Video: Minister Rabain & Minister Furbert

November 12, 2020

[Updated] Minister of Education Diallo Rabain and Minister for the Cabinet Office Wayne Furbert are holding a joint press conference this afternoon [Nov 12], and we will have additional coverage later on and in the meantime the live video is below.

Update: The live broadcast has concluded and the 17-minute replay is below

Update 1.50pm: Minister Rabain’s remarks:

Good Afternoon Bermuda

This afternoon, I will provide an overview of the Ministry of Education’s Throne Speech priorities and areas of focus.

This year’s Throne Speech’s theme: Rebuilding Bermuda with Bermudians at Heart communicates the basis and foundation of all of the Government’s legislative priorities for this session of the House of Assembly. At the heart of rebuilding Bermuda is public education. The Government acknowledges that:

Bermuda’s young people must feel the investment of their homeland in their success.

As detailed in the Throne Speech, this legislative year we will continue the Education Reform with legislative changes required to advance the phasing out of middle schools and the introduction of a 2-tier system with primary and signature schools. The System will also benefit from reformed governance and greater accountability with the creation of an Authority to lead all aspects of performance management in Public Education.

Bermuda, Education Reform is underway. Teams from the Ministry of Education, the Department of Education, the Board of Education, Bermuda First, teachers, students and members of our community are working together to transform public education to meet the educational and vocational needs of our students.

Already, under the umbrella of Education Reform, the following will be the priority for this upcoming legislative session. These are:

1. School Buildings Realignment Consultation Process led by members of the Ministry of Education with input from the Learning First Program and Innovation Unit. The realignment of our schools is necessary to remove the middle school system to create a 2-tier system of Primary and Senior Signature schools which will include a signature school for students with exceptionalities and one for alternative education to support students’ behaviour and mental health needs. Consultation with the general public will begin later this month to start the discussion around the structural realignment necessary for a reformed Bermuda Public School System.

2. The Learning First Programme led by the Governance Team, Innovation Unit and the School Redesign Teams. Their focus will be on the internal structure and the Learning Environment. Learning First is our recently launched programme to collaboratively design an improved school system with a focus on varied types of learning expereinces. The Redesign Teams will start the research aspect later this month by interviewing first students, teachers and principals or school leaders to obtain critical data about their experiences in public school education. They will be collecting data around what is working well, challenges encountered, improvements needed for the System, parental engagement, and community and business engagement.

3. The Governance Structure and Accountability Team is led by the Board of Education with input from Bermuda First and Innovation Unit. Their focus is on creating an Education Authority for overseeing public education to lead all aspects of performance management in public education.

The work has started! Education Reform is taking place and moving along. We are transforming education to provide a public school system that produces students equipped for vocational, academic or business careers of their choosing.

These next phases will involve the necessary collaboration to ensure the voices of our stakeholders, are part of the foundation of Education Reform. We intend to keep the guiding principles of transparency, inclusivity, and engagement to the redesign of the public-school system to produce a system the Bermudian public deserves.

I invite everyone who is impacted in any form by the public education system to consider and share their views on the proposals for a transformed public education system when the consultation sessions are launched later this month.

There is a lot of work to be done. We will continue to make the improvements and the changes necessary to bring Education Reform, and what is best and required to every day to build a better, fairer and stronger education system for our children and Bermuda’s future.

Update 2.50pm: Minister Furbert’s remarks:

Good afternoon to all the members of the media and to the general public. I thank you for your attendance and attention this afternoon.

This afternoon, as the Minister for the Cabinet Office, I intend to highlight efforts to support the Government’s aims for economic development and diversification. I will also share what the
Ministry is doing to achieve the initiatives mentioned in the Throne Speech.

Today, I wish to speak on four [4] specific topics that pertain to the economy and diversification.

They are:

  • 1. Vertical Farming
  • 2. Shoreside Fishing Facility
  • 3. Ecosystem for Technology Companies
  • 4. Intellectual Property

My first point is on Vertical Farming.

This Government’s aim is to boost local food production to provide reliable, sustainable and resilient leafy greens at scale for the Bermudian people, all year round. For the past year the Government, through the business development unit, has been working with Aerofarms to design and implement a vertical farming facility in Bermuda.

Vertical Farming will utilize the latest technology to grow leafy greens in a controlled environment. The aim of this venture is to reduce the cost of food to the general public, reduce the reliance on imported leafy greens, and boost employment in Bermuda.

The Ministry is currently finalising the plans for the development and financing of a purpose-built facility that will have the capacity to produce the equivalent of 200 acres of conventional farmland. The plans will be presented to the Cabinet Committee for Economic Development in November 16″ 2020. A key component of this project, and in keeping in line with the Government’s vision to create a nation of owners, will be to allow Bermudians to invest in this entity so that they can enjoy the benefits of ownership of local food production.

This project has the potential of supplying about 30% of Bermuda’s year-round demand for leafy greens. The project is environmentally sound using 95% less water than conventional production and using zero pesticides therefore eliminating harmful run-off.

We expect to see the creation of at least 30 long term jobs post construction. Other benefits to the wider community are as follows:

  • Partnership with schools providing a Stem-based curriculum and promoting healthy eating in the school system.
  • Year-Round Availability
  • Consistent Pricing
  • Longer Shelf Life

As is readily evident, this Vertical Farming initiative will be a boon for Bermuda in many ways and I look forward to providing further updates next month.

Now on to my second point about a Shoreside Fishing Facility.

The Government will be working with the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation and the Fishing Industry to build a Shoreside Fishing Facility.

The Shoreside Fisheries Complex will be the operational centre and headquarters of a new, long anticipated enterprise that will transform and reposition Bermuda’s commercial fisheries sector.

This exciting project is funded in the current budget to the tune of $370K and is one of the projects where funding has been allocated to move forward in order to stimulate employment. We are acting on the recommendations for this initiative, which have been on the table for over twelve [12] years. This fits into our vision to develop Bermuda’s economy to advance long-stalled initiatives that are vital for Bermuda’s long-term economic development.

This facility is just the start of our ambitions and while targeted towards local consumption, it has the potential to grow into international exports.

Principally, fishing vessels that target large pelagic species such as bigeye tuna and swordfish will be supported by infrastructure that is capable of meeting the standards of product handling for export to the United States and Europe.

It will be a purpose-built facility where fish will be cleaned and processed for sale to the Bermuda market.

The objective is to create a facility backed by individuals and groups who wish to see fisheries as a viable industry sector move beyond the limiting aspects of its historical roots position it to take advantage of the wider span of natural resources, provide high quality product to the consumers in Bermuda and abroad, and protect our resources for future generations. We are making significant progress in realizing the vision of having a Shoreside Fishing Facility and we shall intensify our efforts to achieve this venture.

My third point today is an Ecosystem for Technology Companies.

Bermuda is well-regarded as one of the best places to build a global tech business ecosystem due to our timezone, close proximity to other jurisdictions, quality of life and financial structures. We have recently been engaged in very fruitful discussion with global tech companies about relocating to Bermuda to set up their businesses here.

In talking with Principals of these companies, who are the ultimate decision makers, they have informed us that Bermuda is very attractive as a favourable place to do business due to our quality of life, lack of crime and our excellent handling of the COVID 19 crisis.

We are seeking to establish an ecosystem so that technology companies can base their operations in Bermuda. We have already begun to look at ways to reform our laws and policies in order to remove bureaucracy and red-tape that would normally impede the establishment of companies in Bermuda.

Our aim is to create a hub wherein technology companies can set up and conduct their business right here in Bermuda, in a business-friendly environment. I hasten to point out that our expert handling of the COVID 19 pandemic has provided a strong incentive for technology companies to locate in Bermuda. This, along with our negotiations with various entities overseas, will create the atmosphere and environment in which tech-related business can flourish.

A very positive sign so far is the arrival of over fifty eight [58] people from Pakistan who will be residing and working in Bermuda for the next year. They are part of a very large and successful technology company and it is our hope that this will be the genesis of their setting up business long-term in Bermuda, and training and hiring Bermudians.

Of course, this increased business activity will generate further economic growth through additional persons living, working and playing in Bermuda.

My fourth point is on Intellectual Property.

Intellectual Property is an industry where Bermuda is well-placed to grow Bermuda’s existing footprint in this space. To achieve maximum economic benefit from this field, we plan to upgrade our existing legal framework to increase business in Bermuda for those international companies who wish to register their trademarks and copyrights in Bermuda while complying with our Economic Substance laws.

We have adopted a phased approach to overhauling our Intellectual Property legislation and by the Spring of 2021, we shall have achieved significant enhancements in this realm. These phases for the different segments of our Intellectual Property regime and legislation are as follows:

  • Phase 1: Patents
  • Phase 2: Designs
  • Phase 3: Copyrights
  • Phase 4: Trademarks

Additionally, we are setting up an enhanced structure that will protect the rights of local entrepreneurs, while at the same time offering a robust framework for international companies to register their trademarks, patents and copyrights here in Bermuda.

To achieve this, in the coming months, we shall be putting before Parliament legislation that will update our laws as they pertain to the four areas as I already mentioned; that is, Patents, Designs, Copyrights and Trademarks.

These are just a few of the major initiatives the Cabinet Ministry is forging ahead with in the next year or so, and I am very optimistic that we shall succeed in generating positive economic activity as a result.

Thank you for your time and attention.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Sister Nancy says:

    This PLP government have more press conferences than the White House has. Yet nothing seems to change. How long have you been discussing Education and yet our kids are non the better for it. Teachers do not understand or like the grading system which caused our kids to not have report cards for how long now????? You continually talk about people that choose private education. When they can educate a child cheaper than you government ministers can. Do you ever think of why that is? I suggest you give the money to the private schools and let them educate our kids. For sure our kids would come out with a good education and a foundation to prepare them for the working world. Cut all those hundred of thousand of wages that you waste on the executives of education.

  2. Craig Looby says:

    Bermudians who formed an agreement with and introduced Aero farms to the government back in 2018 seeking licenses, and a PPP agreement to use government property and capital from the bermuda infrastructure fund, and a repayable grant from the Bermuda government / bedc, in 2018 were prevented from moving forward by the government, now the government is working with aero farms to deploy the concept bermudians brought to the bermuda government seeking to create jobs……very interesting how creating opportunities for ALL Bermudians works. Dont present your ideas to the bermuda government seeking a PPP…they will steal your plans and block you from doing it.