Political brinkmanship will not halt progress
Recently, the Government began a legislative process that will lead to the transformation of the Grand Atlantic into Bermuda’s next hotel property. This project, which will be known as the Bermudiana Beach Resort, creates a tremendous set of opportunities for Bermudians and Bermuda, including:
• Creating new employment opportunities during the construction phase and upon completion
• Increasing the number of tourist beds in Bermuda
• Further diversifying the accommodation options for our visitors
Nine buildings will be converted into 71 units for sale, with additional kitchenette and bathroom facilities to provide 111 rents.
Outdoor amenities are to include two pools, one being an infinity style, and a funicular lift to the beach below. Seven units will be turned into communal facilities to include a reception area, restaurant, spa and gym.
To get this project moving, the Government was required to make a move, while rarely used, to debate the Bill on the same day it was tabled in Parliament.
To ensure that the Opposition was aware of what the Bill involved, briefing sessions with our technical officers were offered in advance of the debate. That offer was refused and the opportunity to ask questions, raise concerns or make suggestions in advance of the debate was sadly lost.
Bermudians must ask themselves: why did the One Bermuda Alliance refuse our attempt to involve them and get their feedback on this project of national importance?
Bermudians don’t have time for political games. That is why we are pushing ahead by:
• Providing greater investment into the Bermuda Hospitality Institute to provide expanded and enhanced training opportunities for Bermudians in the hospitality industry. This is critical as, with the creation of new jobs and opportunities in tourism, we must ensure that our people are ready to not only fill entry-level positions but have the opportunity and skills to compete at the highest level
• Working with the Bermuda Tourism Authority and Bermuda Economic Development Corporation to develop more opportunities and financing for Bermudian entrepreneurs to create new products, amenities and businesses for the enjoyment of our visitors
• Using our Tourism Investment Act to make Bermuda even more appealing as a place for the development of hotels, restaurants and other tourism-related products.
This government is not perfect and knows that it will not get everything right. Yet our commitment to putting Bermudians first is unwavering and we are doing, and will do, everything in our power to get our people back to work and our economy booming again.
We are confident that, despite the noise being made from the Opposition’s quarters, the majority of the electorate knows and appreciates the work that is being done on its behalf and we are committed to continuing this work.
• Crystal Caesar is a government senator and the Junior Minister of Home Affairs and Economic Development