A select group of business owners – all with businesses based in Southampton, were urged to stay ahead of the game by preparing for the new employment opportunities in Bermuda’s hospitality industry.

Speaking at the Southampton Parish Council’s annual Business Breakfast held this month at Henry VII, Tourism Minister Zane DeSilva said: “We are going to need a lot of people with next 18 to 22 months to work at new hotels coming on line.

“We’re going to need 400 to 500 people so what we’re going to do and you will see very soon is an emphasis to try and lure our people back into the hospitality business.

“They can’t only just come in, they have to go up and there’s nothing wrong with making it a career.”

The Government is working closely with the Department of Workforce Development to ensure that Bermudians benefit from new employment opportunities in the hospitality industry, he added.

The St Regis Hotel in St George’s is set to open in July 2020, there’s plans in the pipeline at Southampton Princess, and the Minister was hopeful there would be movement at Morgan’s Point in the not too distant future.

The Southampton Parish Council headed up by Chairperson Stacey-Lee Williams, Corey Butterfield, Secretary and members, including veteran cricketer, coach and taxi ambassador John Tucker.

Former council member Craig Simons was the MC for the Business Breakfast. We will have more on the keynote address in subsequent report.

Mr Butterfield said the council “is especially proud of the Parish’s business owners, as they have made Southampton one of the most service-friendly, and most desirable Parish in which to live”.

“Our parish has the widest selection of hotels, the most iconic beaches, and two of the most popular golf courses on the Island.”

He noted that businesses include “doctor’s offices, grocery stores, in-home massage therapists, four gardens and three commercial farmers; nearly a dozen restaurants and four Seniors’ Residences”.

“Between the businesses at Well Bottom and Industrial Park Road (SAL), you could build, renovate or furnish your home!

“We THANK all of the owners for the diversity and commerce that has kept Southampton of the Bermuda’s most prominent parishes for 400 years; and we wish them all prosperity and success!”

Overall, he said the council’s business breakfast this year “was far more impactful; and therefore, more successful”.

“More owners stayed afterwards talking, exchanging business cards, networking, and just getting to know each other’s business…for Council that was six runs!”

“Given the positive feedback we have received, we should do them annually. Council is met last night for the first time since and we discussed holding them annually; watch this space,” he added.

Ms Williams, who became Chairperson in 2016, wanted to enhance the relationship between Council and Southampton’s residents and business owners.

“For instance, we have given grocery vouchers to the residents of Dr Cann Seniors’ Park at Christmas for a few years; but Ms Williams instigated an annual Easter Egg Hunt at Whale Bay for children in Southampton.
“The Chair also began an annual celebration of ‘World Bok Day’ were Council reads to the P1 and P2 classes at the Parish Schools, and buys one book for every P1 and P2 student.
“In these ways the council is reaching out to Bermudians at both ends of the generational spectrum,” said Mr Butterfield.
The council also held a Wellness Walk on Thursday, May 2, at Vesey Nature Reserve. He also noted that their building at 10 Church Road, is now available for rent and site visits can be arranged by calling or emailing.
Admittedly, he said a has changed since “Parish Councils were established by virtue of an Act of Parliament; Parish CouncilAct 1971″.
“The Councils were established in 1970 to modernise the former Parish Vestry system were glebe, public, and Church lands, were used for the care of vulnerable members of a Parish.
Sixty of the 70 guests invited attended the event this year. The council last held a Business Breakfast in 2017, it was also held at Henry VIII, with presentations by representatives from the America’s Cup Authority and the Ministry of Education.
Council Member Sakina Darrell is the newest member having joined in 2018. Mr Butterfield and John Faiella both joined in 2016.
Three Council Members (all men) stepped down at the end of March this year and the Ministry has advised that they have received Expressions of Interest’ from area residents.
Interested people should go to gov.bm and complete the online ‘Expression of Interest’ form: https://www.gov.bm/form/boards-committeesexpression-interest