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‘Rows about AC35 risk damaging reputation’

Political bickering over the America's Cup risks undermining the island's ability to host other large international events, according to Grant Gibbons, the Shadow Minister of Economic Development.

“It has clearly been politicised to a degree — it's unfortunate, particularly looking forward,” Dr Gibbons said. “Obviously there are other events that we would like to see.

“Based on the way the America's Cup went, Bermuda was very fortunate to receive the World Triathlon Series.”

Organisers of other large events “may think twice”, he said, if they had cause to fear getting embroiled in local political disputes.

While the Progressive Labour Party repeatedly signalled its support for the America's Cup, the regatta came under fire over its financing, with its ultimate benefit to the island questioned.

Dr Gibbons's remarks came as anticipation grew for the release of an extensive independent appraisal of the America's Cup, commissioned by the ACBDA in July with the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

According to the ACBDA, that report was finished and provided to Cabinet for review in mid-October, as planned.

The assessment, along with the ACBDA's legacy report, is expected to enter the public domain in “the very near future”, according to a statement issued by the ACBDA.

The PwC report is said to be an extensive document, and The Royal Gazette understands that its release to the public will require Cabinet approval.

Dr Gibbons expressed confidence yesterday that the report would prove “very positive” on the impact of 35th America's Cup.

“Based on the feedback we received from individuals and businesses during the May and June events, and afterward, I am sure the report will demonstrate that it had a very positive impact on Bermuda, economically and socially.

“We already know from published tourism figures for that period that there were significant increases over prior years.”

In the PLP's Throne Speech in September, plans were announced to convert the ACBDA into a Bermuda Event Authority, to build on the island's experience of hosting the event.

Making a splash: the America's Cup acction in June (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

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Published November 01, 2017 at 9:00 am (Updated November 01, 2017 at 7:03 am)

‘Rows about AC35 risk damaging reputation’

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