Delay to opening of Washington office
The reopening of Bermuda’s office in Washington DC has been delayed because of “increasing threats” from the European Union, the Senate heard yesterday.
Vance Campbell, a senator for the Progressive Labour Party, said the island had to increase its representation in Brussels and would be represented in Washington by lobbyists in the meantime.
His comments came after Senate president and independent senator Joan Dillas- Wright asked why the opening was deferred and how many staff would work at the Brussels office.
David Burt, Premier and Minister of Finance, announced in February that Bermuda would open an office in Brussels to protect the island’s interests as Britain prepared to leave the European Union.
Mr Campbell, the Junior Minister of Public Works and Government Reform, said: “With the increased pressure from the European Council through the published list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, it is evident that Bermuda needs to enhance its representation in Brussels.”
He added: “With the increasing threats coming out of the EU and the need to better represent Bermuda in those areas and put our case forward, there is a focus on the EU.
“Although we will still have our eye on Washington and the US, there is the need to shift some of that focus to the EU.
“But we will have representation in Washington during this transitional phase through lobbyists.”
Mr Campbell was speaking as he delivered the Budget brief for the Cabinet Office,
He said: “Initially there will be one full-time resource to get it started and they will be supported by the team in the London office as well as consulting resources.”
He said: “The office will, among other things, provide for a broad-based dialogue on economic and trade co-operation between the European Council and Bermuda.
“Steps will be taken to enhance knowledge and understanding between Bermuda and the EC on issue of economic and social development.”
Government Senate leader Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General, added that the AG’s chambers would be “providing a resource” to the Brussels office to make sure “that knowledge remains in Bermuda and we build our knowledge base here.”
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