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Burt and Cannonier clash over fintech jobs

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A total of 161 applicants based in Bermuda have applied for 27 jobs listed on a careers site for financial technology firm Bitcarbon, the company's founder and chief executive said last night.

Cormac Kinney, an American entrepreneur and software designer, said there had been 172 applications altogether for the posts listed on careers.bitcarbon.com.

Mr Kinney added: “We are encouraged by the response thus far and look forward to beginning application reviews in the coming weeks.

“Our jobs require many of the same skills needed for careers in the insurance industry, such as arbitration, member services, financial accounting and risk management.

“Because of that, our hope is that extensive training won't be required for the majority of the roles.”

Mr Kinney said: “Since Bitcarbon and the Diamond Standard Exchange have not yet submitted the final application for approval by the Bermuda Monetary Authority, I must restrain my natural enthusiasm to share more of our plans.”

He was speaking after the Opposition leader claimed the country's fintech sector had still to produce jobs for Bermudians.

Craig Cannonier said a response by David Burt, the Premier, to a parliamentary question on the number of Bermudians employed in the area was “tantamount to zero”.

Mr Cannonier earlier asked Mr Burt how many jobs had been created as a result of 44 incorporations of fintech companies in Bermuda.

He also wanted to know the job titles and the number of Bermudians employed in the industry.

A response to Mr Cannonier's question was on the House of Assembly Order of Business for December 7 but the written answer he received was dated December 17.

Mr Burt told Mr Cannonier then that job creation was a matter for the private firms involved and there was no obligation for the Government to collate the figures.

He also said that the query did not seek information on “a question of fact within the official cognisance of the minister” as set out in House Standing Orders, the rulebook for the House of Assembly.

Mr Burt added: “There is no means by which to properly determine a ‘direct result' in this case.”

He also directed the Opposition leader to a website for fintech firm Bitcarbon where he said “one such company has listed 27 jobs they intend to fill in Bermuda”.

Mr Cannonier told The Royal Gazette: “The Premier has decided he's not answering the question and uses a clause to essentially say that there is no means by which to properly determine a direct result in this case.”

He added: “What Mr and Mrs Bermuda want to know is, where are the jobs? And this answer is tantamount to zero.

“Zero jobs have been created, but this Premier is not willing to be transparent, is not willing to be direct about the answers to this question.”

Mr Cannonier added that Mr Burt's suggestion to look at job adverts was also “not answering the question”.

He added: “This should be concerning to Mr and Mrs Bermuda. If this is the direction that we're going, then the Premier has challenges on his hands.

“If we're going in the direction of creating a third pillar, fintech, then it is incumbent on this government to keep its finger on the pulse of what's going on.”

Mr Burt told MPs last Friday there were now 52 financial technology companies licensed in Bermuda, but that they were held back by “complications to banking within this particular sector”.

He said last night: “The Opposition leader may not like the rules in the House of Assembly, but they exist and apply to him like every other MP.”

Mr Burt added that there had been “positive economic signs” over the past year, including new incorporations in international and island business.

He added: “Where indicators are not performing as this economy needs them to, we are working with those sectors to repurpose and retool individuals for the jobs that will come in this economy.”

Mr Burt accused Mr Cannonier of trying to “bash new companies before they've even had the chance to commence operations”.

He added: “We committed to growing this economy for more and more Bermudians to participate and share in that growth and these incorporations are a critical step towards fulfilling that promise.”

The Premier tweeted on Monday that Mr Kinney had visited the Cabinet Office.

Mr Burt told followers that Mr Kinney discussed plans for the company's Bermudian-based fintech business and encouraged Bermudians to visit the online jobs list.

The positions advertised for Hamilton included receptionist, staff accountant, customer support managers and assistant to the executive team.

Positive signs: David Burt, the Premier (File photograph by Akil Simmons)
Where are the jobs: Craig Cannonier, Leader of the Opposition (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published December 21, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated December 21, 2018 at 7:11 am)

Burt and Cannonier clash over fintech jobs

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