The sinking ship

Abolishing term limits will help, but if you’re expecting it to be a magical solution to all our problems you’ll be sorely disappointed.  Unfortunately I fear people are as susceptible to believing in term limits as the key solution as they are it being the root cause to our economic woes.  Abolishing term limits only plugs a leak, it won’t bail out the boat.

Ideally speaking we need to introduce far more drastic changes that will require a great deal of political capital and skill to achieve.  Abolishing term limits is only a first step.  We’re going to need to significantly streamline and relax the work permit process for skilled workers to the point where its little more than a rubber stamp of approval.  Beyond that we’ll need to do a whole raft of other things.  Unfortunately that gets far more difficult to achieve if you’re not very tactful in your approach in how you manage the media, how you craft your rhetoric and how you recognize and tackle voter myths.

It just isn’t so simple that all you have to do is eliminate term limits and wipe your hands, your done.  I truly wish it was.  I wish that over the last few years of writing this blog that I was completely wrong when I warned of the downturn, that we were in a bubble, that housing was likely to collapse and our cost of living would continue to rise.  I certainly wish I am wrong about the approach the OBA is taking and that the commentator who thinks I’m an amateur proves to be absolutely right.

“As much as you guys pretend to be politically astute you are really showing how much of an amateur you both are.”

He’s right about one thing, I am an amateur and quite thankfully this blog isn’t my day job.  I love Bermuda and thus I feel compelled to speak out but most often I try to stop myself from writing and getting involved because I hate politics.  I’d rather our island was a peaceful paradise where I didn’t need to worry.  Unfortunately I do worry, I worry greatly and that’s where I lose myself and end up speaking out.

“In this case it is quite clear that term limits needed to be removed and hence the OBA acted swiftly. Instead of applauding their efforts you want complain about the process.”

Quite clear?  Acted swiftly?  Applaud their efforts?  Why then did the OBA originally pledge to put term limits to a two year review rather than eliminate them outright?  Either it wasn’t so clear or they intentionally deceived us.  To some, including this blogger, it was quite clear that term limits needed to go.  That leaves the possibility that we’ve intentionally been deceived which means that in less than a month they’ve managed to break our trust.  Trust is the most essential component to managing human relationships and it is critical that we have trust in our leadership if we’re going to move forwards.

“Secondly, when the next election rolls around and Bermuda is doing much better without term limits you both will need to remove foot from mouth.”

 

Sadly I just don’t see abolishing term limits as being the magical solution to creating jobs.  It might help save the axe for some, but it won’t create jobs.  Term limits caused job functions to be migrated off island.  Those jobs aren’t coming back now just because people can now stay longer.  What eliminating term limits will do is that it will help prevent more jobs from being relocated away.  It won’t actively serve to create new jobs, unfortunately.

Both of you accuse me of being a blind follower of the OBA but I believe you two are simply anti-OBA and can’t seem to take off your tinted green sunglasses.

I haven’t accused anyone of being a blind follower of the OBA.  Instead, what I suggested is that “I’m not interested in taking sides and blindly following either party.  What I am interested in is taking an objective view of the issues and voicing my opinion.”  Questioning term limits is an example of that.

I have a long track record of doing just that with term limits and many other things during the last few years while the PLP was in power.  To assume that I won’t speak out now that the OBA is in power is disingenuous.   I’m rather sorry to disappoint all those who figured I was secretly a closet UBP/OBA supporter who only saw the negatives of what the PLP tried to do and would go quiet once the OBA were in power.

What have I said about term limits over the last few years?  Here’s a sample, it’s hardly “green tinted”

Feb 2007: Our symbiotic reliance on foreign workers:  “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.”

Aug 2007:  Is our economy in for a crash?   “The hard questions you need to ask yourself are: …  What happens when it becomes more and more difficult for international businesses to replace those whose term limits run out?” 

Aug 2007: ” Recently, concerns were raised by a prominent member of our international business community that our term limit policy is having negative effects. “

Dec 2007: “we should asking what the point of 7 year term limits is”

May 2008: “due to the term limit policy, back office jobs that were once Bermuda based are being migrated to other offices off-island.”

June 2009: “we noted there are a number of factors contributing to the decline … policies like term limits” 

April 2010: “One recommendation was extending the term limit to 10 or 15 years with perhaps an extension halved once that is up.  I believe this would be a positive move.”

April 2010: “it does not appear that the term limit policy is an
effective solution to the concerns raised by those in attendance nor those of
2001”

Feb 2012: “Here’s my impromtu budget wishlist to get our economy back on track …  Eliminate term limits”

May 2012: Term limits are anti-Bermudian

Jan 2013: “Term limits was ultimately a very flawed policy, as evidenced to the very high percentage of exemptions.”

Abolishing term limits is great, though as mentioned before, the way it has been done has expended a great deal of political capital unnecessarily.  If the OBA thought it necessary to do a 2 year review then they should have stuck with it or put more effort into explaining why they had a sudden change of heart.  Having moved forward so drastically they’ve alienated the public they’ll need to rely on most to get our economy back on track.  That will be costly and ultimately we could see the OBA voted out of power in four years.

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