The following statement was released today (May 24) by MOVE regarding their objection to the proposed development plans for the Southampton Princess hotel…

The Members of MOVE recently held a meeting where the Government’s award of an SDO to GENCOM for the expansion of Southampton Princess hotel was raised. As a result of that in-depth discussion, Members were unanimous in their objection to the arrangement and wish to advise the public of its reasoning.

1. When the hotel closed and severance was due to workers, the Owners did not honour their financial, legal, or moral obligaon to their employees-most of whom were grassroots Bermudians-and taxpayers had to pay the funds that the Owners would not.

2. The Premier’s own Tax Reform Commission said Bermuda’s tax regime puts the hardest burden on Bermudians who can afford to pay the least and the Commission found it to be unfair. In other words, grassroots Bermudian taxpayers pay far more than their fair share of taxes; accordingly, grassroot taxpayers then covered a multimillion-dollar foreign company’s debt and commitment to grassroots Bermudian workers.

3. To make ma6ers worse, the Government then used the taxes that grassroots Bermudian taxpayers pay to fund tax exemptions so that the same mulmillion-dollar foreign company would not have to pay any tax for 15 years!

4. It has been reported that the Southampton Princess tax concessions are worth $150million. Yet in 2021 the Government only earned $110 million from the entire Tourism Industry. Years of governmental tax concessions to foreign hotel owners means Tourism now only represents 2.5 percent of our GDP.

5. Members were also reminded of former Finance Minister Curtis Dickinson’s words last year when he said: “The quantum of and form of the Government’s support of the redevelopment of the Fairmont Southampton were the primary reasons behind my resignation.” In other words, BOTH the amount of funding, AND how the funding would operate caused the Minister to resign.

6. It would be remiss of MOVE not to mention GENCOM is the same company who has shown a reckless a@tude to Bermudian history and culture. However now the company and the government are asking us to trust that they care about the Environment, the Southampton community, or will provide proper stewardship over even more land in Bermuda.

7. Grassroots, working-class Bermudians pay taxes at a higher proporon then others; Grassroots, working-class Bermudians lost their jobs when the hotel closed; Grassroots, working-class Bermudians paid the severance the wealthy owners refused to; Grassroots, working-class Bermudian taxes are also paying for the wealthy owner’s tax concessions; and given Grassroots, working-class Bermudians’ responsibilities to our families and how long the hotel has been closed, we have been working ever since it closed so we will not benefit from new jobs.

We are releasing this statement publicly because the PLP-has-refused to even respond to our last request for a meeting to discuss its apparent rejection of Bermudian values and grassroots issues. Awarding such an SDO to this company is a slap in the face of Bermudian values of decency, justice, and fairness; we ask that the PLP Government not to conduct such treacherous behavior.