Event organisers claim ʽthey are being left out in the cold’
Bermuda’s event organisers have accused Government of leaving them “out in the cold” while granting exemptions for overseas companies to host parties.
Keidric Smith, a spokesman for five local organisers, claims that multiple applications for their Covid safe, large-scale events have been met with a wall of silence.
US fashion brand Revolve brought about 70 social media influencers to the island on Sunday to take part in a series of events, including an illegal boat raft up. They were granted three exemptions for events this week.
Mr Smith said: “A number of local event organisers submitted Covid-compliant large-scale event or special permit requests to the Bermuda Government via the Ministry of National Security.
“Unfortunately, instead of responses, the only outcome of these submissions has been an increasing sense of frustration with the current process and lack of communication.”
Mr Smith issued a joint statement yesterday signed by Party People Entertainment, Nova Mas International, Code Red Bda, Wild Apache Promotions and Off Level Bda.
He said that in the few cases local organisers did receive responses from the Government, their applications were denied.
“The same local event organisers who have submitted requests and/or proposals have also been seeking advice, guidance, partnership and support from the Bermuda Government on an ongoing basis.
“Many were assured that they would receive a response to their proposals within a 30-day period but these time frames lapsed significantly without acknowledgement or feedback from the Government.
“In the few ’successful’ cases, organisers have been able to engage in dialogue with the relevant government department only for the request to be denied within 24 hours of the event.
“The Ministry of National Security’s exemption technical adviser has the rare distinction of being in communication with the organisers and has been helpful throughout this process but regrettably, he does not make the final decisions around exemptions.“
Mr Smith called on the Government to work with the event organisers to help them to “breathe life back into the local event industry” and provide guidance on how to successfully apply for large-scale locally run events.
He said that events such as Cup Match, Bermuda Carnival and music festivals which were cancelled last year inject millions of dollars into the local economy and support local businesses.
He added: “The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the livelihoods, financial security and safety of many of our citizens who work in the event industry and denied people access to these entertainment and stress-relief outlets.
“This pandemic is proving to be the most devastating challenge ever faced by the local event industry and the creative community as a whole.”
Government has been approached for comment.