OBA Leader & Minister On Fintech Hub, Plans

February 13, 2019 | 26 Comments

The Government putting the plans for a fintech hub on hold is an “admission that the fintech policy is not working,” and raises “questions about the viability” of the PLP’s economic stimulus plan, Opposition Leader Craig Cannonier said, while Minister Jamahl Simmons said “the best investment a Government can make is in its people, and we decided that it made better sense to provide training to Bermudians free of charge rather than build a Government owned co-working space.”

Fintech Hub Plans ‘On Hold’

Mr Cannonier’s comments follow after the Government confirmed that the plans for the FinTech hub –  slated for the third floor of the IAS Building on Church Street in Hamilton –  have been put “on hold”.

“The Government wants to ensure that it is not only being fiscally prudent, but effective and efficient with the appropriate use of its resources,” a spokesperson said. “With that in mind, we are closely reviewing our resources to ensure that we are not duplicating any services which may already be provided for in the private sector.”

Plans for tech hub have been discussed previously; the 2017 Throne Speech said that Government would issue a Request for Information for a technology hub at Southside, the Ministry put out that RFI and then extended the deadline to November 15th, 2017, and then in September 2018 they issued an RFP for the Hamilton fintech hub.

Craig Cannonier’s Comments

Mr Cannonier said, “Putting plans for a fintech hub on hold is acutely embarrassing and is a sign of a failing policy.

“Remember that this hub was first mooted for Southside. When in Opposition, David Burt said ‘The Opposition knows that we must move with the times to ensure prosperity for Bermuda, which is why we will create a technology incubator at Southside, become a leader in FinTech and establish Bermuda as a global hub for Intellectual Property.”

“Then in January last year, we were told that the Southside plan had been shelved when Mr Burt said: “We might start small inside the City of Hamilton in order to build that incubator up and then we can establish it at a larger place such as Southside. That’s the current thinking.”

“Then we were told that Government was seeking tenders to turn the top floor of a building in Hamilton into a fintech hub, which Minister Wayne Caines likened to Silicon Valley.

“Now we are told that is on hold as Government wants to be fiscally prudent and is looking to see if the fintech hub plans duplicate existing services in the private sector.

“Why is this happening only now? The project to create a fintech hub has been in the pipeline for more than 18 months and only now do we see Government looking at what already exists. Those responsible should be acutely embarrassed.

“And if it is about being fiscally prudent, why isn’t Government cutting its own costs instead of hiking the tax burden on Bermudians?

“It is also an admission that the fintech policy is not working. Government has tried to mask this policy failure by saying it is being fiscally prudent but it seems obvious that there is no demand for this type of facility. If there was, I am sure we would have been told so, over and over again.

“This issue raises crucially important questions about the viability of the PLP’s one and only economic stimulus plan. Remember those MOUs when the Premier promised millions of dollars of investment in training and new jobs?

“In the meantime, in the absence of any other economic plan, Government has no option but to increase taxes to close a near $90m budget deficit. Bermudians deserve better.”

Minister Jamahl Simmons Comments

In response, Minister Jamahl Simmons said,“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.

“Hundreds of Bermudians attended our FinTech education information sessions last week, determined to seize the training opportunities that will prepare Bermudians to acquire jobs as more companies setup operations in Bermuda.

“Therefore it is ironic that the former Premier whose Government slashed scholarships for Bermudians and the former works Minister who spent $1 million to build one roundabout would criticize this Government’s decision to reallocate funds from a proposed building project to provide training for the 320 Bermudians that have registered.

“The best investment a Government can make is in its people, and we decided that it made better sense to provide training to Bermudians free of charge rather than build a Government owned co-working space.

“This Government will continue to invest in Bermudians and no amount of noise or hollow statements from the Opposition Leader will distract us from our mission of putting Bermudians first.”

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Comments (26)

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  1. The notorious and disrespectful O.B.A. will work its best as the OPPOSITION for always.
    Dunkley at its helm!!

  2. hmmmm says:

    After the aftermath of the ‘Jetgate’ scandal, Craig Cannonier resigned as Premier. The OBA had know idea about the $300k Jet gate so we can’t blame them as a party.

    Where is the $300K Craig because the OBA didn’t receive it.

    Now Craig who has a tainted history is representing the party as the leader over Premier Michael Dunkley. What a Joke!!

    Craig you’re a disgrace and we can’t trust you. After the next election you will be replace with a credible leader who the voters can listen to 100% guaranteed!!

    • deonion says:

      you got a split personality? Thought you were STRAIGHTFORWARD .. then again, I just gave myself a big laugh just then …

    • dawndererd says:

      Maybe you would like to explain four seasons, or the tens of millions dollar overspends, the $1.2m payment, the outstanding civil cases etc etc ….

    • Come Correct says:

      Wait, you just used 2 different names to comment. Must really be sweating over there in Alaska hall.

    • Rego says:

      LOLOLOLOLOL OMG so true. Craig Trump get lost..after Jetgate.

    • #surrogateredemption

  3. Something is Majorly Wrong says:

    Mr Simmons you did not address anything!!

  4. Double S says:

    Hahahaha. Simmons’ and the PLP didn’t even attempt to spin an answer. Hahahaha. Pathetic.

  5. Rasta says:

    The ubP/OBA has to really desperate to have you as a leader.

  6. dick francis says:

    what’s this got to with Jamahl? He’s the expensive minister of spin now, why would anyone want believe him? the idea of a hub has failed, simple as that.
    Maybe Mr $150,000 a year Minister without portfolio you can tell us how many fintech jobs have been created and why this policy U-turn was not considered 18 months ago when the PLP first came up with the idea of a fintech hub at southside.
    I’m sick of the spin and hypocrisy of this Government.

  7. Rotten Onion says:

    And thats what $165,000 a year gets you,Jamahl take a break.

  8. Swing Vote says:

    I’m not trying to shoot the messenger, but with your bad track record you really expect the swing voters to trust you. Craig you need to resign again and allow someone to speak speak for the OBA who has a good heart.

    You can’t be the best man or woman that can speak for the OBA party or the island is already finished.

    • deonion says:

      hang on … swing vote, STRAIGHTFORWARD and hmmm.. wow you are really trying to earn that salary, aren’t you.

    • Come Correct says:

      “In response, Minister Jamahl Simmons said,“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.”

      This is literally lie after lie after lie. You deserve what you voted for.

  9. Enough already! says:

    OMG – Enough already! Both sides are like spoilt school kids kicking sand in each others faces. Dissolve both parties, cut the number of MPs to 9 (one for each parish) and elect some sane, rational, honest, ethical, educated and logical thinking people to run the country. This tit-for-tat back and forth nonsense is getting us nowhere.

    • dondererd says:

      I know what you mean but I think it is important that the opposition speaks up (not that long ago they were being criticized for not saying anything) and offers an alternative point of view for people.

  10. red rose says:

    It is unbelievable that more than 18 months after they comprehensively won the election that the PLP is still putting out statements like this! They are still behaving like they are in Opposition.
    They say nothing, they answer no concerns, they provide no vision.
    It is unbelievable and very very worrying, even more so when you consider this minister has special responsibility for communications and is paid a salary most of us can only dream of. SMH.

    • Rovar says:

      It’s almost like they’re taking their time & doing it right ! ;-)
      But you just complain, complain…

  11. red rose says:

    So the best the PLP can do is some Opposition-style electioneering press statement and all the PLP commentators here can do is follow suit?

    • Rovar says:

      It’s almost like they’re taking their time & doing it right.
      But you just complain, complain…

  12. Rovar says:

    PLP wants save money by not duplicating efforts, OBA spins it as a problem! Ha!

    Give FinTech some time to create jobs, then judge!

    This OBA assertion is ridiculous they are not related :

    “putting the plans for a fintech hub on hold is an “admission that the fintech policy is not working,” and raises “questions about the viability”

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