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Simons: Let’s take heed of Ace boss Greenberg’s concerns

Bermuda should sit up and take note of the comments made by Ace chairman Evan Greenberg, who has made it clear the Island has serious work to do to improve and strengthen its attractiveness as a place to do business.The Royal Gazette, published on Wednesday.does not seem to be listening to key stakeholders. One only need look back at the Bermuda First Report from 2009 to see that business leaders continue to say the same thing: they want a more welcoming and predictable business environment, with a skilled work force, strong education system, public safety and government responsiveness to business needs.

That is the view of Cole Simons, Shadow Minister for Business Development, who said that Mr Greenberg's words, no matter how carefully phrased, left no doubt that international businesses feel the country's official attitude toward them has been unwelcoming.

Mr Simons was responding Mr Greenberg's comments in an interview with

“It is extraordinary that this leading businessman, head of one of the Island's most successful and prominent international companies, could say that Bermuda should not regard business ‘as a source of evil',” he said.

“Such words do not emerge in a vacuum, and it reflects a major mistake in judgement by the Government, given international businesses' preeminent role in the economy, generating two thirds of Bermuda's total economic output.

“Mr Greenberg's concerns amounted to a strong warning that present trends are straining the attributes that originally attracted businesses to locate here.

“It is not just about the need for a change of attitude within the Government - and we hope the new Premier understands the importance of that - but also for broader changes to improve our competitive position in the global economy. Right now, our position is not as strong as it was.”

Mr Simons said that in order to improve Bermuda's situation, he would like Mr Greenberg's comments to be used as a starting point to re-visit what is required to move forward, ensuring that business conditions are favourable for the companies operating here.

“Our economic future - jobs and income - depend on it,” he said.

“My concern with Mr Greenberg's remarks is that Bermuda

“A few weeks ago, my colleague Bob Richards said we need to ‘stop the rot' in the international business sector. No other single action, he said, could do more to improve the Island's economy. It's time we focus on this challenge. It's eminently solvable. The rewards of doing the right thing are jobs, prosperity and security.”

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Published December 06, 2010 at 1:00 am (Updated December 09, 2010 at 2:32 pm)

Simons: Let’s take heed of Ace boss Greenberg’s concerns

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