Business leaders react to appointment of new Economy Minister
Business leaders reacted with carefully-worded optimism to Premier Paula Cox’s changing of the guard at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
The appointment of former Tourism Minister Patrice Minors to the job, with Senator Kim Wilson moving to Attorney General and Justice Minister, had been a topic of rumour for some time, according to Bermuda Public Services Union general secretary Ed Ball.
Asked if there had been any surprise at the switch, Mr Ball said: “None whatsoever. In fact, I have probably won some money.”
He added: “I am sure Ms Minors will reach out to all the unions, especially in light of these economic times and the number of people out of work. The fight still goes on.”
He congratulated the outgoing Minister for facing Bermuda’s rising unemployment numbers.
“That was a great achievement to see her, getting the numbers, which in 30-plus years in business was, I think, a first,” he said.
Mr Ball congratulated Sen Wilson as someone who was “always vocal in saying that Bermudians should up their game” in response to difficult times.
Bermuda Employers Council head Keith Jensen agreed that a change had been expected at the helm of Economy and Trade.
“The business concern is always that when Ministers change, so do their programmes and initiatives,” he said. “Initiatives are started and then dropped, and it’s unfortunate when that occurs.”
He praised Sen Wilson for Government’s decision to grant ten-year work permits, but described her as someone who, “while she listened, it didn’t always mean she agreed”.
“She understood the impact that certain immigration policies might have on investment,” he said.
“We look forward to working with the new Minister. Ms Minors comes from a background in tourism and knows what makes the economy work.”
Asked for comment, Chamber of Commerce head Stephen Todd said: “We expect that various initiatives started by the former Minister will be continued.”
He praised Sen Wilson’s attention to “immigration policy, unemployment, and finding ways to get Bermudians back to work”.
As Economy Minister, he said, “she did very well in a short period of time”.
Mr Todd expressed hope that the Island’s business community would see continuity rather than a change of track.
“I haven’t spoken to Minister Minors as of yet,” he said. “I have spoken with her in her former capacity and look forward to talking to her soon.”