Dunkley: Bermuda must not isolate itself
Bermuda must refrain from isolating itself and pay attention to the outside world, Michael Dunkley has insisted after returning from London.
The Premier visited the British capital from Monday to Thursday to attend the annual Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council Meetings.
Yesterday, he told the House of Assembly: “While we may be blessed to live on a beautiful island in the middle of the Atlantic, and while it may be romantic to think of ourselves as living in another world, the reality is that we are subject to, and need to be responsive to, forces that emanate outside of our 22 square miles.”
Elsewhere in his ministerial statement, Mr Dunkley conceded that the most contentious issue of his trip was beneficial ownership.
Britain has placed pressure on Bermuda to publish a list of the beneficial owners of offshore firms, something Mr Dunkley has previously claimed would be “attempting to solve a problem that does not exist”.
He said: “We have publicly stated our position on this on many occasions.
“We believe that the UK understands that Bermuda is a world leader with regard to protections against money laundering and illicit financing. We are proud of our record and stand firmly on it.”
Mr Dunkley added that during talks with James Duddridge, the British minister responsible for the Overseas Territories, other subjects discussed included the appointment of Bermuda's next Governor and enhanced maritime security.
As well as courting the heads of London insurance companies, Mr Dunkley said he took the chance to promote the Island as a tourism destination.
He met with the Times Group, which is planning a special supplement on Bermuda for early next year, and attended a breakfast with travel writers from publications including The Independent, Tatler and National Geographic Traveller.
“The Government takes every opportunity to tell Bermuda's story, and it is an exciting story to tell,” said Mr Dunkley, who was accompanied on the visit by Bob Richards, the Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance.
“Bermuda's representation is only enhanced by cultivating relationships with those with whom we wish to do business,” he added.