BTA CEO: Potential Investors Express Concern

February 6, 2014

William Bill Hanbury Bermuda Tourism Authority CEO Generic (1)Saying he does not wish to take sides in the recent labour dispute, Bermuda Tourism Authority CEO Bill Hanbury urged all those concerned to “think of the big picture,” saying they have already had “emails from potential investors expressing concern.”

After the Fairmont Hamilton Princess laid off 10 workers, five of whom were BIU members, a labour dispute erupted which resulted in a temporary shutdown of the island’s public transportation system.

Mr. Hanbury said, “We are very pleased to hear that The Fairmont Hamilton Princess and the Bermuda Industrial Union have come to an agreement this morning.

“I recognize that the Bermuda Tourism Authority [BTA] is a new entity and I am also new to the island. It would thus be wrong for me, or the BTA, to take a position in the recent labour dispute.

“Our role is not to interfere, in any way, concerning labour and management issues. However, our role is most definitively to act as a voice for tourism. Our purpose is to reverse the almost 30 years of decline in tourism, to bring new investment, new experiences and most importantly new jobs to the people of Bermuda.

“Any time that we have disruption to our services and, more importantly, any time that such disruption attracts the attention of the media, it is bad news for tourism. Stability is the watchword of tourism.

“Tourists do not want to visit any destination where there is instability. And investors do not want to put their money into projects that are in a destination that shows any instability.

“In the last few days, Bermuda’s labour unrest has been seen in the world’s media. We have already had emails from potential investors expressing concern,” added Mr. Hanbury.

A video news report about the dispute from the Barbados media, who obtained footage of the march:

“Thousands of potential visitors have been considering where to go on holiday over the next few months and have been viewing competitive destinations to make their choice. Certainly a destination with major disruption is not a place that prospective tourists will choose for their holidays.

“I want to reiterate that I do not wish to take sides in the recent dispute. I must, however, urge all those concerned to continuously think of the big picture, to understand the real and significant impact that negative headlines can have internationally.

“Our Island needs all the help it can get. For months the BTA Chairman has been saying all of Bermuda needs to be part of the tourism team.

“These negative headlines around the world are not a testament of a unified tourism team. We need unification and cooperation if we are going to have the beginning of a much needed recovery of Bermuda’s tourism economy.”

You can view all our coverage of the labour dispute here.

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Comments (74)

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  1. watching says:

    This whole release that professes not to take sides is exactly doing that. It is written with a slant that says investors are concerned with the labour situation. No one wants an unstable place. But the hotel management has their part to play in this as well as the workers. The workers were not out for no good reason and the management had ample opportunity to sort things out.

    • O'Brien says:

      That’s true – and by all accounts the management of the hotel fell short of their obligations. But note that ‘the labour situation’ does not refer just to the BIU, it encompasses both sides of the relationship (management and union).

      Also, while the management may deserve most of the blame here, the BIU was not without fault in my opinion. Specifically, there was no reason for the bus/ferry staff to become involved at such an early stage. First, because this was a ‘secondary action’ which is outlawed by the Labour Relations Act (not, admittedly, a law that is very strictly enforced). But more to the point: if the BIU’s intent was to bring management to their senses and to honour the CBA, what better way to do that then have hotel staff walk out? Why compound that situation by calling off public transport? How does that help the situation?

    • DarkSideofTheMoon says:

      This is exactly what I was going to post!!! Not taking sides my backside…

    • Smitty says:

      i disagree. Sure Fairmont could have handled the layoffs better than they did, there’s no denying that. But the rest of the union, specifically where it comes down to the other hotel workers who were not laid off as well as the public transportation industry didnt necessarily need to take off as it did not involve them directly. I saw a few tourists at a bus stop earlier today and was worried that they may have been there waiting for quite a while. No matter who you say is to blame, I think multiple parties dropped the ball on this one and it does not leave a good impression on the tourists who get caught in the middle of it due to lack of service

  2. js says:

    welcome to the real world

  3. Joonya says:

    You’ll be talking to a (Bermuda) stone wall Bill.
    Selfish people are usually incapable of “thinking of the big picture”.
    Like someone said earlier, they wont be happy until there are no visitors with no hotels and nobody has a job!

  4. Vote for Me says:

    Welcome to Bermuda Mr. Hanbury.

    Your statement could have easily been:

    ” I am not taking sides but Management and Labour need to make every effort to avoid unrest in the Tourism industry. Investors have already emailed me to express concern about perceived instability in the industry.”

    It would be interesting to know how many people urged the Hotel to be more practical given the precarious state of the economy.

  5. Alvin Williams says:

    You want a peaceful country than you are going to have to create an environment where social peace can reign.
    This is the bubble that has burst and I don’t know why people are surprised?
    Many Bermudians have gotten the feeling that a move is afoot that is attempting to create a Bermuda without the Bermudian.
    You are pushing Bermudians up against the wall and you should not be surprise that calls that we should all stand together ring hollow in the ears of many. With your social;economic and political policies you are creating the conditions where many are going to say we have nothing to lose and the Samson option is the only way out.

    • Joonya says:

      What are you talking about Alvin?? I am Bermudian and I dont feel pushed up against the wall. If people dont start seeing the big picture, like Bill suggested, then indutry will not grow, it may even leave all together, THEN I will feel pushed against a wall!
      Get it through your skull people. Bulding a hotel, building a casino, incorporating a reinsurance company, etc all moves to create entities so that Bermudians CAN BE PART OF BERMUDA by creating employment opportunities. Why is that so d*mn hard to understand guys?!?!?!?
      Makes my friggin head hurt. Please think about it and lets move on for Christs sake!

      • Mike Hind says:

        In case you haven’t clued in, when Mr. Williams says “Bermudian”, it’s code for something else.

  6. Loquatz says:

    Arbitration had started: the labour moves of yesterday and today were not necessary.

  7. Concerned Citizen says:

    How much you getting paid by the taxpayer?

  8. Bermy Bud says:

    Dear future investors i have a bartender certificate and mixologist degree! I dont not need a bar porter cuz i am full capable of getting my own ice and cutting my own lemons and fruits i will even go out of my way to give the drinks to costumers and even socialize and make sure everything is ok! And to make things even better i will not become part of the BIU cuz they have a habit of “bitting the hand that feeds them” (since 1981)! Thanks very much unemployed bartender!

    • SERZ TALK says:

      if this is a sales pitch of your skills, i highly suggest you take the word “Bud” out of your name. Sure, smoke pot at home but dont go out of your way to give yourself that name.

  9. Family Man says:

    Investors now see that any potential hotel investment in Bermuda is going to be so over-staffed with redundant labour that its going to look and function like the Bermuda Post Office.

  10. Jus' Askin' says:

    Unless you are going to say what your salary is Bill, we really don’t want to hear from You ;-)
    “I do not wish to take sides in the recent dispute…” real OBA answer.
    This is the second time you have had to speak up, first being your salary, and gain the support of the people. Right is Right and Wrong is Wrong.

    • Vulpes says:

      It might be illuminating if the salaries of a few senior public servants were matters of record. For example, there is a rumour circulating the the head of the BMA is earning $750,000.00 a year. Now I for one do not believe this but several significant investors and potential investors in Bermuda I know do. It would be most beneficial for the entire community to know that their taxes and fees are being spent prudently, rather than, for instance, by paying Bermuda’s Senior Financial Regulator more than the Governor of The Bank of England earns. Perhaps Bernews might undertake this investigation to put our minds at ease.

      • Family Man says:

        I’d like to know how much the Furberts make from the BIU, including benefits. Members should have the right to know. It’s their weekly contributions that pay those salaries.

      • Jus' Askin' says:

        Dry Snitching ;-)

      • Lois Frederick says:

        The BMA is self funded. BMA salaries do not come from Government. The BMA is an exception to all the other quangos in that regard.

        • Vulpes says:

          But they do come from fees (rather high ones, another word for tax) on IB and it is nonetheless “our” money.

    • Sandgrownan says:

      Why is that relevant?

  11. don't believe the hype says:

    If you don’t want a fight Treat Bermudians right.

  12. Tony Brannon says:

    Bill Hanbury is totally right to point out that potential investors have expressed concern.

    May I propose that the BTA / BHA & BIU have a weekend retreat to collectively discuss the future of Bermuda Tourism. Bermuda needs all hands on deck. Business and Labour must be united in the future.

    The past need not be discussed again because any right thinking individual can see that we simply must change how we operate, cooperate and TRUST each other.

    May Bermuda rise to great heights TOGETHER !

    • swing voter says:

      TB even you had enough sense to be diplomatic when handling issues at Club 40. HP were idiotic for pushing Furbert and his membership, knowing the mindset of that organization. HP figged up big time.

    • Johnny says:

      As per OBA policy, he did not sy whaaaat those concerns are.

  13. George says:

    @Watching, it is the way that this whole issue was dealt with which I am certain caused and will continue to cause expressions of concern from potential investors and many in the local community! Lets be honest – if less inflammatory language/actions were used/taken and calmer heads prevailed from the beginning then the media would not have jumped all over this story and it would not have escalated the way it did! Whether you like him or not kudos to Minister Fahy for keeping a cool head and encouraging the parties to come back to the table to come to a resolution. Again I put the blame for escalating the tension between the parties squarely at the feet of the BIU! Regardless of what went on behind closed doors with Hamilton Princess and how upset they were the BIU did a very poor job of encouraging a level headed public approach to the situation. Chris Furbert’s bull dog manner, tone and language did nothing to diffuse an already tense situation, quite the contrary it exacerbated it. He comes across as always fixing for a fight and that in itself will never sit well with any potential investor/management team, or many other in this community who the BIU are trying to convince they are on the right side of justice. And no, Union leaders do not have to adopt this manner of leadership to rally support or to make their opinions heard and make sure their members rights are secure, so lets not be myopic!There have been many a strong and successful leader throughout history who’s success has been measured by their ability to achieve their goals by consensus!

  14. James Rego says:

    If you were a potential tourist looking and planning your next vacation or an investor looking to put money into building a new hotel thus growing your investment and you happened to witnessed what took place yesterday, would you have a positive reaction?

    • mixitup says:

      tourist flocked to the Bahamas with their 115 murders last year, investors as well, who are building Bahamar have pumped over a billion there. And a labour dispute will scare umm? Or maybe Ive missed something?

      • Awakened2 says:

        Exactly! How many people got killed in Jamaica last year? Their tourism industry has grown hand-over-fist since 2009 (one of their highest rates of murder years ever) PLEASE, scare tactics are just that tactics. Sit down with your old games BTA CEO. That handbook that you were given as part of your intro to Bermuda, “How To Treat Bermudians Badly and Get Stellar Results”, is outdated!!! Next!!!

        • 1minute says:

          Both those places have all inclusive resorts so the tourist don’t have to mingle with the locals.

        • James Rego says:

          I am sure you can make an argument for Russia and Iraq tourism growing also. It’s just not the same!

      • Sandgrownan says:

        That’s because there’s no race obsessed Bermudians there……makes anywhere else instantly more attractive as a destination.

  15. James Rego says:

    Both sides were wrong and it should never have come to this!

  16. Ess Ess Dee says:

    Bill I am hardly concerned with or interested in your opinion, Mr Johnny come lately! Before you speak to the people of Bermuda concerning our affairs, kindly advise the public how much we are paying you! You have already demonstrated that you are shady, I guess it’s part of that white privilege….. Pls stay in your lane mate!

  17. more than enough says:

    now its ‘if we are a unified tourism team’?
    because the bta chairman has been telling us for months, while slicing off a healthy ‘compensation package’ for himself, that all of bermuda needs to be a part of the tourism team?
    now we need unification and cooperation if we are to have the beginning of the recovery of our tourism economy?
    what the hell are we paying you people for?(3 to 4 times than most of us could even dream about making, i might add).
    where is the shared sacrifice?
    sounds like bill already doubts his earlier statement claiming that he and the bta execs could fix tourism in six months…
    if he fails it will be team tourism’s fault, i suppose(that’s us). or god forbid, our very own ‘mr tourism’ gets the blame, after bill is gone back home to enjoy the benefits of his tenure in bermuda.
    i ain’t taking sides…just look at the big picture.

  18. joe blo says:

    How bout if the general manager at Princess would have done the right thing from the beginig? Just asking?

  19. Walter Burgess says:

    OBA/Bda Business 0 – BIU 1

    • Bermail says:

      Pretty sure the OBA had nothing to with this strike and in fact the Minister worked fast to assist in a quick remediation and noted his dissatisfaction of the no notice that the hotel gave.

      But I understand that anything white or business related will immediately turn into a typical stereotype and linked to this government. The hatred is deep.

      So sad, but yet so predictable.

      • more than enough says:

        he had no choice, because the workers worked faster…

        • Sandgrownan says:

          Well there’s a first time for everything I guess…

    • When ... says:


      According to Wikipedia, Jeremy Cox’ predecessor (Matthew Elderfield) was making $730,000 a year – the Wiki article is quoting the Irish Times (that’s a subscription only site so I can’t access the original article).

      • Lois Frederick says:

        The BMA is self funded. BMA salaries do not come from Government. The BMA is an exception to all the other quangos in that regard.

        He was actually worth it. He helped transform the BMA into a well run organisation. He was a true leader who really knew how to implement his strategies. The best of the best are paid that kind of money. We can all be green with envy but we haven’t got his skill set.

  20. swing voter says:

    Employers that have a union shop should know by know the volatile nature of the BIU leadership and their membership…HP where stupid to push Furbert knowing the end result would be anarchy…HP = idiots

  21. Bermail says:

    Mr. Hanbury is correct that we need to avoid such instances to ensure that our once prosperous tourism industry starts to grow again.

    But unfortunately despite your very impressive resume and accomplishments there are some factors of Bermuda that cannot be fixed by marketing gimmicks.

    I truly wish you and your team all the best, but I have my serious doubts about what can be achieved in this atmosphere.

    Good luck either way sir!

  22. Tip of the iceberg says:

    Hey Hanbury,

    We dun eeen wanne her dat. You will not be permitted to spin that crap about potential investors having concern around here. If this is the case, tell the people of Bermuda who the potential investors are and exactly what the investor’s concerns are. Other wise shut up!

    The people of Bermuda have lived that game for far too long and it doesn’t amuse. It is rather annoying, hence the public demonstration.

    One of your first attempts to address the people of Bermuda and you want to try this? How about the least you can do is have your employer publish your salary. How about you start off on the proper foot with the people of Bermuda? You are not here at the behest of the people of Bermuda (understand that). You are here to do someone else’s bidding and we the people are forced to accommodate you and foot your bill. Don’t you dare attempt to place any blame on the People who turn to day in and day out, who struggle to make their ends meet while you stand there and pretend not to take sides. The people of Bermuda know what you are about and that your pockets are well lined. The least you can do is recognize that you owe your allegiance to the people who pay that hefty salary of yours and demonstrate your gratitude with respect and objectivity, not partisan attitudes subliminal threats.

  23. Jus' Askin' says:

    How will the BTA generate revenue once it is privatized?

    • Bermail says:

      I believe that New BTA members (i.e. Hotels and other tourism related businesses) will provide financing.

      • Jus' Askin' says:

        So money that should be going to the people of Bermuda will be paying them?
        We finance the start up of this, then we are left in the cold, while a select few reap the benefits?
        WAKE UP BERMUDA!!!!!
        This BTA is not in the best interest of all. They have started off keeping secrets and stacking the deck.
        OBA is going to privatize as much as they can and leave middle and lower income Bermudians out in the cold.

        • Bermail says:

          Little hyperbolic don’t you think?

          Not too sure about what you mean about money that should be going to Bermudians. These are funds generated by the tourism businesses and will be used to fund the BTA to market Bermuda and her attractions. These properties and businesses are still required to pay all applicable and taxes to the Government that they do now.

          For me I am happy that tourism is out of politicians hands and no longer can be used as a political football. These BTA employees livelihoods and jobs depend on success and they can easily be held accountable for failures. Unlike politicians who are elected. I would like to see key performance targets instituted on the BTA employees that they must achieve in order to stay employed like any other private organization.

          But to each their own I say and you have every right to believe that it is part of some nefarious plan. Personally I just want to see the tourism industry rise up in this country once again to provide relief across the board.

        • Mike Hind says:

          You’re on a roll today, just spraying out that misinformation and propaganda, ain’tcha?

          • Jus' Askin' says:

            Who created the BTA?
            Who picked the staff for the BTA?
            Who picked the CEO for the BTA?
            Who is Bill’s boss?
            How much are we paying him?
            I am sorry if I am not a blind follower like others ie you. I ask questions. Had Bill been honest and transparent from the beginning my views would have been different.

  24. more than enough says:

    and i advise the bta try to operate with transparency.
    as a member of team tourism, and as a tax payer, i think it is time for the management of the bta, in the spirit of cooperation, to reveal for review by the membership, ie the people that pay you, the compensation packages, in whole, that you are receiving. just as all public funded entities do.
    if you are educated enough to hold these positions, revealing what you make in return for your knowledge and experience and work should not be a source of shame but a source of pride.
    if this is something you would rather not disclose, then maybe you can find a job that is private and funded by private funds.
    at the moment the bta is wholly publicly funded.
    this being the case it is good business, and best practice to reveal exactly how this money is being spent.

    • Rockfish#1and #2 says:

      Shawn Crockwell was warned that if the compensation packages of the BTA staff were not made public, their jobs would be made more difficult.

      True to form he dismissed it out of hand! Well look what is happening Shawn!

  25. feel the love says:

    Absolutely amazed at the majority of the comments here. The hole that tourism is in right now keeps getting deeper and deeper and based upon the above comments very few care at all. Tourism is on life support and you are working to pull the plug. Be careful what you wish for!

  26. You Islanders says:

    This guy is smart, in his first press conference flanked by Minister Crockwell and Minister (also Chairman) Dodwell he said he could turn around tourism in 6 months

    now he realised that the passive Islanders might actually be at breaking point leading to this labour unrest ad strikes, so now you have to actually work for that large pay check and figure it all out and build relationships with “The Islanders” but you should be ok just talk to them in that “Common Language” that Mrs Bierman mentioned recently in the SAGE hearing

  27. blackbird says:

    If employers didn’t try and take advantage of us this would not happen. Scare tactics don’t work either!

  28. Nuffin but da Truth says:

    Bill Hanbury,

    GO HOME,you don’t know anything about Bermuda or Bermudians.

    • Lois Frederick says:

      Nice warm Bermudian welcome.

      • Nuffin but da Truth says:

        Nice Warm Welcomes are for the few Visitors that still come to Bermuda,

        NOT for people that take jobs that a Bermudian could do without any need for any qualification other than to KNOW His or Her Onions!

        • Vulpes says:

          Sadly, I am aware of more than a few Bermudians who know very little about Bermuda, Bermudians, nor anything else for that matter. Worse, they are not interested in knowing.

  29. LEGD says:

    Please Bermuda just look around, the economy is not growing, our children can’t even play together but we will quickly down tools to try and make a point. Do I think the hotel was wrong “absolutely” but we have to be smarter in our decisions. I support the union wholeheartedly but the pen is mightier then the sword. What are teaching our children, when we are faced with adversity take to the streets. Aren’t they doing that already. It’s time that we sit across from the table and talk. We can always use industrial action as a last resort. Let’s give the country a chance.

    • Tip of the iceberg says:


      We feel your pain, we really do but it is getting a little late for sitting at any table. These people are doing exactly what they were hired to do and it is not to look out for the average man on the street. It is to invest quickly get a return quickly and get out quickly. If it were anything other than that we (Mr. & Mrs. average) would have had more say in the process of creating the BTA. They CUT us out of any participation very skillfully and had the Minister do it. And sadly we did nothing about that at the time. NOW they are attempting to take our vote with COMMERCIAL IMMIGRATION remember those words people. The aim of which is to grant people PERMANENT RESIDENT CERTIFICATES and there after TO GIVE THE HOLDERS OF THOSE PERMANENT RESIDENT CERTIFICATES THE RIGHT TO VOTE…

      So pay close attention people and watch out for the pretty sounding words like “COMMERCIAL IMMIGRATION” and ” ECONOMIC CITIZENSHIP” and “STATUS BY INVESTMENT” etc., etc. All designed to fool you and manipulate your understanding and cause the average man to tune out of the adult conversation. Bottom line it is TRICKERY so be aware Bermuda. Do not be fooled, the only time the MAN makes noise is when you interfere with his MONEY or rather, his INVESTMENT.

      Oh and LEGD,

      Don’t worry, our children can still play together and if we observe them closely they could teach us a thing or two. I couldn’t agree with you more, “The pen is mightier than the sword,” in a big way.


  30. veritas says:

    Bda will be never able to move forward..they got too many high risk ppl…desrptve,hates author,can’t hold any kind of job period

  31. Grand Wizzard says:

    You union people are beyond pathetic.

    $1.5 million TAXPAYING BERMUDIAN dollars wasted every day you lazy people march off the job.

    people lose jobs in this world. GET OVER IT. You lazy bunch of idiots will cause the downfall of our island.


  32. Grand Wizzard says:

    If you lazy people cause the ruin of OUR island due to YOUR stupidity, then YOU will have a severe problem on your hands….and ARMY OF PISSED OFF BERMUDIANS WHO WANT THEIR ISLAND BACK!!!!!

  33. bluebird says:

    Some people will never Apprectate what they have until they “LOOSE IT”

  34. Swordfish says:

    “Wow, now yo really start to see the problem. Someone with a really impressive record in tourism comes to Bermuda and says his job is to create more jobs for all us Bermudians. He then points out that creating a public spectacle over a labour dispute is totally contrary to us improving tourism and he is attacked for saying so. Once again, we Bermudians attach the messenger and even say because he is not Bermudian he has not right to speak. THAT IS OUR PROBLEM, we won’t listen to reason. Our tourism is a mess because, at least in part, we Bermudians have made it a mess. Let’s give this guy a chance and listen to the message he is delivering. We have to do things differently guys and now is the time to start.
    So welcome Bill Hanbury, understand that the vast majority of us Bermudians welcome you here and really want you to be successful.

  35. Sparrow says:

    @ Bluebird. Sadly, too many people on the island already feel that they have nothing to “LOSE”. This little island…the SS Bermuda is going down…destination: bottom of the Atlantic, and laughing stock of the world. Congratulations PLP.

  36. more than enough says:

    how much you making bill?

  37. Concerned Citizen says:

    Crockwell is on that pay to play tip right now. Do you see it?