Cox: Economic recovery has begun

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  • Outreach: Premier Paula Cox speaks to an audience of business people at the Bermuda Business Summit at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess yesterday (Photo by Glenn Tucker)

  • Packed house: An audience dominated by business people listens to Premier Paula Cox speak at the Bermuda Business Summit at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess yesterday (Photo by Glenn Tucker)

Premier Paula Cox said that the Island’s “economic recovery has begun” at the Bermuda Business Summit yesterday, which provided an update on the Government’s efforts to promote and grow business both in the tourism and finance sectors.

The at-capacity audience filled with Bermuda’s business executives, listened to a number of speakers throughout the morning who reviewed the Island’s new tourism plan and recent international business outreach.

“As the recovery gets under way, albeit ever so tentatively, the question has to be, what new strategies we will employ to help strengthen our position while not exposing us to unnecessary risk?” questioned Premier Cox.

She added that in order for the economy to flourish, there have to be the right conditions for growth saying that tourism and international business are the Island’s key sources of foreign currency.

“We have to make the right choices and remove the unnecessary barriers to growth,” she said. “We have to get out of the way of business.”

Premier Cox reassured the crowd of senior executives that the recent policies adopted have been business-friendly ones, including the Job Makers Incentive Act, the ten-year work permit, changes to the 60/40 rule to allow local companies access to foreign investment, the formation of Ministry of Business Development and Tourism, changes in land holding policies, improved clearance processes for people travelling by private jet, Islamic finance outreach, the new asset management task force, and the commitment to have a referendum on gaming.

She added that the Government has adopted these policies so that “we change the view of international business from being a guest to being long-term partners in Bermuda’s growth”.

Premier Cox also stated that the effects of the global recession would have been felt far more gravely had it not been for the Island’s international business sector.

“Were it not for the innovative international business sector in general and our insurance market in particular, the recession would have had a far greater impact on our economy,” she said.

While she did not state specific reasons why she believed the local economy was in recovery, Premier Cox did say that she attended a promising meeting in London with an executive from the Gulf Cooperation Council region. Those countries include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates.

“The BMA CEO and I met with a key CEO and advisor in the GCC region while recently in the UK,” she explained. “They have just very recently, this week I believe, retained local counsel for some new commercial work.”

While the Premier said that jobs for Bermudians were her top priority, that the Government’s mantra for international business was “more red carpet and less red tape”.

Other speakers at the event included: Minister Wayne Furbert, Senator Vincent Ingham who reviewed the National Tourism Plan, Kerry Judd, executive director of Bermuda First, talking about the Hamilton Waterfront Development; Caroline Foulger, chairwoman of the BBDC reviewing the Bermuda Business Development Corporation; Stephen Castree, CEO of Equinoxe, on Bermuda’s asset management strategy; Belaid Jheengoor, director at PwC on Bermuda’s Islamic finance strategy and guest speaker Harold McGraw, CEO of McGraw-Hill Companies.

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Published Aug 31, 2012 at 9:00 am (Updated Aug 31, 2012 at 9:55 am)

Cox: Economic recovery has begun

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