Updated: August 19, 2022 08:27
By the numbers: Cole Simons, leader of the opposition One Bermuda Alliance (file photo)
The island’s real inflation rate has hit double digits and is forcing Bermuda to leave the island “en masse”, according to the opposition One Bermuda Alliance.
OBA leader Cole Simons spoke out after a poll released this week showed the majority of residents were buying less in the face of rising prices.
Last month David Burt, Prime Minister and Finance Minister, said a 2.75% increase in pension payments “fully covers the overall rate of inflation”.
But yesterday Mr Simons said the number ‘does not match’. The latest official figures showed inflation at 3.7%.
He added that the real inflation rate was 10% – a rate that was “bursting the pockets of most Bermudians”.
Mr Simons said: ‘Some people are cutting back on the essentials just to make ends meet, while others are cutting on pure principle to send the message that they are refusing to pay the rising price of food and household goods. consumption. Enough is enough.”
Mr Simons said young people and seniors were mainly affected by the rising prices.
He said: “I recently met a group of young professionals who are just starting out in life with their young families. They are very pessimistic about their future in Bermuda. They see a recession on our doorstep and are seriously considering moving overseas.
“They believe they will never be able to own a home on their own island. They cannot afford the cost of pre-school education, child care, let alone the rising cost of health care They are stressed because they cannot afford to save for their future.
“The story is similar for retirees. The cost of health care, the monthly upkeep of their home, food – these costs quickly become out of reach. Everywhere I go, I hear people complaining openly about the hyperinflationary cost of these essentials. In fact, people are quietly leaving the island in droves.
According to the latest consumer price index, inflation is currently at 3.7%, the highest level in 15 years.
But critics say that figure – compiled by the Statistics Department – is also wrong because the calculations are based on outdated data.
Mr Simons claimed the current crisis “leaves gaping holes that show no signs of repair.
“Unfortunately, the situation has created a sense of hopelessness for many people in our community. They think the government is not doing enough to support or empower them economically,” he said.
“Premier David Burt and his cabinet must do more to empower Bermudians so they can feel encouraged and confident to live in Bermuda, not overseas.”
In a statement yesterday, Mr Burt acknowledged ‘we face a new challenge’ – but blamed external factors such as the Covid pandemic, rising inflation in the US and war in Ukraine .
“We led our country through it all,” he said.