Bermuda Real sources have confirmed that the Minister of Tourism and Economic Development, Jamahl Simmons and the Bermuda Public Services Union “have intervened in an attempt to protect the jobs of Bermudians”, at the Bermuda Tourism Authority.

But mums the word on the BTA’s recent “restructure” that resulted in an undisclosed number of redundancies, including the post held by Bermudian Jamel Hardtman, one of the BTA’s top revenue earners.

To date, the BTA has maintained its policy not to comment on individual cases, or the number of staff who lost their jobs.

BPSU President, Senator Jason Hayward

When contacted by Bermuda Real on Friday, BPSU President, Senator Jason Hayward said: “It’s disheartening to see Bermudians made redundant, however redundancies are the unfortunate by-products of the privatization of public services, which the BPSU never supported.

“The BPSU is not a certified bargaining agent for BTA staff, as a result it would be inappropriate for us to comment on the specifics of this matter,” he added.

BTA  CEO Kevin Dallas has stated: “To meet expectations as an effective destination marketing organisation the Bermuda Tourism Authority must be agile, responsive to the market needs and continuously finding ways to improve the country’s return on investment.

“By eliminating overlapping and obsolete activities, and evolving strategies, the Bermuda Tourism Authority can redirect funds, in a budget neutral way, to areas critical to the island’s tourism future.

“Those areas include increasing our market intelligence-driven internal sales capabilities, producing more original digital content and dedicating new investments to the future of sports tourism.

“This more modern and efficient organisational structure will create new opportunities for the Bermuda Tourism Authority team and other talented Bermudians who want to join our effort to restore Bermuda’s prominence as a premier tourism destination.”

Bermuda Real sent a list of questions to the BPSU, the Minister and the Ministry’s spokeswoman, who said: “These questions should be directed to the Bermuda Tourism Authority.

“The Ministry of Tourism and Economic Development will not be commenting at this time,” she added.

The Minister has yet to comment on the following questions fielded by Bermuda Real:

  • Despite the need for a new sales model, how is it that the Black Bermudian man, who is the top revenue generator get to be one of the first to go, particularly under the new PLP Government, considering the fact the BTA is a publicly funded entity?
  • At the end of the day, in light of the big elephant in the pointed up by Dr Ewart Brown on the Brown-Darrell Clinic issue, is this yet another case of “an outspoken Black male who questions what we do and what we say and being put in his place, so to speak, and is this the “look” you as Minister are striving for; in light of the PLP’s stance on the “Economic Empowerment” – for this young man to lose his job is surely NOT representative of that?
  • And exactly how does his job performance, in terms of generating BTA revenue compare to Victoria Isley, Karla Lacey, Mr Dallas himself, the white Bermudian brother of Kenny Dallas, who holds the lion’s share of the boat tour business up at Dockyard – how much revenue did they earn when compared to Jamel Hardtman?\
  • What exactly does Mr Dallas mean “by eliminating overlapping and obsolete activities, and evolving our strategies… in a budget neutral way… for other talented Bermudians who want to join our effort…” – Other Bermudians like who, do they look like me or Jamel, or some people who look like Mr Dallas and his brother?

As noted, the Minister has yet to comment on the BTA “restructure”.