Our symbiotic reliance on foreign workers

There is really only one word to describe our present government:  Disappointment.

It is incredibly hypocritical for our Immigration Minister Derrick Burgess to condemn free speech for ex-pats and suggest that in other countries ex-pats would be extradited for getting involved in politics.  All while that is exactly what our very premier is to have done when he acted as a pivotal voice for the black movement at Howard University while an ex-pat student in the US.  

What the PLP may not realize is that they’re painting a very unattractive picture on life in Bermuda for potential ex-pats.  Today is a day much different then yesterday, where the Internet has risen to give a voice to nearly anyone who wants one.  The Internet serves as a wealth of incredible information where the ability to sort and organization that information gets better each day.  Search engines have made it easy to enter ‘Ewart Brown Howard’ into Google and discover information like this Howard University Feature on the successful life of alumnus Ewart Brown. 

Some faculty members thought politics and medicine shouldn’t mix. “There were some professors
who made the case in a faculty meeting once that I should be expelled from medical school
because I was really a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” he recalls.

A wolf in sheep’s clothing?  This while Mr. Burgess told the assembled media:

“Any country you go in — you do not get involved in their politics. That is a common sense attitude you should take. I would never do it and I have never done it. I would be afraid to.”

If what Mr. Burgess suggests is true, those professors surely would have succeeded in not only expelling our Premier during his time at Howard but also deporting him from the country?   Certainly he was more involved in politics then some Americans may have liked, especially on such controversial issues as discrimination against blacks.

Or is it more interesting to regard his comment that Mr. Burgess himself would be afraid to do so in another country.  When clearly Dr. Brown was capable of doing so, does it become a question of what he really fears is what he knows his government would do to those who do speak out?

Where the UBP once traded focus on and success in tourism for international business, the PLP is trying to do in reverse.   Are we risking the loss of our International Business community at the cost of regaining tourism?   We were once the revolutionaries of the tourism industry, leading what was known of the destinations due to our keen focus on improving it, just as we are the revolutionaries of the insurance industry today.  However just as tourism once fell, so too can International Business.  Take it for granted all you want, but the foreign money poured into this country daily may slow to a trickle as we cause our economy to dry up.

Sure, we’re at the peak of our game and our economy is well spoken of.  Yet again we forget that the Internet places reports of life in Bermuda at the hands of those we wish to attract.  Could condemning letters to the editor, blogs, freedom of expression for expats and even pressuring white Bermudians off the island make us look like we may be collapsing into much less of a free state to those onlookers looking in?  Just as our term limit policy is coming to fruitition we’re sending a host of reasons for why you shouldn’t come to Bermuda.

Are you ok with us shouting out “Expats! Watch your back!” in a threatening manner?  Is that not what we’re suggesting when we deport anyone who says anything critical of Bermuda?  Put yourself in the shoes of someone who knows nothing of Bermuda and can choose from multiple destinations to go work, Cayman, Gibraltar, Isle of Mann.  When tensions have risen because of the continual blame put on expats for our stressed infrastructure when we are truly the ones to blame for our lack of foresight in planning ahead.

Just as tourism once collapsed when mass affordable long distance transit rose to become king, the exact same thing is happening with telecommunications today.   As video conferencing becomes closer to being like an in-person conversation and the Internet enables companies to collaborate better across distances, we have taken a haphazard approach to serving our community.  On top of that we add heavy restrictions on who companies can employ and for how long, which only further encourages companies to slowly migrate off island.  Sure there may be no “mass exodus”, but what happens if there is a quiet retreat?  Can we truly afford to see our international business industry dry up just as our tourism industry once did to the point where we have to fight for it back too?

Just as Dr. Brown suggests in the Howard Alumnus piece,

“I made the connection between racism and the health status of our people and pointed out that it was
no accident that Black people then and now suffer from a disparity that’s painful”

I’m making the connection between discrimination and the safety of or industry to point out that what wealth we do have may soon be squandered if we’re not careful.  Ask yourself, does making ex-pats feel unsafe for speaking out and the repercussions of them considering that should they mistakenly say the wrong thing, they’ll suddenly have to move back where they came from which could be very costly and difficult? 

Is not the only true believer of equal rights the one who won’t accept any form of discrimination?  If we truly believe in equal rights should we not stand against all forms of discrimination especially that which goes against our guest workforce?  Should we not be stopping our government from risking our major source of income? 

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A greener approach

With the axing of ‘Sustainable Development’ by our new Premier in favor of SDO’s destined to destroy what little natural preserves of Bermudian landscape we have left, our Premier’s great new solution is to promote ‘recycling’.

Mr. Premier, no offense, but would you get with the times?  Recycling is years old and should have been heavily promoted during the entire time the PLP has been in power.   It is great to know that we’re getting a fancy new recyling plant but more needs to be done to encourage Bermudians to do more then just recycle but also be green friendly.

Has any thought been giving to invoking a deposit plan on recyclable materials by placing a tax on cans, bottles and other recycleable items that can be redeemed when they’re returned to the recycling depot?  How about encouraging local grocery stores to promote the use of reuseable containers as opposed to the horrendous amounts of paper bags we go through?  I do recall a similar initative years ago promoting the use of reuseable bags though it is unknown what happened to it or why it stopped.

Could we be doing more to encourage energy savings?  Recently I replaced most of the lightbulbs in my house with florescents in an attempt to not only cut my energy bills but do my part to cut back on energy consumption.  Has government considered a ban on incandescent bulbs as a means to promote energy savings Bermuda wide as has been done in Australia and California?

A vaste majority of our water supply comes from rainwater that we do our part in polluting.  It would be tremendous to see more initiatives towards decreasing polution levels from vehicles and smokestacks.  One such concept would be to introduce yearly emissions testing to go alongside regular TCD testing and an revision of the licensing system to tax based upon emission levels rather then vehicle sizes.  This would do a better job of encouraging people to purchase new vehicles then the proposed elimination of used cars.

A whole host of other suggestions on how you individually can help contribute to fighting global warming can be found on the 50 things you can do to stop global warming list which I’d encourage all to visit and consider.

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Premier Brown: Do the ‘honourable’ thing

It is really incredible to watch as the tables have turned on our little island.  What the UBP is constantly accused of once doing, the PLP is reenacting.  The recent row over Canadian expatriot worker Curtis Macleod is one of many growing examples of where the PLP has begun to abuse it’s power in an unjust way.

In a recent column in The Royal Gazette, the individual responsible for the extradition of Mr. Macleod, MP George Scott is quoted as having said “People should have no fear if they comply with the laws of this country.”  To this I ask, what law did Mr. Macleod break exactly?

Mr. Scott continues, “Every case has its own specific issues and the average person should not be concerned…”  Does anyone else take this comment as an insult?  Mr. Scott seems to have forgotten that his job is to act as a representative of the people acting in our best interests, not acting as a dictator in doing what is clearly in his best interests and not ours.

9 out of 10 people questioned refused to give their names for the aforementioned article.  Does this not imply that the people have become afraid of speaking out out of fear of retributions from our government?  The only one who did only did so because he is old and retired.  Is this kind of fear of speaking out freely not very similar to that which the UBP has been continuously condemned for having done so during their rule?

Mr. Scott proclaims that “Everyone has freedom of speech. The Bermudian Industrial Union fought for it,”.  The article goes on to suggest that “while he felt people needed to exercise ‘self control’ over what they say, ‘people should be able to speak out without fear of the consequences'”.

This is one Bermudian who is ready to test Mr. Scott’s claims.  Unless it can be proven that Mr. Macleod broke the laws of our country then I call on all Bermudians to stand up for our right to freedom of speech by demanding that our Premier Dr. Brown earns his ‘honourable’ title by requesting that Mr. Scott tender his resignation for disrespecting the people of Bermuda with his actions.

To do anything but is a guarantee that this present government is surely no better then our last.

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Is democracy collapsing?

The following was published as a letter to the editor in today’s The Royal Gazette newpaper

Historian Lord Acton once wrote “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Is it not growing clear that our rulers are already corrupted by the power they wield? All while they make calls to independence being the only solution to empowering our people? Is it not growing evidently clear that the only thing our rulers hope to do is further empower themselves?

Lord Acton also wrote “Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end”. The very foundation of democracy is based upon the concepts of liberty, freedom from oppression and the end to such atrocities as slavery. Where all men and women are recognized as created equal and every person is afforded the right of association, freedom of religion, freedom of opinion and most importantly freedom of speech.

Are we witnessing the collapse of democracy on our great island? Has our government become so intoxicated by their own thirst for power that they have not only have forgotten about the basic needs of you and me but have also risen to silence and condemn any who choose to disagree?

Who remembers whistle blower Gabriel Martel? The unsung hero who raised the alarm about the state of the Berkeley school project — the very project that our government would have sooner sacrificed the welfare of our children then come clean with the truth.

What about Auditor General Larry Dennis, who’s office was ‘conveniently relocated’ when he was critical that $800 million of public funds could not be readily audited? That is our money and if you note our latest budget statement, in many cases it’s details for the last years actual numbers are conveniently left out.

We have witnessed the ousting of a Head Chef for an admittedly tasteless joke, a Doctor for speaking out against the closure of a clinic that many believe helped poor Bermudians, and a construction site foreman who failed to give an MP respect when he did not know whom he was addressing and was the target of blatantly racist remarks.

Most recently, we read of the case where CedarBridge Academy educator Ulama Finn-Hendrickson, who has not been paid nor acknowledged by our government and been forced to take off of work due to illness resulting from CedarBridge’s mould infestation. The very mould that our government knew about since early summer and was more willing to put our children at risk rather then do the honourable thing. How can our politicians be emblazoned with the title ‘honourable’ when clearly honour does not come into play.

Have we allowed our government to become so intoxicated with such power that they have stepped beyond the bounds of what is reasonable? How quickly has our government rushed to approve special development orders that sidestep the appropriate planning processes. The very processes that ensure we don’t have code violations and mass safety hazards like at Berkeley?

Only months ago ‘Sustainable Development’ was the grand idea that would save Bermuda. Before this it was ‘Empowerment’. Tell me who is empowered now? How about ‘Independence’ where more then those who voted for the PLP last election were played the fool for signing a petition demanding that the question of independence be rightfully put to the people. Did our current premier not stand next to our previous one when every citizen who signed that petition were insulted? Do you fail to see that we are being denied the right to choose our own destiny?

Despite claims that democracy on our great island is alive in well, in truth it is in tatters. Look around; our people are no more empowered then they were 9 years ago. Our politicians have rushed to take care of their own first and only do what is in our interests when election time is near by throwing money at issues that will buy votes.

It is time we started demanding more from our politicians. There should be accountability for missing funds and laws that empower and protect the people from government abuses not the other way around. It is time our politicians gave us the respect we deserve. We should be demanding true, fair and open democracy not some false façade – a Bermuda where public access to information is a reality, not an idle election promise, where freedom of speech and freedom of choice reign king above any man.

A Bermuda where all Bermudians live in a land of liberty and just government.

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Rewards and The Regiment

The evening sessions have worked out to be a fair bit more relaxed then camp itself was with evenings not going nearly as late as I had feared prior to starting camp.  The first few have been kind of boring though tonight’s did involve a few jokes cracked which lightened things up and helped it move a bit quicker. 

Tonight’s lesson was on vehicle check points which are essentially little more then guarded road blocks for controlling and inspecting traffic.  As we get further into the evening sessions and away from camp we are learning more about our civil duties with the purpose being that the regiment’s primary purpose is to assist the police in times of emergency.  

There is some point to what we’re learning in terms of the evenings, as past evenings have taught us basic lessons such as the recognizing, characterizing and describing of people based upon the A to H means, being.

  • Age, with an estimate bracket of 5 years
  • Build in terms of the person’s body type and characteristics
  • Complexion and Clothing in terms of recognizing what they were wearing and their appearance
  • Distinguishing marks
  • Elevation or the height of the person in a bracket of 2 inches
  • Facial characteristics
  • Gait or how they carry themselves
  • Hair

Though boring at the speed at which the material is taught, being able to describe people relatively accurately is an interesting lesson to learn overall.  It has it’s applications for the work of checkpoints and guard duty and may also be a good trick to improving memory.  For anyone who has trouble remembering names and describing people, these lessons may help one notice more and possibly remember and be able to describe them better as a result, in both the short term and the long.

Other lessons have included scenarios of how to cordon off an area for a variety of scenarios such as guarding an area, the purposes of the regiment, and vehicle recognition.

One thing that I’ve been wondering is whether the Regiment is intentionally not supposed to be fun.  This is a question that comes up relatively often just because there are few incentives to want to make the most out of your time there.  There arn’t any reasons for doing what your told and having your kit all straight aside from the negative reinforcement of extras or time in the guard room.  There really doesn’t seem to be any positive reinforcement or rewards for not only doing what you’re supposed to but striving for the higher level the commanding officers are always looking for.  You could join the cadre, which meant more time and an unknown schedule, for at the time of joining the cadre you really knew little of what you were getting yourself into.  The arguement in support for some who joined was to get away from the people who don’t want to be there, though it was amusing to watch some of the biggest trouble makers join the cadre because you could tell they got a rise out of cracking jokes and making others get in trouble for them.

True rewards, enough to not only make the average conscript enjoy it enough to want to be there but also enough to encourage people to want to sign up, don’t seem to be there, aside from the reward you get if you challenge yourself.  I’ve heard that years ago they used to sponsor a sport referred to as paintball, where you have special guns that shoot water based paint pellets which can be used to simulate battle conditions.  I havn’t heard anything of it and thus far am wondering and doubting that you get the chance to do it.  It would be a great thing to have on the island as I had the opportunity to play it a couple times while I was abroad at school.  I’m disappointed that it seems to no longer happen.

It makes me wonder of the scenario of a field trip for a bunch of graduating high schoolers.  One put on by the regiment where you would get to go out to the old Annex and spend a day learning a bit about what the regiment does and get to play a few rounds of paintball with the explanation that you have to be or have been a member of the regiment to be able to play it.  Bermuda isn’t always the most exciting place to be so offering the ability to do something different could work to the Regiment’s benefit.  It would be one positive thing to offer to those who are turn up when they’re supposed to and could serve as a positive enticement to get more youth encouraged and interested in the regiment rather then simply dreading it and ultimately it doesn’t have to be just one positive thing. 

Could the regiment be expanded to include more positive incentives to encourage youth to want to be there?  Certainly.  We were told of an initative by a few guys last year to raise money for a gym that could be used for regiment members to work out because gyms can be so expensive here.  There could be others that offered positive incentives to want to participate in the regiment.  If our people are so supportive of the regiment and it’s usefulness, is there a reason why we aren’t doing more to provide proper incentives for our youth to want to be there rather then forcing us to be there?

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Only 157 weeks of conscription to go

Today marks week 7 of my time in the regiment and this weekend shall be our first weekend camp.  Thus far I can’t say that I’m enjoying the experience nor looking forward to either tonights session or this weekend’s. 

I have had full intentions of writing more about the experience however was asked by the mid ocean news to do an interview on it which took up a great deal of the time I’d hoped to dedicate.   Subsequently, the feature has been postponed a number of times and in typical fashion of when I’ve dealt with the Royal Gazette feedback is limited and I really have no idea whats going on.  Worst case I’ll just start copying my responses here.

I can appreciate the need for the Regiment in some cases though there are still many things about it that I question.  There seems to be alot of reference to it being a resource to guard against terrorist attacks which I find puzzling.  It is hard for me to concieve any scenario where an outside terrorist group would have interest in terrorizing our island.  I figure it is quite a bit more likely that if any terrorism scenario were to occur, it would be under the guise of Bermudians terrorizing Bermudians.  At which point I question the benefit of conscripting unwilling young Bermudians into the Regiment to teach us army warfare tactics and provide us with the knowledge of weapon and explosive caches around the island, some left over from the US bases that were here.  This detail was considerably bothersome to me for I have zero idea why we have kept around explosive caches left from the US base.

Learning camoflauging tactics itself and the fact that we’re an army on an island surrounded by hundreds of miles of water in all directions is a bit counter intuitive.  The justification of our camoflauge is that it helps provide a recognizeable uniform and demonstration of organized force in the event of guarding key points around the island and taking on any would be attackers.  This seems odd as given what we’re taught our camoflauge uniforms would be most beneficial in giving us the opportunity to take advantage of shrubbery peppered around the island and along roadways as a means to conceal ourselves in the event that we needed to.  At which point I again wonder about whether such uniforms would lend itself more to waging war with our own people then foreign invaders, but I suppose I’ve got 3 years and 2 months to figure out what the real reasons are for it.

So, 7 weeks are nearly gone and only 157 weeks to go.  It’d definately going to be a long 3 years to get this legally conscripted requirement to serve over with.

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Is it time to throw in the towel on a future in Bermuda?

One thing I really don’t get is the lack of attention to not only "affordable housing" in terms of Bermudians being able to own their own homes, but also in terms of "affordable rentals".

As a young Bermudian, looking at the real estate section of e-moo is depressing.  $2700 for a one bedroom apartment in Sandys, $2500 for one in smiths, or if really lucky, you can get a $2300 one in St. Georges.  Comparing the 5 available apartments to the list of 20+ who are looking for apartments is even worse.  Unfortunately, demand heavily outstretches supply, it has for some time now.

In all reality, even with a 100% mortgage it is very difficult for young Bermudians to consider purchasing one of the ‘affordable homes’ that government is working on, assuming you could be lucky enough to get on the list for one.  It just isn’t realistic.

Even a $500,000 mortgage at 7% interest over 30 years amounts to over $3,300 a month in payments.  Even a home at $750,000, half the price of the average home is almost $5,000 a month.  On top of that, if you take a 100% loan your taking on the equity risk meaning that if Bermuda’s housing market takes a downturn and your $750,000 house is suddenly worth $500,000, if you want to sell it you’re going to have to come up with the $250,000 difference.  Thats a heavy gamble that I don’t think too many people taking on these 100% mortgages consider.

Taking a range of yearly incomes for youthof $30,000, $50,000 and $70,000 respectively, after removing deductions (payroll tax, pension, social insurance, health etc), that comparatively leaves $2,500, $4,166, and $5,833 in terms of monthly income.

When a one bedroom apartment costs $2000+ a month, it simply isn’t possible for anyone on a $30,000 wage to afford.  On $50,000 its a struggle, but you could live, and on $70,000 you could manage to save some.  Trying to cover a $3,300 a month mortgage would be near impossible for those making $30,000-$50,000.

Now, of course, our elders proclaim that youth today are just lazy and unwilling to sacrafice.  That with two decent incomes you can make it.  The big problem is it isn’t easy to just meet someone who’s also making a good enough wage to make this kind of budget reasonable.  What concerns me even more is that our government is set on removing the used car market as a solution to our traffic woes.  I’ll offer this prediction right now that it won’t do anything but hurt those in the low income brackets and those doing their best to save as much as they can.

In my own scenario, I live in St. Davids.  This can be a difficult place to live in terms of public transport because the buses stop running shortly after 6 in the evening.  Considering I work until 5:30, it is impossible for me to take the ferry and very difficult for me to make the St. Davids bus transition.  On top of this, I am an unwilling conscript of the Bermuda Regiment which keeps me in Warwick until 9-11pm each Thursday evening.  Transport at this time is very difficult if you don’t have a bike or car.

As such, I was very thankful for our used car market when I found the opportunity to purchase a car for cheaper then the cost of most bikes.  It certainly isn’t anything fancy and can barely do more then go from A to B, but really, if I expect to afford any kind of future in Bermuda, fancy cars likely will never be a luxury I can afford.  I have little idea how long my car will last and I am very much against the proposed elimination of the used car market as it will force me to either give up owning a car or increase my monthly expenses to cover a loan on something brand new.

With the prospects of how costly homes are it is getting to the point where I’m simply accepting that for many Bermudian youth, we won’t have a future here.  By comparison, when you can get a home abroad for $200,000 and you’re well educated, it is more worth your while to save all you can and aim for a future off island.

So, while our Premier is planning to visit students studying abroad in order to convince them to return to Bermuda as an attempt to reduce the brain drain of what few well educated youth we do have, I hope he’ll consider dedicating time to solving not only the affordable housing crisis, but also the affordable rental crisis. 

I am doubtful that many of those living abroad who have worked hard to attain a good education will like the prospects of living with their parents and on the absolute cheap until they’re 40 just so they might have a shot at saving enough money to make Bermuda a realistic long term option.  Especially when those who are better educated have alternatives available off island.

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Where’s the Beef?

I’ve taken a moment to review this year’s budget statement.  To my dismay this years numbers are in a different format then last years.

Last year’s numbers from the 2006/07 Bermuda Government Budget were given in tabular chart form, comparing not only the projected estimates for 2006/07, the 2005/06 original and revised estimates and the 2004 actual numbers.

This year, while the budget summary has some nice colorful pie charts, the budget itself is lacking in the format that made last year’s easy to read and comprehend quickly.  Instead it lays out the numbers in paragraph form.  This can make it harder to read because it isn’t as easy to lookup and compare the data from this year to previous years.

Example:

"Mr. Speaker, Government proposes to collect total revenues of $917 million in
2007/08, about 7 per cent higher than the revised revenue estimate of $856 million for
2006/07."

Compare that to the chart on the right from last year, which not only provides the estimate of $835 million, but also the revised 2005/06 number of $798 million, the original 2005/06 of $750 million and the 2004/05 of  $782 million.

Without these numbers it’s hard to see how things have changed from a big picture perspective because it’s compare each source of revenue.

"Customs duties are expected to contribute $247 million towards the total revenue
estimate in 2007/08. Following consultation with representatives of the Bermuda Tour
Boat Owners Association, Government has decided to amend certain tariff items to
provide greater assistance to these businesses including duty-free fuel, a reduced rate on
spare parts and an amendment to an existing concession to allow sales of existing vessels
to overseas purchasers without a claw-back on the 10 per cent duty concession."

What this doesn’t tell us is what the final numbers for 2006/07 were for customs duties.  I have to search to find

"For 2006/07, customs duty is expected to be some $10 million higher than the original
estimate of $225 million"

Elsewhere in the document, the government suggests:

"This Government listens and seeks to address the concerns in a prudent but peoplefriendly
manner."

I would like to ask where I need to go to collect a copy of the budget represented in tabular form like last year because I would like to get an accurate and fair idea of how our money has been allocated?

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One Laptop Per Child

I am quite amazed by the launch of the One Laptop Per Child project who’s aim is to empower every youth in undeveloped countries with access to the best education possible.  By equipping children with laptops, mesh based internet connectivity and the ability to make class sessions collaborative.  By tapping into open knowledge based resources such as open source software and online open book projects technology access to open source software and open book/textbook projects like google books.  It is incredible how movements are being made to empower every child around the world with such technology at their fingertips.

I can’t help but compare this to our own predicament regarding education.  We have a 48% graduation rate and “60 percent of the Island’s 16- to 25-year-olds do not have adequate literacy skills for a modern, knowledge-based society.”  This amounts to quite a crisis on our hands and we’re struggling to figure out what has been a worsening trend for years.  We live in a society who’s lone major industry is heavily based upon knowledge capital and, as such, in order to compete we need to stay at the top of ability in terms of technology.  I would have much rathered to have seen us spend $15 million equipping every child with a laptop, internet connectivity and collaborative/interactive schooling programs then spending it on a football team. 

I guess I’m still bummed that we’ve spent $26 million in two years on sports and my generation is still in the dark when it comes to a leg up in a increasingly demanding world.

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Did you bet on the game?

It’s that time of year again, budget season!  Where we get to see how the added taxes and licensing fees we get charged each year gets put to such good use.

We’ve two pretty big announcements so far this year. The first was a $15 million gamble on taking Bermudian football to the next level.  The payoff?  National Pride, potential future international stars, and encouragement for youth to help them keep to a good path in life.  The second?  Could we be any more proud?  We’ve got a 60% failure rate!  What an achievement for Bermudians.

For other countries in the world, their youth have little else in their lives then a football.  Football can be their ticket out, their ownly viable opportunity for a better life.  As the richest country in the world, we as Bermudians have some of the best possible opportunities at our fingertips.   Yet this is how we come to our second announcement, while our wealth is an acheivement, along with it has come a 60% failure rate.

By not ensuring that our youth are well educated we have caused what will become major problems for our country if the trend continues.  While as an island we live at great wealth, it lies at the price of great cost due to our small size and location.  The poor are getting poorer as cost of living skyrockets, rent never ceases to rise and it’s becoming harder to afford living here for many who have been here for generations. 

Without access to the available opportunity their is on this island, uneducated Bermudians will quickly find themselves falling behind foreigners and those who did get a good education.  This gap causes a disparity between the groups and a situation of haves and alot of have-nots.  We’re beginning to see the effects.  More and more youth going into gangs and crime because it’s the only clear alternative to success they can see.  Without the right tools, they have few options for success in our ever more competitive society.

With $15 million dedicated to football, the inevitable question of where this money is going to come from does surface.  Last year more then $24 million was spent on Community Affairs and Sport with $14 million going to youth sport according to last years budget estimates.   With the extra $4 million more being dropped on football this year then was put on cricket last year, one has to wonder where that money is going to come from.   Thats nearly $62 per person extra put towards football for the year.

The question on my mind is where is this extra $62 dollars going to come from?  Have earnings gone up and this is how we’re going to spend it?  Are we redistributing money away from other ministries?  Is so, which ones and how?  Or worse, is the revenue coming from higher taxes while some come from our economy, many come from Bermudians ourselves.

Beyond this there’s been talk of eliminating public transport fees.  That amounts to some $8 million or some $133 per person for the year.  Where will this money come from if they go ahead with it?

For those who care about how money that could be in your pocket is being spent on your behalf, it’ll be interesting to see what comes of tomorrows budget announcement.  I just hope our government’s new plan for sustainable development isn’t for the years from now when most are soo poor all we can afford is a football.  At which point we’ll be soo thankful for our government’s foresight in betting our future on a game.

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