The Bermuda Government’s annual Throne Speech has just been delivered by Acting Governor Ginny Ferson, and is available to read in full here.
There appears to be a strong emphasis on “health care, public safety, protecting seniors, school improvements, environmental protection and government reforms for greater transparency and accountability“.
There is less of an emphasis on the introduction of legislation specifically designed to accommodate the interests of, or facilitate the growth of, international business in Bermuda, although there is no doubt an indirect relationship between the Government’s agenda and the interests of international business in Bermuda more generally.
The various initiatives contained in this year’s Throne Speech include the following:
- Establishing a hospital-based “medical home” programme to manage the needs of individuals with chronic, non-communicable diseases.
- Developing a chronic disease register to monitor prevalence of disease and fashion interventions and preventive measures.
- Consideration of importation herbal supplements containing Cannabinol to allow more medical treatment options.
- Working with stakeholders to reduce cost of long-term care, including development of private sector facilities and long-term care as an insurance benefit.
- Examining ways to protect seniors against age discrimination in employment.
- Expanding the role of Co-Parenting Mediation Council to include all family matters.
- Completing Salvation Army-Government agreement to build transitional housing on Bishop Spencer property to replace North Street shelter.
- Appointing a Community Services Coordinator to manage placement of Financial Assistance recipients in community service activities.
- Introducing progressive payroll tax reform to ease pressure on lower income earners.
- Utilizing City & Guilds skills certification to expand education pathways for students
- Ending the practice of social promotion.
- Re-engaging Operation Ceasefire to review anti-gang initiatives.
- Strengthening anti-social enforcement action by enhancing Police powers to temporarily suspend liquor licences.
- Studying parental leave to include maternity, paternity and adoption leave.
- Introducing worker protection policy to ensure Bermudians workers have access to trades training and retooling, and work permit candidates have proper certification and authorization before a permit is granted.
- Introducing roadside testing to deter people from driving impaired
- Introducing speed cameras at locations around the Island.
- Enacting SAGE recommendation to extend accountability measures to the senior levels of theCivil Service.
- Introducing Code of Conduct for all public officers governing procurement of goods, services and works on behalf of the public, and new offences relating to misconduct in public office.
- Requiring declaration of outside interests from all public officials including those of family members.
- Developing a Code of Conduct for all members of the Legislature.
- Initiating consultations to decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis and avoid unnecessary criminalization of Bermuda’s young people.
- Constructing a community facility at White Hill Field.
- Demolishing old Devonshire Recycling Facility on Devon Spring Road for a community playground.