Bermuda lifts award for crisis communication
Bermuda’s battle to ditch its tax haven label has won a string of top awards in Britain.
The country won a total of four British public relations industry awards for its fight to have Bermuda removed from a EU tax haven list.
Bob Richards, the Minister of Finance, said: “It was a team effort to set the record straight and protect Bermuda’s good name.”
He said the team included Kimberley Durrant, Government’s UK representative and Alastair Sutton, the EU advisor to Government in London.
But he added that Bermuda’s boosters abroad also included “Bermudians at home who work diligently on behalf of the Government and people of Bermuda.”
He singled out financial secretary Anthony Manders, assistant financial secretary for treaties Wayne Brown, and Pam Burrows, assistant financial secretary in the regulatory unit.
Bermuda won gold in the Corporate and Financial Awards for most effective crisis communication as it fought to have the island removed from the EU blacklist.
In addition, the work to restore Bermuda’s good financial name was honoured by The City and Financial PR Awards, the Sabre Awards and the Corp Communications Awards.
But Mr Richards said that, although a battle had been won, the war to avoid being branded a dodgy jurisdiction would go on.
“The threat has receded temporarily, but it’s not gone forever.
“I’m very pleased that the hard work the team and myself have done has been recognised — it’s a battle we’ve won, but there will be other battles in the war.”
The Government presented its arguments at the highest levels of European and UK government, and in the international media.
It won endorsement from Europe’s most influential voices, as well as retractions from countries said to have blacklisted Bermuda over a period of seven months from June 2015,
In October of that year, Bermuda was the first jurisdiction to spot that the list had been pulled by the EU, and it alerted its British network, using the opportunity to promote Bermuda’s credentials as a transparent, trans-Atlantic insurance centre, as opposed to a tax haven.
Kimberley Durrant, UK representative for the Bermuda Government, said: “It was essential to secure Bermuda’s rapid removal from the list, which was potentially so threatening to our commercial and geopolitical credibility.”
As part of a whirlwind tour of major European centres, including London, Mr Richards won plaudits for his performance when he sparred with Kirsty Wark, the heavyweight anchor on the BBC’s prestigious current affairs show Newsnight.
Mr Richards said: “I enjoyed dealing with the UK media — they totally underestimate us.
“A number of them hadn’t done their homework and it was easy to pick them off.”