The following statement was released on Thursday (Sept 15) by the Shadow Transport Minister Susan Jackson, of the One Bermuda Alliance…

The Bermuda Government, along with the Ministry of Transport and the Bermuda Tourism Authority are blatantly ignoring their collective responsibility to the people of Bermuda by continuing to collect Travel Authorisation fees for the benefit of private enterprise while the taxpayer stands to lose millions in government tax revenue.

Five confirmed cruise ship cancellations during our lean shoulder months of October and November represents millions of uncollected revenue from Passenger taxes, Tourism Fees, Transport Infrastructure taxes and millions more in passenger and crew spending.

Taxi and mini bus drivers, small businesses and every other local service loses out on thousands of visitors to satisfy Premier Burt’s unwavering commitment to generate private revenue from the Travel Authorisation fees. This irrational reasoning leaves the public wondering with greater concern who is exactly benefitting from the Travel Authorisation revenue?

The Opposition has been calling for the Travel Authorization contract to be released with transparency. There is no reason why this information hasn’t been shared to date. 

Unfortunately, ResQwest and silent partners continue to earn profits through air and sea travellers while the public continues to lose millions of dollars so desperately needed in these tough economic times.

If the country is unable to put a stop to this blatant cash grab, we can expect more to come as these private shareholders continue to gain confidence and introduce additional ‘services’ in transport and other government revenue generating services. We can expect public services to deteriorate, public services to be further reduced and much less money being distributed to struggling citizens while a few in government circles make all the financial gains.

This is a PLP government following historical practices they so strongly oppose yet cannot resist continuing in their own name for financial gain. This Travel Authorisation money grab and any future contracts has got to be stopped before the people of Bermuda find themselves on their knees.