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Cablegate: Bermuda: Premier Gives Unity Speech, Touches On Relations

VZCZCXRO2363
RR RUEHHT
DE RUEHHT #0120/01 2892000
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 162000Z OCT 09
FM AMCONSUL HAMILTON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3901
INFO RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0891
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEHHT/AMCONSUL HAMILTON 2078

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HAMILTON 000120

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

EUR/WE (JOHN MARBURG AND NIMA ABBASZADEH);
EUR/PPD (LEE MCMANIS AND ALISANDE PIPKIN);
CA (BRENDA GREWE)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV ECON PREL CVIS BD
SUBJECT: BERMUDA: PREMIER GIVES UNITY SPEECH, TOUCHES ON RELATIONS
WITH THE U.S.

Summary

------------

1. (U) In a wide-ranging televised speech to the people of
Bermuda on October 15 - three weeks prior to the November 6
Throne Speech - Premier Ewart Brown used Bermuda's 400th
birthday to call for unity. Brown defended his government's
performance during the global economic recession. He also
discussed the progress made on addressing Bermudian's
social/economic needs. Brown addressed several issues relating
to the United States. He promised to continue lobbying against
possible harmful tax changes that would affect international
businesses in Bermuda; proposed two initiatives with the U.S. -
a partnership with the US Coast Guard and renegotiation of
environmental remediation of a former US Navy base; and
undertook to work with the State Department to get relief on
visa ineligibilities, the so-called "stop list." He also made a
case for Bermuda taking control from the UK over Bermuda's
Police Service in order to tackle the growing crime rate. The
opposition welcomed the premier's call for unity while
criticizing him for his divisive politics. End summary.

Bermuda Holding Its Own During Economic Recession ~

--------------------------------------------- --------------
-------------

2. (U) Premier Brown addressed how the global recession had
impacted Bermuda's two pillars - tourism and international
business. In the midst of public criticism that the government
had not followed through on its plans to bring new hotels to the
island, Brown attempted to reassure the public that developers
were still committed and that Bermuda would rebound in the
tourism sector. (Note: the premier is also the Minister for
Tourism.) He hailed Bermuda's position on the OECD's "white
list" jurisdiction in compliance with internationally agreed
upon tax standards."

~ But Concerned about U.S. Tax Laws

--------------------------------------------- ----

3. (U) Brown complained about international businesses
moving away from Bermuda because "they can potentially be
negatively impacted by the whims of a U.S. Congress." He
continued to discuss the "perceived threat of unfavourable U.S.
taxation." The Premier outlined his government's lobbying
efforts in Washington and promised to "~continue our unrelenting
efforts against enactment of legislation that would be harmful
to our economy~.we will step up our efforts even more to
convince the United States of our value and of the negative
consequences the U.S. itself will incur with unfavourable tax
treatment of insurance and other companies located in places
like Bermuda."

Partnering with the U.S. Coast Guard

--------------------------------------------- -

4. (U) Premier Brown stated that the Government was working
on an initiative to partner with a US Coast Guard program,
"~where as a partner country we would be provided with
high-speed interceptor boats, special communication equipment
and, importantly, training of Bermudian public safety officers
in drug interdiction and maritime law enforcement." (Note:
While the Government of Bermuda raised this after the Navy base
closed, this is the first we have heard of it in years. The
Coast Guard already assists in search and rescue operations in

HAMILTON 00000120 002 OF 002


the waters between the U.S. and Bermuda.)

Cleaning Up Former US Naval Air Station

--------------------------------------------- -------

5. (U) The Premier told the public that the government is
"redoubling our efforts to persuade the U.S. government to
reopen and renegotiate the clean-up of Morgan's Point." He
added that he would keep the public appraised of the
government's progress. (Note: This issue hit the press on
September 26 when the Premier said he had raised this with
Attorney General Holder.)

Relaxing the "Stop List"

-----------------------------

6. (U) Premier Brown indicated that the Government of
Bermuda is "~committed to working with the US State Department
to get relief from what Bermudians call the `stop list.' We
believe that it is unfair and unjust for someone who committed a
minor criminal offence 20 years ago to be prevented from
travelling to the US, or to have to undergo the humiliating
experience of being stopped and detained. We understand clearly
that these laws affect people all over the world - they were not
just written for Bermuda. But your government will be
aggressive in seeking innovative solutions to prevent young
people from ever getting on the so-called `stop-list.' We shall
also work on behalf of older people who have long-since paid
their debt to society, and deserve to be able to freely travel."

Comment

------------

7. (SBU) Bermudians had speculated that the Premier might
call for snap elections during the speech, so his call for unity
and no mention of snap elections was an unstated promise and
assurance of political stability. Commentators also interpret
his speech to mean that he will depart office as planned in
October 2010. Post will follow up with government to determine
what type of partnership with the Coast Guard Bermuda would like
to pursue.
SHELTON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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