OBA seek answers on fintech jobs
The number of jobs that will be created by the financial technology industry was questioned by the Leader of the Opposition yesterday.
Jeanne Atherden, also the shadow finance minister, asked David Burt, the Premier and Minister of Finance, how many work permits had been granted under a fintech business work permit policy.
Ms Atherden, said The New York Times reported that iCash, a new cryptocurrency, would have an office and a head of operations in Bermuda, but continue to be based in Florida.
She asked Mr Burt: “Does this mean that just one person and one small office will be utilised by this firm?
“Is this going to be the same for all the fintech companies that have incorporated here?
“The Premier said in response to my Parliamentary questions that 21 fintech companies have incorporated here, does that mean just 21 jobs?
Ms Atherden added: “When I specifically asked in the House about how many work permits the companies would require and how many jobs would be created — in total and for Bermudians — I got no answer.
“I was interrupted by the Speaker who told me the questions were hypothetical.
“Yet, in a statement last May the Premier said that ‘this government promised to create an environment in which Bermudian businesses can thrive, opportunities for Bermudians can be created and in which capable, qualified Bermudians can earn opportunities to work, train and succeed at every level’.
“In the same statement he said Binance would create 40 jobs in Bermuda and that Medici Ventures, LLC would create at least 30 jobs in Bermuda over three years. We were told that Arbitrade would also create jobs.”
Ms Atherden said home affairs minister Walton Brown told the House in May that the fintech regulations allowed new fintech companies to receive immediate approval for five work permits in the first six months after they obtained the first fintech business work permit.
She asked: “Have any work permits been given or even applied for?
“The One Bermuda Alliance supports policies that create jobs for Bermudians and brings investment into our economy, but it is our duty as an Opposition party to raise these questions on behalf of all Bermudians.
“We are making key investments with their tax dollars on the line, all while trying to protect our existing business and jobs because of external threats.
“What is this government’s clear priority?” Ms Atherden asked. “We understand that legislation has been passed and more is forthcoming which will encourage fintech firms, but nonetheless there are still too many questions hanging over the Premier’s flagship policy.
“I want to add that I was very disturbed that the Speaker of the House answered for the Premier.
“It is not for the Speaker to answer Parliamentary questions, it is for the Premier or relevant minister.”
Mr Burt said last night that job and training opportunities for Bermudians will come as fintech companies incorporate on the island.
He said: “No new industry grows overnight but we are witnessing the formation of companies, the hiring of Bermudians, the creation of jobs in Bermuda and a concurrent increase in government revenues.
“The legislation this government has passed is the foundation that is creating the environment for job creation and ensuring that more and more Bermudians enjoy the success of that growth.”
Mr Burt added: “We expect that dated, vested interests will continue to do all they can to create doubt.
“But we continue to work hard every day fulfilling our promise to the people of Bermuda to diversify this economy and make sure that the success of these new industries is shared by them and not just a privileged few.”
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