The report, "Charting Our Course: Sustaining Bermuda," sets out six primary strategic priorities for action:
* More sustainable consumption patterns. While Bermuda will never be entirely self-sufficient, strategies for energy, water, waste and sewage should be guided, the report says, by a desire to manage reliance on imported resources. All imports to Bermuda have a negative impact on Bermuda's balance of payments and lead to increased waste levels. Bermuda can prepare for possible future shortages and inevitable rising prices in a number of commodities by developing appropriate systems now.
* Open space protection and management. The report points out that building on land effectively eliminates other uses and recommends directing development to brownfield and previously-developed sites.
* Affordable housing. The lack of affordable housing, the report says, can be a contributing factor to resentment, xenophobia and stress. The inability of Bermudians to purchase or, in some cases, even rent a home can lead to feelings of disenfranchisement and marginalization.
* Systematization of social-services provision. The report notes that anti-social behavior in Bermuda is perceived to be increasing, while the social-services provision that helps support vulnerable individuals is currently fragmented across a number of government departments and a host of charitable organizations.
* Work force development and entrepreneurship. Investing in a flexible work force and supporting entrepreneurs are essential to meet the needs of a changing economy, the report states, concluding that if government and employers work together to give all Bermudians the tools to fulfill their potential, tensions arising around race, inequity and immigration are likely to fade.
* Accountability and delivery in government. In what could be read as an indictment of its own efficiency, the report says that government must plan its activities and deliver effectively in partnership with others. Without clear business planning, staff turnover means that there is often no consistent strategic approach to any specific issue or any effective handover when posts fall vacant or change, the report says. Equally, information exchange and collaborative working are often poor. Ministries and ministers are, in some situations, not aware of parallel initiatives taking place in other departments.
October 1, 2006
Copyright 2006© LRP Publications