Premier and Minister of Finance Paula Cox on approach for the delivery of the Throne Speech on Friday morning. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
Premier and Minister of Finance Paula Cox on approach for the delivery of the Throne Speech on Friday morning. *Photo by Kageaki Smith

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4:

Good Afternoon, Ministers of the Government, Parliamentarians, members of the media and the people of Bermuda.

Today you will have heard this Government’s 2011 Throne Speech. We focused on eight key themes:

  • Job Creation
  • Strengthening our economy on our road to recovery
  • Exploring new opportunities
  • Empowering our youth
  • Supporting those experiencing hardship
  • Expanding the social pact we have with the people of Bda
  • Fighting crime and enhancing our justice system
  • Improving Service Delivery and Accountability in the Public Service

 

Masakane! “Let us build one another together.”

This statement is the theme of the Government’s 2011 Throne Speech. We live in tough times, however Bermuda has always come together during difficult times. We came together during Hurricane Fabian; we came together during the Belco fire and we must again come together to help each other during this current economic crisis.

Let us build One Another together.

This year’s Throne Speech is a result of a government that has listened to a wide variety of individuals and groups. We have challenged ourselves to be bold. As a result, I am particularly proud of this Throne Speech which outlines initiatives that are achievable and encompasses subjects that will touch the lives of all of our citizens.

We cannot build one another together while persons are unable to find work.  Jobs are the number one priority of this Government. That is why in the throne speech you have heard a number of initiatives that not only provide jobs now for Bermudians, but also provide incentives to enable employers to create jobs for Bermudians in the future.

Bermuda, “No-one should have any excuse to choose a life of crime versus constructive engagement to contribute to their community.”  We must provide our people a clear path to re-enter the workforce with skills for a career that is relevant over the long-term to provide them with the life style that they aspire to. As a result, we will unveil Job Corps in the second quarter of 2012 and we will also establish a Cisco Training Academy. For our people to succeed in the 21st century we must ensure that our people have 21st century skills.  

We must look beyond tomorrow, and plan for the future. We need to welcome foreign investment to our shores, and that will mean introducing bold measures to free up Bermuda.

We need to make sure that our economy is diversified and our tourism product is modernised. That is why I am particularly pleased to announce the joint partnership between the Government, the Corporation of Hamilton, and the private sector under the auspices of Bermuda First  to develop the waterfront in the city of Hamilton. We cannot have a 21st century tourism product with a 19th century harbour.  Partnerships such as these are what Bermuda needs. That is how we will build one another together.

As a Government and as a country we should also be prepared to have the crucial conversations even when they are on thorny issues; that is what 21st century Governments do. Therefore we intend to:

  • Review the Defence Act to ensure that it is still relevant in a 21st century Bermuda
  • Ensure that incarceration is not the first choice for dealing with our youth who may choosing the wrong path
  • Decide whether gaming has a role in our tourism product.
  • Seek to address issues of inequality and going to further advance age discrimination
  • Improve the health insurance system, especially removing the need for up-front payments to doctors
  • Ensure that support is given to those most in need

These issues will garner a great deal of discussion and, possibly, angst in some quarters, but if we are to progress as a country, there cannot be any “no-go” subjects. 

The Governor added some remarks at the end of the speech that I would like to underscore. He stated that we must support the charitable community in Bermuda. Part of building one another together is working in partnership with charities. Bermuda is blessed to have so many charities that are committed to helping our people and our community. This government has committed to formalising as social pact with the private sector, charities, and sports organisations to ensure that we work together for the betterment of Bermuda.


Before I close, I would like to thank the many persons who contributed to the Throne Speech. I would like to thank the Cabinet Office staff, my Cabinet colleagues, the members of the PLP Caucus, and the Central Committee of the PLP. I’d also like to thank the many Bermudians who have spoken to us over the years, and given us your thoughts, suggestions, and encouragement. This is your Throne Speech as much as it is mine.

Over the next few weeks, your government will be taking this throne speech to the people. We want to hear from you, so please make sure you engage. We cannot build one another together without your input, it is welcome.

 

Bermuda, The world is in economic crisis. The leaders of the world’s largest economies are right now struggling to plot a course forward as their competing national interests threaten their vision of shared prosperity. They are paralyzed, as they are not willing to come together for the greater good.

Will Bermuda follow their example? Will our differences distract us from making shared progress together? Will the desire of some to re-fight old battles cause us not to act? As a country we must accept the fact that if we are not all winners then we will certainly all be losers. Building one another together is not just a theme, it is an imperative. While we can only achieve success together, the Government must take the lead to energise our stakeholders and our citizens.


Bermuda, this government intends to be progressive in its policies and progressive in its actions. This government is ready to lead and will not duck from the responsibility of making decisions. We are committed to empowering our people to succeed, and building a Bermuda not just for tomorrow, but for the future.  We will listen, we will consult, and we will take action.

Bermuda, Lets build one another Together.  Masakane!