UK publication claims crime is driving away international business
Bermuda’s “darker side” has come under the global spotlight as a UK insurance publication claims the increase in violent crime could spark a mass exodus of international business.
Insurance Times, which has close to 20,000 readers mostly based in the UK, featured an article last week entitled “Bermuda: Trouble in Paradise”.
The story includes a detailed map of Hamilton’s crime hot spots in relation to re/insurance company offices as well as charts depicting Bermuda’s murder and firearm incidence rates. The article states the Island’s murder rate is double the global average and higher than the US, stats which were taken from the UN’s Global Study on Homicide.
This newspaper found that, according to the same UN report, Bermuda’s murder rate is less than most Caribbean domiciles, including Cayman Islands, Barbados, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and the US Virgin Islands, among others.
In the wake of last weekend’s early-hours shooting of Bermuda’s newest building 141 Front Street the
Insurance Times story has been circulating among the community.
The Royal Gazette contacted several industry heads to comment on the UK story, including the Association of Bermuda International Companies and the Association of Bermuda Inuserers and Reinsurers, however, no comment was received as of press time.
The article mainly includes commentary from unnamed insurance executives stating their fears, including one who said: “We have already seen a slow migration of people in our industry away from the Island and that is mainly because of the immigration laws, but that will become an exodus if someone becomes directly affected by crime.”
Another stated: “It seems to date to have been only gang rivalry over drugs but surely it’s only a matter of time before it crosses over. If it gets worse it won’t be long before you start to see people leaving.”
Two CEOs who were named in the story came to Bermuda’s defence, saying that crime is less of an issue than the foreign media presents.
“I have not seen a staff member leave as a result of concerns about crime,” said David Cash, CEO of Endurance.
Hiscox Bermuda CEO Charles Dupplin added: “Violent crime against international company staff has been at a very low level.”
While those named in the article did support Bermuda, they did state that crime prevention has to be a focus for international business industry to remain thriving.
Joanne MacPhee, Chamber of Commerce executive vice-president, who was also interviewed for the story, said: “Some in Bermuda fail to realise that international companies have options and that Bermuda is no longer the unquestioned go-to location. If we are to remain truly competitive, we need to look at every aspect of our community and seek to quickly resolve issues that hinder progress.”
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