Premier denies Revolve raft-up was authorised by government
The Premier has strongly denied claims that a controversial raft-up involving US high fashion firm Revolve and singer Shaggy was authorised by government.
David Burt said last night that all raft-ups were illegal and it was therefore impossible for the event to be approved.
He said: “The reason why permission was not given was because the Minister of National Security only has the power to approve large events, events larger than allowed in law.
“No Government official has the ability to approve something to take place which is unlawful,” he added at tonight’s Covid-19 press conference. “The suggestion that anyone in Government gave or issued approval for something to take place which is not lawful is not correct.”
Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, also confirmed that one of those involved in the event had attended in breach of Covid-19 restrictions.
Ms Wilson said that while all participants were vaccinated and tested on arrival, one person attended the event before receiving their airport test result.
She said: “All people that enter Bermuda are required to have a PCR test at the border and are required to remain in their place of residence until such time as they receive their results.
“In this particular case, this individual did not do that.
“We at the Ministry of Health learnt about it when everybody else did – pretty much when it was on the internet – and by the time we were able to explore it the individual had already departed.”
Mr Burt also confirmed that a Bermuda Tourism Authority employee was at the event, which organisers have maintained was authorised.
He said: “I don’t know if the BTA individual was on the various boats. I do understand that there was an employee of the BTA at the event.
“What is clear is there was a raft-up that took place. Permission was not given for boats to be tied together.”
The controversial boat trip was organised for Revolve, a US online fashion retailer that brought about 70 models and influencers to the island earlier this month as part of a marketing drive.
The raft-up also included a live performance by reggae star Shaggy.
The BTA confirmed that it assisted with organisers’ administrative filings, including group exemption applications, but insisted the applications did not include permission for a raft-up.
The organisers however said the raft-up was “not for recreational purposes, but rather a staged commercial event under the auspices, permission and knowledge of the BTA and other relevant Government departments with the view to promoting and marketing Bermuda”.
They added that all Covid-19 protocols for the event were met.
Renee Ming, the Ministry of National Security, said a police investigation into the event continues.