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The Exemption Process for the St. Regis Hotel – a press statement by Shadow Minister of Works & Engineering and Tourism, the Hon. L. Craig Cannonier, JP, MP

By April 15, 2021April 16th, 2021No Comments

Shadow Minister of Works & Engineering and Tourism, the Hon. L. Craig Cannonier, JP, MP offers the following statement regarding the exemption process for the St. Regis Hotel.
The “Error” was not in issuing an exemption to St. Regis, the “Error” was in rescinding the exemption by the Minister of National Security.

Bermuda is correct in asking: “Where is the equity in the approval process?” Is there one standard for the government’s special interest in St. Regis and another for locals? Maybe the Premier and Minister Ming’s decision should have been to change some of the applications they denied approval to, to that of an exemption. No Minister should show such reckless decision making towards Investors and Bermudians by offering the exemption, and then recalling it because it was a mistake due to the overload of applications. Really?

What is clear is that the Premier and his team were very aware of the request for the exemption. As quoted in the media by a spokeswoman from the hotel developer: “We received an exemption from the Government after long conversations with the Premier and his team.” That’s pretty clear Bermuda.

If Minister Ming is responsible for the approval process and is not a part of the team, who is? For such important decisions, I question whether the Minister was not there or made aware of those “long conversations.” It does not make sense. Now let’s be clear…. there is a small chance that the Premier left the Minister completely out of the decision making. If this is so, then the Premier is completely out of line, which would not surprising. The Minister needs to be very clear about what took place. If not, she needs to resign.

I’m fairly certain that the Minister was aware of what was going on contrary to her denial. There is enough documentation circling to state otherwise. The St. Regis Project has been a major success story for Bermuda, and we cannot afford such blunders. As stated, the Minister needs to clear the air. Otherwise once again this Government has failed us.

Government cannot treat the people of Bermuda and those who have invested in the financial security of our future, with such indignity. The Minister cannot call this a mistake or an error. Conversations were had clearly. This Government, Premier Burt and Minister Ming are wrong.

In my opinion, this debacle falls squarely at the feet of the Premier, who has clearly thrown another one of his Ministers under the bus. Note, former Minister Weeks, former Minister Caines and others have resigned for less.