Government does not have ‘magic wand’ to get instant results ‒ Premier
The Government is pressing ahead with plans to revitalise the economy — but does not have “a magic wand” to bring about instant progress, according to the Premier.
In an interview with The Royal Gazette this week, David Burt revealed that a deal to develop a vertical farming industry on the island has been signed and will be put before Cabinet this month.
But he acknowledged that many other initiatives contained in the Economic Recovery Plan were still at the consultation stage.
The Government first announced plans to build a single vertical farm — in which plants are grown in a controlled, indoor environment — in November 2020.
In March, Jason Hayward, the Minister of Economy and Labour, said that vertical farming had been selected as one of four central planks of the Government’s economic recovery plan.
Last month the minister revealed that the scheme had been expanded, with several farms now in the pipeline.
Speaking to The Royal Gazette on Monday, the Premier said: “On the matter of vertical farming, a deal has been done on that particular issue. It will be coming to the Cabinet shortly. I think it’s on the Cabinet agenda either this week or next week.
“But what’s most important to note, is that the vertical farming is not a one-off. As the Minister of Economy and Labour said, when we’re talking about boosting domestic food production, when we’re talking about the cheaper supply of affordable goods, we’re talking about employment and economic benefit and impact from that. That is something that is far more broad.”
The Economic Recovery Plan consists of 30 projects to create jobs and reduce the cost of living, and range from infrastructure investment to economic diversification.
Referring to plans to develop Bermuda’s waters into an economic zone, Mr Burt said: “We are consulting on a ground-breaking Marine Spatial Plan and Blue Economy Plan, which is seeking investment in matters of the Blue Economy, to make sure that Bermuda can position itself to take advantage of the Exclusive Economic Zone.”
He added that progress had been made on other initiatives, such as the establishment of a space ecosystem and the development of an economic empowerment zone in North East Hamilton.
He said: “So I don't accept the characterisation that persons may say that ‘nothing is happening, nothing is taking place’.
“It is important to note that you cannot just wave a magic wand and things happen. You have to recognise that we must follow these things in a deliberative fashion to make sure they actually yield the best long-term economic success.
“And that, I think, has been a challenge with governments before. Governments have said, ‘look at what happened with Morgan’s Point’. Governments have said, ‘we're going to press ahead, regardless of what other people say’ — and leave future governments with debt and with challenges which they have to resolve.
“It would be nice if I could wave a magic wand and make it happen, but the fact is that if you do not plan these things out properly, then you might end up making false starts. That is not the approach which we are going to take.”