Simmons: Closure Diminishes Tourism Product

April 1, 2016

“The news that Riddell’s Bay Golf Club has ceased operations and gone into liquidation is a blow to the management and workers at the club and further diminishes our tourist and local golf product,” Shadow Minister of Tourism and Economic Development Jamahl Simmons said today.

This follows after yesterday’s announcement that Riddell’s Bay Golf and Country Club will “immediately cease operations” as they have “insufficient cash to meet its operational costs.”

Jamahl Simmons Bermuda April 1 2016

The joint provisional liquidators said they “will be reaching out to communicate directly with the employees, the creditors and the members of the club” and will “assess the situation and the most appropriate strategy to generate value to enable the company’s creditors to be paid.”

Mr Simmons said, “The news that Riddell’s Bay Golf Club has ceased operations and gone into liquidation is a blow to the management and workers at the club and further diminishes our tourist and local golf product.

“As Bermuda’s oldest golf club, Riddell’s Bay is yet another example of a long standing Bermudian institution falling victim to our economic climate.

Riddell’s Bay Golf and Country Club bermuda

“At this time, our thoughts go to the workers who have now joined the over 2000 Bermudians that have lost their jobs since 2013.

“We urge the Government via the Dept of Workforce Development to immediately reach out to all Bermudian workers affected, to ensure that they are swiftly placed back on the road to employment.

“With tourists already booked to golf at Riddell’s Bay this season, immediate steps must be taken to ensure that those visitors are informed and given the opportunity to make alternate local arrangements before reaching our shores.

IMG_0768

“The OBA’s tourism policy has resulted in a 49 year low in tourism air arrivals, meaning less heads in beds and less money in our economy,” continued Mr Simmons.

“After the next election, the PLP will demand greater accountability from the BTA, expand the tourism marketing budget to a competitive level and invest with our industry partners to continually raise the quality of the Bermuda product.

“Bermuda needs more tourists on our shores and in 40 months the OBA have not been able to deliver, the PLP will prioritise tourism investment to grow the industry and to in turn create jobs for Bermudians.”

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  1. Joker says:

    Always good to see Jamahl taking a swing at the easy targets and ensuring that if the tourist product hadn’t highlighted this in the press already it is now. Getting tired of the PLP BS.

    • Betty Boop says:

      and all I can say is thanks BIU, REV TWEED and all the Protestors who because of all of you, many more businesses will close, and then may be none of you will have a job either. Mr. Simmons you will never be the next elected Government, so just get over it with all your promises. A bunch of garbage spewing from the mouth of the regurgitating master.

      • Nanny Pat says:

        Very well said. This guy is a total joke. Sit down Simmons. You make ZERO contribution.

    • drunken ursula says:

      Joker you’re tired of the PLP’s bs… well be assured most Bermudians are very tired of the OBA’s crap also, so like the rest of us just bear with it or like many of your kind leave ! oh I guess you a Bermudian ,right ?

      • aceboy says:

        This course closed because of all the people the PLP chased off the island with their ridiculous policies. You should be smiling, this is what Burch wanted to see.

        • Ringmaster says:

          This is the real world Jamahl, not the cossetted public sector where everyone has a job for life, gold plated pension and months of paid sick leave and vacation. No money equals the business fails. However on the bright side, if for example a large hotel takes over the golf course and hires Bermudians? Will Jamahl sing the praises of the OBA for that? Of course not. Another alternative is that some insider with construction company ties buys the course with an eye to develop it and sell off parcels to rich foreigners. Will Jamahl and the PLP support that or come out to stop it? The next few weeks should be interesting and show the true colors of the PLP and Jamahl.

          • Kung Fu says:

            Its just InZane to think that this could happen.

    • Kung Fu says:

      Where were your comments when your government closed down St Georges and Horizons? Your were also quiet when Belmont and Tuckers Point went into receivership? Why speak up now and not then?

  2. Tired of it all... says:

    “Bermuda needs more tourists on our shores and in 40 months the OBA have not been able to deliver, the PLP will prioritise tourism investment to grow the industry and to in turn create jobs for Bermudians.”

    And you didn’t deliver in 14 years…despite promises in 1998 of a 100 day turn around and then 10 years later wit promises of platinum periods…which instead ended up being more like plutonium.

    Under the PLP thousands of rooms were lost through numerous hotel closures. But under the OBA we have at least 3 new developments coming on line while others have been spending monies refurbishing.

    Riddells bay has been struggling for the better part of a decade. It has nothing to do with drops in tourism as the Club lived off of local residents annual dues.

    So guess what happened when there were less and less people on the island? Well that would be less and less members paying their dues.

    Why is so hard for some to understand that less people equates to an inevitable loss of economic activity. The PLP and their supporters need to read up on at least the money multiplier effect.

    And please don’t insult my intelligence Mr. Simmons. You know damn well you don’t care about that particular type of institution failing.

    • watching says:

      OBA bloggers never like to let the truth get in the way of their narrative.

      Under Dr Brown Bermuda’s tourism numbers were the highest in decades and only slid again when the recession hit.

      The OBA has been in power 3 years and we have seen only downward trending. Time for them to own the product.

      • wondering says:

        the trends speak for themselves but they are seldom attached to what is happening worldwide on the financial front

        don’t cloud the issue

      • Noncents says:

        @ watching

        Under Dr Brown Bermuda’s tourism numbers were the highest in decades and only slid again when the recession hit.

        Completely untrue. A simple search can show that air arrivals were higher in 1998 than any year under the PLP.

        Stick to the facts.

        • CCT says:

          PLP supporters will never listen to the facts about all that went on during the time the PLP were in power!! Blind sheep!!

        • reddamtibi says:

          noncents – a simple search will also reveal that in 1988 the numbers were higher than in 1998 – so what does that say about the UBP?

          Point is tourism is sliding because of the shrinking middle class and a failing product here. It has been this way for decades people.

      • Starting point says:

        I dont think you know what a decade is…..

      • Rada Gast says:

        A lack of facts never stopped the PLP supporters either.

      • Bermudian says:

        BS & you know it! That club has had financial issues for years ask Zane. It got worse during the recession & with less people living here, less people to play golf! Tourists just subsidize courses, while regular players/members keep them afloat!

        • Awake says:

          Now that Zane has told you the Club has had financial issues for years, it might be a good time to ask him why there are less people Iiving in Bermuda! While you’re at it, ask him why our roads are in the deplorable state they are in! Under his PLP ministerial role, HE stated that our roads were fine…well look at them now!!

        • frank says:

          Let’s. Be. Real. Here we all know the history. Of. This. Club first of all it. Is. A private club
          For the. White elite ye. They. Have. A. Few. Black. Members. Now.
          But. It is. A. Stuffy. Old. Racis white club that’s why their member ship fee. Was so dam. High
          To keep. Blacks out.
          So. They don’t. Get. No bailout from. Government.

      • drunken ursula says:

        hey watching, do you think that $350,000.00 been used up paying these bloggers ?

      • Awake says:

        You, along with Jamahl Simmons, are a joke! Fourteen years of mismanagement even DURING the recession, is why we are where we are! Take off your blinders and try doing some REAL research before commenting such garbage!

        • drunken ursula says:

          I have 20/20 vision ..maybe taking your blinders off you’ll be more objective.

      • Tired of it all... says:

        If you actually believe those numbers, then good for you.

        This was about the same time when the administration in power started including international business visitors as tourists.

        So tell me again how many hotels opened and closed under the PLP please?

        And tell the truth…

        • Earth watch police says:

          They just tore down and blew up hotels.

      • Dockyard Lackey says:

        Dreb was at the helm when the mega cruise ships were introduced to Bermuda. That is exactly where the spike in visitor arrivals came from. The fact that they ate, drank and slept on board did very little for our economy.

        • Ringmaster says:

          Also it was the time of the highest numbers of work permit holders who were visited by family and friends but counted as tourists. Less work permit holders = less family and friends visiting. Nothing to do with the work of tourism but looks great when the numbers are up, but not good when the numbers are down.

      • Kung Fu says:

        The numbers were highest in decades during the PLP years? LOL Fudged numbers. Just like the PLP Economy and Employment. All the PLP did was to higher thousands of Bermudians into the Public Service so that the unemployment situation did not appear as bad as it really was. It turn it also helped keep the Union afload. We are not stupid.

        Why is then that if tourism numbers were so great during the PLP years the following happened.

        a)Belmont and Tuckers Point Golf clubs went into receivership.
        b)No new hotels developed or redeveloped.
        c)closure of many, many smaller hotels including but not limited to:
        Horizons
        Harmony Club
        Surfside
        Pink Beach Club
        Banana Beach
        Elbow Beach
        Angels Grotto
        9 Beaches
        Marriott
        Ariel Sands
        Lantana
        …..and last but not least the public Implosion of Club Med without someone wanting to build on that site. There were more that I can’t recall at this moment but Im sure other readers will. Why would these hotels all CLOSE if all was so great in Tourism. None of the properties even upgraded. However, now we have a few new hotels being built, Pink Beach, Ariel Sands, others like Fairmont have renovated and other real possibilities like ClubMed being rebuilt. Casinos are a real possibility, not just talk anymore.

        Take a rest with the BS were are not buying into it.

    • Really says:

      What happened is the club failed to attract new young members.
      This is not a oba or plp problem. The management failed similar to what the oba is doing to it’s voters/Bermudians that place them by a slim margin in power.

    • High Road says:

      Exactly Well said

    • My 10 cents says:

      Agreed!

      And to all of the naysayers that constantly complain about the BTA….. Do you have any idea how much in the sh*te Bermuda would be presently had the BTA not been in place as long as it has been? Think about it. Do you people really have any idea of what they do?

      & Oh yeah, the PLP’s BDOT-driven “Bermuda..So Much More” multi-million $ campaign was a real winner. NOT.

      • CCT says:

        Yes, how quickly they forget!!

      • Kung Fu says:

        The GlobalHue Jetgate deal was never spoken about. OnionJuice , Ursula, Jahmal and others do us a favor, Google Dr. Brown and GlobalHue and take a read at the news stories that appeared on many major international news networks. You can also read how Dr. Brown took a private jet ride with a fellow alumni college alumni member on his private jet. What was the result and cost to Bermuda? A tourism deal that cost us tens of millions of dollars was awarded to the same man that Dr. Brown took a ride with. That same contract was re-awarded to the same company years later and this time without even asking anyone else to RFP.
        Just look it up for yourselves.

        • Toodle-oo says:

          Clearly demonstrating what a total non-event ‘Jet gate’ was . Boy , does it ever generate some faux outrage though !

  3. serengeti says:

    Wildcat bus and ferry strikes have much more to do with diminishing our tourism product, but Jamal says nothing about that.

    • Jason says:

      Did you stand strong with your Premier and Fahy when they took slams from all my people striking & marching. No you cowardly hide in your home behind the TV and left Premier Dunkley no choice but to way the white flag and surrender. Now you come here screaming we need more people.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      I’m more curious about how he managed to calculate the loss of 2000 Bermudian jobs since 2013??? 2000 Bermudians have lost their jobs since 2008. He will not, no can not admit to the PLP’s role in this whole mess, such an admission would shatter his illusion that somehow the PLP is actually a good thing for this country, all evidence to the contrary

      • Kung Fu says:

        Many more Bermudians SHOULD have lost their jobs under the PLP rule and mismanagement. In order to stop things from “looking” so bad all they did was create all whole bunch of civil service jobs that were not needed. If you lost your job and you were a friend or family member they just created a position for you in order to make unemployment numbers look so bleak.

  4. JCS says:

    Silly man! The PLP never did anything in regards to the tourism product except spend pots of money when in power, so what bright idea is he going to come up with if they regain power? There’s too much of this ‘we’ll do this, and we’ll do that’ from the opposition but they never back it up with facts!

  5. Shadow Minister of Tourism and Economic Development Jamahl Simmons what part didn’t you understand when it has been mention several times that the Riddell’s Bay Golf and Country Club will “immediately cease operations” as they have “insufficient cash to meet its operational costs.” ?
    It’s obvious that there hasn’t been any business in recent times so how will the closure affect “tourism”?

    • By the way Jamahl, you have been in every political party and haven’t accomplished a damn thing :-( You remind me of a certain individual that went into a shoe store and tried on every shoe in the store but couldn’t find a shoe to fit his feet :-(

      • drunken ursula says:

        yes Ray Jamahl has been in every political party he reminds me of Rodney Smith joining every party and hasn’t accomplished a damn thing either?

      • Kung Fu says:

        He was pushed away from the PLP too. I guess with Zane and others “resigning” there is space in the camp now.

    • The P.L.P. “fans” are banking up on me :-( But guess what u’lot, the truth will always be the truth and u’lot can click “dislike” a thousand times…

  6. meh. says:

    According to the February update air visitors are actually up 6.5% this year:
    http://www.gotobermuda.com/uploadedFiles/Bermuda_Tourism_Authority/Pages/February2016Measures.pdf

    but whatever, who cares about facts.

    • Stop the BS says:

      Real Facts

      ………………feb-14 Feb-15 Feb-16
      VISITORS……….4,580 4,057 4,581
      CRUISE VISITORS… 0 319 1,761

      It was only up because of a small ship :) and 500 also flew in to join it. :)

    • drunken ursula says:

      like the PLP did,they included the business visitor, and you all complained stating they should be separate now its all cause your boys are in power

      • meh. says:

        leisure only numbers are up as well year on year so….

    • Bloop Bleep Bloop says:

      Having higher numbers of visitors doesn’t matter if we don’t get quality visitors.

      If we get visitors on cheap all-inclusive ships they don’t spend money on the island we need luxury ships with smaller numbers and less amenities which force tourists to spend money on the island.

      • Meh. says:

        We’re talking only about air arrivals

      • ? says:

        This article states that air arrivals are at a 48 year low though. which is incorrect. This is just a correction

  7. Starting point says:

    LOL PLP, once again talking BS.

    If only we could attract some wealthy business leaders here to live with their families who would be perfect clients of riddles bay…..? oh thats right, PLP want those foreigners to go back to where they came from, only PLP policy that they have actually managed to meet their expectations on.

  8. jt says:

    Membership decline is the biggest factor here. Now Simmons, what do you suppose caused that? And what types of recently proposed legislation might have helped? What a hack, pun intended.
    (Wasn’t there a course in St. Georges once? Remind us how that went down.)

  9. PRAVDA says:

    Bermuda is still reeling from the effects of the PLP Immigration policy that chased over 5,000 workers from our shores.
    International Business quietly planned to move some job junctions out of Bermuda – I mean why would anyone put up with 6 year term limits and all manner of PLP bureaucratic hassle?

    Yep, gone 5,000 who rented our homes, condos, put their kids in our schools, used our dry cleaners, bought cars, ate in local restaurants……

    The PLP had 14 years to turn Bermuda around, but they failed in TOURISM. Meanwhile Brother Ewart Brown gave away the cookie jar to the cruise ships and allowed them full on entertainment in port. He KILLED nightlife in Bermuda.

    Jamahl Simmons is an ambush politician who fails to recognize the damage that the PLP did to Bermuda with Term Limits, Real Estate policy not to mention that some had a party at the taxpayers expense.

    OCEAN VIEW is next….. watch that space….

    Another thing Mr. Simmons needs to realize is that the Millenials are not as INTO golf as the older generations.
    Younger people are into other types of sport that provide exhilaration. Golf courses are failing in many places…..
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/03/05/why-america-fell-out-of-love-with-golf/

    Bermuda needs to step up and provide more buzz for the tourist of the 21st century.

    Sure its sad to see Riddells close, but they are broke.
    Bermuda seriously needs to open up investment in this island. Whilst Immigration needs to be balanced and handled in a better inclusive manner, one thing reared its ugly head two weeks. MOB RULE.
    Investors do not like investing in places that display a propensity for trouble and strife. To hear the leader of the labor union say “You want 1981 again”, is alarming. Too many in the hotel world of investment have long memories of the manner that hoteliers and guests were treated.

    it is also apparent that some will do anything to unseat the OBA government.
    How can this man, Jamahl Simmons, be taken with any credibility?

    Bermuda is walking a tightrope right now. we are 5,000 people from where we need to be to make this country economically viable. In fact some economists wold argue Bermuda needs 10,000 more work permits than we currently have to really make the economy tick.

    Bermuda needs investors, we need to move into the 21st century. Bermuda missed the boat with the Internet (another myopic missed opportunity under the PLP). David Burt needs to be reminded of that.
    Bermuda needs to step into the light on Human Rights & Marriage Equality.
    Bermuda needs to completely rebuild public education (PLP did nothing in 14 years) but alas between the civil servant bureaucrats sitting in the Department of Education collecting a pay check and not doing anything to move Bermuda Education forward and the Bermuda Union of Teachers, I see little hope for our kids in public education.

    Finally, the attempt to overthrow the OBA along with the continual racial division will do untold harm to Bermuda and it will keep the investors we need here off our shores.
    Politics in Bermuda has descended into a poisonous swampland.
    We better hope that the majority do stand up or we will never recover.

    • Oh really says:

      So where did you get the 5000 figure from? No minister from the oba has delivered any evidence supporting this. Just a magical number to help support the long term status that the oba drop the ball on the other day.

    • So Tired says:

      @PRAVDA And where might those 10,000 work permit jobs be coming from when we cannot scrap up a mere 3,000 for those currently unemployed? Keeping secrets are we?

      • jt says:

        Burt says plp diversification plan requires hiring 50% foreigners. Where is your anger?

        • So Tired says:

          How does that sound angry trouble maker. Get a life!

    • Pete says:

      + 10K Bermudians, Don`t forget that

  10. wahoo says:

    Perhaps we ought to start treating our exempt companies and their employees like tourists – long term ones. After all they do represent income and jobs for the island and if we Bermudians thought of them that way perhaps we would all be much better off.

    Not that this is a tourism issue we digress. This is a story about a private club that has not changed with the times simple as that but Jahmal had to put spin on it somehow I guess.

  11. Joonya says:

    Thank you Captain Obvious

  12. Stop the BS says:

    feb 14 visitors 4,580….cruise visitors 0

    feb 15 visitors 4,057….cruise visitors 319

    feb 16 visitors 4,581….cruise visitors 1,761

  13. M.C. Beauchamp says:

    Crocodile tears.

  14. Bobby says:

    The PLP and the BIU. just deminished the tourist product in March

    • drunken ursula says:

      no Mike Fahy did that …

      • wahoo says:

        To sum it up stupid people did that.

      • Not Fahy - The Courts did it!!!! says:

        Actually the Courts made a ruling which kicked this all off.

        Kinda unfair of you Ursula to blame the person that was tryng to codify the rules to gain status when the Court put the wheels in motion and opened the door without any check mechanisms in place.

        Here’s a scarey–the longer we work on Comprehensive Immigration Reform–the more people will get status granted by the courts.

        Kinda makes all this blabbber and the last couple of weeks seem a bit pointless–

        One outcome is that investors will now reassess the risk of investing in our beloved Bermuda.

        I suppose someone’s strategy has won out on this–but don’t blame Fahy.

        Very sad–welcome to Lilliput!!!

      • Earth watch police says:

        You don’t want foreigners here you should be happy they are leaving.

  15. bluwater says:

    Because Ridell Bay welcomed tourists as a source of revenue? LOL

  16. Sally says:

    Wait until next June when Bermuda stands on the world stage with the opportunity to triple our investment in the Americas Cup……..in case you missed it Jahmal and Co – it is an “INVESTMENT in the Americas Cup”. I’ll place any wager that the PLP, Tweed and the BIU do anything to undermine the success of that for their own political gain. In an election year too…..If you think it bad now, it’s only going to get worse!!

    • wahoo says:

      maybe Tweed will go back home before then.

    • Earth watch police says:

      Mark my words they are not going to let America’s cup happen.

  17. Terry says:

    Triminghams……………………
    If that along with others did not wake up you fools.

    I have a riddle for you…………..

  18. Unbelievable says:

    I keep reading so much BS!!

    What other blog do you ever read that you see American citizens constantly, daily and every other comment mention Republican or Democratic, In the UK Labor or Conservative.

    Start giving it a rest and look deeper within because this passing the buck and blaming politics is wearing thin !!!!!

    • Terry says:

      Your comments made no sense.
      Please expand and enlighten us

  19. Enough says:

    Jahmal – I’m sorry but you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about and are simply jumping on the usual PLP bandwagon as usual.

    If you cannot put together any valid point that has any substance behind it then it is probably best you stay in the shadows.

    The reason that it has come to this point at RBGCC is as a result primarily of 4,000 plus expats leaving the island which has had a detrimental effect on the club and its membership dues and fees. This took place during the PLP’s watch and RBGCC has been suffering immensely from that fallout. The management of the club was unable to turn this around largely due to their inability to react to the damage that was done already.

  20. Iqbal says:

    “Bermuda needs more tourists on our shores and in 40 months the OBA have not been able to deliver, the PLP will prioritise tourism investment to grow the industry and to in turn create jobs for Bermudians.”

    Do you honestly think that the situation as you describe it (assuming that your insinuation that *overall* tourism has declined further since your party left office, which is doubtless an arguable point) is simply the result of OBA “tourism policy?”

    Let’s be charitable and assume that you do not know that Riddell’s and other clubs depend heavily on dues from local members, many of whom left this country because of the foolish term-limit policies the PLP put in place when it was in power.

    If you really care about bringing more visitors to our shores, your party and its surrogates need to cease the street theatrics.

    Blocking roads, shutting down public transportation, and denouncing long-term residents, because of a bill you don’t like, alienates most Bermudians, inconveniences visitors, and dismays potential tourists.

  21. steve says:

    why is Simmons even commenting on this? If you want to make it political, then lets get a spreadsheet of the names of all the PLP members and OBA members and do a count the amount of dues,donation and greenfees(including hot dogs and beer) paid total to Riddels by each political party. The group that least contributed is more to blame? Its a sad thing for all of us but please shut up with your political finger pointing childishness.

    • Pete says:

      He and his crew should step in buy the place , and show how to manage the operation ??

  22. Y-Gurl says:

    How many nails does a coffin have?

  23. IslandTeacher says:

    Time to get this land into food production. If we have a major downtown turn in the world economy as appears to be the case we must make a national effort to start growing more of our own food and giving commercial fishermen a break. Tough times lie ahead who ever is in government. Start planning for food scarcity.

  24. Navin Pooty Tang Johnson says:

    yes Jamahl just look at the comparison to Riddells Bay and Bermuda under the PLP…when Riddells ran into difficulties because of the exodus of expats caused by the dynamic duo of Brown and Birch they let people go and could not pay their creditors….when Bermuda under the PLP ran out of money due to foolish financial practices they just hired more civil servants and borrowed to the brink of collapse…..the PLP has zero credibility to mention accountability….but it is not looking like the OBA is much better…if you want something to get done don’t hire a politician to do it….

    • PRAVDA says:

      Ditto “Don’t hire a politician to make a deal”.
      They couldn’t run a lemonade stand, most of ‘em….

  25. Coffee says:

    Jamal , you got it all right ,and wrong ! This establishment was doomed to fail because the majority population was never encouraged to support it …. End of !
    The main Customer base is dead or dying and who remain took a financial beating from bad investments and the weak economy …. The PLP never wielded enough power to destroy that bastion of privilege .

  26. JUNK YARD DOG says:

    Why do Bermudians go to Florida to Play golf ?

  27. Kathy says:

    Let’s stop the political rhetoric and focus on what has happened…Bermuda has had it too good for too long. Riddell’s Bay was a snooty club that DENIED membership to MANY, including my Irish Aunt and Canadian and American flatmates back in the 1970′s.

    At what point are we going to start appreciating our expats and what they bring to our beautiful island? They are now closing down and Bermudians are losing jobs and we are losing some of our tourism product…what comes around goes around and we have not even seen rock bottom yet!

  28. LOL (Original TM) says:

    This place was told to cut costs years ago. they did not want to listen to their book keeper.

  29. Sara says:

    Ask yourselves this. Is Bermuda REALLY in the tourism business? Let’s all stop pretending shall we?