2011 OBA Reply to the Throne Speech – Part Seven

Tourism

– Set up a Tourism Authority ‘with the goal of turning our tourism industry into a growing industry.’

I presume from this that the OBA advocate a private and independent Tourism Authority, as opposed to a Government one. I’ve yet to be convinced of the reasoning for such a private approach as opposed to reforming and improving the Government one. The OBA here really don’t provide much of an argument in favour of it, other than heavily criticising the Government one for just being a failure.

That’s pretty much all I can see from the OBA’s comments regarding tourism. I think they are also insinuating the need to improve the quality and advertising of our attractions, but that’s far from being an explicit policy of theirs. They don’t seem to put forward any positions regarding hotels, cruise-ships, flights or other issues relating to tourism.

Environment

They open their section on the Environment by listing a number of policies previously proposed in PLP Throne Speeches which appear to have been put on hold, or nothing developed since they were mooted. They don’t, however, indicate whether they support any of these and whether they would instigate them if in power. These range from a bottle deposit bill, reinvigorated agricultural policies, bans on balloons and plastic bags and a water supply master plan.

The positions that the OBA do take though are:

– A goal to produce 20% of our required energy production from renewables by 2026;
– ‘Plans’ to upgrade and expand our parks;
– Provide concessions to businesses and individuals committed to ‘green solutions’;
– Develop and support our agricultural and fishing industries;

All of these sound okay, but are so vague on detail that they are barely more than green rhetoric. What renewable technologies would they seek to use? How much energy will this be in 2026? Why limit the goal to 20% in 2026? What do they mean by ‘plans’ to upgrade and expand parks? What kind of concessions will they provide to businesses and individuals, and how do they define ‘green solutions’? What do they mean by develop and support agriculture and fishing?

Miscellaneous

– Replace the sheds at Marsh Folly that currently serve as a homeless shelter with a facility to properly serve those in need;

What does this mean in concrete terms? What kind of facility would ‘properly serve those in need’? How much would it cost? Is this a cost-effective solution to the problem?

The OBA reply then has a rather eloquent section on the issue of race in Bermuda, including a recognition of the ongoing structural racism resulting from our history, and strongly criticises those that live in ‘denial, defensiveness and deception’ on the issue. Despite this remarkable passage, I cannot see any policies the OBA will take as regards structural racism.

The OBA reply then concludes with more general rhetoric about the need for change and how only the OBA can be that change.

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