defending Bonuses in Light of Record Low Arrival Figures

 

The Bermuda Tourism
Authority's 2014 Annual Report states that the BTA only spent $4,041,664 on
media in 2014, whereas they spent $4,522,333 on staff costs during the same
period. The PLP stands by its statement yesterday which asked, "Why is the
BTA paying more for staff costs & bonuses than they spend annually on
advertising Bermuda overseas?"

 

The PLP reiterates its
position that the OBA should invest the $11 million of additional revenue to be
gained this year from new tourism taxes into tourism advertising so that
Bermuda can be competitive with other jurisdictions.

 

Furthermore, it is
shocking that the organisation which produced the lowest air arrivals in 48
years would defend bonus payments on top of salaries that exceed the highest
salaries in the civil service. While many Bermudians are struggling with
unemployment, reduced hours, increased costs, and increased taxes, staff at the
BTA are collecting 5 figure bonuses while producing record low numbers.

 

 

PLP To Hold Town Hall Meeting on Airport Privatisation

18 August 2015

During yesterday’s session of Parliament, Minister Bob Richards once again refused to discuss the independent Deloitte report on the Airport. 


Therefore, the Progressive Labour Party invites all concerned citizens to a Town Hall Meeting on "The Privatisation of Bermuda's Airport" to be held on Thursday, August 20th at 7:00pm at Warwick Workmen's Club.


The featured panelists will be Deputy Leader & Shadow Finance Minister, Mr. E. David Burt, JP MP, and Shadow Transport Minister, Mr. W. Lawrence Scott, JP MP. The panelists will review the independent

Deloitte report which highlighted numerous deficiencies in the OBA’s approach to this important project and also review the PLP's alternate vision for the airport redevelopment that will keep the airport in public hands.


In July the OBA were required by the UK Government to do the following: The United Kingdom Government and the Government of Bermuda must agree on what measures are required to address the deficiencies that are identified by Deloitte in their assessment report(s).


The Government of Bermuda must publish a written and evidence-based assurance that the required measures have been taken, before the Contract can be concluded.


These conditions make it clear that the OBA government must address the numerous deficiencies that were identified by Deloitte prior to moving forward with the airport redevelopment project. Despite this, Minister Richards is determined to lock Bermuda into a 35 year agreement without conducting the required steps to ensure value for money.


It is critical that the largest capital project in Bermuda’s history is executed correctly. We as a country cannot afford to get this wrong, especially as the OBA is planning on giving Aecon the rights to control our air terminal for the next 35 years. From the outset of this project, we have urged the Government to put the airport project out to competitive tender to ensure that Bermuda gets the best deal possible. Further, we agree with the independent Deloitte report which states that the Government must use a “Public Sector Comparator” to

ensure that the public-private partnership (PPP) that they have agreed to makes the most long-term economic sense for Bermuda.


We encourage all taxpayers to read the independent Deloitte report which is available on www.parliament.bm (or here http://tiny.cc/aiportreport) , as it echoes many of the concerns raised by the Progressive Labour Party since the OBA  announced that they had agreed a sole-sourced Public Private Partnership to build a new airport terminal. 


We can all agree that this topic is one that should concern all of us. Therefore, we invite and encourage everyone to come out to this important meeting to learn about the independent Deloitte report and to  hear the PLP’s alternate vision for the redevelopment of the airport.

The Premier's Hypocrisy

14 August 2015
Statement from Shadow National Security Minister Walter Roban
 
The Premier's Hypocrisy
 
"The Premier's comments in response to the OBA's failed attempt to execute a miscarriage of justice against our Leader are just what we have come to expect from a Premier that is out of touch and taking Bermuda in the wrong direction.

The same Premier Dunkley that yesterday tried to once again bend the truth and smear Marc Bean, has refused to talk about the serious allegations of corruption within his Cabinet and his Party.

The same Premier Dunkley that was quick off the mark to twist the facts surrounding this case has been strangely silent over the rape of a minor captured on film at our island's top historical, cultural and sporting event.

The same Premier Dunkley that found the time to gone on television to rant about how Bermudian he is, has been strangely silent over the recent shooting in Bailey's Bay.

The same Premier Dunkley who found time to lecture us about political language and conduct has never apologized for his profane and nasty remarks directed at Cindy Swan.

The same Premier Dunkley that says he wants to elevate political discourse stood silent when his OBA colleague MP Susanne Holshouser was berated and brought to tears for voting her conscience instead of with her Party.

When it comes to Premier Michael Dunkley, the pattern is clear.  On the real issues that matter to Bermudians, he has a tendency to disappear.  His latest pronouncement cannot conceal the fact that he has been AWOL on several key issues and lacks the moral authority to lecture Bermudians on any subject. 
 
We encourage the Premier to focus his energy in getting Bermudians back to work, diversifying our economy and expanding opportunity instead of twisting the truth and ducking the real issues."

The Premier's Hypocrisy

14 August 2015
Statement from Shadow National Security Minister Walter Roban
 
The Premier's Hypocrisy
 
"The Premier's comments in response to the OBA's failed attempt to execute a miscarriage of justice against our Leader are just what we have come to expect from a Premier that is out of touch and taking Bermuda in the wrong direction.

The same Premier Dunkley that yesterday tried to once again bend the truth and smear Marc Bean, has refused to talk about the serious allegations of corruption within his Cabinet and his Party.

The same Premier Dunkley that was quick off the mark to twist the facts surrounding this case has been strangely silent over the rape of a minor captured on film at our island's top historical, cultural and sporting event.

The same Premier Dunkley that found the time to gone on television to rant about how Bermudian he is, has been strangely silent over the recent shooting in Bailey's Bay.

The same Premier Dunkley who found time to lecture us about political language and conduct has never apologized for his profane and nasty remarks directed at Cindy Swan.

The same Premier Dunkley that says he wants to elevate political discourse stood silent when his OBA colleague MP Susanne Holshouser was berated and brought to tears for voting her conscience instead of with her Party.

When it comes to Premier Michael Dunkley, the pattern is clear.  On the real issues that matter to Bermudians, he has a tendency to disappear.  His latest pronouncement cannot conceal the fact that he has been AWOL on several key issues and lacks the moral authority to lecture Bermudians on any subject. 
 
We encourage the Premier to focus his energy in getting Bermudians back to work, diversifying our economy and expanding opportunity instead of twisting the truth and ducking the real issues."

UK to OBA: Deficiencies Must be Addressed Before Contract is Concluded

24 July 2015

For Immediate Release

July 24, 2015
Contact: David Burt: dburt@plp.bm


UK to OBA: Deficiencies Must be Address Before Contract is Concluded
Statement by David Burt, Shadow Minister of Finance

Having received the revised Letter of Entrustment, the Progressive
Labour Party offers the following comment.

While largely similar to the last Letter of Entrustment, there are 2
key additions:

(6b) The United Kingdom Government and the Government of Bermuda must
agree on what measures are required to address the deficiencies that
are identified by Deloitte in their assessment report(s).

(6c) The Government of Bermuda must publish a written and
evidence-based assurance that the required measures have been taken,
before the Contract can be concluded.

These additions make it clear that the OBA government must address the
numerous deficiencies that were identified by Deloitte in their
independent report.

That report was very critical of the OBA Government’s approach to the
airport redevelopment and highlighted “key” and “integral” steps
missing from the economic case:

“Key, integral steps are not present in the case. These include an
economic assessment of a defined list of options to identify the most
economically advantageous solution for Bermuda, and some specific
Green Book and wider best practice considerations, such as use of a
Public Sector Comparator, and optimism bias assessment. Under Green
Book guidance, this analysis is expected to be performed by Government
prior to engaging with potential suppliers such that the most
economically advantageous solution for the Government is identified in
isolation from private sector influence.”

The Deloitte report examined the commercial case and poured cold water
on the OBA’s claim that their current approach can guarantee value for
money. Deloitte went on to recommend that the Government independently
assess some of the claims made by CCC, especially the claim that a
sole-source procurement is the only viable option:

“However, we identified key gaps in evidencing that the sole-sourced
procurement approach that was selected will offer the best VFM [Value
for Money], and in the Government approach to delivering VFM through
commercial negotiations.”

“It should be noted that the conclusion in favour of a sole-source
procurement (notably citing lack of investor interest) is made by CCC,
and Government may want to perform independent analysis on procurement
strategy to satisfy itself on the validity of this analysis”

“The available evidence is in large part from earlier stages in
project development. There is a potential gap in the evidence to
support the sole-source procurement strategy opted for from June 2014,
as compared to previous evidence suggesting a competed PPP procurement
process could be viable”

Deloitte also examined the financial case and found that many items
were developed by CCC and may not take into account the full costs to
be borne by the Government of Bermuda:

“While there has been a great deal of work on the affordability of the
project, it has been developed by CCC as opposed to the Government.
--- CCC’s affordability components fail to encapsulate all costs to be
borne by the Government during and after the project.”

It is critical that the largest capital project in Bermuda’s history
is executed correctly. We as a country cannot afford to get this
wrong, especially as the OBA is planning on giving Aecon the rights to
control our air terminal for the next 35 years. From the outset of
this project, we have urged the Government to put the  airport project
out to competitive tender to ensure that Bermuda gets the best deal
possible.

Further, we agree with the independent Deloitte report which states
that the Government must use a “Public Sector Comparator” to ensure
that the public-private partnership (PPP) that they have agreed to
makes the most long-term economic sense for Bermuda.  We look forward
to reading the “written and evidenced base assurance” that is required
by this latest Letter of Entrustment and it is our expectation that
the alternate options required by the Deloitte report will be
published in that document so the Bermudian people can determine
whether or not the OBA’s sole-sourced PPP is the best option for
Bermuda.

We encourage all taxpayers to read the independent Deloitte report
which is available on www.parliament.bm (or here
http://tiny.cc/aiportreport) , as it echoes many of the concerns
raised by the Progressive Labour Party g since the OBA  announced that
they had agreed a sole-sourced Public Private Partnership to build a
new airport terminal.

The Progressive Labour Party will hold a public meeting in August to
ensure that members of the public are fully informed of what is
contained in the Deloitte report.

In closing, it is our hope that Minister Bob Richards will allow
debate on the independent Deloitte report in Parliament so that the
people’s representatives can fully discuss the largest capital project
in Bermuda’s history. For 2 months he has refused to debate this
report and we believe that this project is far too important not to
debate all aspects in Parliament.

PLP Congratulates Sandra Beach on Appointment

7 August 2015
August 7, 2015.
For Immediate Release
 
Statement from Shadow Minister of National Security, Walter Roban JP, MP.
 
"On behalf of the Progressive Labour Party, I would like to congratulate Sandra Beach on her appointment to the position of Commandant Designate of the Bermuda Police Reserve.
As the first woman to hold this position, she has achieved a historic milestone, and we commend her on this achievement. Her history of service to our community is well documented and we wish her well in this position."

PLP Extends Condolences to the Family of C. Ross Smith

7 August 2015
August 7, 2015.
For Immediate Release
 

Senator Renee Ming, JP, on behalf of the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party, it's Executive and Members, acknowledges the passing of Mr. C. Ross Smith, formerly of Shin Bone Alley and later, Cut Road, St. George’s.
   
A graduate of Bermuda's famous Technical Institute, he will be remembered for opening St. George's first Laundromat. He was also the founder of The Bermudian Heritage Association.

Mr. Smith, who was first cousin to Dame Jennifer Smith, was a former PLP St. Georges Branch Chair who also served on the Corporation of St George's for many years as both a Common Councilor and Alderman.

In recent times, Mr. Smith was a Tourism Ambassador for St George's and Bermuda.  He had a history and passion for serving his community.  He will be sadly missed by St George's parishioners.