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18°/17.78°Scattered Clouds

2020-11-10 - 00:57:33  POLITICS | 

Premier, David Burt, On Throne Speech Initiatives

On Friday, November the 6th, this Government presented the 2020 Throne Speech, which detailed how in this first legislative year we will advance the Agenda that earned overwhelming support at the polls. We will continue to invest in our young people, we will continue to protect our seniors and vulnerable, and we will continue our focus on growing our economy and creating economic opportunity for Bermudians.

I will provide an overview of the Throne Speech initiatives and highlight our priorities and areas of focus. The Minister of Finance will also provide an overview of his Ministry’s initiatives, and during this week and next week, my Ministerial colleagues will hold joint press conferences to detail their Ministry’s initiatives.

Last Tuesday I stated that this speech would be considerably shorter that other Throne Speeches. This was deliberate, as these speeches are supposed to represent the legislative matters that the Government will advance in one session. I wanted to ensure that we were being realistic in laying out what we felt could be achieved in this legislative year.

The Throne Speech’s theme: Rebuilding Bermuda with Bermudians at Heart communicates the basis and foundation of all of Government’s priorities. The fact is the world post-pandemic will be vastly different than in the past, and our policies must recognise that rebuilding must happen to ensure a more just, more fair and more equitable society.

The Government not only believes it is important to prepare Bermuda’s Youth for the future, but we must also value young people’s current contributions to Society. We will seek to engage our young people and harness their energy, creativity and passion about the causes that are most important to them, by developing a National Youth Policy that supports and empowers this most critical segment of our community.

It is no secret that Bermudians pay far too much for healthcare, and in the midst of a public health crisis, affordable universal healthcare is an unquestionable priority. To uncover and deliver innovative solutions, public and private sectors will unite to reduce Bermuda’s healthcare expense and drive better healthcare outcomes;

Therefore, in collaboration with Bermuda First, the Government will introduce a Bermuda Health Plan by focusing both on prevention as well as primary and community care, we hope to significantly reduce the reliance on expensive hospital care. Additionally, using technology will maximise efficiencies via an integrated healthcare model.

To support our students, and guided by a goal of establishing multiple pathways to success for Bermudian students, the Government will complete the transformation of the public-school system, collaboratively designing brand-new system for Bermuda.

The new public-school system will ensure students are equipped for vocational, academic, or business careers; as well as being able to succeed if they prefer independent entrepreneurial and artistic pursuits.

As we focus on strengthening our economy and on economic diversification during this Session, the Government will reform laws and policies to assist to develop an ecosystem and infrastructure that allows technology companies to base their operations in Bermuda.

These new residents will enable the evolution of a tech community in Bermuda to compliment the legacy industries that have provided the mainstay of the Island’s employment and revenue for decades.

Having been incorporated in 1795, Hamilton has attracted legal, retail, dining, and banking entities, but has found it difficult to accommodate innovative business ideas or even until relatively recently, residents.
Accordingly, given our pursuit of technology focussed companies unused and underused sites in the City of Hamilton will be permitted to develop co-working spaces in which local and global entrepreneurs can live, work, and relax together while building our future.

Regarding immigration reform, the Legislature will be invited to support revisions to the long-term residential certificate policy to require those granted the right to live in Bermuda to make economic investments in the Island or to invest in the new Bermuda Trust Fund, which will be set up to benefit those who have not had the benefit of historic, inherited wealth. Additionally, the Government will advance the next chapter of comprehensive immigration reform by legislating a framework for the grant of permanent residency in Bermuda.

A Bill to create a Police Authority will be introduced to facilitate an open and collaborative forum to support the Bermuda Police Service and the communities they serve. A national crime prevention plan will focus on prevention, rehabilitation and reintegration
In our ongoing efforts to support hardworking Bermudians, especially those whose employment has been impacted by the pandemic, the Legislature will take under

consideration the final aspects of wage reform in support of Bermuda’s workers to establish a statutory living wage.
With reference to the Digital Bank initiative. Bermuda prides itself as a well-regulated place to do business with a respected regulatory and legal system. 

This has been key to Bermuda’s success in attracting international business. However, existing banks have to date be unable to services many companies in emerging industries, and the Government feels that it must examine options to support these industries as we look to grow jobs in Bermuda.
Before the Digital Bank Bill is advanced, the Government will work with industry experts to build out a detailed business plan with the objective of developing the Digital Bank for Bermuda.

At a high level, the business plan will:
? Create intellectual property for the world’s first state sponsored digital bank
? Review current regulatory standards and describe potential areas where
additions may be required to ensure applicability and the effective function of the
bank
? Identify corresponding banking partners and devise how to support existing
and/or new banks in the Bermuda market.
? Identify key risks in establishing the bank & propose risk-mitigation strategies
? Advise on the design of the core technology

We believe the size of our relevant financial sectors and high regulatory standards make us an attractive jurisdiction for this initiative. We anticipate that the development of the Bermuda Digital Bank will enhance Bermuda’s attractiveness to new types of banks that wish to enter the Bermuda Market and will support industries that wish to setup in Bermuda.

My Ministerial colleagues and I have an ambitious agenda, there is a lot of work to be done. We will continue the focus on economic growth, and what our Island requires to build a better, fairer and stronger Bermuda.
I will now hand it over to the Minister of Finance who will detail his initiatives.
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