Deer’ PLP, the headlights are getting closer
I was interested and frankly concerned after having read your article in today’s paper (September 29, 2018) regarding business confidence in Bermuda.
It was reported that business confidence has plunged dramatically over the past two years and that, in the interest of economic sustainability, there are calls from business leaders on the island for the Government to change its approach to immigration and attract more working-age people to the island.
This is critical considering the ageing demographic of Bermuda’s working population. Survey respondents identified immigration and an improvement in work-permit processes as the No 1 change that could positively affect the economy.
The island’s population declining by thousands of people in recent years has had a massive impact on businesses, the economy and the tax base.
In addition, concerned business leaders said that the overhang of the public debt, which, in combination with unfunded liabilities of pension and healthcare plans, came to a burden of about $5 billion.
Daily interest payments alone are in the region of $500,000 per day and will likely increase because of the changes in worldwide interest rates.
They said: “When you have that type of information, you can’t help but to be concerned about the future of local and international business in Bermuda.”
It should also be understood by your readers that the $100 million Bermuda Infrastructure Fund, which the Premier, David Burt, announced in May of this year — which will go towards the refurbishment of our bridges, roads, docks, etc — is yet another loan, but this time from the international business community.
This loan will have to be serviced and eventually paid back.
So we see that of the 138 business leaders — local and international — who were surveyed, only 49 per cent said they were confident in Bermuda’s economic future, a 20-point drop from two years ago.
Let us remember that they are our job creators in the private sector. They provide much of the fuel that runs the economy and pays for government services.
When business confidence in general falls dramatically, as it seems to have in Bermuda’s case, we should all be concerned.
Fifteen months into its term, the heady, joyous Progressive Labour Party fever of winning the last election has now subsided. Election campaigns have been put on pause; no more red or green flyers in our mailboxes, and our daily routines have resumed.
With the “economic” bloom now off the America’s Cup rose, this administration is now in “the rubber meets the road” phase. I liken the PLP government to a deer in the headlights and we are all anxiously waiting for some movement to safety.
So far, the deer has not moved and the headlights are getting closer.
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