‘Bermuda’s Laws Are Outside The BTA’s Remit’

December 13, 2017

[Updated] “The Bermuda Tourism Authority is a non-political entity and decisions about Bermuda’s policies and laws are outside the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s remit and are the responsibility of Parliament,” Bermuda Tourism Authority Board said.

This follows after BTA CEO Kevin Dallas wrote to Senators to express concern about the Domestic Partnerships Bill saying, “We believe the Bill poses an unnecessary threat to the success of our tourism industry. We urge you to vote no.”

“The yet-to-be-written headlines associated with a yes vote in the Senate could be damaging enough to derail the seven consecutive quarters of growth the Bermuda tourism industry has enjoyed dating back to January 2016,” Mr Dallas said.

“We should send a message that Bermuda continually and permanently lives up to its well-earned reputation as a warm, friendly and welcoming destination. A no vote on the Domestic Partnerships Bill will make that message crystal clear to the world.”

The statement from the Bermuda Tourism Authority Board said, “The Bermuda Tourism Authority is focused on driving the success of tourism in Bermuda, by making our island an appealing destination, and marketing it to potential visitors.

“We strive to provide useful information to support any tourism-related debate in Bermuda, including the Domestic Partnership Bill. As an organisation we respect all views and opinions on this matter, and remain focused on our primary objective; bringing more visitors to Bermuda.

“To be clear, however, the Bermuda Tourism Authority is a non-political entity and decisions about Bermuda’s policies and laws are outside the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s remit and are the responsibility of Parliament.

“We have full trust in Bermuda’s elected and appointed officials to effectively carry out the democratic process on behalf of Bermuda’s citizens.”

These two rather contrasting statements from the BTA CEO and BTA Board come as the Domestic Partnerships Act — which aims to replace same-sex marriage with a domestic partnership which can be entered into by both same-sex and heterosexual couples — is to be debated in the Senate after passing in the House.

Update 4.55pm: Minister of Economic Development and Tourism Jamahl Simmons stated, “I take note of the statement on the Domestic Partnership Bill by Kevin Dallas, CEO of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, as well as his lobbying efforts throughout the community.

“I have been informed that this statement and accompanying lobbying efforts were done without the knowledge, or the consent of the BTA Chair Mr. Paul Telford or the Board.

“While ultimately Mr. Dallas’ actions are a matter for the Board and the Chair, I have, on behalf of the Cabinet communicated my disappointment with Mr. Dallas’ unauthorized statement and will support the Board in whatever action they wish to undertake to ensure the established processes and procedures surrounding public statements are respected.”

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Comments (33)

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  1. Wassup says:

    Cannot work this out – is this a slap down for Dallas?

    • PBanks says:

      I think so – it may be a light one, but firm nonetheless. Remains to be seen if Govt takes affront.

  2. Joe Bloggs says:

    How dare someone who is paid from the public purse (even if only by way of loan) speak out and contradict the Government! That person should be removed from office!

    • jt says:

      Hmmm. What about all those protests? How many of those people were paid from the public purse? How many were fired?

      • Double S says:

        That would’ve been racist and dictatorial on the OBA’s part.

        It is righteous and morally acceptable under a PLP government.

    • Double S says:

      Thou shall not criticise the PLP.

  3. Disappointment says:

    The topic of same sex marriage seems to evoke both positive and negative responses and support. Kevin Dallas is entitled to make his views known and the BTA are equally entitled to make theirs.

    It is clear to me that the government elect is making a raft of changes of late and the lasting impact of these will only become known over time. However, it is my belief that any changes to the Human rights act or scope by any government should be taken carefully and only after the ramifications of the changes are fully known. Unfortunately the government elect is making changes based on election promises and party lines. To remove, recind and roll back rights is really a poor move designed to appease only those who stand against change and equality.

    Today the Senate will likely rubber stamp this too. It is a sad day for Bermuda. This is however only my opinion and does not warrant any hate responses. I have honestly seen enough to say that I have heard what you are saying and it fills me with dread that in 2017 so many people are against change and would happily disallow a minority to enjoy same some dignity. The farther reaching implications will be known in the future but it can never be good to be known for changes that reduce what is already in place.

    • Onion says:

      The impacts are predictable. Tourism will suffer from passing bigoted legislation and placing gambling under political control will open the door to corruption.

  4. Mixitup says:

    Ooops! While I agree with the BTA, that first statement should have never went out. Now they have to back paddle it. I do hope that the Senators make the right decision and reject this bill.

  5. The Kid says:

    uh oh….sorry Kevin you are in deep trouble because here comes Jamahl full bore.. watch, just watch

  6. Eugene says:

    Absolutely correct, to put Mr Dallas back in his lane. He definitely was out of our order to tell the Senators not to vote yes for this bill.

    He was perfectly OK with telling them of his concerns and why he felt it would hurt tourism, but when he made a demand of them to vote NO. That when crossed the line and The minister would be perfectly correct in doing what ever he feels necessary to make sure such an occurrence does not happen again.

    My thoughts is he was lobbied and asked to put forward his position and encouraged to say what he did by others, or for his own reasons.

    Now he would have to deal with the fall out for opening his mouth a little too wide. And if the minister has him removed it would be his Mr. Dallas own fault for DEMANDING THAT THE SENATORS NOT SUPPORT THIS BILL. That was a big NO NO , What the heck where you thinking or should I say not thinking when you put pen to paper.

  7. Eugene Young says:

    The statement said that the Tourism Authority is a Non Political Entity, unfortunately the CEO is by his own written letter shows that he is a Political Entity, and should simply do the right thing, which would be to resign , because by his actions he is in direct conflict to that which the Authority stands for. My guess is he should do that before the Minister asks for it, if he hasn’t already.

  8. Whatever happens--he has a backbone says:

    and expressed his professional view. the greatest retribution will be realized should his prophecy come true.

    Let this be a lesson to those that oppose the current administration. you professional viewpoint is in the hands of bureacrats with political agenda!!

    He has guts and conviction and should be admired–I sure hope the BTA don’t let him go or they and Bermuda will have a much bigger issue—-

    lawsuit for discrimination–snap!

  9. and POOOO Bear says:

    Commrade Lord Most High Jammal ( who seems to aspire to the realm of World Leader avec Kim Il Jung alias Rocket Man ) will be on the warpath now. Someone else has not adhered to his regime. Does he have the North Korea handbook on how to be a

  10. Khris says:

    Well the BTA Chairperson said it correctly. Kevin Dallas was out of place. He should be fired. How dare he start a lobby as CEO of the BTA without Board approval.

  11. Ringmaster says:

    Listen all those who will listen. Bermudans are not allowed to criticize a PLP Government. Expat clergy are allowed to criticize a Government in Bermuda, but the PLP is above such accountability. 24-12 means you will obey and not question.

    • Eugene Young says:

      Of course we can , your doing it right now. And who do you blame for the 24-12. That’s right you can thank the oba for the 24-12

      • Paul B says:

        You can thank the voting people of Bermuda for creating the PLP dictatorship not the OBA who ‘the people’ said are not worth voting for.

    • Eugene Young says:

      And how can you even be so blind to even think that the expat clergy was allowed , he was not allowed , he was about to be kicked off island by oba for saying things against the then government.

      • Politricks says:

        ‘saying things’

        The foreigner to which you speak instigated two ‘protests’ which saw our democratically elected Parliament shut down twice in a the space of a year.

        On top of that that foreign preacher decided that work permit rules did not apply to him.

        Stop rewriting history Eugene.

        I will leave yuo with a quote from Mr. Derrick Burgess:

        “Burgess holds a press conference during which he denies being biased against non-Bermudians but tells them to stay out of local politics. Mr Burgess says: “Any country you go in, you do not get involved in their politics. That is a common sense attitude you should take. I would never do it and I have never done it. I would be afraid to.”

  12. Bill says:

    Here is a veiled threat.

    “While ultimately Mr. Dallas’ actions are a matter for the Board and the Chair, I have, on behalf of the Cabinet communicated my disappointment with Mr. Dallas’ unauthorized statement and will support the Board in whatever action they wish to undertake to ensure the established processes and procedures surrounding public statements are respected.”

    Funny how the Board Chair takes direction from the Minister, or is the Minister really just acting for the Premier. I doubt Shawn Crockwell would have had the same reaction and started to meddle in the affairs of the BTA. I think he understood how the BTA needed its independance.

    I do remember the PLP promise to drag BTA back into Government, perhaps this is the beginning. I mean, beginning of the end.

  13. Johnny Appleseed says:

    No doubt that it was the Minister himself who demanded they issue this statement

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      I think it more likely that the Authority is trying to save Kevin’s job (and the rest of him).

  14. Tomas says:

    Good too see that the BTA Board is showing they are watching the daily operation of the BTA and keeping the BTA within its ‘remit’. BTA’s job is tourism not activism!

    • bdaboy says:

      “BTA’s job is tourism not activism!”

      And government should represent the people, not be fascist, racist and homophobic…but, that’s what you want.

  15. Bermudian Thinker says:

    Good Afternoon all,

    If we look at page 1 of the Bermuda Tourism Authority Act 2013, you will see on page 1 the below is outlined.

    “WHEREAS it is expedient to establish a Tourism Authority with the objective of
    efficiently developing the tourism industry and promoting Bermuda as a tourism
    destination so as to increase the contribution of the tourism industry for purposes of the
    economic development of Bermuda;”

    The key words in this are “for the purposes of the economic development of Bermuda”. It is the remit of the BTA to advise government on tourism matters, which includes things that could potentially affect the Tourism industries ‘Economic Development”. If you read Kevin Dallas’s email you will see that he provides examples (FACT), of where there has been an impact on the Tourism industries “Economic Development” in other areas. No where in his letter does he reference, what I believe to be a step backwards socially. However he does point out how we are different to other jurisdictions, by us going from marriage to Domestic Partnership.

    If Mr. Dallas did not put forth these “facts” from other tourist destinations he would not be fulfilling his role as CEO of the BTA. The BTA , if you like it or not, is supposed to be the “Authority” on Tourism matters in Bermuda, and advice is sot from them on a daily basis, as I myself have called upon their expertise on several occasions. We dont even have to go back a month to see where the government used the BTA’s advise on Tourism industry policy. ( http://www.bermudalaws.bm/laws/Annual%20Laws/2017/Acts/Tourism%20Investment%20Act%202017.pdf). The Tourism Investment Act is a policy where it is well documented that BTA have been working with government on this for 2 plus years. We can see here that the BTA was heavily involved in an act that government pushed forward, because it affected the Tourism Industry.

    So with that you see it is actually the remit of BTA to advise on tourism matters, which is exactly what Mr. Dallas did, in a non political tone, it was done on a pure economic approach. If you replace the words of Same Sex Marriage and Domestic Partnership with Airport Tax Increase, or Hotel Tax increase, would there still be the same uproar?

    There is nothing in Mr. Dallas’s letter that is not factual or untrue, which is more than what can be said for the other side of the coin. This letter demonstrates that Mr. Dallas and the BTA are in fact politically neutral by speaking up on something that could adversely affect the Bermuda Tourism Industry. If you remove the emotional aspect of the argument and look at economics, which again what the letter speaks to, it is 100% correct.

    Keep up the Good work Mr. Dallas, to often we see wavering leaders in this society and you are in-fact looking out for the best interests of the Bermuda Tourism industry which is exactly your job!

  16. Bloomin' Onion says:

    Thanks for following up!