Premier Updates On Meetings In Washington DC

February 13, 2015

During their recent visit to Washington, the Bermuda delegation conducted twelve meetings on Capitol Hill and “renewed friendships with distinguished legislators on both sides of the aisle, “ Premier Michael Dunkley said today [Feb 13] in the House of Assembly.

“Bermuda’s relationship with the United States spans four centuries and represents a unique bond between our respective jurisdictions of mutual benefit and ongoing assistance,” the Premier said.

“It is with the importance of this relationship in mind that, on behalf of the Government of Bermuda, I attended a series of meetings last week in Washington DC.

“I was accompanied by the Honourable Member the Minister of Economic Development, the Deputy Head of the Civil Service, Mrs. Cherie Whitter and Press Officer, Ms. Nea Talbot.

“With the sitting of this new Congress and the shift in the Legislative Branch’s balance of power, an important introductory meeting was conducted with Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who is the Senate Majority Leader.

“Our delegation provided the Majority Leader with key information on current Bermuda issues, including tax matters, border control and trade.

The Premier added, “It is clear that on both sides of the Atlantic there continues to be a need for Bermuda to promote an awareness of who we are, what we do and the importance of our jurisdiction to the critical arena of insurance, reinsurance and tourism.

“This visit to Washington DC confirmed that Bermuda remains a strong ally of the United States and Congressional leaders opened their doors to hear our message.

“It is significant that Bermuda’s position is well received and that key decision makers are equipped with the information required to make informed decisions on matters that affect our economy.”

The Premier’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker, Bermuda’s relationship with the United States spans four centuries and represents a unique bond between our respective jurisdictions of mutual benefit and ongoing assistance.

It is with the importance of this relationship in mind that, on behalf of the Government of Bermuda, I attended a series of meetings last week in Washington DC. Mr. Speaker, I was accompanied by the Honourable Member the Minister of Economic Development, the Deputy Head of the Civil Service, Mrs. Cherie Whitter and Press Officer, Ms. Nea Talbot.

Mr. Speaker, with the sitting of this new Congress and the shift in the Legislative Branch’s balance of power, an important introductory meeting was conducted with Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who is the Senate Majority Leader. Our delegation provided the Majority Leader with key information on current Bermuda issues, including tax matters, border control and trade.

Mr. Speaker, we conducted twelve [12] meetings on Capitol Hill and renewed friendships with distinguished legislators on both sides of the aisle. Honourable Members will no doubt recall the strong Bermuda connection enjoyed by Congressman G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina, Congressman Jim Clyburn of South Carolina as well as Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey. All these gentlemen confirmed their continuing support for Bermuda and Honourable Members may know that Congressman Butterfield is now the Chairman of the important Congressional Black Caucus.

Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members will be aware that the nature of the US legislative system dictates that even members in the minority Party enjoy considerable influence and respect in the discharge of their congressional duties. One such member is former Speaker of the House, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi of California with whom we met for an extended period.

Mr. Speaker, the Congresswoman was well briefed on Bermuda and was keen to have her understanding of Bermuda’s position enhanced on a variety of issues. This was an important discussion and I am confident that Bermuda has gained a friend in the former Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that on both sides of the Atlantic there continues to be a need for Bermuda to promote an awareness of who we are, what we do and the importance of our jurisdiction to the critical arena of insurance, reinsurance and tourism.

Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members will also have noted that I was able to attend the National Prayer Breakfast, which began with a pre-meeting of leaders of government and discussed matters of mutual interest with those Congressional leaders who were also present.

Mr. Speaker, the actual Breakfast was attended by close to 4,000 guests and included leaders from several countries and leaders of various denominations who brought prayers and addresses to inspire and cause reflection.

Against the background of international conflicts founded in religious differences, the President of the United States reminded all assembled that religious persecution and the commission of atrocities in the name of religion is not unique to any one faith. President Obama provided a message of peace, tolerance and unity against all forms of intolerance. His message was amplified by a final address and prayer by Ambassador Andrew Young, who reflected on the 50th anniversary of the March on Selma and the progress that had been made in race relations since freedom fighters and civil rights activists were forced to pursue their rights through acts of civil, non-violent disobedience.

Mr. Speaker, this visit to Washington DC confirmed that Bermuda remains a strong ally of the United States and Congressional leaders opened their doors to hear our message. It is significant that Bermuda’s position is well received and that key decision makers are equipped with the information required to make informed decisions on matters that affect our economy.

Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members will be aware that President Obama signaled in his State of the Union address and in subsequent comments, his intention to take action on tax issues that may affect Bermuda. I am pleased to advise this Honourable House that we met with Mark Mazur, Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy of the Treasury Department. Our exchange was designed to gain insight into how the Administration intends to advance this part of its agenda.

Mr. Speaker, this Government and its representative office in Washington will continue to analyze legislative and regulatory actions on US tax proposals that affect Bermuda and ensure that we pursue a strategy that cements our ability to grow our economy and provide for our people here at home.

Mr. Speaker, the relationship is strong and this Government is determined to preserve it.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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Comments (18)

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  1. Mockingjay says:

    Cant believe NUFFIN these guys say.
    Starting up private entities with piblic funding and cant get no information from them.
    Well they did say vote for change

    SMFH

    • jt says:

      Get real. This is 10x the information ever provided for trips made under the former government.

      • Elizabeth Trumparani says:

        JT: The previous government used give us travel expense info.

        DREB said that his wife used to pay for her half of the room.

        What else you need to know?

        • jt says:

          Reports on what happened and how we benefited or stood to benefit.
          China..India..Cuba…etc.

          You know…that pesky stuff.

  2. flikel says:

    Interesting:

    “Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members will also have noted that I was able to attend the National Prayer Breakfast, which began with a pre-meeting of leaders of government and discussed matters of mutual interest with those Congressional leaders who were also present.”

    It seems our esteemed Premier Michael Dunkley found value in attending this prayer breakfast.

    Here’s what the Opposition MP Michael Dunkley had to say about this same event many years ago:

    “Shadow Health Minister Michael Dunkley questioned the purpose of attending such a meeting”

    “For all I know, they hear an important speaker speak for a few minutes, have breakfast then go on their way”

    “Bermuda is a very strongly religious community but you do have to draw the line somewhere, and what is the benefit of this event?”

    It’s a good thing Premier Dunkley did not listen to Opposition MP Dunkely, otherwise he would have missed this important event.

    • serengetiperson says:

      The difference is that he attended 12 meetings in DC, and while he was there he attended the prayer breakfast.

      Minors went there to attend the prayer breakfast, period.

      • flikel says:

        Dunkley questioned the purpose of the event and stated this prayer breakfast had no value.

        So why set aside time to attend a useless event? His time in DC was limited, shouldn’t his itinerary be filled with meetings or events which have value and purpose?

        Do you support your leader essentially wasting precious time attending an event in which he said had no purpose? Or would you prefer he focus his time and attention on events that have a purpose?

        • serengetiperson says:

          It’s a fluff event. If you’re there while it’s on, sure, go. It can’t do any harm. But on its own it isn’t enough to make a special trip.

    • Edmund Wells says:

      Again? Really?

      EW

      • flikel says:

        Yes really, this is the definition of hypocrisy.

        • Edmund Wells says:

          “Do you support your leader essentially wasting precious time attending an event in which he said had no purpose? Or would you prefer he focus his time and attention on events that have a purpose?”

          Flikel-

          You’ve said it yourself.

          Minors, Minister for Health, only attended one event, at Government expense, which “had no purpose.” The entire cost to Government was for Minors to attend the breakfast.

          Premier Dunkley conducted numerous “events that have a purpose” in his other meetings, and filled in one spot on the schedule with the breakfast. The cost to Government was spread over many meetings.

          To be blunt, I’m far more comfortable with the Premier attending a “see and be seen” event that the Health Minister, especially when it’s only a small part of his itinerary, but the entirety of hers.

          No contradiction. No hypocrisy.

          EW

          PS- If it helps, I’d be as disturbed as you if Premier Dunkley had flown up solely for the prayer breakfast, as Minister Minors did. But that’s not what he did.

        • Mockingjay says:

          It is a proven FACT that when a certain segment of society does the same thing they criticize others for it’s JUSTIFIED.
          Moving right along.

          • serengetiperson says:

            You’re “moving right along” because there was an obvious difference, which you don’t want to address. Hypocrite.

  3. the black panther says:

    baphomet will fall, from the british controlled U.S to bermuda, the revolution will not be televised!!

  4. Coffee says:

    Sir John loved to go Washington, D.C. , and when he reported back home it was fantastic ! Dr.Brown loved to go to Washington, D.C. And was criticized for it ! Now Micheal Dunkley has visited Washington, D.C. And the reception back in Bermuda is … Wait for it ….

  5. JUNK YARD DOG says:

    CAPITAL PROJECTS.

    Somebody, threw Bermuda under the buss.

    What are you going to do about it?

    “Actions speak louder than words” .

  6. JUNK YARD DOG says:

    They will not ever be remembered for what they did right.
    We will enjoy a lasting legacy for what went wrong.

  7. Crimson Tide says:

    Where is the DC office and Ms Packwood in all of this? Why is she getting $200k plus a year and not part of trip like this?