OBA claims ‘too many questions’ over Government jobs figures left unanswered – The Royal Gazette


Ben Smith, the Senate leader of the opposition One Bermuda Alliance (file photo)

An opposition senator claimed that “too many” questions about employment figures had gone unanswered by the government.

Ben Smith stressed the importance of having information to measure the success of policies.

The One Bermuda Alliance Senate Leader said: “The government has introduced in the 2021 work review that 747 jobs were created in the first phase of its plan.

“How many are part-timers? How many are full time? How many are still employed and how many have passed their probationary period?

“If there is a balance sheet for 2021 and they know that there are 747 unemployed people who have found a job, surely they have the answers to these simple questions.”

He added: “The government’s review shows that 53 job categories were closed from November 2020 to January 2022.

“This, according to the review, was done to create opportunities for Bermudians to be employed in these industries.

“How many Bermudians were hired in each of these closed categories during the period, what training was provided in each closed category, and how many Bermudians participated in training?

“Again, you would think these are logical questions that would be easy to get answers to.

“How can you measure the success of a policy if you don’t track results? »

Arianna Hodgson, Deputy Minister of Labor (file photo by Blaire Simmons)

In the Senate on Wednesday, Arianna Hodgson, the deputy labor minister, said the department was “focused on promoting jobs, protecting Bermudians and meeting the needs of the economy.”

She told the Senate that “opportunities for job seekers to achieve personal satisfaction” have been offered throughout the past year.

Ms Hodgson said the department has implemented the first of two phases of a re-employment strategy.

She explained that the first phase included helping 747 unemployed Bermudians find jobs through the Department of Workforce Development’s Bermuda Job Board referral process.

Ms Hodgson said the moratorium on new work permits “has allowed us to create more opportunities in the local labor market for Bermudians”.

She added that there was “a thorough review of work permit applications to ensure capable and qualified Bermudians are not passed over for employment opportunities.”

The Progressive Labor Party senator said the combined effect of policies introduced to help tackle the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic ‘has left Bermuda better positioned to overcome the many challenges ahead of us’ .

She added: “As we build on these initiatives, we look forward to further strengthening Bermuda throughout the coming year as we take further steps to continue building a better Bermuda for all.”

Mr Smith claimed the opposition had asked questions over the past year “that the government has left unanswered, and the question is why?”

He added: “The complete lack of answers – or very vague answers – makes me wonder: are they deliberately avoiding answering these important questions that will help clarify what the plan is?

“How will accountability be enforced?

“There are too many unanswered questions or a lack of data to give an informed answer.

“Bermuda is at a critical stage and we need to make sure the decisions we make are based on facts and not just to give the perception of help.

“Many small and medium-sized businesses that have been affected by the moratorium want to know that the decision was based on real data and that the desired impact was achieved.

“We will continue to ask the questions because Bermuda needs answers.

“Bermuda needs to start asking questions – why aren’t the questions being answered?”

A Department of Labor spokesperson said the Workforce Development Department does not compile labor market statistics.

He added: “Employment statistics are reported through the Labor Force Survey and Employment Survey conducted by the Department of Statistics.

“These surveys provide the most accurate labor market data.”

The spokesperson said Jason Hayward, the Minister of Labour, announced in October that more than 757 Bermudians had found employment through the referral process of the Bermuda Employment Board of the Department of Development workforce.

Although Ms Hodgson’s statement cited 747, the spokesperson confirmed that 757 was the correct number.

He added that Mr. Hayward “also announced that over 750 people have participated in various face-to-face, online, on-the-job, virtual, webinar, internship, apprenticeship and intern learning programs.”

The spokesperson said: “These training initiatives have resulted in approximately 80 people gaining full-time or part-time employment, in addition to the 750 Bermudians mentioned above.”

He added: “Pending data from this year’s Labor Force and Employment Survey, this government is committed to ensuring the success of its employment initiatives.

“In line with Bermuda’s economic recovery plan, the Department of Labor will continue to implement initiatives that will allow more Bermudians to take advantage of employment opportunities created during Bermuda’s economic recovery.”

• UPDATE: This article has been updated to include a government comment in response to Mr. Smith’s remarks.

* To read the Minister’s statement delivered in the Senate, click on the PDF under “Related Media”.

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