“And If I have to make it easier for rich white people to own land in Bermuda that is fine!” 

MP Bob Richards House of Assembly March 1, 2013

Today is Budget Day. The OBA had assured the public that they would have the opportunity to collaborate regarding the cuts proposed by SAGE, this too was another broken promise.

In their October 2013 report, SAGE had proposed 4 years of cuts:
Year 1 — $65m,
Year 2 — $75m,
Year 3  — $80m
Year 4 —  $90m.  

Finance Minister Bob Richards stated that the OBA planned to be “more aggressive” than had been recommended by the SAGE Commission.  

Despite a campaign pledge, as well as a Memorandum of Understanding with the Unions to not cut Civil Service jobs, in October 2013, Premier Cannonier stated in an interview with The Royal Gazette, that he had not ruled out future job cuts.    

The Chamber of Commerce stated recently that they had the “ear’ of the government. This powerful voice of the business community appears to have much influence.  

Chamber of Commerce President Ronnie Viera and board member Phillip Barnett  recommended the idea of selling status in July 2013. Within four months, commercial immigration appeared in the OBA Throne Speech. 

The Chamber of Commerce Budget Wish List:

Grant certain foreign  exempt companies the right to purchase residential properties;

Permit  PRCs to purchase any property on the island;

Decrease the tax for non-Bermudians to purchase property; 

Extend the payroll tax exemptions for employers and employees in retail and restaurants.

Seems like this is a budget wish list to appease non-Bermudians first and foremost. 

How will we afford these reduced taxes for the rich?  Perhaps the Premier is contemplating reducing the over $420k of taxpayers’ dollars spent on his six personal staff?

Nearly $250,000 is spent on two employees — his press secretary, who receives $114k per year, and a special advisor who is paid $106k annually. 

The truth 

Prior to the election, we spoke often that the OBA would cut government salaries and/or jobs. We were called liars and scaremongers again and again. It is now pretty clear who was, and still is, telling the truth in this issue.

This OBA budget could draw a line in the sand between the “haves and the have-nots”. If the OBA act on the recommendations of SAGE and the COC, they have effectively said to hell with the working and middle class people of this island.

We have no illusions that the OBA will attempt to sell out Bermuda and Bermudians in order to appease the rich. Others may be more objective, but we see and know a bit more than most.

United We Stand

Every civil servant has a family they are helping to support. Every civil Servant has either rent or a mortgage to pay. Every civil servant contributes to the economy. 

So if this budget is about cutting Bermudians out of the ability to support their families, pay bills, and further themselves, it is a clear declaration that the OBA does not care about ordinary Bermudians. 

Is this the mindset of the OBA? 

“Well, cut their salary, cut their salary!” — MP Crockwell, House of Assembly December 13, 2013

Yesterday, today, and tomorrow, we will stand united with the civil service of Bermuda. 

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