Finance minister happy’ to meet Kempe
Curtis Dickinson has accused Nick Kempe of playing “political football” as the Government works to protect the international business sector.
Mr Kempe, the Shadow Minister of Finance, questioned what the Government had done to ensure companies expand their footprint in Bermuda instead of going elsewhere.
However Mr Dickinson, the Minister of Finance, responded that all Mr Kempe should have contacted him if he wanted to know the action the Ministry was taking.
Mr Dickinson said: “I am happy to meet with him, just like I met with the Opposition before the debate, and my predecessor the Premier met with the Opposition on no less than three occasions in 2018 to ensure that they were kept up to date on this important matter.
“As the Minister of Finance I will lead this Ministry with the seriousness it requires and I would recommend that the Shadow Minster understand that not everything needs to be the subject of a politically charged press release.
“Our future is at stake and we need statesmanship now, not partisanship.”
In December, the Government passed the Economic Substance Act 2018, which is intended to meet the commitment made by Bermuda to address certain concerns raised by the European Union’s Code of Conduct Group in relation to the need for relevant businesses to demonstrate economic substance in Bermuda.
In an opinion piece, published in Saturday’s edition of The Royal Gazette, Mr Kempe praised the work of the Government in passing legislation which met the “constantly moving goalposts” of the EU.
But he asked what the Government was doing to ensure the island benefits from the situation.
Mr Kempe said: “I believe the Government shares the hope that some good could come from EU substance, but hopes and plans are two different things. To turn lemons into lemonade, you need sugar. But where is the Government’s plan?
“The Premier has known this was coming for a long time, having committed to the compliance route in a letter to the EU’s Code of Conduct Group in November 2017.
“Most of proving substance has to do with boots on the ground. What incentives have been rolled out to ensure that those sectors of international business — besides insurance and banking, which are most likely to be able to meet EU substance requirements — will choose to expand their footprint here as opposed to somewhere else?”
In a statement, Mr Dickinson responded that the Government had repeatedly met with the OBA about their approach.
He added: “These changes are important, but there is nothing to be gained for Bermuda by telegraphing our plans to our international competitors via the press.
“I would urge the Leader of the Opposition to, as best he can, restrain the exuberance of his shadow finance minister, and help him to understand that partisanship should stop at the water’s edge when dealing with these important international matters.”
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