Video: Minister Brown On ‘Good Economic News’

February 13, 2019 | 33 Comments

[Updated] Minister for the Cabinet Office Walton Brown is holding a press conference this morning [Feb 13] to discuss the results of a Department of Statistics economic report. We will have additional coverage later on and in the meantime the live video is below.

Update: The live broadcast has concluded and the 8-minute replay is below

Update 12.00pm: Minister Brown said, “Based on our Department of Statistics analysis, today I am pleased to report some good economic news.

“Employment for Bermudians in the hospitality industry is up!

  • 2nd Quarter GDP is up!
  • 3rd Quarter GDP is up!
  • Government consumption is down!
  • GDP has gone UP while government consumption has gone down!

“There has been a narrative being pushed by the Opposition that Bermuda is in a recession. The facts simply don’t bear that out. Despite the narrative that the Opposition wants to peddle, these numbers expose their narrative for what it is. False. Over the last several months, we have seen signs of economic progress demonstrating that our efficient fiscal management is having a beneficial effect.

  • Bermuda’s 2018 second quarterly Gross Domestic Product [GDP] increased 0.8 %., a strengthening in the economy that is especially noteworthy when compared with the second quarter of 2017 when Bermuda hosted the America’s Cup.
  • During the third quarter of 2018, quarterly Gross Domestic Product [GDP] increased by 1.6%, estimated at $1.1 billion.
  • Government consumption decreased 3.7 % during the third quarter.

“This Government has made a determined effort to stimulate our economy by attracting foreign investment through targeted investment strategies and diversification of business development initiatives. We believe our strategy will translate into higher employment numbers, providing moderate economic growth in most sectors.

“Considering all of the above factors, we are of the view that Bermuda’s economic outlook is continuing to improve.

“Since becoming the Government in July 2017, we have focused our efforts on growing the Bermuda economy by implementing policies designed to create employment opportunities for Bermudians and promote entrepreneurship. We have continued to work with the insurance sector to enhance Bermuda’s reputation which saw an increase in insurance company registrations in 2018.

“We have increased funding to the Bermuda Tourism Authority to support tourism promotion, the Bermuda Business Development Agency to attract foreign investment, and the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation to provide more support to our local entrepreneurs. We have embraced emerging technologies such as FinTech and InsurTech which have seen 66 new companies formed in Bermuda, with Bermudians being hired by these start-up companies.

“And the results are these:

  • Employment for Bermudians in the hospitality industry is up.
  • 2nd Quarter GDP is up.
  • 3rd Quarter GDP is up.
  • Government consumption is down.

“The increase in Insurance Company registration demonstrates that the opposition narrative is simply not true. When individuals such as the managing director of Expertise Doug Soares are saying that the start-up activity in Bermuda that he is seeing is something he hasn’t seen in a long time it reinforces what these figures demonstrate. That the opposition’s narrative is false. The lowest inflation level seen in years indicates that the opposition’s narrative is false. All of the independent evidence indicates that the opposition’s narrative is false.

“Between 2013 and 2017, Bermuda lost 2000 jobs, our national debt doubled, and $100 million dollars were spent on the America’s Cup while our schools, buses and infrastructure were allowed to crumble.

“Under the former government, payroll taxes on workers were raised to the highest level in Bermuda’s history while investments in Bermudians and protecting Bermuda’s most vulnerable, was an afterthought. In stark contrast, this government has expanded scholarships, increased training opportunities, boosted income for our seniors while cutting payroll taxes for workers to the lowest level in 23 years; All while delivering on our mission of diversifying Bermuda’s economy.

“Our 2018 3rd Quarter GDP results show we are making progress. It will take more than one year to reverse the legacy of 5 years of OBA cuts in training and investment in Bermudians, but these statistics prove we are making progress… and this progress isn’t happening by accident.

“It is a result of taking a different approach from the OBA and making deliberate investment in training at the Bermuda College and the creation of programs like our housekeepers’ initiative that are getting more Bermudians into the industry.

“We know that our mission will not be complete until every Bermudian who wants to work, has the opportunity to work in their own country… until every Bermudian who wants to advance in their career has the obstacles to their progress removed and until every Bermudian has the opportunity to reach their full potential, there is still much work to do and more progress to be made. Thank You.”

The Quarterly GDP by Expenditure Q3 2018 report follows below [PDF here]:

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Comments (33)

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  1. red rose says:

    And retail sales suffer seven consecutive months of decline, business confidence is at an all time low, GDP is up 0.8percent, yes, but it will be adjusted and that is almost always down.
    Taxes are up, health costs are up, yes debt doubled as it would have done under the PLP as the OBA inherited a massive budget deficit.
    Hospitality industry employment is up thanks to the bTA, which the OBA created and the after effects of the AC.
    Where are the fintech jobs, what is the plan for the EU substance act? Where is the economic stimulus plan?
    This from the MInister is BS
    PS did this minister enjoy his $10,000 trip to the UK?

  2. dondererd says:

    Hahahahaha! they still cannot say how many fintech jobs are being created!

  3. dick francis says:

    No retail sales figures since september! why not?

  4. trump supporter says:

    YAWN!!!!!!!!

  5. Rotten Onion says:

    I guess this is just window shopping until retail sales stats come out ,which wont be as rosy i presume.

  6. dick francis says:

    why didn’t he release the stats report?

  7. Sandgrownan says:

    Ah, the AC bogeyman again. Brown is so disingenuous

    Reduce taxes then if things are so good.

    Did he thank the OBA for the increase in hospitality jobs? Employment is down, tax revenue is down, we’re sitting on a demographic timebomb.

  8. Rotten Onion says:

    *dressing

  9. truthertz says:

    The tourism industry is employing more because tourism is on the rise.

    Tourism is on the rise because of the non-political BTA created by the big bad OBA.

    Housekeeper initiatives are great, but not the first of its kind despite Brown’s misleading statement. Just the other day teh Dept. of Workforce had a ceremony noting the successful completion of training and placement in the telecommunications field. The article noted that these initiative began in 206 under the big bad OBA.

    If Brown think sit will take sometime to get over the 4.5 year OBA legacy imagine how long it will take us to recover from the 16 year PLP long list of failures.

    PS: Construction has driven this positive variance with the main contributors being the Airport and St. George’s hotel development, which were both stared under the big bad OBA.

    • newperspective says:

      So, why did the OBA loose the election by such a large margin? Remember, the OBA added a $1billion to the debt in 5 years, when the PLP accumulated $1.45 billion in 14 years. Both are to blame the financial state of affairs.

      You also must remember, it’s not how well you’ve done or earned, but how much you’ve saved for the rainy day! Judging from the performance of both parties, they aren’t too concerned about the debt. If they did stringent measures would be in place to tackle the debt, and not find ways to tax those who can least afford it.

      • Toodle-oo says:

        If the debt had the slightest thing to do with the OBA being ousted then the flip side is that the PLP would never have been re-elected ! So , we can ditch that theory.
        Besides , how could the OBA have not added to the debt when they inherited a deeply broke government that they had to borrow many millions for just to keep from firing hundreds of employees ?

  10. Double S says:

    Why did the good Minister fail to articulate that the capital formation of $59mn driving the increase in GDP is directly related to the airport and St. George’s hotel developments that he and his Party opposed whilst in Opposition?

    Actual household consumption went down. So the PLP should be worried about what will happen when this projects are finished.

    Reminds me of how last year the PLP took credit for the rating agencies positive outlook for Bermuda despite the actual document noting that their change in outlook was mainly driven by the AC, the airport and various hotel developments.

    And please PLP supporters, before you reply, provide an actual rebuttal to the factual points made.

  11. question says:

    “Capital formation related to construction registered a 36.2% increase during the period reflecting major construction projects such as hotel development and the airport project.”

    In other words the improvement is solely a result of the work done by the OBA government. Had the PLP had their way there would have been no BTA and no airport. Meanwhile the PLP focus on hopeless incubators and gold bullion while they drive the economy into a ditch.

    • Check says:

      Yes BUT the OBA gave away tens of millions per year in revenue from the airport so they have actually put us in a huge hole for years to come! Boat event for their rich friends and giveaway of our future dollars!

  12. Kevin says:

    If the picture was so rosy pray tell why the increase in taxation surely with all of this growth and confidence in the economic growth why are talking about increasing taxes …. you want to bet the left hand has no idea what the right is planning …well the plp had it right There are 2 Bermudas …the one they and their supporters see and the one the rest of us live in
    These jokers can’t get out of their own way

  13. Check says:

    And someone explain why they are charging sugar tax on diet sodas? Marketplace and Lindos up the prices on diet soda and the stupid check clerks tell me that’s because of sugar tax! There ain’t no sugar in diet sodas dumb a$$! They are price gouging!!!!

    • Politricks says:

      No what they are doing is avoiding huge price markups on certain items (ie ice cream etc.) and applying the increases created by this new tax across all items.

      If you think that is bad just wait until the Minister of Finance announces an increase in the Foreign Currency Purchase tax next week. As we import everything we consume every price will be hike to absorb the FCPT increase.

      I am not too sure why everyone railed against the residential rental tax when the FCPT hike will be the true killer of the economy.

      • That’s wrong says:

        Why must I pay sugar tax on items with no sugar? And the store has no right to spread sugar tax across all items or non sugar items! They did not pay sugar tax on all items so cannot charge it in those items!

        • LaV says:

          no one is forcing you to buy anything. It’s called a free market, or do you prefer communism?

  14. JohnnyB says:

    The PLP acts like they consulted with Billy McFarland.

  15. Madge says:

    Does anyone know how many people have left the Island ? I hear that they do not feel they are wanted in Bermuda,how sad if this is true.

    • LaV says:

      I’m gay, I left long ago….Bermuda doesn’t want Engineers who happen to be gay…so another country benefits from me. LOL@Bermuda

  16. Something is Majorly Wrong says:

    Hold on – the figures appear better on GDP because of OBA initiatives !!!!

  17. aceboy says:

    omg

    No rescourses for schools, Fintach hubs, buses, trash trucks but we are somehow flourishing under the PLP.

    Why all the new taxes if everything is so great?

    Surely the most strident PLP supporter must see the spin going on here?

    • LaV says:

      “Surely the most strident PLP supporter must see the spin going on here?”

      No, they cannot

  18. Kevin says:

    PLP = economic Disaster
    first 14 years almost made us a 3rd world country
    the last 2 and next 2 1/2 will put so far behind the number we will be sucking for air
    When will you …yes you plp faithful get off the racial crap and actually start paying attention to what is happening ..the jokers you voted in don’t have a clue and time is moving by….we need a group who can make real progress …ya you didn’t like how the OBA operated but you sure appreciated the growth in our economy ….please plp resign

  19. Bermewjan says:

    Why is Walton attempting to talk about economics? Maybe we’ll have Michael Weeks talking about it next. Talk about the blind leading the blind!

  20. Adam Smith says:

    So the PLP Government is celebrating some pretty marginal growth in GDP which is based entirely on the construction of the St Regis in St George’s and the airport. The PLP was so strongly opposed to the airport project that some people shut down the democratically elected House of Assembly in its attempts to stop it. No irony there.
    If I was Curtis Dickinson, who should be making these announcements, I would be much more concerned about the three consecutive quarters of decline in gross household consumption when he desperately needs to find ways to increase tax revenues.

  21. Realist says:

    I’m betting the PLP will be voted out next election. The arrogance guarantees this. Repeating the same history.

    • That’s wrong says:

      Not if the Milkman is still involved in OBA! And JetGate remains as their Achilles! Where did the money go? Follow the money and the truth shall set you free!

    • Bermewjan says:

      I wouldn’t be so sure. After all who would be a viable replacement. I don’t see any credible alternatives on the horizon.

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