Premier Paula Cox said Government is promoting “more red carpet, and less red tape” policy to help spur business growth. *File photo
Premier Paula Cox said Government is promoting “more red carpet, and less red tape” policy to help spur business growth. *File photo

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 31: Premier Paula Cox said Bermuda’s economic fortunes have bottomed out and the country is now on a path to growth.

She was addressing various leaders at a Business Development Summit held at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess on Thursday morning.

The Premier said: “On a positive note, let me start with some good news — The economic recovery has begun. Now here is the bad news, the economic recovery has begun.

“So as the recovery gets underway as things start to move once again, albeit ever so tentatively, the question has to be, what new strategies will we employ that will strengthen our position while not exposing us to unnecessary risk? And is there now a bias to action that was not present before? In other words … what are we going to start doing … and what are we going to stop doing? Can we afford to do nothing?

“To get our economy kick-started it requires boldness, taking some risks and action. For our economy to flourish, there have to be the right conditions for growth.

“We must remove unnecessary barriers to growth. We have to get out of the way for business. We appreciate creating a stable platform for both local and international business with a user-friendly regulatory framework.”

She said Government was promoting  “more red carpet, and less red tape” policy to help spur business growth.

Recovery signs

Premier Cox said: “Recovery signs indicate that new business is coming into the island and there are modest signs of growth in the business sector.”

The Premier indicated there is still a ways to go and just shoots of growth are beginning to appear that are being signalled.

“For example in the second quarter of 2012, Bermuda saw a three fold increase in the number of insurer registrations over those in the first quarter.

“This growth was mainly driven by the increase in registrations of Special Purpose Insurers (SPIs). SPIs have proved particularly popular as vehicles for issuing catastrophe bonds (CAT bonds).

“It is expected that this trend will continue in the future due to the continuing favourable market conditions for the establishment and issuing of CAT bonds and other insurance linked securities.”

“Our mantra is failure is not an option. There is too much at stake. We recognize the need to confront some challenges head on.

“The biggest of these challenges is Bermuda needs to expand its opportunities to take advantage of capital inflows in order to promote growth and development while minimalizing downside risk.”

She said in order for Bermuda to do this it has to be innovative and all stakeholders must work collaboratively.

“When we find challenges that can cause us to feel as if we have been brought to our knees, that is the time to rise up and help one another.

“We have to collaborate or perish. And when we work together we can ride the wave and rise together.

“People don’t want to hear about the negativity. They tune out and they turn off. They want solutions and know they are part of something constructive that they can really benefit from.”

Premier Cox added cooperation can promote economic stability.

She said the twin pillars of international business and tourism are key sources of foreign currency.

“So we are sensitive to the needs of these key sectors and adopt sensible policies that are geared to attract new international business to the island.”

In concluding her speech, she said: “If it were not for the reputational resilience of Bermuda and our innovative international business sector in general, and our insurance market in particular, the recession would have had a far greater impact on our economy.

“We’re all in the boat together, there’s no mistake about that. As we pull together to find ways to effectively counter the economic decline, then we have to continue to forge new strategic partnerships.

“The new normal cannot be business as usual.

“It cannot be divisive partnership warfare. We have a moment of opportunity that we cannot squander.”