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American Terrence J replaced on BTA board – a year early

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Cup Match 2018: Lance Gross, left; David Burt, the Premier; American TV star La La Anthony; and celebrity Terrence J (Photograph from Lance Gross Instagram)

An American actor, model and entertainment reporter appointed to the Bermuda Tourism Authority by the Premier has quit — more than a year before his term was due to end.

There was no fanfare when Terrence Jenkins — also known as Terrence J — joined the quango’s board in 2020 and no mention of him when his replacement, Bermudian Jennifer Phillips, was announced last month.

Board members are appointed for three-year terms, so Mr Jenkins — a former BET host who has more than three million Instagram followers — should have sat on the authority until next year.

Asked why he left the board, a BTA spokeswoman said: “Terrence Jenkins resigned from the Bermuda Tourism Authority board on March 4, 2022.

“Mr Jenkins, based in California, cited timing of the meetings, and demands on his schedule as the reasons he could no longer serve on the board. We thank him for his service and wish him well.”

She added: “I can confirm that Ms Phillips has replaced Mr Jenkins.”

Two sources told The Royal Gazette this year that Mr Jenkins had failed to attend a large number of meetings, raising questions about why he was on the board.

The publicly funded authority has, since March, refused to provide The Royal Gazette with minutes from its board meetings showing the attendance record for all members.

BTA chairman Wayne Caines finally shared the figures late yesterday afternoon, revealing that Mr Jenkins attended just 4 of 12 board meetings between November 2020 and January this year.

The BTA has to hold at least ten meetings in each calendar year and board members are paid a fixed fee of $20,000 annually.

The Bermuda Tourism Authority Act says the Minister of Tourism, after consulting the board, can remove a member if they have been absent from three consecutive board meetings or have missed “two thirds of the meetings of the board convened”.

The figures shared by Mr Caines showed that Mr Jenkins missed seven consecutive meetings between May 2021 and January this year.

He missed one of those, last August, due to technical issues.

Mr Caines told The Royal Gazette in January this year that the board had only held one in-person meeting since the start of the pandemic.

He said Mr Jenkins did not attend that, but added: “He has been on Zoom calls.”

He added: “He has attended board meetings. I would have to check with the official record to see how many he has attended.”

Mr Caines, who became chairman in October 2020, said Mr Jenkins had provided valuable assistance to him.

“I have called him to do with tourism-related matters. He has offered his advice on some key functions we have been having. He has been a resource.

“I have been able to rely on him for advice and guidance on a few key matters.”

BTA board members are appointed by the Minister of Tourism, who gets a list of recommendations from the chairman.

David Burt, the Premier, took on the tourism brief in July 2020, appointing Mr Jenkins to the board soon after.

BTA appointments are published in the Official Gazette but it was not possible to find a record of Mr Jenkins’s appointment there or any other announcement.

The Royal Gazette asked for the board’s minutes from August 2020 to date, including attendance figures, under public access to information legislation in February.

The authority’s information officer refused the request in March, concluding it was “particularly broad and onerous”.

He said the minutes were exempt from Pati because their disclosure could undermine the “deliberative process” of the BTA.

The decision was upheld by Charles Jeffers III, the BTA’s chief executive officer, in April.

Mr Jeffers said if the Gazette would consider asking for “the attendance record only or the attendance record of a specific board member” then the BTA would "consider this request further“.

The Gazette appealed the matter to the Information Commissioner’s Office and asked Mr Jeffers again for the attendance figures on May 18.

The ICO told the BTA that the board chairman, not Mr Jeffers, should have reviewed the initial response from the information officer, prompting Mr Caines to issue his decision yesterday.

The chairman wrote that he too was of the view that minutes of BTA board meetings were exempt from disclosure.

Mr Jenkins attended the “Dream Weekend” in Bermuda in the summer of 2018.

Terrence J and Jasmine Sanders at the 2018 Dream Weekend (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

As revealed by The Royal Gazette, the Government used leftover cash from the 2017 America's Cup to pay a US company to organise the event, which involved a string of Cup Match parties for social media celebrities and influencers.

Mr Burt and the Cabinet approved sole-source contracts with Texan firm Mosaic Sales Solutions for a weekend of events, which cost taxpayers at least $179,000.

The total cost was understood to be higher but the Government said it needed more time to calculate the figure. It has never released the actual amount.

Two of the contracts given to Mosaic, for $74,100 and $70,400, were not made public because civil servants were on holiday, finally being gazetted more than two years after the event.

New tourism minister Vance Campbell, who was appointed in April, did not respond to a request for comment about the departure of Mr Jenkins by press time.

It was not possible to reach Mr Jenkins.

New tourism authority member appointed

An arts and entertainment entrepreneur has been appointed to the board of the Bermuda Tourism Authority.

Jennifer L. Phillips, who has lengthy expertise in the island’s cultural scene, became chairwoman of the Bermuda Arts Council in 2018.

Ms Phillips, who has previously worked as a self-employed massage therapist, said: “Growing up I’ve always loved the island and felt that Bermuda was a special place that business and leisure visitors should experience.

“So, when I was invited to join the board, it was an easy decision.

“I am delighted to start serving in this new capacity and look forward to working with this exceptional team to position Bermuda as one of the top destinations of choice.”

Wayne Caines, MP and BTA board chairman, said: “We are excited to welcome Jennifer to the board as she brings with her over a decade’s worth of entrepreneurial experience, as well as a deep understanding of the island’s arts and culture scene.

“She has continued to nurture that passion for the island’s unique culture and heritage through her own roles as the chairman of the Bermuda Arts Council and as a member of the advisory committee for the Bermuda Festival.

“As the BTA continues to develop innovative ways to strengthen those two areas of tourism — entrepreneurship and arts, culture and entertainment — we are excited to lean on Jennifer’s knowledge and skills to sharpen our competitive edge.”

Ms Phillips received a degree in international business administration from the American University in Paris in 1997.

During her studies, she completed a semester at George Washington University in Washington DC and studied business tourism as a programme elective.

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Published June 03, 2022 at 7:57 am (Updated June 03, 2022 at 7:19 am)

American Terrence J replaced on BTA board – a year early

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