Opinion

Seeing through a pattern of deception

  • Dart for dart: Wayne Furbert has challenged Nick Kempe’s use of figures to suit a false narrative (File photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • wayne Furbert

“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes” — Mark Twain

As you observe the One Bermuda Alliance, a distinct pattern emerges. A pattern of half-truths, innuendos and outright fabrication. Over the years, it has been repeatedly caught bending the truth, rewriting history and breaking its word. Sadly, even its “new” faces have fallen into this pattern of behaviour.

Here are a few examples:

• In the OBA’s Reply to the Budget, Nick Kempe stated that “the OBA handed over a government spending only $908 million”. This was untrue. The last OBA budget had government spending projected at $923 million. Through prudent spending and control after the July 2017 General Election, the Progressive Labour Party government brought in the actual audited amount at $892 million — under the OBA’s projections

• The OBA claimed that the PLP hired 318 new government workers. In fact, the OBA government had budgeted for 5,017 government employees in 2017-18 while the PLP budgeted for 5,082 government workers, a difference of 65, not 318

• The OBA claimed that “ ... salaries, wages, employer overheads and other personnel costs have increased by $36.7 million since the election”. In fact, the OBA budgeted for $475 million in salaries in 2017-18, and the PLP government has budgeted for $478 million, or a $3 million difference. This is after giving 2.5 per cent and 2 per cent increases in salary to government workers

• The OBA claimed that it “ ... handed over a yearly consultancy spend of $12.7 million. This year the PLP is budgeting for $15.9 million in consultants, an increase of $3.2 million in two years.” In fact, the OBA budgeted for $17 million in total consultants 2017-18 and the PLP in 2019-20 has budgeted for $15 million, a decrease of $2 million.

So, this begs the question. Is the OBA attempting to deceive Bermudians again or is it just that it can’t count?

The Opposition has two weeks and 56 hours where they can promote what they would do differently and ask questions surrounding the Budget. Yet, ironically for the first time in possibly decades, an opposition has declined to debate the Ministry of Finance and refused the opportunity to drill deeper into this critical ministry.

Instead, Bermuda is treated to a barrage of blatant falsehoods from the OBA via the media. All while the budget items it has chosen to debate have exposed the ineffectiveness, lack of depth and lack of substance within the OBA.

Maya Angelou once said: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

When it comes to an inability to tell the truth, the OBA has shown us numerous times that it is something that it truly struggles with.

Despite the OBA’s attempts to divide and distort the truth, progress is being made and in the coming year, we will be tackling some of the challenges that are holding our country back.

Whether it is a living wage, affordable healthcare or mortgage relief, the work will continue towards the better, fairer Bermuda that we all deserve.

Wayne Furbert is the Junior Minister of Finance and the MP for Hamilton West (Constituency 6)