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MPs to debate extending paternity and maternity leave

Immigration legislation tackling the plight of mixed-status families has been delayed another time, according to Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security.

The Bill was set for today’s order paper, but pulled after a heated discussion over the legislation’s readiness, Mr Caines said last night.

MPs are to debate legislation introducing paternity leave and extending maternity leave, as well as digital assets business amendments relating to the fintech sector.

MPs were expected to hear about progress on the island’s fledgeling casino industry after amendments to the Casino Gaming Act 2014 were tabled two weeks ago.

The Bill included sections that deal with employee disciplinary action as well as fees related to licensing and approval for operators.

Separately, a string of amendments to the Casino Gaming Regulations 2018 covered 88 pages and were posted on the Government’s Official Gazette this month.

Additions included regulations around casino advertising and promotions, rules relating to a cashless wagering system and the issue of exclusion orders.

A Ministry of Finance spokeswoman explained on Wednesday: “The tabling of the Casino Gaming (Miscellaneous) Amendment Act 2019, and gazetting of the Casino Gaming Amendment Regulations 2019 mark further steps forward towards establishing a gaming industry in Bermuda.

“The Minister will elaborate further during the debate of the Bill on Friday.”

The Tourism Investment Amendment Act 2019 was also introduced this month to apply to specific hotels using concession orders so that developers can apply for a tourism investment order.

It makes changes to the 2017 Act, which was designed to encourage developers of hotels, restaurants and other tourist attractions to invest in Bermuda by providing relief from customs duty and exemption from certain other taxes.

The Bill included a move to change the organisation that helps the minister approve hotel appraisers, who determine the market value of hotels for the purposes of the Act.

Instead of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, the Bermuda Business Development Agency will carry out that role, provided the legislation is passed.

In an explanatory note, the Bill explained: “The reference is being changed due to the tourism investment division of the Bermuda Tourism Authority transferring to the Bermuda Business Development Agency.”

Kevin Dallas, the BTA’s chief executive, said this week that the organisation was aware of the amendment and was supportive.

He explained: “When our former chief investment officer, Andy Burrows, accepted a role as CEO of the BDA last year, he was not replaced, and the one additional team member who worked with Andy to provide tourism investor concierge services was transferred over to BDA with him.

“Although BDA and BTA continue to work closely together to promote Bermuda, it is logical to update the legislation to reflect the administrative role BDA now has in supporting Tourism Investment Act applications.”