Minister upbeat on economic recovery plan progress
Overseas investors have made “material commitments” to developing a property in the City of Hamilton, the Minister of Economy and Labour told MPs.
Giving an update on the economic recovery plan, Jason Hayward told the House that the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation had “experienced success with establishing residential developments in the east, west and central parish economic empowerment zones”.
He added: “While initiatives of this type take time to gain the desired traction, significant steps have been made, particularly with properties in the Pembroke EEZ.
“Overseas investors have expressed interest and made material commitments to redeveloping an existing property in the south-northeast of the City of Hamilton. This success will be a catalyst for additional investments.”
His statement did not specify who the investors were or which property was involved.
In March last year, Mr Hayward highlighted four key areas to help stimulate economic growth: casinos, improvements at the Tynes Bay incinerator, vertical farming and the development of North East Hamilton.
The One Bermuda Alliance leader, Jarion Richardson asked Mr Hayward: “Would the minister be able to clarify if the four priorities as reported in March 2022 are still the four priorities for the economic recovery plan — vertical farming, casinos, upgrades to Tynes Bay and the extension of the EEZ.”
Mr Hayward replied that his statement to MPs had provided an update on Tynes Bay as well as an expansion of the EEZ.
He added: “As a matter of vertical farming we continue to work with the BEDC to ensure that we have a vertical farming industry in Bermuda.
“In addition to that, as part of the integrated agricultural strategy we will have a strategy as to how we use technology to improve our local food production.”
On casinos, Mr Hayward added: “As it pertains to casinos, we are currently working through that particular item.
“We know the challenges that we have experienced with the banks. We had met a roadblock as it pertains to the banks having the ability to bank casino proceeds, but I am pleased to also report that those conversations are not stalled and have progressed so that dialogue is ongoing.”
The minister said the ERP combined fiscal responsibility with a clear path to growth, employment and more significant economic development under seven themes with 30 commitments under those themes.
“Of the 30 commitments, just over two-thirds, or about 20 initiatives, have been successfully implemented with measurable outcomes and over 80 per cent of the initiatives are on track,” he said.
“Some of the initiatives remain a work in progress due to the enormity of the projects. One such example is the Tynes Bay waste to energy project, a massive infrastructure project of national significance.
“This project involves a partnership with KPMG, working with the Ministry of Public Works technical officers to bring this plan forward.
“The anticipated outcome is a refurbished Tynes Bay that burns trash more efficiently, reuses wastewater, produces energy to power the plant and enables the Government to sell surplus energy to Belco.”
Mr Hayward highlighted that Google was planning to land a new subsea cable in Bermuda and that steps had been taken to lower the cost of many medicines.
“Another major success of the recovery plan has been the international response to the economic investment residential certificate.
“This initiative, which has proven very attractive, is now in its third year and has seen several individuals and their families take advantage of it.
“The measurable economic benefit of this initiative is currently standing at just over $450 million, with over 111 persons holding a certificate,” he said.
EIRC recipients are required to invest a minimum of $2.5 million into Bermuda’s economy.
The minister also highlighted the introduction of the $16.40 an hour minimum wage as well employment schemes.
“Regarding the plan's employment-related actions, the success, especially that experienced by Bermuda's young people, has been impressive.
“The Department of Workforce Development has created several training opportunities for Bermuda's young people.
“This year, young Bermudians have taken advantage of asphalt training, solar panel construction and installation and several international business and local company employee Internship programmes. These training opportunities directly lead to employment opportunities.”
• To view Jason Hayward’s full statement, see Related Media