Senators divided on America’s Cup legacy
Senators divided along party lines yesterday when debating the impact of the America’s Cup.
One Bermuda Alliance senator Nick Kempe said government spending should be viewed as “an investment versus an expense”, and highlighted a report by professional services firm PwC that showed a 535 per cent return in revenues projected for the island.
Mr Kempe told the Upper House: “Bermuda certainly showed itself as a reputable jurisdiction for large-scale tourism events. Despite some opposition and naysayers along the way, it was a massive stimulus package for the country.”
Substantial budget cuts in the transition from the old Department of Tourism to the Bermuda Tourism Authority added up to about $150 million, which Mr Kempe said “covered the amount needed”.
Progressive Labour Party senator Jason Hayward countered: “We should remain positive but we should not try to alter facts or reality.”
While projections showed “a 500-plus per cent return”, Mr Hayward said that the Bermuda Government “did not receive its dollars back”.
He added: “Government revenue did not increase by $64 million.”
Opposition senator Andrew Simons told The Royal Gazette after Senate had finished: “It’s important to remember that the Government is not a company. We don’t publish a strict profit and loss statement.
“From a political standpoint, I understand why the PLP minimises the success of the America’s Cup, but when it misses the opportunity to tout Bermuda’s success, we miss out on the opportunity to secure future events.”
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