Opinion

These numbers are really not much to boast about

One Bermuda Alliance politicians beating their chests and boasting over the latest tourism numbers while tourism jobs continue to fall truly reinforces the reality that there are two Bermudas; one for the wealthy and privileged, and one for the rest of us.

Under the OBA, tourism jobs have been lost every year, culminating in a further loss of 2.9 per cent jobs last year. Worse yet, as reported in this year’s Economic Report: “Jobs occupied by non-Bermudians were the only status category to exhibit an increase in employment in 2016.”

How can this be right?

While the OBA is celebrating and boasting about its “success”, the rest of us have to live with the results of its failure to create or protect jobs and opportunities for Bermudians.

While the OBA is celebrating and boasting about its “success”, the rest of us have to live in a Bermuda where jobs are growing only for non-Bermudians, where bills still have to be paid, our children still have to be fed and where hope is being lost.

On top of jobs being lost under its reign, the OBA has emerged from record-setting years — records that it is not so willing to boast about: 48 and 49-year lows in air arrivals.

The recent surge in arrivals, while positive, must be put in the proper context. Over the four-year period before 2012, tourism under the Progressive Labour Party averaged 242,000 air arrivals per year.

Over a similar period, the OBA has not been able to match PLP highs in either air arrivals or total arrivals, which were 652,000 total and 264,000 by air. Additionally, the pre-recession period from 2005 to 2008 had a high of 305,000 air arrivals and 660,000 total. The OBA’s high of 245,000 air and 642,000 total falls short.

Yet this is not about whose numbers were bigger; it is about a new approach that results in jobs for the people that matter the most to us: Bermudians.

The OBA’s approach simply is not working. In fact, the “safe hands” that the OBA claims to possess repeatedly waved “bye-bye” to jobs and opportunities for our people.

We encourage you to examine our vision, an economic vision for a Bermuda that at its core is about jobs, opportunity, inclusion and building a Bermuda that works for Bermudians.

Weigh it against the performance of the OBA and join us in making Bermuda work for you.

Jamahl Simmons is the Shadow Minister of Tourism and the MP for Sandys South (Constituency 33)