The following was submitted in the comments of the “No Comments” article by reader Silencedogood with apparent excerpts from Catherine Duffy’s book “Held Captive” which described the history of Bermuda’s insurance industry.
It’s sadly ironic the situation we are in with Ewart Brown. One need only take a look at the pages of our own history to understand what is going on. The following are some excerpts from Catherine Duffy’s book Held Captive:
“Lynden Pindling of the Bahamas was our biggest ally…Pindling gave a speech, known as the ‘bend or break speech’, in which he threatened international companies based in the Bahamas. Pindling required that all foreign workers be replaced by Bahamians. Deeming this to be impossible, offshore business flocked to Bermuda. Indeed in two years 20,000 ex-pats who had been working in the banking and insurance industries in the Bahamas left that country, taking most of the industries with them in their suitcases when they left. Many set up shop in Bermuda.”
The chapter goes on to discuss how it wasn’t just the bahamianation (sic) of the IB sector that drove companies out, but also the onerous push for more intrusive regulation, including reporting requirements.
It goes on to state:
“Fortunately the Government of the day, realizing that it did not fully understand this new Exempted Company Business and the complexities of insurance, left it up to the private sector to be the trailblazers. It was from this moment that a partnership between the public and private sectors began. The Government of Bermuda learned to listen to the concerns and interests of the international business arena so that it could develop its expertise in regard to this new area of commerce for the greater benefit of the island.”
It doesn’t take a genius to recognize the parallels. Just change Bahamas to Bermuda and Bermuda to any other prospective offshore jurisdiction. Goodwill+ and the new CURE legislation recently unveiled which besides being discriminatory and poorly drafted more importantly (from a business perspective) requires extensive and burdensome regulatory reporting making it, along with the other proposals, a nearly identical replay of what took down the Bahamas and allowed Bermuda to rise.
The very things that were at the core of why Bermuda was a great place to do business–i.e. an effective partnership between the public and private sectors–is exactly what is being eroded. Why? …
Lest we fall prey to the false arguments that IB has done nothing for the working class or the black community, I found this quote also interesting:
“By some estimates the ruling class of Bermuda consisted of only five families, in those days of the 1960s that now seem so far away. Be that as it may, by the end of the decade the privileged few, whoever they were, had no other choice than to accept that if Bermuda was to be seen by the outside world as credible, responsible, viable and attractive jurisdiction, the ruling elite had to be seen to spread their wealth around the Island.”
Now, being seen to spread wealth and actually doing it are two different things, but no one can deny that this was a push in the right direction which has ultimately led to the wealth of opportunity available today. That push was helped along by the efforts of many, including LBE, but no one can deny the rising tide which helped to lift all boats.
The Bahamas has been able to prevent a full scale tailspin such as the post-Michael Manley Jamaica, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t suffer some hard times, the outcome was never a certainty, it doesn’t mean it is more prosperous than if it had not been so reckless with its economy, or that Bermuda would be able to pull off the same feat.
Note: If anyone actually has a copy of this book that they’d be willing to lend out, I’d be greatly appreciative as I think I would benefit from the read. Thanks