Foreign investment is the way to go, Bermuda
I came to visit your wonderful little piece of paradise this past week. I was in the Royal Suite at the Rosewood for more than a week, so I can say I was very lucky to experience the best a tourist can get on the island.
My wife and I don’t swim and we don’t play golf. Being a trained economist, I spent a few days studying the laws of the land as it pertains to foreign investment, but also the economy — a sour point here lately.
What I found is that Bermuda is relatively closed to foreign ownership and this strategy has worked pretty well in the past.
Bermudians have kept control of the island and much of the benefits has gone to Bermudians, and I commend that.
More recently, though, the strategy is failing the people. Sorry to say, but Bermuda is not “cool”. The restaurants serve outdated dishes, the houses are all in need of remodelling — read inside only — and there’s no buzz.
My wife is a foody but we had great difficulty finding the best fresh food, and there’s no general infatuation with quality food.
We did eventually find amazing bananas, out-of-this-world honey, great celery, heirloom tomatoes and world-class goat cheese.
Unfortunately, no one knows how special this stuff is.
There’s no presentation, no marketing, no national focus on high-quality products.
Houses that could be selling $40 million in Turks & Caicos are selling for $15 million. Not only are they not up to date, the market, which is limited by a high ARV, is too small. The world is now global and Bermudians need to attract a younger, more dynamic crowd.
The country should continue to attract the ultra-high net-worth individuals but it needs to buzz with innovators and the creative types. These can’t afford a $126 ARV for a holiday home. But they will more readily attract those who do.
Bermuda needs to open the market. Younger people such as me, age 46, will come in. We will bring new skills, newer furniture, will set up more fruit gardens, more presentable organic farms, world-class restaurants, etc.
Is there a risk that Bermudians will become more priced out of the market? Yes but Bermudians will also see the value of their properties skyrocket. Properly taxed, these benefits can be spread out to everyone.
You have a rich and beautiful island, a Paris-like uniformity, a plentiful nature, a unique style of architecture. It’s sad to see you stagnate, and there is no reason for this to continue.
Bermuda, unshackle yourself.
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