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Richards right to stand up for Bermuda

Minister of Finance Bob Richards (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Strong comments by finance minister Bob Richards in The Guardian newspaper were “right on” in defending Bermuda’s reputation, Michael Dunkley said, adding that he had discussed the interview with Mr Richards.

“We are here together, so we had a general conversation about the interview — the minister has been working on these matters for the whole tenure of this Government, and I have complete confidence in him.”

It was not the first time that Mr Richards floated the idea of pursuing independence should Britain’s interest run counter to those of the island. This resurfaced in The Guardian on Monday when he said Bermuda remained aligned with Britain but “if that changes then we will have to think of ourselves”. “I don’t support that remark,” Mr Dunkley said when asked if he had addressed that particular line in advance with the Deputy Premier. “The Bermudian people have been very clear that, at this stage, they are very comfortable with the current constitutional arrangement.”

He added: “It’s a never-ending battle. Look how we fought for Solvency II, our work with the UK’s former Prime Minister Cameron on corruption, and how Mr Richards got us off the blacklist in the European Union.”

The UK Government “has a good understanding of what Bermuda does — our tax regime has not changed for years”, Mr Dunkley said. “[But] because we are a smaller jurisdiction, some think they can push us around because they’re looking for revenue for themselves”.

“We will get our message across and stand up and lobby in the right areas.”

Mr Dunkley added that he had “talked more about Bermuda” today in interviews with the BBC, prior to his return to the island tomorrow.