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Bermuda Businesses Seek Legislation
To Force Closure Of Cruise Ship Services

September 22, 2006

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Bermuda Businesses Seek Legislation
To Force Closure Of Cruise Ship Services

September 22, 2006

Bermuda Tourism activist Tony Brannon is angered by the local governments refusal to help local businesses survive on the island.

He says while the government promotes their own public events for tourists, they are not giving a fair shake to local entertainment businesses and restaurants.

Currently, there is legislation that requires cruise ship to close their onboard shops while in port, to force passengers to make purchases on the island.

The service industry wants the same treatment as the retail sector.

Mr. Brannon last week called on Tourism Minister Ewart Brown to ban cruise ships from putting on live shows while in port, arguing that passengers had no incentive to go out and sample local night spots.

Mr. Brannon said. "Most musicians are flabbergasted and I'm sure the likes of Hubert Smith and others – the guys who founded the Bermuda Federation of Musicians and Variety Artists – will be turning in their graves. "The Progressive Labour Party is supposed to represent labour and that's what we are – musical labourers. But we're getting no support from this Government."

Mr. Brannon pointed out that the ban on cruise ships providing entertainment on board while in port was lifted by former Tourism Minister David Allen after the PLP won office in 1998.

Brannon acknowledged that public taste could not be "policed" but added that cruise ships had an unfair advantage over local entertainers by providing entertainment as part of a pre-paid package.

Brannon says that musicians and clubs should be given the same opportunity as the retailers, to be the exclusive entertainment for cruise ship passengers.

Bermuda hotels don't provide any entertainment at the moment – but Brannon says the government should be giving them tax breaks and getting rid of levies to encourage them to put on local acts.

"The economic model isn't there to make entertainment thrive and Government getting involved in the business is like Communism. It's state-sponsored entertainment.

Mr. Brannon also ridiculed a suggestion by Tourism Minister Ewart Brown to have local acts performing on board ships. He said that the cruise lined paid their staff at "Third-World rates" and that only a few would benefit.

"You wouldn't have a tourist paying for a local taxi, buying drinks in a local bar or tipping a local waiter," he said.

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