Kim Swan: Bloomberg's comments were 'outside normal diplomatic practices'
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg breached diplomatic protocol when he endorsed the One Bermuda Alliance Government at the christening of the Norwegian Breakaway, according to former United Bermuda Party leader Kim Swan.
Mr Bloomberg's comments, said Mr Swan were partisan and had “raised some eyebrows”.
Longtime Bermuda resident Mr Bloomberg said that the Island had been transformed since Craig Cannonier and the One Bermuda Alliance swept into office last December.
“They have a new government in Bermuda and I can just tell you, it's like night and day,” the mayor told a packed press gathering at a pier on the Hudson River.
“This has always been a wonderful island and today it is an awful lot better than before.
“It keeps getting better every time. People love this new government. And tourists will as well.”
Mayor Bloomberg, who owns a property in Tucker's Town, also described Bermuda as one of the most welcoming places he had ever visited.
This newspaper asked Premier Craig Cannonier who was at the ceremony whether he thought the remarks were appropriate, but we received no response.
The Progressive Labour Party also did not respond when asked for its reaction.
But Mr Swan was happy to wade in.
“Mayor Bloomberg's have come across as partisan, have raised some eyebrows and unfortunately placed one of our treasured off shore homeowners and frequent visitors in between the political divide — as Bermuda is a political jurisdiction where in December 2012 the election was decided by four votes in a constituency where the winner received less than 39 percent of the votes cast — hardly a landslide victory,” he said.
“Truth is the first five months of the OBA government have been questionable on the local front with decisions that put to the test strained partisan relationships; which does not bode well for a country already deeply injured by unprecedented economic hardship, with many of its people also embattled with an economic, social and racial divide that portrays two worlds as far apart as night and day.
“Notwithstanding, Mayor Bloomberg's comments highlight an important issue with regards to Bermuda's socio-economic structure — that is the importance to our country to attract high net worth people and their capital from overseas to our shores — which is a model that has served Bermuda well over many decades.
“Mayor Michael Bloomberg like Mr Ross Perot and many other high net worth, high profile international figures have long been invaluable friends to Bermuda — either as offshore commuter residents or as permanent residents or frequent visitors — their contribution to the Bermuda economy and Bermuda society has been immeasurable for many decades.
“Ironically, one of the findings of the Bermuda First report released in 2009 recommended that Bermuda actively solicit greater numbers of high net worth residents.
“Personally, I have great respect for Mayor Bloomberg — his financial and political accomplishments speak for themselves — but on this occasion I feel he has unnecessarily waded into the partisan political waters of Bermuda, albeit while doing so in his own constituency outside of Bermuda but outside normal diplomatic practices nonetheless.”