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Wayne Furbert

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Yesterday, Minister Patrice Minors and Minister Wayne Furbert outlined several bold ideas for creating jobs and opportunity for all Bermudians.

Minister Furbert:

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs are our number one priority, and we have a Plan that will make this happen...

The Bermuda Economy grew from $3 billion to $6 billion from 1998 – 2008, under the Progressive Labour Party Government. We did it once, and we can do it again, by creating and fostering an environment that has market driven policies, combined with sound regulations and minimal government intervention.

In 2008 the world economy slapped us in the face, and we could have cut jobs, and stopped capital expenditure, but we did not.

We continued some capital works and kept people employed, because we are not a Government that push people in the streets.

We are not standing here today talking about a promise but we are talking about action.

- The Progressive Labor Party Government has been working since mid 2011 to create an entity capable of increasing business for companies in the International Business sector.

- The entity will be empowered to sustain the businesses that are here, and to develop brand new business in areas. In particular we will focus investment and competition within the key sectors of Insurance, banking, fund management, wealth management, telecommunications, information technology and legal services..

- Partnering with stakeholders in the international sector, Business Bermuda and the Bermuda Insurance Development Council are being merged into the new Bermuda Business Development Corporation (BBDC). The BBDC will be the business development engine that will be engineered to drive business into the international sector.

- The Bermuda Government will ensure that the BBDC has the resources needed to accomplish its mission.

- This new entity, with the support of the businesses in the international sector, will succeed.

Minister Minors went on to discuss what she looks forward to accomplishing on job creation in the next term:

Getting Bermudians back to work and keeping those Bermudians with jobs, in jobs are the main priorities of this government. While others have beaten the drum for radical cuts and promoted the failed and discredited philosophy of austerity, The Progressive Labour Party has stood strong on the belief that investment in our people, our infrastructure and our communities are the best ways for our country to move forward together.

We are facing the worst global economic conditions since the Great Depression of the 1930s and while Bermuda is truly another world, we have also been affected with many of our neighbors, friends and family struggling to find work and finding it tougher and tougher to provide for their families. We believe that by investing in our people, protecting social programmes and jobs within the civil service from drastic and radical cuts we have prevented this recession from being even worse.

The PLP has:

• Introduced new Economic Empowerment Zones in the east and west
• Implemented the Payroll Tax Relief Training Scheme for apprentices
• Used the $1.15M Unemployment Fund to re-train and re-skill unemployed Bermudians
• Established an unemployment register allowing government to track and assist Bermuda’s unemployed
• Adjusted immigration policies to protect Bermudian jobs and
• Established the National Training Board skills assessment programme
• Established the Hustle Truck Programme to assist casual workers to become more skilled and active participants in the island workforce
• Created the Economic Round Table – to bring key stakeholders together to determine areas for job growth
• Started the Woodshop Training Programme
• Expanded educational opportunities for civil servants through the expansion of scholarships for mature students

A lot has been done, but as long as one qualified, capable, competent and willing Bermudian is unemployed our work remains unfinished. To get Bermudians back to work we will continue to put measures in place to stimulate the economy, remove barriers to employment, increase opportunities for Bermudians as well as retooling, retraining and re-equipping our people with the skill sets needed to find and maintain employment

Moving Forward Together, The PLP will:

• Launch the “One Stop Career Centre”
• Implement Job Corps
• Increase the lending capacity of the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation
• Give more Bermudians the opportunity to seek careers in international business by expanding professional and continuing education options at the Bermuda College
• Develop a New Business Initiative through the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation
• Improve regulations surrounding the debt collection process

Our economic recovery plan is making progress. Our Economic Empowerment Zones in North Hamilton and St. George’s have helped entrepreneurs create new businesses and helped other businesses stay afloat. Times have changed and the challenges are different but we have real, responsible solutions and we understand the problems faced by our people. I ask you to stand strong with as The PLP is standing strong for Bermudians.

The PLP really does care about the people - and, we have real ideas to move this country forward and create jobs.

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Standing Strong for Our Young Filmmakers

Today, Minister Wayne Furbert announced that Alia Hamza won Bermuda Tourism's video contest. This contest gave young Bermudian filmmakers the opportunity to show their talents.

Minister Furbert:

Alia's video showed the beauty of Bermuda alongside one of our best known singers, Joy Barnum. The music is Joy's song 'Island home' and viewers are treated to the beauty that makes Bermuda such an appealing holiday destination with our beaches, lush greenery and friendly people.

The quarterly competition is open to all Bermuda residents.

Video content should target potential visitors to Bermuda and address the question why should you visit Bermuda. The content must inspire visitors to want to come with positive images and scenes. Additional criteria for production are all videos must be of HD quality; proof of ownership or copyright release for music is required in writing; videos should not exceed two-minutes; and must not include any obscene content or language and nudity and product marketing is prohibited.

The BDOT is seeking creative, innovative fun and exciting footage of Bermuda to promote the island on the Department's social media sites.

The next deadline for third quarter submissions is February 13, 2013 and the same rules and criteria will apply.

A committee will select the best video with the winner receiving $5,000.

The winning video will be posted on Bermuda Department of Tourism website, YouTube channel and FaceBook page.

The second quarter deadline is February 13, 2013. Entries must be emailed to Tina Evans Caines, Manager, On-island Communications, Bermuda Department of Tourism at

Watch the video:

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Wayne Furbert: The Secret Plan is Real

Today, Wayne Furbert revealed that he had seen the secret plan and that it included offensively called for the use of "black surrogates" and attacked some Bermudian voters as "downscale" and "less educated."

Minister Furbert:

Today, as a former member and leader of the United Bermuda Party, I'm here to verify several facts.

First, I can confirm that I saw the UBP secret plan with my own eyes. I can verify that it exists and that it includes the recommendation that Michael Dunkley's profile was too high and that, and I quote, "black surrogates" should be used. I can also verify that they blamed their election loss in key constituencies on I quote "downscale" and "less educated" Bermudian voters.

Second, Marius Penczner was a paid influential strategist with the United Bermuda Party in the 2003 election, the 2007 election and as far back as I can remember. He was deeply involved in strategy at the highest levels. I've been made to understand that Mr. Penczner remains an influential strategist with the OBA.

I am very surprised to hear that Marius Penczner denied authoring the report. I am encouraging my former colleagues, Dr. Grant Gibbons, Mr. Michael Dunkley and Mr. Glen Smith to come clean and 1) confirm that there is a report, 2) that Marius Penczner wrote it and 3) that the report was a strategy to help the old UBP guard regain power.

It's time for Grant Gibbons, Michael Dunkley and Glen Smith to come clean and admit that the so called "One Bermuda Alliance" is just part of an orchestrated plan to help the old UBP guard regain power. Watch the full press conference:

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Done! PGA Grand Slam of Golf Secured Through 2014

The PLP has secured the extension of a signature international golfing event that results in $40 million a year in revenue and publicity, the PGA Grand slam of Golf, through 2014.

Minister Wayne Furbert:

This is great news for Bermuda to have the PGA Grand Slam return for the next two years. During the past six years of hosting this event the beauty of Bermuda has been seen in countless millions of households across the world. I feel this is a great investment in our tourism product and attracts visitors to our shores to enjoy picture perfect rounds of golf at our world class courses.

The 31st edition of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf will be held October 15-16, 2013. While the dates for the 2014 Grand Slam are yet to be finalized.

The PGA Grand Slam of Golf, a 36-hole season-ending showcase event that boasts the most difficult entry requirement in the game – a major championship – will be televised by TNT, October 15-16, 2013 to a worldwide audience in 85 countries and territories.

The PGA & TNT spend just over $1M whilst on island with approximately 60 Bermuda service providers. The combined value of media impressions for Bermuda, Port Royal & the Fairmont is just under $40M. TNT’s prime-time broadcast of the event reaches an audience of more than 400 million households in more than 85 countries.

The PGA Grand Slam of Golf is hosted by the Bermuda Department of Tourism, Port Royal Golf Course and the Fairmont Southampton Hotel.

This is a big deal for Bermuda tourism. It means $40 million in income and free publicity for our island. The PLP secured the event and we've kept it coming back to our shores. This is a big win for Bermuda.

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In Spite of Hurricane, Air Arrivals Are Still Up

We lost a full weekend in September due to an impending Hurricane that didn't hit, but, canceled plenty of bookings. In spite of that, air arrivals are still up 2% for the third quarter!

This increase in tourism means jobs for Bermudians. It means that our taxi drivers, our tour operators and our hotels have more guests and more revenue. There's more good news. Minister Furbert:

Performance results of the ten largest hotels that make up 75% of all room inventory on the island also somewhat mirrored the positive trends for the quarter. Occupancy percentages realized were 86% in July 2012 compared to 88% in July 2011; 82% in August compared to 84% in 2011, and 56% in September compared to 54% in the previous year. It should be noted that these occupancy levels still significantly exceed the levels of the corresponding period of 2010, which negates the assertion that this is indeed the worst summer period. Recent positive statements from many hoteliers also indicate that they have been pleased with gradual, steady growth during the period.

While there's more work to do, it's clear that things are surely and steadily moving forward under the PLP.

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Furbert: Combined Opposition Attacks Hurting Bermuda

Today, Minister Wayne Furbert revealed that the constant attacks on Bermuda that you read in the newspaper, particularly coming from the opposition and anonymous online commenters are hurting Bermuda’s ability to attract tourists.

The Minister revealed that he recently received an email identifying tourists who were considering visiting our island. They passed after reading the negative stories in the daily and in anonymous online comments.

According to the Minister, the potential tourists said, “After some discussion and monitoring the newspaper from Bermuda we have decided to pass on vacating there next spring. The environment on the island seems to be negative.”

This doesn’t appear to be an isolated incident. When Minister Furbert posted this news on the facebook forum Bermuda Election 2012, Mr. Quency Phillips commented, “I've had numerous conversations with friends that have said the same thing to me as it relates to no longer wanting to visit the island.. I hope it changes soon.. for the record, I'm not Bermudian.”

Another commenter, A Bermudian recruiter, said that it also affects her business noting, “This is not good - and has been said many times before. I am in the recruiting business and time and time again, I am faced with convincing future employees for hard to fill positions NOT to read those blogs and negative comments attached to many stories. Some former expats and residents are also reconsidering Bermuda as a vacation destination because of the changes they see via they media outlets. They post about it sometimes before we hear it. Our only daily newspaper in my opinion does more harm to our community than it empowers us!”

In response to this troubling pattern, Minister Furbert noted, “I have read some of the most vile and disgusting comments made anonymously on online forums. I even read one comment that said that black Bermudians should, and I quote, “for those who blame white people for the situation they are in… don’t… you should blame YOUR ancestors, they were offered a chance to go back to Liberia..they didnt go.” That is an unedited quote!”

“What do you think a visitor would think of our island if they read that or any of the other vile and anonymous comments posted? But, it’s not just the anonymous commenters that we’re worried about. Bob Richards telling the world how much better the Cayman Islands is than Bermuda is doing us no favours. Craig Cannonier preaching his gospel of doom and gloom doesn’t attract business or tourists to our shores.

“We live in a connected world – and, the world is listening. The OBA, their friends in the media and their army of anonymous commenters keep talking down Bermuda at every opportunity. They don’t talk about the good things that are happening here. They don’t talk about the expanded social safety net that includes FutureCare and DayCare which are helping families during these tough economic times. They don’t talk about the EEZ and tax concessions for small businesses that are helping Bermudian owned businesses create Bermudian jobs. They don’t talk about the Incentives for Job Makers Act which is attracting and retaining international business in Bermuda. No. Instead, they are constantly negative.

“The OBA offers no ideas, no plans and no solutions. The OBA, the media and the anonymous commenters instead just spit upon Bermuda at every opportunity. It’s hurting our competitiveness. And, I, for one, have had enough. If they were serious about bringing this country together, they would be having a debate over ideas and vision – not just spewing constant negativity. It’s time for the OBA to stop spitting upon Bermuda and tell us what they would really do so that we can have a debate over ideas. Bermudians deserve to know who is really standing strong for them during these tough economic times.”

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PLP Delivers Fresh, New Tourism Marketing Campaign

Bermuda's tourism turnaround is already well underway with reports of full hotels and happy tourism operators being bolstered by increases in tourism arrivals. Now, a new marketing campaign is set to supercharge that effort.

Today, Minister Wayne Furbert announced the new marketing campaign: Bermuda is So Much More! Watch one of the ads:

Highlighted by a new logo featuring the slogan “Bermuda – So Much More”, the campaign is the culmination of months of research and, according to Minister of Business Development and Tourism, The Hon. Wayne L. Furbert, JP, MP, is a reflection of the direction laid out by the recently introduced National Tourism Master Plan.

Minister Furbert:

The “Bermuda - So Much More” campaign will communicate in a fresh and exciting way that Bermuda offers not only a breathtaking island with natural beauty, but also a nearby, culturally rich, history-infused escape with a variety of things to see, do and enjoy in all seasons, 12 months of the year.

The campaign will promote Bermuda’s key tourism segments as identified in the National Tourism Master Plan, including: Leisure & Entertainment, Beach, Eco & Nature, Cultural, Sports & Golf, Nautical, Cruise, Business Travel, and Meetings and Incentive groups.

Finally, the campaign will encourage visitation to all of the island, including the destination “hubs” identified in the National Tourism Master Plan, that include: St. George’s World Heritage Site & St. David’s Island, The City of Hamilton, South Shore Area, Royal Navy Dockyard and Offshore. Bermuda Tourism Board Chairman Maxwell Burgess:

This is an extremely well thought-out campaign based on consumer profiling that helped us gain a deeper understanding of the Bermuda customer than ever before. We were able to fully define target segments for Bermuda’s best customer prospects and develop a campaign that is based on research and concept testing with representative consumers in our core geographic markets.

The local Bermudian flavor extended throughout the creative process as well with Bermudian actors and models utilized for the majority of images in the campaign. Minister Furbert noted with excitement that “Bermuda is Another World”, one of the most iconic and beloved of all Bermudian songs, will be utilized to help tell the island’s story.

The tourism turnaround is underway. And, this new campaign will help to take it to the next level.

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Training 15 Bermudians on Mobile Application Creation

It's a new economy and the PLP is committed to ensuring that Bermudians have the skills they need to compete in the global marketplace. That's why we're pleased to have helped train 15 Bermudians in mobile application development.

Minister Wayne Furbert:

Last year CellOne, RIM and the Department of E-Commerce sponsored App•ti•tude, the Blackberry Application Development Competition. I was happy to see the level of development of mobile applications taking place in Bermuda. The BlackBerry smartphone and BlackBerry PlayBook applications submitted in the competition showed that innovative ideas can become reality. As Bermuda has such high penetration rates for mobile devices, we are happy to work with the TLF to enable an avenue for this year’s workshop participants to enhance their skills.

The workshop was facilitated by the New Toronto Group, an organization working closely with RIM and a specialist in mobile application development. They provided the instruction at the April 2011 BlackBerry Developers Boot Camp that was held in advance of the App•ti•tude competition. As there will not be a competition in 2012, the App•ti•tude partners agreed that the mobile application development workshop should still be offered to the local community. They were also excited to partner with the TLF to offer this training opportunity to the TLF internship participants.

The workshop took place on July 26 and 27 at the Bermuda College and was fully subscribed.

While there's more work to do to get Bermuda on track, public-private partnerships like this are helping to surely and steadily move Bermuda forward.

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Tourism Policy Change Helps Triple Crown Fishers Invest Even More In Bermuda's Economy

The Triple Crown Fishing Tournament likely brought north of $3 million into Bermuda's economy aided by the PLP's new immigration policy that allows tourists to stay 90 days instead of 21.

Minister Wayne Furbert:

The Government of Bermuda last year amended the immigration policy to allow visiting crews on boats to stay in Bermuda for up to 90 days instead of the previous 21 days. This has been an added benefit for visiting crews allowing them to stay in Bermuda longer. These visiting fishermen are vital to our economy and we will continue to work with our partners in the industry to ensure that they have plenty of reasons to keep coming back to Bermuda for many years to come.

Tournament organizers estimate that more than 25 visiting sport fishing boats are in Bermuda. In addition, visiting anglers charter local fishing boats to take part in the tournaments. Including the owners, crews, family and guests, it is estimated that this year’s tournaments attracted more than 400 visitors to the island.

Conservative estimates in past years reported the average spending per boat was approximately $125,000 or over $3M spent in our local economy. With boats staying longer and spending more money while in Bermuda on hotels, rental homes, dockage fees, food and beverage, fuel, entertainment and transport the average spend will surely be exceeded in 2012.

Things are tough, but, by making strategic policy changes like this, we're surely and steadily moving Bermuda forward and standing strong for Bermudians.

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A Vision for a More Diverse Economy

This past week, Premier Paula Cox has been in London meeting with potential new business partners who are eager to add another economic pillar to Bermuda.

Even in these tough times for the global economy, some businesses are prospering. Oil rich Gulf States like Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are thriving and we're eager to bring some of that business back here to Bermuda.

Premier Cox and the delegation hosted several meetings including a roundtable discussion dinner on Monday (July 16) to encourage and promote inward investment to Bermuda from the Middle East. She said the discussions focused on investment opportunities in the areas of infrastructure, tourism, insurance and reinsurance. She noted that the delegation’s message was that Bermuda’s unified approach to public, private and regulatory partnerships provided an environment that is open for business and welcomes investment from the gulf region.

Premier Cox:

Bermuda is well positioned to forge expanded links in the area of Islamic Finance with the countries of the GCC. Our discussions during this visit primarily focused on the growing ties between these countries and Bermuda, while also touching on existing bilateral agreements with Bahrain and Qatar and plans for an autumn visit to the region.

Bermuda has a proven record of delivering on the distinct qualities that are necessary for achieving business success. We welcome the diverse business and governments of the GCC and are ready to help them achieve even greater prosperity and success.

While there's still more work to do before this becomes a reality, it's clear that when it comes to a vision to bring a new type of international business to Bermuda, this is a clear path forward. And, we've led the way.

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