The haunting rhetoric of finding money for a boat race for the rich vs. schools and buses

There’s an interesting suggestion in Bermuda Real’s bus strike coverage

One operator questioned the fact that in lean economic times, the former administration came up with millions out of the public purse for a boat race – the America’s Cup.

This is coming up now, 11 months into a PLP government, as justification for why the government should throw money at the transportation system or risk a strike.  This is a sentiment that came up regularly that many PLP supporters latched on to.  That the OBA spent money on the America’s Cup when they should have been spending that money on schools and buses.

It was a big theme used to fuel the belief that the OBA had money to fix the buses but spent it instead on a boat race for the rich.  The trouble though is that now that the PLP is in government, this rhetoric may be coming home to roost.

It is not all surprising that there is now a misconception that there is money to be found to fix the buses and that the PLP should come up with it.  The trouble is, the America’s Cup spending was on economic stimulus that drove investment and spending on the island and created at least temporary jobs.  Buying a new fleet of buses will hit government’s bottom line hard but will do very little to boost the economy.

So, with the suggestion that the BIU has given a strike notice for June 29th, what will the government do?  Hold firm, take the unpopular route of forcing some real changes to our transport system or cave and put us in the likely position of having to raise more debt just as interest rates are rising, the US fed is engaged in quantitative tapering and emerging market yields are rising.

This may be the haunting reality of encouraging people to believe that there was money to be found but it was spent on America’s Cup rather than the buses.  Where will that money be found now?