Simons wants to see ‘progressive’ Bermuda
Bermuda has to work hard to create a more “welcoming and progressive society” to attract the brightest Bermudians back to the Island.
This is the view of Andrew Simons who was yesterday confirmed as the One Bermuda Alliance's candidate for constituency 13 — Devonshire North Central.
The senior risk analyst for Ariel Reinsurance and son of former United Bermuda Party Cabinet Minister Gerald Simons said that addressing issues such as marriage equality and making Bermuda attractive for families to settle would help.
He told The Royal Gazette: “We have got big demographic changes — Bermuda's population is ageing, we have fewer young people being born. We have folks who go away to school and don't come back for various reasons. If you are running a small retail store at Christmas and there are ten per cent fewer people on the Island and the people who are here are older and don't spend as much then you will have less economic activity.
“Those are hard changes to reverse and immigration is always a sensitive subject so either you get more Bermudians to come home, and I would say making Bermuda a more welcoming, progressive society helps with that, and issues of marriage equality tie into that. So Bermuda has to be as welcoming as possible for Bermudians so our brightest folks come back. It has to be a place where people want to build families and settle down.”
Sharing his economic projections for the Island, Mr Simons said that while he was confident Bermuda could turn things around for the better, he said it would take a lot of work.
“I work in reinsurance and we are still in a soft reinsurance market,” he explained. “The rates are low so local reinsurers are not making lots of money because there is lots of competition and there have not been any large events. As a consequence there could be further consolidation. Reinsurance is the mainstay of the economy and the outlook there is still uncertain.
“The America's Cup is a legitimate project to help boost tourism. There were more guests for the World Series events and I think, more importantly, there have been lots of smaller events that are coming to Bermuda. The Moth Regatta is an example of that and I think those projects will pay off.
“I am hopeful, but there is a lot of work to do.”
Mr Simons hopes to replace Glenn Blakeney, who announced his retirement this month; he will run against Diallo Rabain, the Opposition Leader in the Senate, who was chosen as the Progressive Labour Party's by-election candidate. Born in Spanish Point, Mr Simons graduated from Berkeley Institute before attending Stanford University. He has also worked as a risk analyst and catastrophe manager for Arch Capital and must step down from his role as Acting Captain in the Royal Bermuda Regiment in order to serve his constituents.
The Parliamentary Election Act 1978 states that in the case of a by-election the polling day must “be a day not earlier than 28 days after the issue of the writ nor later than two months after the occurrence of the vacancy which occasioned the issue of the writ.” No writ has yet been issued for Mr Blakeney.
Mr Simons is a founder of the online repository for public government information www.bermuda.io and says he is a strong advocate of having a transparent Government and informed electorate.
“I am very interested in seeing greater participation from everybody. I want people to scrutinise the minute details of every aspect of Government. I want them to not only look at the reports of the Auditor-General from two months ago and ask difficult questions of me and others, but also to go back 10 years and 20 years to see the problems that were identified from the '90s or early 2000s that may not have been fixed.”