PLP reveals agenda for first 100 days

  • PLP Press conference: Anthony Richardson, Opposition leader David Burt and Kathy Lynn Simmons ( Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The Progressive Labour Party has outlined what it plans to implement in the first 100 days of office should they come to power.

An attempt to bring down the cost of living; an appointment of a Gang Violence Reduction Co-ordinator; a technology hub in Southside and the formation of a tax reform commission are all on the agenda.

Opposition leader David Burt, who was accompanied by PLP candidates Anthony Richardson and Kathy Lynn Simmons, began his speech by talking about crippling house prices in Bermuda and pledged to grant additional powers to the Price Control Commission to look at ways to reduce the cost of living.

Education was next on the list — Mr Burt said his party would conduct an “urgent review” of health and safety in all public schools in light of concerns stemming from the One Bermuda Alliance’s School Reorganisation Report last February.

Aside from crumbling school infrastructure, the PLP has said it will also ensure every public school has wi-fi access and it will increase accessibility to Bermuda College by providing funding and childcare for parents to be able to study.

Asked about jobs and training, Mr Burt said: “We need to ensure we are doing everything in our power to train Bermudians, so that they can fill the jobs of today and the jobs of tomorrow. In our first 100 days the PLP will increase job training to fill jobs that are currently being held by guest workers,” he said.

Speaking on gang violence, Mr Burt accused the OBA of “paying lip service” adding that his party would appoint a Gang Violence Reduction Co-ordinator, whose sole focus would be on implementing programmes to reduce gang violence and anti-social behaviour.

Mr Burt said: “We will provide the action that the community has been asking for.”

And despite what he described as a “toxic” political discourse in the run up to the election, Mr Burt said he will unite the island with the creation of the Bermuda First advisory group if elected.

He said: “Bermuda works best when we work together and ensure that all stakeholders are engaged in our country’s advancement. The PLP will form Bermuda First, an advisory group consisting of local, international and community leaders to develop a long-term economic and social plan for Bermuda. Bermuda needs an economic plan that has broad community support that will assist us in creating balanced, long-term economic growth.”

Mr Richardson said the PLP would also appoint a director of co-operatives at the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation.

He said: “Under the PLP government we will double the guarantee capacity for the BEDC to give more access to capital for entrepreneurs.”

Mr Richardson said a Tax Reform Commission would be formed to “make Bermuda’s tax system fair and increase Bermuda’s global competitiveness to stimulate economic activity and create jobs for Bermudians.”

On the issue of public service unions, Mr Richardson said the party would “conclude negotiations” and bipartisan committee on the issue of immigration would be established.

Ms Simmons approached the issue of a technology hub in Southside.

She said: “This hub will allow start-ups in the technology field that require little more than a computer and an internet connection to use our regulatory environment, while developing new products and services.”

Mr Richardson, who declared his position at the BLDC, which manages land on which the hub would be located, added: “It is exciting. The idea of having a business environment that is basically designed for younger people will create energy.

“At BLDC we have the entry points for internet service in Bermuda so we can get very high internet speed. Bermuda will be pleasantly surprised how quickly a new industry can develop.”

Ms Simmons also outlined measures to make government more efficient and transparent. She said the PLP would establish three permanent parliamentary oversight committees in order to improve governance.

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