Economic Development Department Formation

January 31, 2020 | 19 Comments

“The Cabinet has approved the creation of a new department that will be called the Economic Development Department,” Premier David Burt said in the House of Assembly today [Jan 31].

Premier Burt said, “This new department is being created by the fusion of three existing entities that are currently under the remit of the Cabinet Office. They are: the Department of ICT Policy and Innovation; the Business Development Unit and the FinTech Business Unit.

“I hasten to add, Mr Speaker, that the merging of these entities will not result in an increase in the number of posts within the civil service and likewise, it will not result in the loss of jobs for current staff.

“The mission of this new department is to advance the sustainable growth, development and diversification of Bermuda’s economy.”

“This new Economic Development Department will concentrate our energy, resources and expertise in order to stimulate, grow and diversify our economy. It will capitalize on that which we are already doing well, with the existing departments and units, while keeping pace with new economic trends that can assist with the sustainable growth of our economy.

“Having made significant progress thus far, we anticipate that this department will be fully operational within the coming months,” the Premier said, adding that “this department will not fix all of the woes in our economy, but it is a signal that this government is serious about modernising our structures and institutions so that we can better deliver for the people of Bermuda. ”

The Premier’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker,
Bermuda is at an economic crossroads. The historical norms of our economy have been challenged almost to breaking point by the accelerated pace of technological change and diverse factors of globalisation. Whether it be changes in retail habits powered by the internet, the outsourcing of job functions to far flung jurisdictions, or the impact that automation is having on employment levels, it is clear that Bermuda is in the midst of an economic transition.

After almost a decade of austerity and cuts to budgets both within the public and private sectors, our economic confidence is mixed at best, but it is this Government’s responsibility to transform this economy with a continued, targeted effort at creating economic growth and diversifying Bermuda’s economy. As part of that effort, this Government is determined to provide the leadership required to promote the economic growth desired by the Bermudians who entrusted us with their vote. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to advise this Honourable House that in line with our 2017 Election Manifesto commitment which said:

“Your next PLP Government will grow our economy by: Creating an Economic Diversification Unit to create new economic pillars in Bermuda. This unit will identify new opportunities for economic diversification and subject them to structured analysis and research. Once areas have been identified and agreed upon, the unit will seek local and overseas investment to develop new local industry, which will create jobs in Bermuda.”

The Cabinet has approved the creation of a new department that will be called the Economic Development Department.

Mr Speaker, the creation of new economic pillars in Bermuda requires not only Foreign Direct Investment [FDI], business development, design of new products and services and an encouraging regulatory framework, but also the availability of suitable inputs such as qualified labour and upgraded infrastructure. The way these and other elements work together is also critical for sustained economic growth for Bermuda.

Mr Speaker, I requested Management Consulting Services [MCS] to conduct an assessment of the suitability of our existing organisational structure to meet this Government’s aims to grow and diversify our economy. The desired outcome of this assessment was an entity with the technical expertise to develop specific industries and promote Bermuda as an attractive location in which to do business. It would also identify new opportunities and develop strategies for economic diversification, growth and sustainability.

Mr Speaker, driven by the recommendations emanating from the MCS review, this new department is being created by the fusion of three [3] existing entities that are currently under the remit of the Cabinet Office. They are: the Department of ICT Policy and Innovation; the Business Development Unit and the FinTech Business Unit. I hasten to add, Mr Speaker, that the merging of these entities will not result in an increase in the number of posts within the civil service and likewise, it will not result in the loss of jobs for current staff.

Mr Speaker, the mission of this new department is:

To advance the sustainable growth, development and diversification of Bermuda’s economy.

The objectives of this new department are to:

  • 1. Maintain an Economic Development and Diversification Strategy for Bermuda;
  • 2. Create and facilitate policies and implement plans that support the economic development and diversification goals;
  • 3. Analyse innovative developments and trends through research and stakeholder engagement;
  • 4. Position Bermuda as an ideal test-market for innovative product and industry development;
  • 5. Develop a clear education and training plan to drive innovation through foundational learning, fostering entrepreneurship, up- skilling Bermudians and enabling broad access to knowledge;
  • 6. Identify legislative and policy solutions that provide industry confidence;
  • 7. Coordinate the work of external agencies such as the Bermuda Business Development Corporation and the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation; and
  • 8. Provide a concierge service for new companies that are setting up operations in Bermuda.

Mr Speaker, this new Economic Development Department will concentrate our energy, resources and expertise in order to stimulate, grow and diversify our economy. It will capitalize on that which we are already doing well, with the existing departments and units, while keeping pace with new economic trends that can assist with the sustainable growth of our economy.

Mr Speaker, an enormous amount of time and effort has gone into this process. Having made significant progress thus far, we anticipate that this department will be fully operational within the coming months. It is interesting to note, that though Bermuda has had ministers responsible for economic development, there has never been a single department in the Government responsible for coordinating economic development activity. Sadly, this has led to duplicated efforts, companies being lost to other jurisdictions, and activities being advanced without the necessary foundation to ensure success.

Mr. Speaker, this department will not fix all of the woes in our economy, but it is a signal that this government is serious about modernising our structures and institutions so that we can better deliver for the people of Bermuda. The Department will not be starting from scratch, and will have the benefit of the latest Bermuda First report which was commissioned by this Government and the Cornell-Queens report, commissioned by the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce.

Additionally, it will build on the economic progress we’ve seen to date with Bermuda being recognised as a jurisdiction that is friendly to technology companies and a centre of innovation.

Mr Speaker, economies around the world are grappling with impact of technology. Almost daily we read of retail failures in countries with larger economies and populations in the millions. What retail and other industries are learning is that the business models of the past must be changed in order to survive in a space dominated by online retailers.

Yes, Mr. Speaker, we do have an issue in Bermuda around economic activity and growth that is not at the pace we desire. But any strategy that implores the Government or the people of Bermuda to defy international and technological trends to preserve a business model more akin to 1980 than 2020 may satisfy us in the short term, but it is unsustainable in the long term.

This Government is keenly aware of the challenging economic circumstances in our country and the impact on the lives of hardworking Bermudian families. The creation of this new department is one step we are taking to better serve the interests of the people and coordinate the delivery of this all-important work to achieve an economy that is sustainable and working to the benefit of all. I am confident that this move to create this new department will not only reap economic rewards for all of Bermuda, but also will assist in developing a sustainable economy that will benefit future generations of Bermudians.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker

Read More About

Category: All, Business, News, Politics

Comments (19)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. sandgrownan says:

    More window dressing from the empty suit Premier.

    … “this department will not fix all of the woes in our economy, but it is a signal that this government is serious about modernising our structures and institutions so that we can better deliver for the people of Bermuda. ”

    No it won’t. We know that, you know that.

    The “..challenging economic circumstances in our country..” are entirely the PLP’s fault.

    • Whitesand says:

      You have the nerve to talk with Jet Gate Craig leading the UBPoba. Lolololol What do you call that?

      • Hmm? says:

        It feels like you’re really reaching here. Did that happen like 7 years ago? You couldn’t find something a little more recent? I kinda feel like you scraping on this point. Might as well bring up the 40 thieves or the volcano erupting.

        • Things a Gwan says:

          Whitesand and many of his friends Love to bring up so-called Jetgate. Get cake cost us $0. However the conveniently never bring up the fact that Premiere Brown took a flight on globalhue private jet years before and then issued them two contracts for tourism advertising that were worth millions. In fact the second contract was never even put out to tender. Look it up search Dr Brown and globalhue . it’s still out there for those of you that know how to pretend it never happened.

      • sandgrownan says:

        *sigh*

        IF you are going to bring that up you really need to be prepared to discuss the real Jetgate, the one involving Dr. Brown, his buddy, Globalhue and tax payers money. It’s all in the public record how GH over billed Bermuda to the tune of $1.8m on a no-bid contract.

        • Toodle-oo says:

          You aren’t going to get any response to that. I’ve tried dozens of times and they all disappear .
          There’s only two possibilities .
          a) they’re so poorly informed that they haven’t a clue what we’re referring to.
          b) they do in fact know it’s the REAL jetgate but they won’t face it because they’re partisan hacks.

      • John says:

        The OBA is desperate to bring this guy in to lead them. Actually it’s not funny but sad. They need a better candidate before the next election.

        • sandgrownan says:

          Ignore the OBA for a minute. How is Premier Burt doing? You know, the empty suit Premier who has presided over two and half years of economic decline. Who looks increasingly like a deer in the headlights.

          20 years of PLP failure and economic mismanagement.

          • Bda voter says:

            Do you think the oba leader will win the next election or is he just there like all the other puppets before him? Why even have a opposition if you place a clown to lead. Dont you have any other candidates or do you think having a black leader is good to help all the black voters to return???

            • Toodle-oo says:

              Don’t you all get tired of reminding us that no matter who it is on the other side you’ll paint them as puppets or something even more derogatory even if they’re capable of fixing Bermuda for everyone ?
              You wouldn’t vote for God if he wasn’t a member of the PLP.

  2. Ringmaster says:

    So this “new” department is merely the amalgamation of 3 existing departments, and no new hires so we’re told. Why would 3 departments that so far have failed to produce any positive results suddenly become productive? The Premier is clearly in panic mode as his Fintech push has not worked and this is a means of hiding it and looking as if something positive is being created.

    No plans, no ideas, just grasping at straws.

    • trufth says:

      Agree. I read this as “we no longer need a dedicated FinTech Business Unit.” If that isn’t a clear indication of the death of FinTech for Bermuda, I don’t know what is.

  3. Joe Bloggs says:

    This will stimulate the economy about as much as shuffling the deck chaurs on the Titanic saved lives.

    What we need is real change, not promises and platitudes.

    We need to lower the cost of doing business in Bermuda in order to attract new businesses (both local and international). We need to make it more attractive for people to remain in Bermuda (both Bermudians and ex pats). And we need to stop pandering to the few at the expense of the many.

  4. Acegurl says:

    When in doubt, form a committee or a department or a committee and a department and be sure to pay them lots of $$$$$$$.

  5. Unbelievable says:

    Oh yes…..FinTech…..that saviour of Bermuda’s economic woes. If the PLP really wanted to lift Bermuda up, it could do it. There is no opposition to speak of and so they instead worry about renaming public holidays which the majority of people couldn’t even tell you which two days are what. They might as well as just call it Rum Swizzle Day and no one would remember.

    But they won’t lift up Bermuda because they adhere to some outdated political model (1998?) which further means they are scared of their base which holds a metaphorical gun to their collective heads.

    Meanwhile another long time business on Reid Street closed down today. But no….nothing to see here.

  6. MB says:

    Hmmm we’re going to stimulate the economy by creating another govt department
    Let’s see how that works out…

  7. Gustav says:

    another high Paid commision in charge
    will it Change anything – yes , the income of the members

Leave a Reply