2011 OBA Reply to the Throne Speech – Part One

Yes, I realise this is about a year late. At the time I had put the blog on hiatus, more or less. However, with the upcoming election (not to mention the 2012 Throne Speech!) I thought it would be useful to catch up on some issues I’ve neglected, notably a critical examination of the positions the OBA has taken to date and what will likely form part of their election platform.

I intend to follow this review of their 2011 Throne Speech reply with their 2012 Budget reply. While the OBA has occasionally spoken about releasing various ‘position papers’ on different subjects (education, crime, etc.), to the best of my knowledge they have not done so to date. Instead, it will be necessary to look at what they have released, in the form of the 2011 Throne Speech reply, the 2012 Budget reply, and the odd ‘official’ statement from OBA candidates (notably Mr. Bob Richards, Mr. Andrew Simmons, Mr. Jeff Baron and Senator Fahy).

2011 OBA Throne Speech Reply

A copy of the 2011 OBA Throne Speech Reply is currently available on their website, and it is this copy that I am using for the basis of my critique.

The reply contains a number of empty political rhetoric as seems obligatory for these documents. What I will try and do is filter out the rhetoric and just identify the policy positions the OBA is taking. It makes much use of the OBA’s aping of Obamaisms, as well as building the atmosphere of the OBA as some sort of messiah that will right all the wrongs of the evil PLP – the emphasis on the ‘need for change’ is a tad overwhelming to be honest.

“We believe change is necessary because the problems of Bermuda are too serious, too deep for more of the same.”

“We have to free ourselves to be better.”

Etc. – Not to mention over-use of cliches (also obligatory it seems) “the proof of the pudding is in the eating…”

It also lists a number of policy ideas that the OBA generally support from the PLP’s Throne speech. These would seems to be:

– The need to re-train people;
– Career and job training support for young Bermudians;
– Hotel concessions tied to the hiring of Bermudian entertainers ‘are good’;
– Health insurance reform that minimises upfront payments for medical care;
– Homeowner eligibility for financial assistance;
– Tougher drunk driving penalties;
– The proposed review of the 60/40 business ownership rule for its potential to finance important projects such as the redevelopment of Hamilton’s waterfront;
– A referendum on gambling;
– Measures to protect qualified Bermudians from unfair hiring practices;
– The OBA is ‘intrigued’ by the idea of a Cisco Academy that could train Bermudians in IT and related industries.

The next section of the reply goes on the attack, criticising the PLP for promising much, failing to deliver, disappointing many and being the architect of the current economic crisis. This continues a general theme of the OBA in their general approach – open with rhetoric, mark out some issues they agree with the PLP on, and then go on the offensive portraying the PLP as deeply dysfunctional, a failure and the cause of the economic crisis in Bermuda.

I’ll continue this in a subsequent post, out of the interest of keeping it readable in length!

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