Dunkley calls for TA form contract to be made public
The Opposition has applauded news of the Government’s decision, announced after the Throne Speech, to drop the Travel Authorisation form with its $40 fee as of November 13.
But Michael Dunkley, the shadow health minister and an outspoken critic of the form, again called for the contract behind it to be tabled in Parliament, saying the restriction had done lasting damage to the island’s tourism.
“A lot of money went into private coffers which in the spirit of accountability and transparency needs to be understood,” Mr Dunkley told The Royal Gazette in the wake of the news on Friday.
Mr Dunkley insisted that the island had lost out on travel, including group visits related to international business, because the TAF hampered entry to the island at a time when competitor jurisdictions were easing their restrictions against Covid-19.
“Why couldn’t we get rid of it earlier?” he said. “Maybe the contract didn’t allow that.”
While Mr Dunkley allowed that the travel restrictions had helped early in the pandemic, and he said he “applauded” the Government's move to drop the TAF this month, he maintained that the requirement should have been done away with ahead of the summer months.
He added: “It’s been a great inconvenience to the travellers to Bermuda.”
The Government announced on Friday that instead of dropping the form at the end of the month, it would be retired on November 13.
“As legislators in the House of Assembly, we are responsible for the public purse,” Mr Dunkley said. “I want to know where that money went, and why it went there.”