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.