Column: Banks, Fuel Prices, Savvy Loan & More

July 10, 2022

[Opinion column written by Opposition Leader Cole Simons]

In the best of times, the collaboration between the Government and businesses to create a supportive platform for the economy to thrive can be challenging. Given that these are not the best of times, the atmosphere between businesses and the Government is showing itself to be truly compromised. The Premier is dictating to the private sector without assessing the impact of his mandates and moreover is sloppy in building business confidence onshore and offshore.

​For example, in the banking sector, when recently introducing the Banks and Deposit Companies Amendment Act 2022 to the Legislature, the Premier​​ gave Bermuda’s banks an​ ultimatum to provide the Bermuda Monetary Authority ​with ​the power to impose codes of conduct on how institutions conduct deposit-taking business.

This​​ caught the​ bankers​ by surprise, as the Bermuda Bankers Association members were already looking at the matters at issue, under the guidance of the financial services regulator. They also indicated that discussions were already taking place with the government, the Bermuda Monetary Authority.​ – so why the heavy-handedness of a mandate?​​

​Upon learning more about this matter with some banking colleagues, I questioned why they were not more forceful with their response, given that they were given an ultimatum by the Premier. One local Bank CEO said Cole, do you really think that Bermuda’s Bankers Association want to pick a fight with the Premier. You know that they cannot win that fight,

Is this the type of friction that we want our government to have with our international banking institutions which collectively provide thousands of job​s​ for Bermuda and our people?

Similarly, this weekend, fuel companies indicated that a freeze on gas prices at the pump is unsustainable as wholesale fuel prices have “soared and increased by 40-43%” this year. How can Premier Burt unilaterally make decisions which result in a significant financial impact on our business partners?

To make matters worse, the Premier​ stated that the Government was taking the brunt of the cost of the price freeze through customs duty cuts. This, however, does appear to be the case, as fuel importers confirmed that as far as ​they know, the customs duty cuts have not occurred yet. Who is misleading the public and our business leaders? Who can we trust?​ In an economy that is trying to get back on its feet, ​ ​does the Premier’s behaviour help to build the confidence required of an offshore financial centre to maintain our blue-chip reputation?​ I think not. ​

What about the debacle of the Fairmount Southampton Hotel Development’s agreement?​  ​​In ​May the Premier indicated that he was going to bring a copy of the development agreement to the House of Assembly in two to three weeks’ time. ​ Two months later, the agreement has yet to see the light of day. Can the Premier not consummate an agreement of this nature for the government and people of Bermuda? What, if any, ​​are the roadblocks, and additional financing hurdles which have yet to be addressed? Again, can we place any c​confidence in the Premier’s commitments?

Finally, Premier Burt made a commitment to recover the $800,000 three-year loan which he made to Anthony Blakely of Savvy Entertainment in April 2018 to purchase recording equipment to create a music studio at the historic Moresby House. ​More than four years ​on, Mr. Blakely has yet​ to be found​, and​ ​Bermuda is left with a non-​performing loan​, which is now valued at ​$1 million dollars​ ​Characteristically, the ​Premier has been silent when it comes​ to the recovery plan for the peoples’ money.

​Do decisions​ like the ones listed above engender confidence in ​Bermuda’s local and international business sector, and our international partners and clients. ​Surely not.

Bermuda needs more from its Premier. It requires a Premier with significantly ​better business acumen,​ one who demonstrates ​transparency​ and builds trust between the people of Bermuda, and her corporate business partners.

If Bermuda is to attract the necessary ​economic and human capital to​ support Bermuda, things- must change – there is too much at stake.

- Cole Simons

Read More About

Category: All, Business, News

Comments (7)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Youkidding? says:

    The sooner the better ! Bermuda deserves far better Leadership ! We are a hardworking, honest and respectful society ! How did this happen and for so long ? Lie after lie after lie….! Is he the best that the PLP has to offer because he surely does not represent the core of the PLP voters !

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      “How did this happen and for so long ”

      Because the PLP is in perpetual election mode and the lie that the OBA is just the UBP renamed seems to have been accepted by some.

      What Bermuda needs is the BDA. A socially responsible but financially conservative party that has little or no ties to the Yacht Club crowd.

      • TRUTH says:

        So all the white voters that were in UBP flip over to OBA in 1 day and the few black voters that supported the UBP flip to PLP.

        • Joe Bloggs says:

          That is not what I said and I do not know if what you say is true.

          I will leave to you baseless speculation.

  2. Ringmaster says:

    If the OBA want to have any impact, forget writing these op eds and have press conferences and issue written requests for answers in the HoA. It’s about the only way to get the PLP to respond. Bermuda is being financially and morally abused (according to Rev Tweed) by the PLP.

  3. unknown800k says:

    egomeir is telling people what they need to hear, dont blame him blame the people believing the rhetoric. they like to be deceived.

  4. VIP says:

    Burt and party can do what they want because Bermuda has the weakest opposition party and leader in history. If Burt called anther snap election right now the PLP would still win. Cole do you realize the only folks that are working hard = us bloggers.

    Burt’s supporters don’t even read social platforms much, they vote based on emotions. You really don’t know the voters. Since being leader you have done nothing. Hopefully the Milkman is elected leader again before the next election. He’s the only person that brings energy to the team.