Business leaders welcoming to new government
Bermuda's business community has said it is ready to work with the new PLP government to help build the economy.
The island's leading association for business leaders said it was looking forward to working with the incoming administration.
The Progressive Labour Party won the General Election on Tuesday by 24-12 to replace the One Bermuda Alliance government.
But John Wight, Chamber of Commerce president, warned that Bermuda faced a series of challenges — including an ageing population and need to increase the number of taxpayers.
He said: “One of the many challenges we face is an ageing and declining population and all sectors in Bermuda that offer local products and services need more consumers in Bermuda to survive.
“Without more taxpayers in Bermuda local businesses will continue to absorb too large a portion of the tax burden required to narrow the deficit.”
He added: “The Chamber meets regularly with the government of the day, as well as with the opposition.
“Bermuda-based businesses require economic, social and political stability to thrive and we look forward to working with the PLP, on behalf of our members, to that end.
“We applaud the PLP's stand on collaboration and believe that the leaders of this country have the opportunity to try and bring this country together.
“In particular, we look to government to provide clear, fair policies that create an environment conducive to keeping Bermuda working and our economy growing.”
A Chamber statement also said that as “an important stakeholder representing all Bermuda's businesses, the organisation looked forward to working with the new government on these and other issues “that affect members and Bermuda as a whole.”
The Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers aims to start a dialogue with the new government on a number of issues, including financial stability, education, employment, immigration and tax.
Bradley Kading, president of Abir, said: “Bermuda proudly hosts the oldest operating assembly of elected officials in the Western Hemisphere. Bermuda is a thriving, vibrant democracy as evidenced by the high voter turnout and spirited political debate.”
“We congratulate the PLP members on their election win. Abir is a non-partisan organisation and we have worked with both the PLP and the OBA on issues of critical importance to international insurance in Bermuda.
He said the substantive issues which Bermuda must continue to address, and on which Abir looked forward to a dialogue with the new government, include financial stability, education, employment, immigration, and tax.
“We will work towards continued bipartisan support for compliance with international insurance regulatory standards, critical anti-money laundering and antiterrorism financing legislation and OECD tax transparency and co-operation measures which are essential to continued growth in Bermuda's economy,” said Mr Kading.
“This involves compliance with bilateral agreements with our largest trading partners in the EU and the US as well as the all-important international tax transparency and co-operation agreements which commit Bermuda to information sharing with more than 100 jurisdictions in our interconnected economy. Succeeding with these ongoing critical work streams will also to be a priority for the new government since they will contribute to financial growth and stability.”
Mr Kading added: “The insurance sector provides 60 per cent of the international business jobs in Bermuda and Abir members provide 1,600 jobs here. International insurance contributes the largest share of Bermuda's GDP.”
Sylvia Oliveira, director of the Bermuda International Long Term Insurers and Reinsurers also congratulated the PLP on its victory and said the organisation looked forward to working with David Burt, the Premier, and his team.
She added: “Our sector offers material diversification for the Bermuda economy.
“Under the new government we look forward to growing our reputation as a significant contributor to the Bermuda economy and providing stable employment opportunities for Bermudians who wish to build a career in long-term insurance and reinsurance.”
And the Bermuda Business Development Agency congratulated the PLP and said it wanted to work with the new Government to maintain Bermuda's outside investment and boost the economy.
Ross Webber, CEO of the BDA, said: “We extend a warm welcome to Premier David Burt, his Cabinet and the new PLP administration, and look forward to working together to achieve national economic priorities for the benefit of all Bermuda residents.
“Following a commissioned review by PwC in 2012, the BDA was conceived by a PLP government and sensibly continued by the OBA. We have established a tremendous platform providing an effective conduit between government, regulators and the private sector.”
Mr Webber said the agency had charted a “clear path of active, co-operative business development, strongly supporting our entire business community to help retain and create jobs”.
He added: “Our mission empowers our economy. Indeed, feedback from the private sector is that we're providing Bermuda-based business with an essential jurisdictional partnership. We reaffirm that commitment to help established Bermuda companies draw investment here to flourish and grow. We are confident the incoming administration understands the value of the BDA's work and will commit the necessary resources to build on its achievements.
“Bermuda's political history has proven we can navigate through changes of government without disruption to the exemplary service we provide to our business sector. Our country continues to offer an appropriate taxation system, stable government, a conducive legal and regulatory environment, and a top-tier global reputation. The BDA will work with the government, regulators and private-sector stakeholders to ensure our vibrant market remains competitive and attractive, fuelling not only the IB sector, but also financial intermediaries and other service providers and ancillary businesses on the island.”
Mr Webber also said: “Our message to overseas investors is that Bermuda provides a reliable, well-regulated, safe harbour for business amid global disruption and uncertainty, and we will continue to do so.
“Bermuda is a unique, elite jurisdiction. Bermuda is different, and we should all be very proud of that legacy, and its future.”