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Where MPs stand on tax concessions

Principles: Curtis Dickinson, the former finance minister (File photograph)
MPs on both sides of the House weighed in on the debate on the Fairmont Southampton Hotel Act 2022. Here’s what they had to say.

Vance Campbell: Minister of Tourism: “This Government is determined to provide dignified work and economic security for its people. I urge the unanimous support of Honourable Members. This is the “new mindset of change” we must embrace. We have a responsibility to channel and deliver hope for the people of Bermuda; not to derail growth and opportunity against a backdrop of worn-out, tone-deaf arguments that are insensitive to the needs and aspirations of the people we serve.

“We are on the cusp of that social renewal and economic recovery that this Island so desperately needs and is counting on us to deliver.“

Craig Cannonier, Shadow Minister of Tourism: "I do believe everyone is at the table today in earnest to ensure that Bermudians and Bermuda benefit from this particular industry. There's no one in the OBA who is refuting that we need to get something done at the Southampton Princess and that this is of national importance. If this deal, as he has said, is so good, then we should be selling it.

David Burt, Premier: "The central theme of the Bill before this honourable House, and a fundamental negotiation position of the Ministry of Finance on behalf of the Government of Bermuda is, and has been, maximum protection to appropriately mitigate risk.

“This Government learnt from the past and focused on ensuring there were protections in place. These developers understand what is necessary to make a hotel work, and they have experience in Bermuda.

“Without this Bill, the Government loses, business loses, families lose, union members lose, individuals lose and Bermuda loses. On the other hand, if the hotel is redeveloped, the Government and Bermuda will benefit."

Lawrence Scott, Minister of Transport: “It is disappointing that the Opposition are out in the press stating that they support the Bill on the one hand and then point out all the negative aspects. For the Opposition to suggest that this Bill represents a bad deal is laughable. Is Bermuda really open for business? This Bill says yes. Anyone who says otherwise is either misinforming themselves or misinforming the public.”

Jache Adams, PLP MP: “Press on is exactly what this Government has and will continue to do. Today is a fantastic day. This Bill won’t be perfect for us and it won’t be perfect for the people we are negotiating with, but the best deals are often when both sides can find a way to come to the middle for the greater good.”

Curtis Dickinson, PLP MP: “This legislation is among the reasons for my standing down. I want to make clear I am supportive of a level of financial support for this project.

“It is indeed possible to not support this Bill but still be in support of the redevelopment of the Fairmont Southampton. In this honourable House we are a democracy and we are entitled to differences of views. Given the Government's fiscal position, the proposed legislation is too generous.

“What I am looking for is a solution that seeks to provide support while protecting the interests of the people of Bermuda. I do not believe this legislation does that as we have not been given sufficient information to make that determination.”

Jason Hayward, Labour Minister: "I support this Bill 100 per cent. Anybody who has some sort of rational though can conclude that this may not be the best deal for the country, but it is a good deal. In my former life I was a negotiator and I recognise there’s give-and-take, but we gain more from this deal than we give away.

“The former Minister of Finance was in the best position to ensure we got the best deal for the people of Bermuda and walked away from that position.“

Susan Jackson, Shadow Transport Minister: “We have got to take our time. The hotel has already been closed for two years - what’s another six months in the scheme of things? We have to make movement toward the reopening of the hotel but we do not have to bow down to the first thing that comes our way. We’ve simply rolled over and let the first person to come on board take over.”

Jason Wade, PLP MP: “It irritates me to no end that the Opposition doesn’t support this Bill and would like us to wait another six months to push this Bill through. I receive calls from constituents daily asking when it will take off and when can we apply for jobs. I am focused on getting Bermudians back to work. C30 supports the redevelopment of the Southampton Princess.”

Zane DeSilva, PLP MP: “We have been working on this for two years and I want to take this opportunity to thank our Premier. This will allow us to put shovels in the ground and put people to work. I don’t care if the guarantee was $200m. GenCom has a worldwide track record and I will go with them anytime. They have invested millions in Tuckers Point and they will invest more. Do we want to tell them we are not ready yet? No.”

Walter Roban, Deputy Leader: “The tourism market has changed, the world around us has changed and the approach and attitude towards our island has also changed. We can’t make certain assumptions. We as a jurisdiction have to respond to the environment that we are faced with… we have to mitigate negative impacts. We are part of a global tourism market and we have to respond - we have to make ourselves attractive to foreign investment.”

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Published May 07, 2022 at 7:52 am (Updated May 07, 2022 at 7:52 am)

Where MPs stand on tax concessions

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