Premier sees satellite and ‘Blue Economy’ opportunities for Island
Economic growth will result from moving outside many people's comfort zones and will include orbital slots and the 'Blue Economy', as well as attracting international investment from countries like Bhutan to our shores, Premier Paula Cox told an audience of women last night.
A capacity crowd attended the 'Embracing Bermuda's Women!' event held at the National Sports Centre Pavilion which featured six Progressive Labour Party female candidates including Premier Paula Cox.
The event began with speeches from each of the candidates, who included Attorney General Kim Wilson, Dawn Simmons running in constituency 22, Minister of Economy, Trade and Commerce Patrice Minors in constituency 10, Member of Parliament Lovitta Foggo who is running in constituency three, and Renee Ming who is running in constituency two.
Audience members were invited to write down their questions and give them to the organisers who then asked the panel to respond to the issues raised. The wide ranging discussion covered matters as diverse as training opportunities available in Bermuda's prisons to price control over consumer goods.
There were several questions on aspects of the economy, and in one case Premier Cox was asked by an attendee: “How do you plan on creating jobs?”
She said: “The question speaks to how we are going to get to the Bermuda of the future — the vision of Bermuda and the future is an economy that is stronger and not overly reliant on one sector.
“Diversity,” she said. ”What does that mean? When I and other Ministers travel, it is to generate interest in Bermuda,” and said the tax exchange agreements which Bermuda has been signing with countries throughout the world are to help create economic opportunities for the Island. “It encourages business — when you get companies to come, it's because of our credibility, our reputation and the proper legislation.”
Other economic opportunities will come from thinking outside the box. The Premier said she saw hotel development and the 'Blue Economy' as a way forward for Bermuda. “We are an Island surrounded by water. You must take the opportunity to use these resources to generate economic opportunities for our people.
“You have to imagine a Bermuda really outside of its comfort zone,” she said.
“We are doing things differently,” she promised, and said that space is another area of opportunity. “Orbital slots and satellites and the Blue Economy are going to be important,” she said. “Greater economic activity — and the more people that are here, the more opportunity for everybody, and that is what we are excited about — that's where I see it going.”
She said Bermuda must have the ability to draw investors. “When you go to a country like Bhutan (sic), what do we have that may (draw business and investment)? “ She listed asset management, insurance and real estate as areas that may have appeal to investors from that part of the world.
“And what does investment of that sort mean to Mr and Mrs Bermuda?” she asked. “It means economic growth, jobs, and support services like restaurants and accommodations.”
The BRIC countries — or the 'Big Four': Brazil, Russia, India and China — are each at a similar stage of newly advanced economic growth, and offer opportunities to Bermuda because the recession has had less of an impact on those nations, the Premier explained. Latin America in particular is a promising economic partner to the Island, she said.
“What you see is not just international business, but tourism.” And in the Middle East, because it is so hot, people take two or three months off during the year, which makes them a good target market for Bermuda,” she explained.
Bhutan is a country that could offer much to Bermuda. “Bhutan wants to discuss tabling a transport agreement in February,” she said. “They are interested in Bermuda from a hotel perspective, but we must have the ability to move people.”
Organiser Tinee Furbert said she and fellow organiser Simone Bean had organised the event because they are interested in the political process and had wanted the candidates to talk about the issues which affect the women of Bermuda.
“No matter what colour we are, we are all dealing with the same things. We wanted to pinpoint the issues which we are all feeling in Bermuda,” she said.