Burt: Bermuda welcomes tech innovators
With the furore of the “Paradise Papers” swirling across the international media, David Burt met the controversy head-on when he spoke to a room of delegates at the GR Innovation & Insurtech conference.
And he also told a packed conference room that the island understands and welcomes new technological businesses.
He won praise from delegates for his opening address at the event, hosted yesterday by Global Reinsurance at Rosewood Bermuda, Tucker's Point.
The Premier said Bermuda was a “bad place to hide capital” because it was the first UK overseas territory that signed up for Common Reporting Standards.
“That means we have automatic exchange of information with 33 tax authorities around the world,” Mr Burt said. “People can be here for many reasons, but one of the reasons they cannot be here is to dodge taxes.
“We have a reputation that we jealously guard, and we will continue to guard that reputation.”
Regarding new technologies, Mr Burt said he considered himself a coder and mentioned his background in information systems.
He said Bermuda had a history of innovation and was striving to always be on the leading edge of innovation in the insurance industry.
The Premier noted the Hub Culture Innovation Campus and Beach Club at Ariel Sands, held for three months during the summer, which attracted overseas specialists from a range of disciplines to discuss topics ranging from architecture, to computer coding, the environment, blockchain and digital currencies.
Mr Burt said that while attending the Hub Culture pop-up campus, he spoke with a visiting coder. “I told him, if you want to come to Bermuda to sit on this beach and write code for the rest of your life, you are welcome to do so.”
Referring to a start-up pitching session scheduled for later in the day, Mr Burt said: “For those people who are pitching, those people who are looking to bring business and those people who want to set up in a tax-neutral jurisdiction — I want you to think about Bermuda.
“The reason I want you to think about Bermuda is because Bermuda has a government that understands what technology means for the future and will support technological development at every stage of the way.”
He said the Government had also set up a public-private committee on cryptocurrency and was making sure it progressed quickly.
“We have not moved as quickly as other actors, that is something that we are working very hard to change,” he said.
“We want to build these industries in Bermuda, and we want them to succeed.”
He spoke of the ambition to create a tech hub in Bermuda, and said the Government wants Bermuda to be a centre of intellectual property, where companies can get access to funding.