MPs disagree about the state of tourism
The Opposition One Bermuda Alliance are doom and gloom merchants who only criticise, according to Environment Minister
Mr Bean was taking issue with Shadow Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell’s “gloss” and “spin” accusation over the 2011 arrival figures recently announced by Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert.
Mr Crockwell said the record cruise ship arrivals masked the fact air arrivals increased only slightly over 2010, Bermuda’s worst recorded figures ever.
Mr Bean said: “Our Tourism Minister presented the facts on arrivals the way they are. But yet somehow, some way, the Opposition being consistent they find that the cup is half empty instead of being half full.
“At some point we have to rise a little higher than the petty political discourse as it relates to the tourism industry. We spent a whole debate two weeks ago weeping and moaning about all the negatives. I got up and presented what I felt we needed to do to move away from the stiff neck, hypocritical conservatism that besets this Country, that we all know hinders any future development in any marketplace.
“People are looking for action. There’s a saying that misery loves company. Are you all that miserable, being perpetual Opposition politicians? As a person thinketh they becometh.”
Speaker of the House
Stanley Lowe told Mr Bean to stick with statistics. But Mr Bean continued: “All I hear from the Opposition is gloom and doom and it’s consistent. No matter what the issue is, Mr Speaker, the Opposition are professional problem seekers and not once do they ever offer any constructive solutions.”
Shadow Education Minister
Grant Gibbons rose to his feet to call for a point of order and said: “I think the debate has deteriorated, the Honourable Member is misleading the House. We’ve offered any number of solutions on this side and that’s a little unfair even at this late hour.”
The Speaker upheld the point of order but Mr Bean continued: “Do any of us think by standing up in this House and speaking doom and gloom, spinning it and putting a negative spin on the facts achieves anything?”
That prompted another point of order, this time from
Shawn Crockwell who said: “We have only spoken the facts. How is that gloom and doom when it’s the facts and he’s misleading the House? The Minister said the overall numbers were the second highest in our history and that tourism is going forward in a positive direction, that’s what we refute.
“We are setting the record straight that it’s not going in the right direction, that this Government thinks otherwise, then so be it.”
That brought Health Minister
Zane DeSilva to his feet with a point of order. “The numbers are not going the right way, it might just be one percent but would you prefer them to go the other way? The cruise ships have been a lifeline during these tough economic times, they may not want to admit ask the taxi drivers, ask the people in Somerset Village.”
Mr Bean maintained Mr Crockwell was giving his own opinion and not facts.
“Everything he speaks of is framed in dark clouds, it’s framed with the intention to destroy the spirit of the people. As a boatsman, I can’t tolerate people who are on the boat who are so desirous to become the captain of the boat that they would sink the boat just to get to the cockpit. And that’s my whole point.”
Premier and Finance Minister
Paula Cox in closing out the session expressed the view that because Budget Day is on Friday, perhaps the OBA members needed all the rancour to get it out of their system before the budget.
But on the issue of tourist arrivals she said: “The Minister of Tourism is not on the Island today, he will be back soon. What he will tell this Honourable House is the fact that he has been working and building on the success of the work done by his predecessor, Minister [Patrice] Minors.
“But he has also been working to build strong pacts with our social partners, the unions, and he has spoken about the fact that we do have to find a new way of doing things; a way to help reduce the costs and also encourage foreign direct investment.
“While others to our south may talk about being competitive and looking at us with a lean and hungry look, we are out there getting the job done. So Mr Speaker, as we tonight close out on the prelude, the precursor to Budget 2012-13, we will have ample opportunity to debate the issues of strategic, national economic interests.
“But what I also hope we don’t hear is the level of rancour that we heard tonight, and it’s understandable. We’ve been talking about issues which are key, issues about moving the Country forward in terms of education, the future and our children.
“But if we really want to talk about being competitive and Bermuda being able to walk forward together, then we’re going to have to park the egos wherever they emanate from and decide that we are going to work together so that we can provide the necessary hope and help.”