Conspiracy theory or plain old common sense?
Do you consider yourself a conspiracy theorist? No? Well if, like many other residents and visitors, you think David Burt’s Travel Authorisation requirements are just not working, and need to be scrapped, then you are, apparently.
So said Progressive Labour Party education minister Diallo Rabain in Parliament in June. Seeking to justify the TA, the minister said this: “For every bad story, there are good stories as well. So it’s just a matter of finding that balance … it’s a foregone conclusion that the TA will remain. That has been stated. No matter how many times the MP for Constituency 10 [Michael Dunkley] says the TA needs to be removed, it will stay. … So let’s see how we can move forward with it … rather than continue trying to rouse up some conspiracy theory that it’s not working for everyone, when that is simply not the case.”
Well, there you have it. It is just some conspiracy theory, apparently. Jaw-dropping, no?
So far off the mark is the education minister’s statement that even a PLP backbencher felt compelled to disagree. The next speaker, who is a PLP MP, pointed out that when he had worked in tourism, “we always viewed one complaint as one complaint too many”.
Now that one hits the bull’s-eye.
The Government is quite wrong. With tourism, it is never a question of balancing good experiences with bad experiences. Our collective goal must be to eliminate any bad experiences. If we want more tourists in Bermuda, then we need to make it as easy as possible to get here. If we want them to come back, then we must eliminate the bad experience. We must jettison the TAF now: lift this foolish barrier to entry.
Trust in Bermuda
Bermuda has recently seen the return of in-person conferences, with a pair of international conferences, both involving the trust sector.
Bermuda is a well-respected leader in the global trust industry. These events not only showcase our island, but they involve trust experts from across the globe gathering here, together with Bermudians in the sector. I was fortunate to attend one of the conferences. The Minister of Economy and Labour opened, and his speech was right to highlight Bermuda as the “gem of the Atlantic” with a broad cross-section of thought leaders.
When looking to expand your business, there is an expression: “Grow what you know.” Bermuda’s existing (and excellent) trust sector is a solid foundation which we can and should continue to build upon. It was great to see minister Jason Hayward lending his support. When it comes to our efforts with the outside world, we all need to work together for Team Bermuda.
Truer words were never spoken
Returning to the theme of “bizarre comments made in Parliament”, here’s another corker for you. This one might have escaped notice at the time, yet it is well worth repeating for posterity.
In prior articles, I have at times quoted Zane De Silva. The Southampton East MP can be notable for his fiery speeches and the occasional zinger. Sometimes, though, the Honourable Member’s words get the better of him.
This latest example was his attempt to defend the beleaguered Premier. Seeking to assure the House of Assembly that Mr Burt actually has staying power, Mr De Silva said this:
“Well, let me reassure the Opposition leader and his [OBA] colleagues and everybody else in Bermuda that Premier David Burt is going nowhere — nowhere in a hurry.”
Probably not quite what the MP meant to say about his PLP leader, althought many of us in the Opposition would agree.
• Scott Pearman is the Shadow Minister for Legal and Home Affairs, and the MP for Paget East (Constituency 22). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org