It’s time we accept the facts about AC35
The America's Cup has been a political football, used as both a deflection and a rallying cry by the Progressive Labour Party.
A recent opinion by Crystal Caesar was the most recent attempt to belittle a successful event. In the article, the senator quotes the inaccurate amount “$100 million” and describes the event as “a raft-up for billionaires”. The actual forecasted amount was $77 million, which ended up coming in under budget at $64.1 million. That “raft-up” earned $336.4 million in revenue. The reviews were extremely positive for the security of the event and the country.
Why is everyone proud besides us?
I saw people working that had been unemployed for months. No amount of politics is worth turning our back on an event that employed our people, put us on the global stage, and stimulated our economy.
If you do not trust the One Bermuda Alliance, that's your preference, but let's talk about the findings of independent sources then.
A series called The Breakdown hosted by Toni Waterman at Bermuda Broadcasting Company released an episode on October 11, 2018. This episode was digging into the financial crisis that began in 2006. The America's Cup was mentioned in this segment as a “spike” in retail sales volume — the first one in five years, which has been followed by a steep decline, continuing into the present day.
A graph was published in The Royal Gazette by the Department of Statistics on August 17. This graph displayed the third consecutive month that year-on-year numbers have dropped in retail sales, the previous boost being attributed to the America's Cup event.
The lead-up to America's Cup World Series event in October 2016 also led to a sales boost of 1.9 per cent. Let's not forget the independent Economic and Social Impact Assessment of the 35th America's Cup, conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory Ltd that was submitted to the ACBDA, reinforcing the statistics cited earlier.
Taxi drivers, entrepreneurs, local entertainers, security firms and unemployed Bermudians all benefited.
The support of the fintech/cryptocurrency efforts by the PLP, and the lack thereof for AC35, can be summed up by racial divide. The same people who were demanding definitive results for the AC35 have now taken a “let's wait and see” approach regarding fintech. Why is that?
Both instances called for the people to have faith and support, they were both gambles, neither would present results until completed, and yet both initiatives are being received so differently.
As a tourist destination, we need to be open to all events that inject much needed money into our economy, regardless of which skin colour it caters to. If we remain divided on racial lines, our country will always be pulling in two separate directions, and our descendants will pay the price because we were unable to put our differences aside.
Had we come together for AC35, it would have been twice as successful. Let's not keep making the same mistakes.