Wednesday, December 16, 2009
I encourage anyone who can to come out and get involved in:
Rally for Peace:
Friday December 18th
The rally isn't going to solve the problem obviously but, its at least a start and anything is better than nothing at this point.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Apparently Brown is the resident expert on the entire Woods affair and his words of encouragement are bound to help turn his life around. Brown is confident that Woods will win a major after all, what else could anyone want? The confidence of Bermuda's Premier is bound to have a profound and meaningful impact on his life for sure.
Bermuda is going to hell in a hand-basket and what we get from our glorious leader Dr. The Hon. Ewart F. Brown JP MP is a comment on the weekly gossip papers!
Then again what are we supposed to expect?
After all this is the same leader who took the opportunity to make a face and shout "I TOLD YOU SO" about the whole "This too shall pass" affair. He even had the nerve to liken the situation to the loss of his parents! As tragic as that may be it has no place as an excuse for an exercise in supreme arrogance that would be more at home in the realm of African strong men than a supposedly free democracy.
And wait! There's more.
I recently posted on the apparent contradictions presented by the joint Government/Governor announcement and the Premier's own announcement a little bit later. But apparently I had it all wrong! You see the Premier had his release drafted before he and the Governor wrote theirs. So that makes it all OK because he was there first so he's therefore allowed to say whatever he wants. Even if it is a complete contradiction of everything the previous statement stood for.
From the RG Article:
This morning when asked about the conflicting statements Dr. Brown said: “We are closer in terms of working in unison than we have ever been.”
A non-answer if ever I've seen one. Has little relevance to seeming two face approach that is yet to be explained.
Then again it is Dr. Brown. He's shown his colours before and they say a Tiger doesn't change its stripes. October 2010 here we come although given the apparent character of the man I won't allow myself too much,
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
It would seem I've had a fool made of me and the reasons for this blog's name has become apparent yet again.
Just when I was allowing myself to be positive about a Government that, on the whole, I am generally critical of it turns out that my Wishful Thinking was misplaced. Curtesy of today's Royal Gazette:-
Premier repeats demand for control of Police
As one might imagine head-desk action followed a quick skim of the article this morning with sighs of disbelief to follow. Not only was I dismayed that the whole situation was turning into another political excuse to attack "our colonial masters" but, I was shocked that our Premier would have the gall to turn around an hour after a joint statement with the governor and go off, guns blazing, in an oh so characteristic anti-colonial statement that comes across as nothing more than an attempt to pander to the PLP party faithful.
The first statement contained some very promising language including:
"We are both anxious to do all that we can to help and to encourage the Bermuda Police Service to combat the shocking rise in gun crime. In fact, we discuss policing in Bermuda together, frequently and intensively."
And even a bit of Government back-patting where our Government was praised for its amendments to Police and Criminal Evidence Act and its strong budgetary support for the Police.
The second on the other hand was a whole other story. It contained some absolutely delightful comments, my favourite being:
"Unfortunately, despite being in Government we are hamstrung in our abilities to act. In spite of the fact that the Bermudian taxpayer pays for our Police service, an unelected Governor has full control over operational policing."
So lets break that down just a bit. We, the tax payer, pay taxes to the Government, distributes a portion of those taxes to the Police Service, which uses those funds to investigate crime on the streets, in the office and up on the hill. We depend on this Police Force to remain impartial and fair in its investigations, we depend on it to investigate any crime regardless of the position held by the suspect and we depend on it to let us to sleep safe at night. Call my a cynic but, I wouldn't trust a politician (regardless of political party or ideology) with those jobs and why? Because lives depends on it being done well.
Division of labour makes efficient work and division of powers makes for accountable government. Who watches the government if the watchers are run by those who are committing the (hypothetical) crimes?
Call me colonial but, there is a measure of trust that comes with the position of Governor of Bermuda. Gone are the days where Governor was synonymous with white oligarchy (as much as some would like to suggest it still is). The Governor has little power these days and even operational control of the Police is delegated down the line to the Police Commissioner. The office of Governor is the best place for power over the Police to lie just because it's not democratic! I don't want policing to be decided by votes and political bickering. I want responsibility for policing to exist on a plane above petty political squabbles. It's pure Wishful Thinking to expect such a thing from a politicized police service and while democratic principles may seem so at odds with the current system we cannot afford to allow ourselves the luxury of idealism especially with crime in Bermuda going the way it's going. There are certain things where we must go with what works best and putting the Police Force in the Government's hands is not the best.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Politicizing the police force is one ambitious politician away from a Banana republic. Hyperbole? Perhaps. But, I'd rather not take chances with something so important. It's one situation where we can't afford to blindly move forward with nothing more to hold onto than some airy fairy,
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
But, that's the issue right there! We don't know what the people think, there has been no referendum and no public meetings to discuss the issue. All we have is a pro-independence governing party that at times seems unable to keep Independence and crime as separate issues. Whenever crime comes up it's the Governor's fault and this has never helped anyone.
Recently we've been given notice that Dr. Brown will be pressing for control of the Police at the OTCC meeting in London and I can't help but agree with the Opposition statements in today's Royal Gazette calling for a full debate on the topic. If anything it gives the PLP a chance to present their case and convince the public, it would add legitimacy to the whole affair and make sure all the facts are on the table.
But! Enough of that. There is some good news as well!
As reported by the PLP blog and the Royal Gazette a joint statement from Government and Government House was released today. Cutting out the political back batting and general uselessness it says:
"Some U.S. police officers experienced in anti-drug gang and anti-gun crime will be coming to Bermuda to help the Police and to lend the Bermuda Police Service the benefit of their experience and expertise."
The Government has been pushing for that for a long time it would seem and now at last we have their US experts. The ball is in their court. It's their opportunity to prove their critics wrong.
Monday, December 7, 2009
No we're not talking shouting matches, flying fists and general ridicululity of that nature but, comments from last Friday reported by the Royal Gazette during the motion to adjourn caught my attention as I skimmed through the article:
"In response to jeers from the Opposition that the dinner had not been inclusive Mr. [Walter] Lister said: "When the Queen came in 1953 people that looked like me did not get to see her, so let's not go there.""
Racism is an issue in the Bermuda of today no one can deny and of course one must accept the past in order to move forward but, comments like this help no one and may even do more harm than good. I suppose some might say it's simply characteristic of PLP tactics, dismiss every attack because "The UBP did it too", but I think it's something deeper in this case. Racism has become a method of deflection, a way to avoid responsibility and detract from the actual issue at hand. In this situation the issue at hand was nothing more than a little political squabble but, nevertheless it still left a sour taste in my mouth and I hope I will not be reading any similar backward looking deflective comments anytime soon but, given the racial-political climate perhaps that's too much,
Saturday, December 5, 2009
After two major reports and years of passing the blame it looks like we're finally moving forward in education. The adoption of the Cambridge curriculum this year is a promising step and I'm hopeful we'll hear of a number of other initiatives when the full plan is announced. As for raising the school leaving age that's a completely different story. All it will do is prove the old adage: "You can lead a horse to water but, you can't make it drink". The proposal has it's heart in the right place but, it's going to take a lot more than just legislating it in order for it to actually make a difference.
Of course there is only so much that the government can do to fix the public education system. The Hopkins report was quite clear in it's criticisms and since then the government has moved forward on a number of its suggestions. The recent Mincy report's issues however are a little big harder to deal with. Of course it does offer some suggested initiatives that could help but, in the end those particular problems are societal and there's little hope of them being solved without a lot of community input. Given Bermuda's record when it comes to wide spread community involvement I'm going to let the cynic in me rule for now but, I live in hope that I'll soon be proved wrong.
Obviously since the plan hasn't been released yet it's impossible to comment on the proposals but, all the seem even this news is good news. At this point what needs to be done should be reasonably clear, while we may not know how to fix the whole problem we can at least fix part of it. Given the past record on education it's easy to dismiss the plan before it's even been announced but, perhaps since I'm in a good I'll permit myself a little bit of,
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Looking through the findings and proposals they seem very reasonable and there is nothing shocking. The beauty of the study was in pointing out exactly what the problems (as they see it) are. Before then there were lots of things it could be but, no one agreed on problem.
Well now we have a 200 something page report telling us exactly what they found the problems to be and how to fix them. Surely the next step is as clear as day?
Apparently not. At a Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda (CURB) forum the report was criticized because the "sample group was too small to provide a true picture." Yes indeed it's not a perfect report but, criticize it's findings and propose alternatives! Don't just attack the method and me done with it, what is the point? What findings and proposals do you not agree with? What should the report have found?
No one claimed the report was the be all and end all of dealing with the issues that face Bermuda's young black males but, it was a start and as Dr. Mincy said it's up to us now to use his report. We can't just keep commissioning reports until we get one that we like and no action is going to be successful without community support.
Constructive criticism should be encouraged but, a simple attack on the method does nothing but undermine confidence in the report and without that confidence it makes it hard for our Government do what they know needs to be done. When the report came out it gave us an opportunity to move forward lets not waste it.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
The main issue of the night was the question of funding. Was this amendment a step back taken because of the realization that the funds necessary simply aren't there? Or was it as the Government claims a reaction to the predatory practices of private insurers which left so many without access to any form of insurance.
To me it seems a bit of both but, the government should have anticipated it. Private companies exist to make a profit and despite our ruling party being a Labour party they cannot simply ignore this fact. They are going to react to any government intervention in the marketplace in a way that suits them best and it is the Government's responsibility to investigate and anticipate what effects they will have.
Healthcare for our seniors is a noble idea but, if it's going to be done it needs to be done right. The Government has bought some time now, in time hopefully they can get it right and prove that faith in them is not just,
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
In the House on Friday Mr. Butler (Former Culture Minister) made the statement:
"If our problems (with crime) continue to get worse we need to ask for a recall. If that is the Governor's main responsibility and he is unable to meet that requirement we need to get recourse. Our safety depends on it."
And later elaborated by saying:
"This is the second time I have made (this statement) and Bermudians have to look at accountability if in fact (the Governor) continues to refuse the Government's request to bring in a New York group to help."
"Things have gotten worse and the Police are trying their best, but need more expert support as recommended by the Government. But he continues to reject it. Hence my request for a recall of the Governor because he has failed to get on top of the problem as the person responsible for the police."
"We all like our Governor but with specific regard to his job, he is not providing the type of safety we need."
Just before we delve a little into the specifics of what he said I'd like to highlight the rather wonderful irony of the final section of his statement. More specifically the words "We all like our Governor" because I think it's been quite obvious to the majority of the populace that the PLP has (at least in recent times) always had a rather anti-Governor leaning. Probably due to their stance on independence which naturally makes them anti-colonial authority but, the reasoning behind it is irrelevant at this point. What matters is that the blame game needs to stop and something needs to be done.
Beginning his statement in the house Mr. Butler seemed to place the blame for crime solely on the shoulders of our Governor. A ludicrous assertion at best, down right crazy at worst. The police, first and foremost, are responsible for catching criminals once they've committed the crime. They can't do that when Bermudian society operates with some strange aversion to talking to the police about incidents. Do we blame the Governor for that state of mind? No! Nor do we blame the Government. It is a societal problem and one that the Government and Governor need to work together on fixing, the Government taking any opportunity it can to fire a shot at the Governor gets us nowhere. We need the two to sit down at a table and discuss what is wrong and how to fix it. We recently heard that the Government has refused the Governor's offer to have such a sit down regularly and I would hope, for all of our sakes, that they change their minds on this issue rather than placing blame and achieving nothing.
The second part of his statement refers New York based consultants that the Government wishes the Police force to bring in and utilize. The Governor retorted with this statement:
"The Bermuda Police Service already draws on the experience of overseas jurisdictions and has obtained much help from them. More is being lined up."
Its easy to say we need a consultant and then consider your hands washed of the whole affair but, it's not going to work that way. Like the author of the report on the plight of Bermudian young black males said, at a certain point you have to stop commissioning reports and start doing something. I doubt a report will tell us anything we don't know already. Crime is being fueled by gangs, gangs are being fueled by drugs, drugs are being fueled by the socio-economic situation some people find themselves and then that can in many ways be linked to education. So lets fix education, lets combat gangs and lets have a look at the way our Judicial system works so we can actually convict the guilty people once they're caught.
It is time for the Government to accept that we have what we have and so we must work with it. Regardless of their beliefs on independence the Governor is here and a working relationship is more than necessary. The Throne Speech this year was filled with promise and we can only hope that we will see the necessary changes need to be made.
Enough with the blame game.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Does such a headline worry anyone but, me?
The Offending Section: "We get million dollar contracts that go directly to friends untendered and massive cost overruns with no one held to account."
Yes to a certain extent the section was not completely founded on fact however the offending section was little more than a word. The word "friends". Do contracts go directly? Yes there is no bidding process. Is anyone held to account? Not in the slightest.
In my opinion this action by Government MP's is nothing more than pathetic. Anyone who listened to the debate on the motion of no confidence before the summer will remember distinctly Dr. Brown's speech on that night. Filled with divisive claims and general attacks on the UBP branding them again as racist etc. Was that struck from the record? No. Did Mr. Barrit attempt to ask for a point of order due to the Dr. impugning improper motives? Yes. Was it recognized by the speaker? No. And yet... a statement that as far as I'm concerned has never been adequately disproved was removed simply because the PLP felt it was being insulted. We have a Government unwilling to simply respond to and discredit the offending statement but rather have it struck from the record. That as well raises very interesting questions.
Perhaps it isn't true. I accept the possibility that there is no wrong doing other than stupidity at play in the awarding at contracts but, still we must all agree that there is something wrong. We see costs skyrocket on what seems like every single project. It's time to institute open bidding for government projects. Let the government do that to deal with the criticisms. Enough dodging, do something about it.
Open bidding should be common sense as far as I'm concerned but, then again it could be,
Thursday, November 12, 2009
That's right. Ex-pats. People who posses no right (and never will posses it) to Bermudian status. People who are liable to be kicked off the island every time their work permit comes up for renewal and people who have no attachment to this island other than the fact that its their temporary home.
The Bermuda government has no right to force an Ex-pat into a jury just as it has no right to force one into the regiment.
The Government is going to have to work with the status holders it has. Or perhaps create a few more. There are a few thousand long term residents out there who are being wrongly denied their right to status. They're already here, they're not going anywhere, granting them status isn't putting any further strain on Bermuda's resources. But of course lets not turn this into a rant about why PRC holders should be granted status.
Another possible idea is one that was floated a little while back. Professional jurors drawn from various countries in the Caribbean area and shared amongst the Caribbean nations. Granted it has some problems of its own but, it's certainly an idea that should be discussed because it's quite clear that while Bermuda's legal system needs an overhaul, it would all be for nothing if they can't even put a jury together.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Being "actively investigated"?
Does one need to actively investigate whether racism is wrong? Whether sexism is wrong? Whether discrimination based on religion is wrong? The Government's powers of deflection are astounding. It takes real skill, willfully applied to come up with such a meaningless and incredibly vague statement. This year's Throne Speech provides some hope for the cause and yet one cannot ignore the worrying prospect that this announcement raises the possibility of. Inaction.
For a government that champions the fight against discrimination on racial grounds it is once again the epitome of hypocrisy to attempt to stand in the way of the protection of the most basic human rights of all people regardless of their sexual orientation. One can only hope that sense and justice prevails but, Bermuda has an uncanny ability to ensure that hoping for the best ends up as nothing more than...
Sunday, November 8, 2009
While recognizing a purely racial gap in employment pay (given the monetary value of $1,600 dollars) the report clearly highlights the differences in chosen industries and the differences in educational achievements (degrees etc.) as major factors in the disparity in that area.
The report also cites the idea that BBM's are better suited to the trades (i.e. working with their hands) as another major issue.
Finally the lack of proper information on college applications and guidance in that area are also adversely affecting the prospects of BBM's according to the study.
All in all one must take the report in the spirit it is intended. Not as another weapon to be thrown in the argument on race relations in Bermuda but, rather as a guide to making a change for the betterment of all of Bermuda. It highlights a number of possible solutions to Bermuda's problems which centre around the idea of paying closer attention to the at risk students and ensuring they make it through their education and therefore open up so many more opportunities to themselves then they would have otherwise. The author of the report commented on the topic of whether he would do another report at a later date that he has done his study, it is now up to us to make the changes.
The youth are the future of society, the future movers and shakers that will form the Bermuda of the future. Prime examples of these youth leaders can already be seen in sport, Youth Parliament and various initiatives that take place through the year including the UN Youth Conference but, what is the point if a significant section of our society is left to fall by the wayside? The key to any functioning democracy is an educated populace. It's about time our Government sped up the long promised reforms that have been expected ever since the Hopkins report in 2007. The mention of education in this years throne speech is promising but, as always we must try not to get our hopes up and end up with only another years worth of...
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
The report on Young Bermudian Black Males and the Bermuda First Report released today are both key reports that will dictate much of the policy as Bermuda moves forward.
I hope to give my own opinions on the two reports in the coming days, it certainly is a lot to read.
The important thing is that these reports are actually acted upon. There is no good commissioning report after report, coming to profound conclusions about the issues that affect our country and then letting the recommendations go unheeded. The head of the team that wrote the report said it best when he said:
"I am a researcher and I enjoy what I do but I want to see what you do with my study."
"Do you need another study and another study? Do something with it. Act."
Hopefully that is exactly what our government will do.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
The PLP Government is committed to enhancing our tourism product and attracting guests with plenty of disposable income to our island. To that end, the PLP Government announced that a mega yacht marina is coming to Dockyard.
The marina development is a public-private partnership designed to attract discerning visitors to our shores. The first class facility will feature around 200 slips designed to accommodate vessels of all sizes, including mega-yachts.
The mega yacht marina is part of the PLP Government's continued commitment to Platinum Period upgrades to our tourism product.
Is it just me or does the PLP seem to be living in some lovely fantasy land where Bermuda's tourism industry isn't going down the tube? I swear if I hear about our Platinum Period one more time I will write a strongly worded letter to our Government asking where my dividend got lost.
We as a country don't have the money right now to be spending on this kind of fanciful idea that may... or may not pay dividends far in the future. I would rather see healthcare provided to our seniors than money thrown into a project that I can see being yet another complete waste of public funds.
Perhaps our Government should concentrate on fixing our failing industry as it is rather than grasping at straws in the hope that something will save their record in the tourism department.
It seems like they, like me, are indulging in just a little bit too much,
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Knowing the bus schedule is no use though if buses leave when they please!!
Today I had a reasonably important appointment I needed to make in town so I arranged to be at the bus stop waiting 10 minutes early to ensure that I didn't miss it. Needless to say I was informed by a friend of mine that she had been on that bus and it was already in town by the time I got to the bus stop! Thankfully I managed to scrounge a ride off of another friend of mine but, the fact remains that such an occurrence is completely unacceptable. I understand variations in times due to traffic but, this bus I later found out left its starting point 15 minutes early. Leaving me stranded. I managed to get around it this time but, the schedule is the schedule and I for one need those buses.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Oh technicalities how our courts do love them so but, don't get me wrong I'm not here to criticize our court system. It is the prosecutors who deserve the blame for the latest in the comedy of errors that is our court system.
Bowen cleared in road death
It would seem to me that the issue revolves around the breathalyzer test that determined whether Bowen was in fact drunk or not. Somehow the prosecution managed to have their case thrown out because of some lack of paper work or some other legal technicality that would probably go straight over my head if explained to me.
I don't mean to suggest that the prosecutors don't have an extremely difficult but, we need to step up a bit here Bermuda. We can't leave these important cases in the hands of people who are making mistakes like this.
I am hoping that when further information becomes available this will become less of a shock to me and perhaps it will even become understandable but... You know about me and...
Monday, October 26, 2009
British group highlights homophobia in Bermuda
It's disgusting that Bermuda has a mindset that would be more appropriate in centuries past.
No where does this homophobia manifest itself more obviously than in the youth of today and it disgusts me. It seems so hard for so many to draw the connection between homophobia and gay-bashing to other equally as unacceptable forms of discrimination such as racism and sexism.
The first two have been recognized and we have seen a change in the way people view such forms of discrimination as well as seeing an implementation of legal safeguards to combat them, sadly Bermuda falls far behind in both legal action and even social mindset when it comes to homosexuality.
I'd like to think that by the time my life is over Bermuda will have changed but historically Bermuda has always been slow to move forward... So that may just be some more...
Thursday, October 22, 2009
I'd say we're rather fond of it here in the West and personally I'd be a tad upset if we lost it. But, I think we need to recognize one of the greatest protectors of freedom of our time. An advocate of freedom of the press, of open and frank discussion and most of all government transparency.
Yes you've guessed it! It's Dr. The Honorable Ewart F. Brown Jr. JP. MP.!
He's attempted to gag the press
He's shouts down opposition with cries of racism and appeals for party unity
He has shown himself to have an autocratic style, keeping his cards close to his chest far from the sunshine of public scrutiny.
He's even responsible for the oh so famous "We had to deceive you" comment.
Now on the eve of his announcement of PATI legislation in his speech to the nation (which has now turned out to contain some major, potentially fatal flaws) he has again blessed us with a true insight into the way a democracy should work.
"But it is not over. I wish I could stand here tonight and tell you that the departure of the Mid-Ocean News — may it rest in peace — I wish I could tell you that — someone sent me an e-mail when the announcement was made about the Mid Ocean, and I can't remember who it was, but it said: 'One down, one to go.'"
Laughing, he continued: "I have no idea what that meant, but let me say this to you that every day the citizens of this country still awaken to something negative about either the leadership or something that's designed to be divisive about the party.
"And I want to thank you for having the intelligence and the fortitude to resist that and to make sure that the PLP remains the Government and forever the strongest political party in Bermuda."-From this Royal Gazette Article
At first I thought that perhaps the loss of a newspaper on this island, which doesn't have very many sources of information as it is, was a blow to democratic principles. But, our Premier has set me right yet again! The Mid-Ocean news through its reporting of stories that could potentially shine a negative light on our glorious leader and his government has committed an atrocity that should never be forgiven nor forgotten. The sunshine of public scrutiny causes sunburn and no one likes to be burnt. Especially not politicians. Therefore this is a great step forward! One down, one to go! Amen!
Now we just need to get rid of that pesky Bill Zuill and his meddling reporters and poor Dr. Brown will at last be free of those vicious factual attacks that are destroying our democracy! Until then we can only hope.
Hope and devote ourselves to that wonderful habit of...
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Bermuda has the ability to join the global leaders on this topic, taking an important step forward and righting a wrong that has existed for millennium or show itself to be no better than the Bermuda and the world of old.
In the words of HRC Chairman the lack of a solution to this issue "is a violation of all human rights laws and the right to human dignity."
Supported by the Amnesty International Bermuda;
Backed by the Bermuda Bar Council;
And with such political figures like Renee Webb and Dale Butler behind it;
This issue could be nothing other than the glaring absence from our Human Rights Act of what some activists have called simply two words and a comma. "Sexual Orientation,".
So what exactly does it mean that this two words and a comma is nowhere to be found within the legislation that outlines the legal basis for the Human Rights possessed by all people. Well put simply it means that those self evident truths, those unalienable. natural rights possessed by all men and women by birthright are curtailed for no reason other than archaic homophobic bigotry.
It is time we move beyond the ignorant ideas that the campaign against protection under the human rights act has based their arguments upon throughout the world. One cannot claim Homosexuality is a choice in a world where such a choice makes one vunerable to the worst kinds of vicious attacks, one cannot claim it is a hedonistic activity engaged in only by the immoral without exposing an argument based solely upon bias and hate and in this day and age one cannot claim it's illegality based on a verse in a religious text written two millennium ago which is almost completely disregarded in most other walks of life. It's time for this to end! We live in the time of secularism, of the rights of man, of freedom, of justice and of equality. Or do we?
That is the question that Bermuda will answer as the outcome of this struggle becomes apparent. We have some major legislation coming forward as parliament reconvenes the session, including the discussion and implementation of the crucial PATI legislation but, those two words and a comma; those simple symbols which mean so much; which can garuntee freedom, liberty and equality; which separate the modern from the archaic, the just from the unjust and open minded from the bigots cannot be allowed to fall by the wayside. The gauntlet has been dropped Bermuda. Assume your place as a leader on the world stage. Or prove to me that I am condemned forever to expect too much, to hope for what is not and to engage again and again in that age old curse of...
Unfortunately (I suppose its a failing of mine) I can't stay on the positive side for long. Our Premier posed quite a lovely picture to us when he spoke on the topic of International buisness. Reiterating Bermuda's status as a "sterling" option for business and stressing the fact that buisness has left us for Ireland and Switzerland not out of need for a stable political climate and not because they are running away from the policies of his government but, rather because of their predictable tax climate.
From TBS's announcement that they are moving to Ireland:
"Ireland offers a stable political and economic environment and sophisticated, well-developed corporate, legal and regulatory environment. "
Seems clear as day to me. Is it not the same for you?
I'm not claiming that the only reason that companies are leaving is because of our Government, the financial crisis has exacted a heavy toll upon many international companies and for a while the tax issue with America was a major issue. However once again Bermuda has emerged unscathed, its necessity to the insurance industry apparent and its hard work to get itself off the gray list rewarded but, the fact remains that at times our government's treatment of international business has bordered on antagonistic (at least publicly, what actually goes on we can't know. Especially considering we don't have PATI yet).
IB is the only pillar of our economy now that tourism has been utterly wrecked by the combined actions of our glorious leader and the global recession. A worrying trend has become apparent in the way IB is going and our government seems completely unable to even recognize it, never mind fix it.
I have a lot of respect for someone who can admit they are wrong and then move forward to correct their mistakes but, clearly hoping for anything of that like in this day and age, under this government is
Yup, you guessed it
Friday, October 16, 2009
Then he began to discuss tourism.
He firstly told us that Bermuda is holding its own. (Which apparently therefore means holding our own is DOT talk for "we're falling far behind our competitors every time tourists make their vacation choices")
He stressed that 85% of our visitors come from the US and therefore it's understandable that arrivals are down what with the global financial crisis and all and ensured that he explained exactly why it wasn't his fault that tourism is pretty much on its way out as a pillar of Bermuda's economy (if it hasn't left already).
Dr. Brown also brought us some bad news:
- that recovery is likely to be slow
- that new hotel developments are likely to be iffy due to the lack of capital.
Worrying that I'd missed some great precious metal time span I immediately did a little research and the thing that first jumped right out at me is this:
Air Arrival's Spending Drops to 1980 Levels
Hmm... "Isn't that a good thing since the 1980's were still good tourism years?"
Well actually no, inflation decreases the value of money as time goes on and while the same amount of money may have been spent in 2008 as 1980 the actual purchasing power of that money has decreased huge amounts. Isn't that what defines a Platinum Period? The Amount of money that it brings to the economy? Or are we talking about something completely different?
Doesn't that actually suggest that we're in a slump if anything? Or does The Good Doctor know something I don't? Numbers are down, revenues are down and tourism is almost down and out. It's not a recent thing, the recession might offer a good short term excuse but, it takes only a short look at the numbers and we can see it's a trend that has been prevalent for a number of years now.
Expecting anything but, spin and rhetoric from our Tourism Minister about our failing industry seems everyday to look more and more like yet another example of
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Number of thoughts and ideas meaningful to all who care about Bermuda
A call to do what we do when we celebrate our personal birthdays
Where are we?
· Holding our own
· US 85% of our visitors
· When measure of tourism is lowest we should not be surprised
o At this time last year we knew it would suffer
§ We might experience lower arrivals, sale and occupancy
§ Matching performance of previous years impossible
§ Credit crises make it hard to secure funding for new construction
· We did not cause this economic downturn
o Did not cause or control effects
· Recovery expected to be slow
· Government continuing to implement strategies to attract visitors
· 3rd pga grand slap -> 300 million US homes and 100 countries
· Music festival -> Awesome talent
o Visitors can’t resist
· Boston red socks giving great exposure
o Should bring more visitors over next few years
· Pushing cause of low cost carrier from here to UK
o Replicate zoom
· Scarcity of capital resulted from credit crunch
o Believes that all projects will come to fruition
· We will experience delays
o Hope that we will have financing and break ground Park Hyatt -> Next few months
o Irresponsible to talk about which projects have problems
§ Would not help
o Soon return to platinum period
· Continues to value and nurture unique position
· Remarkable achievement of 16 TIAE agreement -> OECD white list
o OECD vice chair -> With Germany and China
§ Powerful illustration of Bermuda’s position in financial world
· Working hard to make sure Bermuda is best possible place
· Constantly attracting new businesses
o 600 new businesses in 2009
o Effective tried and tested regulation model
o Sterling reputation
· Correct falsehood concerning departures to Swiss and Ireland
o Motivated for need to more stable or Government running away
§ Actually they want a more predictable tax environment
· Swiss already has tax treaties and transparent tax system which cannot be changed by US congress unlike us and our competing Oversees Territories
· Companies choosing to take the chance for unchanging tax system
o Government understands and will continue efforts to fight tax legislation
§ Bermuda office
· Step up efforts -> Negative effects US would incur
§ Met with congressional law makers and Attorney General
· Government working on 2 initiatives
· Working with US coast guard -> Training and equipment for drug enforcement on sea
· Morgan’s point opening
· Working on relief for stop list
· Not just written for Bermuda
o We will work to stop people even getting on stop list
· Government commitment to fight crime
o High levels have to stop
o Misdirection of young and drift towards gun crime biggest problems
o Deeply frustrated with current approach
§ Constitutionally we have no say in how fight is managed
· Tell UK government that people of Bermuda need control of BPS
o We need solutions now and we are going to find them
· Tonight we are delivering on our promise for PATI
o Draft PATI bill is in public domain
§ Fridays official gazette with provide more info
o Will be tabled when parliament reconvenes
o Government considers well being of people equally or more important than anything else
§ Free and subsidised healthcare delivered
§ Numerous enjoying future care
· Will continue to be refined
§ We unveiled Bermuda’s first 24 hours drug treatment facility
§ Committed to providing shelters for homeless -> And support they need to become productive again
§ Encourage entrepreneurial excellence
· Economic empowerment zones
§ More aggressive finding jobs
· Identify companies violating immigration laws and force them to stop
· Cease to be motivated by differences of opinion -> Common love of Bermuda
· Focused as one people for one Bermuda
o We only need to reflect for one minute to know that if not for the unity of those who first arrived we would not be here today
· Everyone looking forward to Royal Visit
· Summon strength of Bermudian character
o Help less fortunate
o Make prosperity available to all
o With god as out witness we will move toward uniting to become one people for one BermudaI shall hopefully find the time go through the speech a bit at a time over the next couple of days so check back soon for my particular opinions on the points presented.
The full speech has now been made availible on the RG website.