New Government Has Plans to Take Bermuda in a New Direction

About Agathe HolowatincAgathe Holowatinc

Agathe manages the firm’s library and information centre, provides legal research and reference services and delivers training in the use of print and online resources to the firm’s attorneys and pupils. She also coordinates the firm’s marketing and public relations programme, leads the design and development of the firm website, Bermuda Law Blog and MJM Quarterly Newsletter, and oversees IT operations.

Agathe Holowatinc’s full profile on mjm.bm.

Bermuda has a new Government which has promised to shore up the Island’s position as a world leader in insurance, reinsurance, international business and finance. They also have hopes of re-establishing Bermuda as a premier tourism destination.

The promises from the One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) came in the Throne Speech delivered on the first day of Parliament following the new Government’s election in mid-December last year.

Plans on how they intend to achieve their goals were then unveiled in the Government’s first Budget presented in late February. Notably, the new Minister of Finance committed to “a new direction for the manner in which the economy of Bermuda and the finances of the Bermuda Government are managed”.

For those who are interested, the February 8th Throne Speech and February 22nd Budget Statement can be found in their entirety on the Legislature’s website at parliament.bm.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • A two-year payroll tax exemption for new Bermudian hires
  • The establishment of an Economic Development Committee at the Cabinet level to reduce red tape and processing time for new large development projects, enabling Bermuda’s businesses to regain their international competitiveness
  • The establishment of a new Ministry of Economic Development to streamline Government approvals and provide “a consistent point of contact and a seamless, timely, efficient and thorough response”
  • The development of a new public-private partnership in the Bermuda Business Development Corporation (BBDC) tasked with becoming the principal marketing and business development body for international business. Working with the Ministry of Economic Development, the BBDC is to “spearhead the promotion of Bermuda as a preferred domicile for a variety of international business activities, including reinsurance, asset management, trusts and fund administration”
  • Amending the Companies Act 1981 so as “to encourage more private equity, asset management and trust business” and to make the Island’s partnership legislation more effective
  • Amending legislation to increase aircraft registration and financing and to boost the Maritime Registry as well
  • The abolition of the term limits (“Measures to Inhibit Long-Term Residency”) policy and  review of current work permit policies
  • The setting out of steps that encourage and assist primary foreign exchange earning enterprises to boost a flagging economy
  • A commitment to reduce Government spending and waste notwithstanding a projected $331-million debt for the financial year 2013/2014 while raising the authorized debt ceiling to $2.5 billion
  • A dramatic reduction in licence fees for the purchase of Bermuda property by non-Bermudians: from 25% of the value of the property to 8% for a period of 18 months and thereafter at 12.5%; and on condominiums from 10% to 6%, with an increase to 8% in 18 months
  • The establishment of a Tourism Authority within 6 months of office to re-direct and manage the development and marketing of tourism as well as the creation of a temporary new body, a Product Development Bureau, to work hand in hand with the new Authority “to seek out innovative, dynamic new excursions, tours and other enhancements”
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