Opinion Writers

New banking proposals could transform Bermuda

  • Changing times: David Burt, the Premier, has a wonderful opportunity to transform Bermuda

One of the great advantages Bermuda has enjoyed historically is the fact there were no wars fought on its shores, unlike most other countries.

Unless we count the single cannon ball fired from Gates Fort in St George’s at a Spanish rowing boat.

We did however play a role in all the wars including the War of Independence, which led to the formation of the United States of America.

We made money off both sides of the battle fronts. Yes, in particular the American Civil War when we sold both unionist and confederate uniforms.

Folks, what happened in Parliament a week ago may have been the biggest salvo we have shot since that 17th-century canon ball.

Money, if you don’t know, is a creation and a rather smart one at that. Money since its creation has become more than a means of trade, it has become a lynchpin and for some even a god.

Powerful countries have been made to bow to organisations like the International Monetary Fund because of money.

People kill for money, institutions spend inordinate amounts of time and resources to prove their value to remain inside the rules and terms of money. This is the 21st century, and we live in a new age of intelligence and technology. As a natural consequence, many old assumptions are being challenged, yes the value of money is an assumption.

So a new phenomenon emerges to digitalise a value and means of trade, which like a religious crusader proposes a new god.

The economic paradigm shift, “The War of the Gods”, was unleashed in Parliament eight days ago with the announcement of the intention to introduce legislation to open up the banking sector to introduce new options to support the fintech sector, including digital currencies, and to increase competition among the banks.

Interesting is the fact that many locals who have long called for another bank, may see this as a fulfilment of a long-awaited desire, but this has little to do with the Ma and Pa shopkeepers and more to do with the globe.

However, the fact that the structure of this enterprise is transactional, where Bermuda gets a slice of the action, means that Bermuda could benefit handsomely and our seemingly big debt could disappear in a short time.

Of course this is assuming all goes as forecast, which seldom occurs, and that also in the process we balance our economy with real, hands-on jobs as well.

This type of enterprise may bring good money to government coffers but with only a few hundred jobs to drive it.

We don’t need to have a wealthy government, which becomes a people’s welfare state in the process.

This is where the idea of Bermuda as a transshipment hub, which creates thousands of hands-on jobs, and a new technology hub work together synergistically to make Bermuda the new Singapore of the Atlantic.

The Premier has an unprecedented opportunity, like a gift handed on a silver platter, to transform Bermuda on his watch.

Can things go wrong? Of course they can, they can go terribly wrong, but the higher hope is what we must aim for. You will never go ahead without venturing, and all ventures carry risk.

Meanwhile, all of us have a front-row seat to watch the “War of the Gods” live.