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Labour Day Address by PLP Acting Leader Derrick Burgess

The OBA Government continues to violate the Collective Bargaining Agreement and disrespect the Trade Union Officials.  

Today, we pause to celebrate labour day and to remember, honour and celebrate the men and women who fought to make Bermuda a more just society for all of us.  Many of us today take for granted the benefits that were won as a result of hard work, dedication, sacrifice and yes in some instances, blood sweat and tears of trade unionists in Bermuda.

During the lead-up to the December 2012 General Election, the One Bermuda Alliance campaigned on many promises.  The one promise that stands out in the minds of Bermudians, especially those Bermudians who still remain un-employed or under-employed, is the promise of 2000 jobs.  May Bermudians took that promise seriously and believed that if they voted for the OBA and they were elected to power, jobs would become available.

Did I, as the Deputy Leader of the PLP and a Member of Parliament, expect the OBA to produce 2000 jobs in the first year?  No, I did not.

Did I expect the OBA Government to employ 2000 more people?

 No, I did not.

However, I did not expect to see jobs being created for non-Bermudians, as in the case of the Heritage Wharf project, and I did not expect to see job cuts by Government, as in the case of the Bermuda Department of Tourism and more job cuts in the private sector as in the case of Butterfield Bank, in spite of the guarantee given the Bank by the PLP Government to save the bank and Bermudian jobs.

Certainly I did not expect as many migrant workers on the Heritage Wharf project as there was.  You will recall that earlier this year the OBA government announced that 75% of the workers on the Heritage Wharf project would be Bermudians and 25% would be work permit holders.  In response to questions from the PLP, months later the Government announced that there are 21 work permit holders and 70 Bermudians on the project.  I asked the Minister in Parliament what is the total hours worked by Bermudians and non-Bermudians, because with these figures I can determine whether the 75 to 25 percent ratio was in fact the truth.  The Minister called the question rubbish.

 The OBA Government continues to violate the Collective Bargaining Agreement and disrespect the Trade Union Officials.  First there was the issue of the Millenium ferry, a decision was made by the Ministry of Tourism and Transport without following proper protocols with the union as per the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Again, just last week, the same situation occurred with the Department of Tourism without any consultation or discussion with the Bermuda Public Services Union and again with the Bermuda Union of Teachers with regards  to  shortening the school year.

The Minister of Tourism has stated that there would be no job losses at the Department of Tourism.  Yet, the staff members at the Department have been told that if they want to work with the new Tourism Authority, they would have to apply.  These same staff members have been told that if they are successful in their applications, there will be a probationary period.  This means that the “successful” applicants will no longer be government workers and they will not benefit from GEHI,  and the current benefits afforded Government workers as per the Collective Bargaining Agreement.  Therefore, as I see it, there are some redundancy issues here.   Additionally, the Minister of Tourism has stated that those civil servants in the Department of Tourism who are not hired by the new Tourism Authority can be transferred to other government departments as there are vacancies, yet the SAGE Commission has recommended in its Interim Report that Government should freeze all vacant positions in the Civil Service.

In 1981 all the unions converged on Union Square in solidarity to fight the injustices of the UBP Government.  A lot of those same people who participated in the 1981 general strike are now or approaching their 65th birthdays and this government, and the past government, have discriminated against them by dismissing them because they have reached the age of 65.  I agree with what Rev. Tweed said on Fridaynight at the BIU’s Banquet, that the present day workers must reach back for the spirit and power of our elders to fight and eradicate any present day injustice.

As a Member of Parliament, and as a trade unionist, I have long advocated for the removal of age discrimination.     “In England age discrimination is unlawful.  We believe that as long as a worker is capable of being productive in the workplace s/he should continue to be gainfully employed.

I cannot end my address today without referring to the situation at the Ministry of Education, which I can only describe as reprehensible and shameful.  Today, we have more people employed within the Ministry of Education, with certified doctorate educational degrees than ever before in our history, yet  the Ministry of Education  states that none of these people are capable of fulfilling the position of Commissioner of Education.  In a press conference approved and written by the OBA Government, the Government insisted no qualified locals had been overlooked, and attributed the uproar over the appointment to a small group of disgruntled applicants twisting the facts to stir the public’s emotion around Bermudianisation.   To add insult to injury a spokesperson for the Ministry sought to single out and condemn those Bermudians who dared question the decision.  Are we going back to the days when freedom fighters like Rev. Monk, Rev. Tobitt and Rev. Golring were persecuted because they were fearless in their condemnation of a system that was unfair and unjust?   Remember the special test that the Bermuda medical board set for Dr. Gordon and former Premier Dr. Brown a test they have never given to anyone else.  The test was designed for them to fail in order for them not to have a licence to practice at the islands only hospital.  Is history repeating itself?

We in the PLP embrace change, but change must be executed in the right way.  One must follow with respect the proper protocols.  Obviously some of us have lost our way.  Are we still operating in a paternalistic slave society that prohibits solidarity? And discrimination against the fearless.  That’s why we need to know our history and every so often we must reread those history books so we don’t forget from whence we came.  They must stop profiling our people, particularly those of colour and those of us who joined the PLP as being incompetent, lazy and corrupt.

To whom this may concern, we will not get over this, workers in this country marched for a shorter work week.  Workers marched in the streets for overtime pay, workers marched in the streets for paid vacation, maternity leave, workers compensation, public holiday pay, pensions, health insurance and if you try to persecute those that speak out, we will march on you also.

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PLP Constituencies 29 and 30 to Host Back to School Event (Postponed until August 29th)

Constituencies 29 and 30 will be holding their 9th annual BACK TO SCHOOL EVENT

The Bermuda Progressive Labour Party today announced that the branches for Constituencies 29 and 30 will be holding their 9th annual BACK TO SCHOOL EVENT this Thursday August 29, 2013.  Starting at 5pm at Southampton Ranger's Car Park.

Constituency 29 MP Zane Desilva said, "For the 9th year in a row, we welcome the opportunity to connect with our community and encourage our young people to pursue academic excellence."

Mr Desilva continued, "There will be rides, food, games, fun castle,  and lots of back to school gifts.  We encourage our friends and neighbours to join us as we celebrate our youth and the beginning of another school year."

"We are grateful to our sponsors for their support of this positive community event," Mr. Desilva added.

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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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Everything You Need to Know About Voting

Monday is Election Day and with such an outpouring of excitement about it, everyone is going to be at the polls to vote. And we hope you'll be there, too, participating as we stand strong for Bermudians.

Don't miss out! Make sure you know your polling station.

Polling stations are open on Monday from 8 am to 8 pm. And you MUST show identification to vote. You can bring a commonwealth passport, a Bermuda driver's license, a Special Persons Card, Voters Identification Card or an employee identification card with a photo, signature and date of birth. But make sure you bring it, otherwise you'll miss out.

And you don't want to miss voting on Monday. The OBA is just untrustworthy in everything they say and do. That's why they have secret plans and promise contradictory policies. But our PLP is right there, standing strong for Bermudians. Whether it's creating jobs with the EEZ and our plans for the New Business Initiative or our investments in education and healthcare, we are standing strong for Bermudians. But in order for us to continue to do so, we need you to go out to your polling station on Monday.

Check your polling station now so that you can vote PLP on Monday!

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Tonight! The Grand Finale!

You're NOT going to want to miss this! The FINAL PLP RALLY of ELECTION 2K12! We're going to go late night with

All our candidates will be there. Following the rally, we'll take it late night for a party that will go until 1 am with DJs Selecta Fray and Presidential Elite.

You're NOT going to want to miss it. Come hear from the team that cares and stands strong for Bermudians like you!

It's time. Put on your GREEN! And, make your way to Berkeley Institute Field TONIGHT, Saturday, December 15th at 7 pm.

Let's do this.

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Friday: Lights On, Bermuda!

Are you ready to show your PLP Pride? I hope so, because tomorrow is LIGHTS ON, BERMUDA.

Stand strong for the party that is of the people, by the people and for the people by turning on your headlights while driving all day long. While you're lighting up Bermuda, your PLP candidates will be fanning out across the island painting Bermuda green. And on your way home from work today, stop by our HQ to pick up the party platform for your family and friends so that they are ready to light up Bermuda tomorrow, also.

So stand strong with us. Light up Bermuda tomorrow!

Plus, tonight is our women's forum. At 6 PM, I'll be at the National Sports Centre’s Cricket Pavilion with Renee Ming, Lovitta Foggo, Patrice Minors, Dawn Simmons and Kim Wilson.

We'll have an open and frank discussion to address everyday issues relevant to everyday women in Bermuda, including family, community, education, employment, safety, and empowerment. All are welcome and refreshments will be served. I hope to see you there!

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On Monday, Vote for the Party that Has Stood Strong for You

Today, Premier Paula Cox made a final call to voters to stand strong for the party that has stood strong for you.

Premier Paula Cox:

When you go to the polls on Monday, ask yourself which party has stood strong for Bermudians like you? We've gone through hard times. We've gone through the worst global economic crisis since the Great Depression, but in times like these, we need leaders that have a heart for the people and who truly care about Bermudians like you.

The Premier went on to note that the PLP isn't perfect, but, that we have stood strong for Bermudians during the worst global economic crisis since the Great Depression. Premier Cox:

The PLP may not be perfect - no one is. We are all human. But, what we have done is stand strong for our people and deliver real results that even our opponents are now praising.

FutureCare has provided affordable medication and doctor's visits for our seniors after a lifetime of hard work. We are the party that delivered FutureCare because we care about ALL our seniors - not just a select few.

When you go to the polls, ask yourself, who do you trust to protect your FutureCare - a PLP that created it? Or, an OBA that attacked it for years before flip flopping in a callous attempt to win votes?

The PLP has delivered the landmark DayCare initiative providing hundreds of working Bermudian families with child care assistance. This assistance helps our parents further their education, gain work experience and expand their skills. This is what standing strong for Bermudians during the midst of a global economic crisis is all about.

We are the party that protected jobs during the global economic downturn and we're the party that created the Economic Empowerment Zones to help in creating jobs and Bermudian owned small businesses in the areas that need the investment most. That's what creating opportunities and standing strong for Bermudians is all about.

She then noted that we have a vision for our future that includes building a fairer Bermuda that works for all our people. Premier Cox:

The PLP candidates require you to come out to vote on Monday December 17th and to choose the PLP. Then, with your support, we will continue to stand strong for Bermudians. Our mission is to continue creating an enabling environment for jobs. We will launch Job Corps Bermuda which will create jobs for our young people and provide them with training. We will open the One Stop Career Centre to make it easier for Bermudians to access jobs and we will roll out the red carpet, connecting returning college graduates with internship and mentoring opportunities.

We will expand the Incentives for Job Makers programme which ties immigration benefits to the creation and preservation of Bermudian jobs. And, we will continue to attract new international business. We will work with our local financial institutions and the Bermuda Stock Exchange to issue a bond and we will work to continue to advance our tourism product as laid out in the National Tourism Plan.

We will work to reduce the cost of living by expanding geared to income housing and work to develop a natural gas power plant that will lower your cost of electricity.

My fellow Bermudians, we have stood strong for you during tough times all around the world. We've done all of this because we care. We are deeply rooted in the community. We understand your values, your struggles and your needs. We are the party of the people and we put our confidence in you, the people of Bermuda.

She concluded by noting that we must not turn back the clock and embrace a cynically renamed UBP designed to gain power. Premier Cox:

On Monday, don't turn the clock back. Don't be fooled by their glitz, their attacks and their secret plan. Send them a message that we find it offensive when their consultant - uses terms like "black surrogates."

On Monday, ask yourself if you really trust an OBA that has promised an unelected Cuts & Pain Commission that will have to make deep and radical cuts to public education, jobs, benefits and much more if they hope to keep their promises.

My fellow Bermudians, this is the most important election since that historic day in November 1998. We must not turn back to the old UBP guard. I ask you to give us our confidence so that we can continue to make sure and steady progress that works for all our people.

On Monday, vote solidly PLP.

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OBA Candidate Criticizes Event He Didn't Attend

We are not surprised that the OBA is criticizing and opposing an event that attendees viewed as positive and uplifting. The OBA has consistently opposed, criticized and rejected virtually everything positive advocated and achieved by the PLP.

The rally featured PLP candidates talking about how we'll create jobs and opportunities for all Bermudians. It featured speakers talking about building a fairer Bermuda that doesn't work for just the privileged few, but, for all of our people.

We talked about how we stood strong for Bermudians during the worst global economic crisis since the Great Depression by helping our seniors get affordable doctor's visits and medication. We talked about how we introduced the EEZ to help our job creating Bermudian small businesses in areas that need it most. We talked about providing DayCare assistance to working families.

We talked about our vision for the future which includes creating job opportunities for Bermudians with the One Stop Career Centre, Job Corps Bermuda and the red carpet for returning graduates. We talked about growing our economy by establishing a bond market and bringing in new types of international business.

That is what the rally was really all about. We encourage the OBA to hold rallies of their own to allow the public to have the opportunity to see and hear what they are really all about."

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Small Steps Make Big Differences

The PLP has invested in our people with FutureCare, DayCare, the EEZ and much more. We can't afford an OBA that rolls back and cuts these essential initiatives.

Watch our new ad:

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Big West End Rally Tonight!

Calling all PLP supporters! Undecided voters! Join us for our BIG West End Rally TONIGHT at 7 pm at TN Tatem Middle School.

Put on your GREEN. Be there!

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