That means that they are merely hanging on until the global recovery begins.
Well the latest news is that the global recovery may be stalling. What does that mean for us? Does that mean that we merely wait a bit longer?
Meanwhile business continues to weaken, jobs continue to be lost vacancies in office buildings continue to abound, residential units continue to be in surplus and all the while Government builds so called affordable housing
Rents, if you can find a tenant, are falling. Government revenues continue to be weak. The huge public debt continues to grow, along with the cost of servicing that debt. Yet the cost of doing business continues to escalate and the convenience of doing business in Bda. continues to fall.
If we are passive, merely waiting for the global economy to bail us out, then these ills I have just described will continue.
I don’t believe in being passive, and I don’t think Bermudians want passivity from their leaders. They want and demand a pro-active problem solving attitude from us. They want and demand solutions to these problems that are affecting the livelihoods and quality of life of all of us.
Such solutions require us to rethink, in a fundamental way, our approach to economic development in this island
Protectionism has long been the cornerstone of our approach to economic development in Bermuda.
- Business was protected by the 60/40 rule
- Labour markets were protected by a web of immigration rules
- Land was protected by another web of rules
- Money was protected by yet another web of rules called Exchange Control
- We even protected ourselves against tourism. Told them hold long they could stay etc.
What if that assumption is no longer valid? What if the world doesn’t want what we have. Or what if the world doesn’t want what we have badly enough to put up with navigating all these protective webs that we have woven? What if there are other places with fewer protective webs that provide something similar to what we provide? What then?
These what if’s are not just imaginary, these “what if’s” have become WHAT IS.
If we are going to stop the rot in our economy, and our society, if we are to put ourselves in a position to pay down this public debt, we need to pro-actively take a giant pair of scissors and snip away at these protective webs of red tape that we have erected over the decades,
These webs are making Bermuda uncompetitive and unattractive to the businesses that bring foreign exchange to our island.
And let us not forget that it is that foreign exchange that is the tide that raises all boats in the Bermuda economy .... not various Government spending projects, as ministers would like us to think. These protective webs are the Red Tape I have referred to in the recent past
It is our strongly held belief that we must restructure the way Bermuda does business with the rest of the world. We need to re-examine the hallowed 60/40 rule.
There are already many exceptions to 60/40
Rolling out the red carpet does not only mean welcoming tourists, although that is very important, it also means welcoming potential investors. Because you have to have the investment in infrastructure first before you can have something to welcome a tourist to.
Our present multiple webs of protectionist red tape likely exhaust potential investors long before they even get to the starting line.
These are the types of fundamental changes in approach that have to be made if we are to improve the future prospects for Bermuda.
Everard T. (Bob) Richards, JP, MP