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Premier strengthens ties with Azores

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Historic occasion: Michael Dunkley, the Premier, formally signing a memorandum of dnderstanding with Azores president Vasco Cordeiro (Photograph by José Antonio Rodrigues Pgra)

Michael Dunkley said Bermuda marked an historic occasion yesterday as he signed a memorandum of understanding in the Azores with Vasco Cordeiro, President of the autonomous region.

The Premier said the trip also enabled him to discuss practical measures with Mr Cordeiro, such as Bermudians being able to use their local drivers’ licences while travelling in the Azores.

While Azores Airlines would not be able to adopt a regular Bermuda flight, Mr Dunkley said he believed there was “real potential” for more travel between the two islands.

The trip has been important because of the “strong, centuries old” relationship linking Bermuda to the Azores, he said, and building on the links initiated by Mr Cordeiro’s visit last year.

Bermuda’s immigration reforms and its potential for the local Azorean community came up in his discussions with the president.

“They are in a very different position from ours with their much greater landmass, but they are appreciative of our policies. They are also appreciative of the impact that Azorean people have had on our lifestyle and our economy.”

The Premier told The Royal Gazette that he had grown up around many people of Azorean descent.

“I gained a tremendous respect for their culture, their hard work and their initiative,” he said, saying the island had also been “blessed” by similar ties to the Caribbean.

“We have to recognise these relationships and foster and grow them in the competitive world that we live in.”

A “hectic” schedule includes calling on the Pico Vermelho geothermal power station, where experts on other forms of renewable energy such as wind and solar power can be consulted, and the Sao Miguel Science and Technology Park.

Mr Dunkley said the meetings in the Azores would allow the delegation to see “if some of their policies can be transplanted to Bermuda”.

Building bridges: from left, Azores undersecretary Rodrigo Oliveira; Michael Dunkley, the Premier; Azores president Vasco Cordeiro; Attorney-General Trevor Moniz (Photograph by José Antonio Rodrigues Pgra)
Official talks: from left, Cabinet Secretary Derrick Binns; Attorney-General Trevor Moniz; Michael Dunkley, the Premier; Azores president Vasco Cordeiro; Azores undersecretary Rodrigo Oliveira (Photograph by José Antonio Rodrigues Pgra)