Opposition speaks of Tourism Authority plan as new candidates are revealed
The creation of a Tourism Authority and the establishment of an independent Contractor General were among the One Bermuda Alliance goals declared as the Opposition presented new election candidates Peter Barrett and Pat Gordon-Pamplin.
They were introduced by Opposition Leader Craig Cannonier, who called Ms Gordon Pamplin “an accountant who holds a senior position in the international business industry”, and “a fighter who stands for fair and equal treatment”.
He called Mr Barrett someone “relatively new to politics” who “represents the kind of passion, commitment and idealism Bermuda needs to get back on track”.
Ms Gordon-Pamplin described Mr Barrett as a recent member of her Shadow tourism cabinet. Asked how the OBA intended to set up a Tourism Authority, she said: “We will just do it.”
She said the Island was not making progress on the tourism front, saying: “We have people in place that, however well-intentioned, do not have the expertise.”
Ms Gordon-Pamplin said she was honoured to have been given the nod by the party’s election committee to run as an OBA candidate in Paget West, Constituency 23. Mr Barrett is to run in Hamilton East, Constituency 5.
A chartered accountant, Mr Barrett introduced himself as “familiar with doing business in Bermuda”.
Born and raised in Shelly Bay, he called himself a descendant of a long line of Bermudians who lived in the area.
“In my recent work experience, I have been involved in the investment fund industry, where I have managed financial reporting and overseen anti-money laundering compliance,” he added.
Mr Barrett joined the Bermuda Democratic Alliance in 2009, and then the OBA in 2011. Saying that Bermuda had become “locked in a kind of downward spiral of debt, crime and job losses”, Mr Barrett said he believed an independent Tourism Authority would bring life back to the industry.
He added: “I believe that the establishment of an independent Contractor General will do away with the crony capitalism that has favoured the few, and left many thinking that they can’t get a fair shot at Government business.”
The new candidate also extolled the anti-gang measure Operation Ceasefire.
Asked if he thought setting up a Tourism Authority might put Department of Tourism employees out of the job, Mr Barrett said it would not necessarily make people redundant.
“Certain people in the Department of Tourism are doing the right thing,” he said, “but their hands are tied.”
Ms Gordon-Pamplin, meanwhile, pledged her party would help “reset the moral compass”.
“We are at a crossroad in our political development,” she said. “Bermuda will have the opportunity to go to the polls within the next few months, and will have a choice for the direction in which we should go.”
Asked what she would do if the OBA did not win a general election, she said she would continue to serve the community, but added: “All I can say is we will all get carpet burn we will need to get on our knees and pray.”
On the topic of the upcoming Budget, she said: “Nothing will surprise me, because there is no money. Government will find itself between a rock and a hard place.”
She said that not to fund tourism effectively would be “a travesty” and would leave Bermuda with “a peg-leg economy”.