City Deputy Mayor invites former Saudi minister to Island
Hamilton Deputy Mayor Donal Smith has met with Saudi Arabia's former economy minister in New York City and discussed ways in which they might strengthen Bermuda's business and cultural relationship with Saudi Arabia and other financial markets of the Gulf States.
The meeting took place on Thursday and involved Corporation of Hamilton secretary Edward Benevides, who was also in New York.
It is hoped Sheik Abdullah Alireza will take up an invitation to come to the Island to attend a special luncheon and series of meetings hosted by the Corporation.
Although separate and unconnected, the encounter between the men comes on the eve of a Premier Craig Cannonier's attendance at an Islamic financial conference in London next week. Deputy Mayor Mr Smith said he wanted Sheik Alireza to experience Hamilton and the Island's “expertise” and “to discuss the ways in which we might enhance Bermuda's role within the Middle East in general and in Saudi Arabia in particular”.
Mr Smith said Sheik Alireza has expressed a keen interest in visiting.
Pointing out that a number of firms in Hamilton already do business with the Middle East, Mr Smith added: “It is the right time, we believe, to have the Corporation of Hamilton play a more proactive role in joining the government to improve Bermuda's connections to world markets like the Middle East and for the remainder of this year, and certainly next year, we intend to reach out vigorously to world business leaders like Sheik Alireza and to have them know first-hand the many opportunities the City and the Island affords.”
He said Bermuda has always been a logical conduit between the US and the Middle East markets.
“We certainly have much in common with the Gulf States in terms of our organisational structure and as a leading international financial centre able to anticipate and complete an array of financial and insurance related business.
“The City is home to such world-wise talent and we have so much to offer them from our financial services and, of course, we can provide world class opportunities in our hospitality sector.
“But we must be more vigorous in the ways in which we promote these opportunities. Hence our meeting in New York with Sheik Abdullah Alireza.”
Mr Smith added: “We are delighted to learn that Premier Cannonier will be in London to attend an Islamic financial conference and we look forward to joining with him and the Minister of Finance in sharing ways to creating a greater awareness of the many opportunities that Bermuda affords Islamic and so many other the world investors.”