Senator Diallo Rabain On Bermuda’s Marine EEZ

November 1, 2013

[Written by Senator Diallo Rabain] As the Official Opposition, it is incumbent that we continue to support the government’s good ideas, oppose when needed and lead where required. We believe that because of this commitment, the question asked often is “Where are the PLP’s ideas or suggestions?

The PLP is keen to provide viable options to jump-start the economy and produce long term benefits for all Bermudians and not just a select few. We have been consistently calling to examine the potential benefits of ways to diversify our economy. A key proposal, involves the careful exploration of Bermuda’s EEZ as a potential means to bring new industries and revenues to our shores.

Reality Check

Our economy is currently built around two distinct pillars – International Business & Tourism both of which have experienced a downturn in recent years. Multiple factors have contributed to this down-turn:

  • The Global Recession
  • Changing international tax laws,
  • Increased global competition
  • Cost of doing business in Bermuda

Both Tourism and IB are considered mature industries which mean earnings and sales growth have slowed.

PLP Vision

“Bermudians must be put to work swiftly. To get Bermudians working again we propose the development of a Blue Economy, inclusive of Sea-Bed mining, Aquaculture, and Off-Shore Fishing. This will lead to the creation of new job opportunities, the diversification of our economy, and the creation of new revenue streams.” Opposition Leader Marc Bean – Response to the Throne Speech Feb 15th, 2013

OBA’s views on diversification

“We have to try and broaden the industries we already have. In international business, for instance, we’re really big in reinsurance and insurance, we’re not as big in the asset management side, which is something dear to my heart.” Finance Minister Richards – Bernews Feb 27th, 2013

Leading rating agency views

This summer, Fitch downgraded Bermuda’s ratings & amended the outlook to negative from stable. One of reason for this downgrade was detailed as, “Bermuda’s lack of economic diversification and excessive reliance on mature industries is limiting its growth prospects.” RG – August 7th 2013

Prior to December 17th 2012, Min. Bob Richards utilized the Fitch ratings as a platform to attack the PLP . Why does he now seem content to ignore what these agencies are saying now?

Words of the wise?

“Surely this Government understands finance, and the seriousness of Bermuda’s economic situation: the OBA would not voluntarily throw away, for free, the country’s assets…I am afraid it is true.” Mr. David J. Saul, Ph.D., Former Premier and Minister of Finance of Bermuda – RG Oct 2nd, 2013

“Let me commend Dr Saul for his depth of knowledge and understanding of the practical realities of Bermuda faces, and what other jurisdictions might or might not do in order to safeguard their existence.I hope that the Government will take a second look.” Sir John Swan – RG October 4th, 2013

“Timing is everything as they say, but if we are seen to be anti-mining, this opportunity will pass us by… I can’t for the life of me understand why anyone would want to deny Bermuda the opportunity to find out.” Nick Hutchings – Bernews Oct 21st, 2013

Penny wise, Pound foolish?

The PLP has consistently spoken to the need to diversify the economy, suggesting on numerous occasions that we take a serious look at the Blue Economy as one of these possible avenues. Interestingly, many critics scoffed at the idea as “Pie in the sky.”

Now we are seeing other well respected persons speaking in support of this initiative. The silence from the critics speaks loudly. Why does it seem that the OBA are dragging their feet when it comes to exploring this viable option of diversification of our economy, creation of private sector jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities?

Are they only interested in International company registrations which produce no local jobs?

As Opposition we cannot implement this program. However, we are deeply committed to looking out for all Bermudians. So we continue to press on with the need to utilize every resource to do so. We implore the OBA and their followers to cast aside partisan pride and follow through with the exploration of developing a Blue Economy.

- Senator Diallo Rabain

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Comments (21)

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  1. Al says:

    There’s a big difference between the way the PLP was (and is) trying to hype undersea mining and the “Blue Economy” as an immediate answer to the recession and people acknowledging that we should stay open to the possibility of long-term benefits in future decades.

  2. quick! says:

    QUICK! APPROVE THE EEZ! As soon as the PLP get back in, they’ll rape the ocean, just like they raped Bermuda!

    Off-shore fishing and sea bed mining…why not fish farms or something that may be environmentally friendly and produce revenue.

    Sure we need to stimulate the economy, but you don’t sell your soul while doing it.

    Also, Mr. Robain, may I state that your response resembles something a C- high school student would write, at best. The title has nothing to do with the content, half of it is quotes from other people.

  3. Hmmm says:

    PLP could have pursued this Blue Economy…They did nothing…. Show us the real tax revenues that we the people would benefit from ?

    It’s prospecting at high cost

    PLP had lots of lovely ideas and pretty announced planning to plan a plan that promised so much plan wise… but their Actions delivered an increasing negative outflow of money from Bermuda. They talked and it is said Talk is CHEAP … but in their case it wasn’t cheap it cost us Billions !!!!!!

  4. Bermyman says:

    “Bermudians must be put to work swiftly. To get Bermudians working again we propose the development of a Blue Economy, inclusive of Sea-Bed mining, Aquaculture, and Off-Shore Fishing.”

    Do these people have any idea how long it would take to set-up a sea-bed mining operation? The logistics involved in shipping minerals, capital outlays and also the infrastructure that would need to be built. Your talking 5 + years minimum. Mining conglomerates can do the same thing in cheaper and more accessible jurisdictions where they can pay locals minimum wage.

    The main economic focus right now should be to decrease costs, increase revenues through foreign currency and stimulate the property market so that banks can start lending again. That is the most sensible short term economic solution.

    Heck, we cannot even implement a sustainable national energy plan, let alone Sea mining. Not one promise or policy proposed by the PLP’s Energy white paper was implemented and we sit here in 2013 with high energy costs. Robain was in charge of that and believe me if you read the document, the proverbial ‘Pie in the Sky’ is the best way to describe it. The PLP are all talk without thinking about what is actually implementable and achievable. The biggest economic issue is that Bermuda will be bankrupt in 5 years thanks to unsustainable debt levels.

    • Antione Dodson says:

      It is not accurate to say not one promise from the white paper was enacted. There were quite a few things that were put into place.

      Also Rabain was never a Cabinet Minister so he was never in charge of anything.

      • Bermyman says:

        My mistake you are correct Rabain was not in charge. If you can enlighten us how there have been any major policies that have been implemented in the last 2 years and how they have benefitted our current energy situation.

      • JD says:

        Care to enlighten the rest of us on the substance of these “few things” you speak of.

  5. Hmmm says:

    When will the PLP get out of election campaign mode….. they are a joke.. it’s all about the power to them. Selfish Selfish me myself and I

  6. Watchdog says:

    The PLP now have all the ideas.
    The PLP ruined Bermuda for future generations.Now they have all the answers,give us a break!

  7. SideLiner says:

    Dr Saul AND Sir John Swan are also stating that they support the PLP’s call for diversification and specifically for the exploration of the potential of creating a 3rd pillar in our economy through sea-bed mining

    International rating agencies are ALSO calling for us to diversify

    If readers removed their political blinders for a minute perhaps they can see that this is a non-political issue. No new industry will pop up over night and therefore we should START the process of seeking alternative revenue sources sooner rather then later.

    • Hmmm says:

      We have no money, we want to know what the return to Bermuda will be. Seabed mining will return how much to Bermuda and WHEN ?

      We are not getting answers.

      OBA are activiely seeking opportunities…if you read the press you’d know.

      • Hmmm says:

        Oh and….why didn’t the PLP do it??????????????????????? Had plenty of opportunity.

  8. Nice one says:

    Imagine a holiday in the Blue Halo!
    Imagine a holiday in the Golden Rianforest!
    Imagine Bermuda being a Mrine Haven rather than a Tax Haven!
    Imagine legally fishing in the middle of a fish sanctuary?
    Imagine Bermudians (us) being an example to the rest of the world!

    Imagine Diallo Robain commissioning another 5 year report on Nick Hutchings finding gold at the end of the rainbow!

  9. CommonSensenBda says:

    The PLP are correct. We do need diversity. Unfortunately, diversification always requires “seed money”. Thanks to the PLP we have been leveraged to the hilt with barely enough funds to pay for the bloated Civil Service, a fact that Marc Bean finally acknowledged in his speech to 300 of the most “faithful” last weekend.

    Therefore, the OBA are currently limited in the scope of what avenues can be pursued. The most logical course it to secure the two more solid pillars of the Island first, then find new revenue streams second. I’m pretty sure that may take longer than 11 months.

    I find it interesting that Senator Diallo Rabain “appears” so concerned about the unemployed Bermudians who became that way under the PLP’s time in office….interesting that I can’t recall any comments or concerns about even ATTEMPTING to get those individuals employed.

    Now the propaganda arm of the PLP in the form of a certain Hott personality is already trying to convince the public that the OBA’s election pledge of getting more people employed was a fear tactic according to some in her “family” alleging it was a diabolical plan to foist a form of social slavery to “appease” the dumb, poor and downtrodden with jobs to lure them to vote for a political party that(in their opinion)has no love or interest in Bermudians.

    • Ya got me Rollin says:

      Where are the jobs? Is someone falsifying facts here? Where are the jobs??????

    • I also agree and thank you once again, “CommonSensenBda.” for “telling it like it is”
      Whatever may lay below the oceans bed will still remain there until the appropriate time comes when Bermuda can have all the proverbial, “ducks” lined up and those willing to invest their money in exploring the oceans bottom…

  10. Alvin Williams says:

    I wonder when Bermuda will learn from it’s history? When our maritime economy collapse we were pretty much caught on the hop; although it was a slow process took just under a 100 years. I don’t think Bermuda will gain anything economically from this blue Halo myth. We are not Australia with it’s barrier reef which can be seen from space. We have a great expanse of water which may hold wealth under it’s sea bed and in that regard we must examine that prospect. A example to the world? the reality is this is a resource hungry world and if anything is found in our EEC the nations of the world will beat a path to our door with the potential of creating a third economic leg which will yield an economic prospect that will even out shine tourism and international business.

  11. Small fry says:

    A tiny isolated atoll surrounded by some of the deepest water in the Atlantic Ocean prone to summer hurricane strikes and very powerful winter storms seems like the perfect place for deep ocean mining and fish farming according to Dr. Saul and the PLP. Try asking some of our Bermuda based international insurance/reinsurance underwriters how much the annual insurance premiums would be for these sort of enterprises. Suspect that most of them would not even touch. A few might, but I bet the premium quote would be staggering.
    Also Dr. Saul compares Bermuda to the Cook Islands. Has anybody looked up how poor they are and how easy it would for international mining companies to exploit them? Also what is happening in Papua New Guinea where they are proposing to mine in 1,500 ft?

  12. Triangle Drifter says:

    Verbal pablum. Political grandstanding to attempt to fool the easily fooled. Is anything better expected of the PLP?

  13. Answers says:

    Where did the money go,in the last 14 yrs?

  14. GOD1ST says:

    Do away with the party politics.