Legacy wars: fintech v AC35
First of all, I want to congratulate PwC for continuing to provide a further three-year sponsorship for the Endeavour Community Sailing Programme.
The Endeavour programme, established in 2015 before the 35th America’s Cup, is part of the continuing legacy contributed to Bermuda by AC35, and PwC has sponsored the programme since it was established.
In addition to teaching our young people from a wide array of socioeconomic backgrounds how to sail, the programme also allows our youth to experience Steam education, through science, technology, engineering, arts and maths.
There are three main components to the Endeavour programme:
• It is an educational initiative designed to teach students all across Bermuda more about sailing through a cross-curricular Steam Education Programme
• The programme is aimed at providing a positive boating experience for youth in Bermuda aged between 9 and 12
• It will provide college sailing internships with Oracle Team USA
In June 2017, a Boston-based non-profit group called Science from Scientists partnered with the Endeavour programme to help to spread awareness and to promote the importance of Steam education.
SFS is dedicated to empowering youth to remain competitive in emerging Steam fields, To date, more than 2,200 students aged 9 to 12 have been taught skills such as leadership, teamwork and confidence-building through sailing.
During the debate of the Opposition’s 2017-18 Reply to the Budget, David Burt told the House that while the America’s Cup was “a good thing” that would provide “some benefit, where we take issue with the event is the One Bermuda Alliance’s consistent refusal to acknowledge the event for what it has been and what it is: an event that appeals to a narrow segment of society.
“The numbers, in terms of both the ratings and the ages of those who follow the sport, demonstrate that this is an event for what was Bermuda, not for what is Bermuda, and certainly not for what we hope to become.”
I must differ with the Premier. The Endeavour programme has created an extremely positive impact on our community. Our children are becoming avid sailors, inspired by AC35.
The Endeavour programme has enabled thousands of our Bermudian students to be able to sail owing to there being no barriers to access. It provides equal opportunity to all of our children.
AC35 came to Bermuda with the intention of leaving a sporting legacy and it did exactly that — creating an educational and sailing programme that is wholly dedicated to leaving that legacy, together with providing a strong, positive impact on our community.
It is unfortunate that very little positive acknowledgement has ever been given by the Progressive Labour Party to the One Bermuda Alliance government for winning the right to host AC35 and its residual benefits. AC35 was an event that brought employment opportunities and significant economic benefits to Bermuda, and continues to contribute socially and economically to the island through programmes such as Endeavour.
The PwC economic report clearly shows that AC35’s economic impact, as measured by contribution to GDP, amounted to $336 million, including more than $90 million of legacy tourism.
In April, the Premier revealed that a memorandum of understanding had been signed with Binance. Pursuant to the terms of this MOU, the Binance Charity Foundation is supposed to provide $10 million towards educational programmes related to fintech.
An additional $5 million is supposed to be invested in blockchain startups. Binance declared it would create at least 40 jobs in Bermuda, with at least 30 jobs for Bermudians, by developing its global compliance base here.
In May, the Government entered into an MOU with Medici Ventures, by which Medici Ventures will, among other things, create at least 30 jobs in Bermuda over a three-year period, make Bermuda the hub for the most leading-edge blockchain innovations, and develop a proper pipeline that will create basic, intermediate and advanced software development engineers.
The Premier was quoted as saying: “This government promised to usher in an era of business development that, at its core, would diversify Bermuda’s economy and provide opportunities for Bermudians to be more than spectators to economic success.”
When will Bermudians enjoy the benefit of these arrangements that this government has made? Where are the jobs and economic opportunities? When will the fintech legacy that Bermudians should be enjoying and benefiting from begin?
Bermuda’s hosting of the America’s Cup exceeded the original projections, and represented a return of more than five times what the OBA government actually invested. That is five times more than the country has enjoyed from fintech.
In fact, Bermuda should request that the Government produce a preliminary economic assessment of the impact that fintech investment has had on our economy, and the number of Bermudians who have been employed in the industry to date.
• Leah Scott is the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, the Shadow Minister of Tourism, Transport and Regulatory Affairs, and the MP for Southampton East (Constituency 30)