MP Dunkley: America’s Cup Helped The Island

December 2, 2017

“We dug Bermuda out of the hole called economic abyss and spiraling debt through solid policy and vision. Bermuda today is in a better position,” former Premier Michael Dunkley said, adding that the “America’s Cup was a huge undertaking, which helped us dig out.”

Speaking in the House of Assembly during a Take Note Motion on the “Economic, Environmental and Social Impact of the 35th America’s Cup on Bermuda,” Mr Dunkley said, ”First let me thank PWC for the report and the in depth and detailed nature of the report that has been submitted to the ACBDA.

“More importantly let me thank my colleagues especially former Minister Grant Gibbons for his and everyone’s tireless dedication to this project, one that was carried out meeting all budget guidelines, meeting the expectations of our partners and exceeding the return on our investment!

Slideshow of the America’s Cup Opening Ceremony in May 2017


“It is very rare that any government commitment ends with such a positive result! Through all of this the PLP as the Opposition and now as the Government have showed begrudging support to the event.

“In actual fact Mr. Speaker, the PLP in Opposition seemed to be just that, an Opposition that opposed everything or found some way to be critical of a positive event.

“This America’s Cup 2017 was a prime example of their approach.

“Here is what the current Premier Burt said as Opposition Leader on March 20th 2017 on the last day of the Budget Debate during the MTA.”But when we get to the America’s Cup, Mr. Speaker, which is what will be upon us when we return, we have heard some disturbing news and some challenges that might be taking place in regard to the delivery of the America’s Cup in regard to ensuring that everything is in place for the America’s Cup.”

“The Hon Member goes on to say “After a bill that is going to without question top $100 million, we cannot afford to get it wrong.”

“Totally false on all fronts but this is what we faced day in and day out, all the while undermining progress that Bermuda was making.

“In spite of the constant push back and negative comments, those who had responsibility in some way for AC2017 stuck to the task, worked hard and delivered a tremendous event. From Minister Gibbons all the way through to the hundreds of volunteers!

“I do note Mr. Speaker that many of the PLP members enjoyed their time at the event! Since the PWC report was completed I have yet to hear the current government say anything about the report or the outcomes from AC2017 until today!

“On a personal level I am very proud that the event was spectacular and so successful. I had very little time to enjoy the event as I was too busy helping in any way I could to make it successful, promoting Bermuda to our many quests for the event or working on other government priorities to better Bermuda and our people.

“However this event will go down as the largest and most successful event in our history and we should all be very proud of what we accomplished. In addition it leaves us a legacy that we can build on and provides opportunity to leverage it for many years going forward.

“There are a number of reasons which contributed to Bermuda’s successful bid to host the event.

  • Excellent year round training and sailing conditions, a natural amphitheater for viewing and our strong maritime heritage.
  • The support provided by Government.
  • A proactive and committed government to work with and a dedicated HVA.
  • A dedicated site for ACEA and the AC Teams in close proximity to the AC Village and race course.
  • An attractive time zone for maximizing television audience viewing
  • The alignment of interests of Bermuda and ACEA in creating a successful event.

“All of these reasons also allowed us also to be successful in hosting the event.

“Let’s look at some of the numbers which clearly indicate the enormous success.

“A budget of 77m ended with a spend of 64.1m which equates to ending 12.9m under budget! As 20% saving on the budget with no impact on the quality of what was offered!

“This is not typical in any government but it happened for this mammoth event under the OBA Government.

“The preparation was completed on time, the event went off without a hitch and Bermuda glowed on the world stage.
Put it another way Mr. Speaker, AC 2017 was put on with great success and it cost about as much as the overspend in building Berkley.

“Let’s look at GDP, original estimated impact on GDP of 242.2m ended at 336.4 m. 94.2m increase! Over 40% better than expected!.

“My colleagues will elaborate on this but I can only say that this is an amazing outcome.

“Let’s look for a minute at the tourism impact generally and the boating industry in more detail.

“10.3k international air arrivals specifically for the event Air arrivals increased 16% in May and June 2017 over the previous year and this is even more significant when one considers 2016 results were up over the previous year. 86% of international visitors stated they were very likely or likely to visit Bermuda again in the future.

“Super-yacht business boomed and it was a significant boost for the island. In addition most of the super yachts visited for the first time and are sure to return as they had a wonderful experience. This has significant value as this is relatively untouched business which up until this year there was little focus on it.

“134 super yachts and 611 cruising yachts visited Bermuda over the course of AC 2017 [May and June]. By all accounts our cruising visitors had a wonderful time and now there is a real possibility that we can leverage the hard work and success of AC 2017 to add a new arm to our tourism industry.

“Due to the vision of the OBA Government and with the support of the BTA and ACBDA we have witnessed significant private investment in new marinas catering to super yachts and the cruising business and existing yacht service offerings were enhanced to encourage repeat visits.

“New services and infrastructure was created in the lead up to AC 2017 including Caroline Bay, Hamilton Princess Marina, Waterfront Marina and the Cross Island.

“There is a plan in place to develop new infrastructure in St. Geo. The Hamilton Waterfront also has significant potential and all of this action on the water offered a snapshot of what Bermuda can benefit from with the numerous super yachts and cruising yachts berthed during the AC bringing excitement and buzz to the waterfronts and harbors in the east, west and Hamilton.

“All of this equates to opportunity and jobs at marinas for servicing, provisioning and repairs for yachts and crew.

“Craig Christensen, the President and CEO of Morgan’s Pt Ltd, said “many of the super yacht owners that we spoke to over the AC had never been to Bermuda before on their yachts. They think it is an idyllic place for sailing, especially in the shoulder months as most yachts are on their way to or returning from the Med or east coast for the season.”

“You might be aware that the OBA Government elected to introduce temporary policies in effect for one month before, during and one month after the AC.

“This vision paved the way for opportunity and jobs. It is now incumbent on the current government to move quickly to put long-term policies in place.

“Kevin Dallas, CEO of the BTA said “It’s clear that the legislation put in place during the AC was a huge incentive for super yachts to visit Bermuda, stay longer and spend more into our local economy. We encourage Parliamentarians to create a similar environment on a permanent basis, while also protecting local charter operators. This is an absolute necessity if Bermuda is going to seize super yacht tourism as an AC legacy benefit.”

“Back to the big picture again as I bring my comments to a close. 452m people viewed AC 2017 across the world, broadcast in 163 countries, by 31 broadcasters. That can be converted to 1 in 8 people throughout the world watch the event!

“There were 22k news articles printed about AC 2017 published in 76 countries! Talk about reach and putting Bermuda on the map.

“All of this advertising equates to 80.9m in Advertising Equivalent Value [AEV]. In other words; to buy this reach in promoting Bermuda one would have to pay 80.9m dollars! The whole event cost us 64.1m!

“So do the math… for 64.1m we received 80.9m worth of advertising saving the people of Bermuda 16.8 m! Thus everything else can be considered the gravy!

“This in itself is the deal of the century and I challenge anyone to show me another deal as favorable as this. Furthermore we have access to all footage to use at our desire!

“The Government that former Premier Cannonier and then I led was not perfect, but who is? We were criticized rightly so on some issues.

“However we dug Bermuda out of the hole called economic abyss and spiraling debt through solid policy and vision. Bermuda today is in a better position.

“The America’s Cup was a huge undertaking, which helped us dig out and, using a cricket analogy, we hit it for six.

“All of Bermuda is in a better place because of it and it is now up to us build on that success and create the significant legacy that is available.

“I close by thanking all of those involved…for making this happen. It was truly a community effort, a Bermuda effort, one accomplished with hard work, commitment and pride.

“We made it happen from my government colleagues, the ACBA, the hundreds of volunteers, the tireless work of government workers through so many departments, security professionals, and entrepreneurs large and small. The mosaic that is Bermuda came together and delivered.

“For that, I hold my head high as I walk our streets and see all of us who made it happen; I simply say I am eternally grateful to all of Bermuda. We made a significant investment. We took a risk. We delivered and now have a solid foundation to build on. Thank you Bermuda. ”

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Comments (56)

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  1. Half hot says:

    The current govt won’t admit it, to much pride and not there idea.
    Now if it was a Beyonce concert, whoop whoop

    • Onion Juice says:

      It helped those who were in position.

      • jt says:

        Well…Zane and the Premier got some business.

      • Ringmaster says:

        You mean like bus drivers, ferry captains and crew, taxis, construction workers and companies as examples? Far more Bermudians of all of Bermuda benefited from AC35 than from the PGA, Faith Based Tourism, or Global Hue. Name an event put on by the PLP, remember they had 14 years, that provided benefits to the people you and the PLP say did not benefit from AC35. One event is all that’s needed.

        • Zevon says:

          Chefs, waiters, musicians, taxi drivers, truck drivers, the people that ran the Crown & Anchor game at AC.

        • Hey says:

          The PLP put hundreds of Bermudians out in the street, and still many people have been unable to recover.

      • Hmm says:

        Onion juice is just mad that he actually had to do work to make money from AC. I guess he was expecting a government or ACBDA official walking up to his door with an AC35 check

    • Eyes wide open says:

      America’s Cup helped some Bermudians and Sour Milkman helped the OBA look like the UBP. Case closed.

      Now go sit on 1 of the 12 seats that the voters left for you and where is the OBA.UBP leader

      • Earth watch police says:

        Ya eyes wide open you just hate some folks its cool.

      • Hey says:

        Your not “Woke” your “Sleep”

      • Kevin says:

        Thats right criticize but you know the truth Bermuda gained …proven fact and there isn’t a single project handled under the PLP that
        A stayed anywhere near Budget
        B Returned a profit
        C didn’t stink
        a yes we only have 12 seats but you will soon be wishing we had a few more ….it won’t be long the inadequacies of this group you voted in will soon come to light ….and then there will be the struggle for power from within
        You asked for it you got it

      • Ringmaster says:

        You should know – you have two exUBP Leaders in the PLP, plus other MP’s who are now Ministers. Shows the lack of personal commitment to Bermuda’s best interests rather than their own.

    • facts of the rock says:


  2. puzzled says:

    I must send Michael a message.
    I think he is on bookface.
    Guy has no clue and that’s why he sits on the sidewalks and………..
    .you make milk

    • puzzled says:

      Again nothing to do with Mike.

    • jt says:

      Anything relevant or on topic to add?

    • Anbu says:

      “You make milk”……… and hes a millionaire. Not bad for a “tou make milk” guy huh? Think before u speak

  3. mixitup says:

    Great! I would like to have seen the same AC drive with relation to Education. Not a thing was done with Education for the four years you were in Gov’t.. And this is what you celebrate?

  4. Stinky D. says:

    If OBA did the country so well with Americas Cup then why did the country vote the OBA out

    • Hmmmm says:

      Because the PLP played an underhanded, divisive and misinformation campaign stirring up emotions in the electorate. Unfortunately the electorate bought into the bs and voted them in.

    • Zevon says:

      Because the PLP lied about it, saying it cost $140m, it lost money, it was a failure.

    • Kangoocar says:

      Simple if you think about it? The government education system educates a little over 60% of the population, and the plp had the support of about 60% of the population! Do you need further explanation??

  5. JUNK YARD DOG says:

    Filling in the potective waters of the South Camber at H M Royal Naval Dockyard in my opinion was a big mistake,they could have made better use of the materials from the North channel . Filling in the waters Castle Harbour is another big mistake ,period

  6. Coffee says:

    Which Island ? Cross ?

    Dunkley benefitted . Grant benefitted . Butterfield and Vallis benefitted . A few landlords and preferred estate agents greatly benefitted .

    The sailboat race was only observed both financially and physically by the hungry masses who were marginalized by decree .

  7. local says:

    The PLP Government is filled with hate, and to much pride to congratulate such a successful event. They talked bad about the event before and after and now that the facts are in they are quiet. The PLP is garbage and is out to ruin Bermuda.

    • Hmm says:

      The PLP only workers for its voter base but at the detriment of everyone else.

  8. bdaboy says:

    “you make milk”

    I don’t think you know how cows, or anything else, works.

    You’re just another racist who hates Bermuda.

  9. Infidelguy says:

    Ok we got the message. The America’s Cup helped the economy. Can we move on now? Please.

  10. bdaboy says:

    “Can we move on now? Please”

    No, not with the plp in power, they’re too busy exacting revenge

  11. Bill says:

    PLP questions need answering where are the new jobs ? And how are we doing on our national debt ? …….?

  12. no love says:

    Well stated! A premier event that greatly helped our country just as the OBA did. Well Done!

  13. Americas cup was a gift. It was exciting and innovative.
    A rarity. I thank those responsible for it.
    I did feel though that New Zealand were judges favourites… In particular to Swedens’challenges… Judges kept telling Sweden they had to slow down and let Nz catch up and lead… Nz would not have beaten Sweden if not for those pathetic penalties bestowed them!

  14. Unbelievable says:

    The AC wasn’t a silver bullet but it helped my company pay the taxes it had to. Bermuda WILL NOT SUCCEED with the economic structure it has right now. OBA, PLP….they won’t fix it. They can’t simply cuz of the tribal and political climate.

    Bermuda needs foreign investment just like the last 400 years. It can’t go no place without it because NO ONE IN Bermuda has the resources. Do you lot hear that?

    Hey PLP/Bermuda….get with the times. For god’s sake.

  15. Warwick West says:

    MD: the very low level of real and intelligent comment here says it all. So stop bothering to make the point on this one. Anyone with a few brain cells already knows how great AC35 was for Bermuda. As for the rest let them stumble on in their ignorance. Time and God will do the rest.

    • JUNK YARD DOG says:

      Wasting ” Time” by sitting on the wall of complacency does no acomplish any thing!
      The Greeks had lots of Gods .
      Which one are you talking about ?

    • wahoo says:

      Yup they will never understand either because they don’t or because they won’t so let it rest. I thought it was incredible and thank you and others for making it possible. When I tell friends from abroad how politically charged the whole thing had become they shake their heads and ask how could anybody complain about it.

  16. lalaland says:

    the plp is in power now but this time there is no bilge pump.

  17. Sojhbyu545 says:

    Trying to become relevant when on July 18 you became irrelevant. Move on Milkman no one gives a rats bumpy what u think. At this stage all you are is a a distraction and noise on the sidelines. Read my lips, no one cares what you think. Please understand that.

  18. Whistling Frog says:

    With all the above said, 3000 people canceled their vacations because they got Barbuda mixed up with Bermuda and 75 percent of the world still don’t know where Bermuda is located. What a sacrificial waste of money.

    • Sara says:

      That’s because Bermuda is too expensive for the majority of people! Middle class Americans can not afford to come unless they cruise. You have shut out most of the population of America due to high cost of living! It’s a no brainier. They can go to all inclusive resorts all over the Caribbean for a whole week for the price of a plane ticket to Bermuda.

  19. Good job? says:

    Bermuda could have spent 64 million on free airline tickets for visitora and had a similar effect. Stop overstating the event.

    • Zevon says:

      This is the level of “intelligence”. Equating an investment with giving away money.

      • Good job? says:

        Point is. If you throw that much money at anything, its bound to have some positive effects.