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PLP critical of Govt’s tourism Authority plans

Former Tourism Board head Maxwell Burgess has stepped down from the job, according to a spokesman for new One Bermuda Alliance Minister Shawn Crockwell.

Meanwhile, the Opposition Progressive Labour Party yesterday described Government’s announcement of a Tourism Authority to replace the existing Board as “concerning”.

Attempts to reach Mr Burgess last night were unsuccessful.

The current Board, created under the PLP, is to continue functioning under its freshly-appointed Chairman David Dodwell, head of The Reefs hotel.

The Tourism Authority, which Mr Crockwell said would restore the Island’s once-booming industry under the guidance of “professionals, rather than politicians”, is to be formally established in six months’ time.

Mr Dodwell is currently its Chairman designate.

Speaking at Mr Dodwell’s appointment, the Minister indicated the OBA intended to continue operating under the present Tourism Board Act, 2012, but could modify the legislation — “or repeal it and create a new Act for the Authority”.

However, the former governing party last night questioned how the new organisation would function with impartiality.

In a statement ascribed to ex-Minister Wayne Furbert, the PLP said that its current Board was run in a manner “consistent with that of other Authorities around the world” — and expressed concern that the OBA rolled out their own group “without ensuring that the public is fully aware of what their proposed Tourism Authority will embody”.

Questioning the fate of the existing Board, Mr Furbert also asked how the new body would maintain its independence “when the Chairman in responsible to the Minister”.

“How will the current Department of Tourism Staff be involved in the OBA’s Tourism Authority?

“If not to the Minister of Tourism, who will the Chairman and the Tourism Authority report to?”

Mr Furbert said that Government “may have put the cart before the horse in this instance”.

A Tourism spokesman last night said the Authority remained to be formally set up, but reiterated that the group plans to meet with the Minister on Monday.

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Published January 04, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated January 03, 2013 at 10:03 pm)

PLP critical of Govt’s tourism Authority plans

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