Do you remember all those years ago, when the Pew Institute brought us the idea of the Bermuda Blue Halo?
What was it? It was basically a giant marine reserve reaching out to the limit of the Island’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
It was greeted by huge waves of skepticism and not a little anger. “Who are these people trying to tell us what to do?” seemed to be a constant refrain.
There were fears it would stop fishing, yet most of the fishing occurs within a 50 mile radius of the Island and the Halo would not have taken effect until after that 50 mile mark.
There were also vastly exaggerated claims over sea bed mining and its importance …. mmm yes, we are reaping the rewards of that, aren’t we?
I for one, was of the opinion that the pursuit of the Blue Halo concept was a no-brainer.
It would put Bermuda on the world map, help it promote eco-tourism (worth about $450 billion worldwide annually) and be one part of the many things needed to make a so-called third pillar of the economy.
But nothing happened and the Pew Institute gave up and moved to countries with greater vision and ambition than Bermuda.
There is no one big thing that will provide that elusive third pillar of Bermuda’s economy, it is going to be lots of things, that put together, contribute to growth and stop the near total reliance on IB and tourism.
Government’s planned Economic Diversification Unit (note there is already something similar within Government, not to mention the Bermuda Development Agency, but hey …) will look at those industries could be a fit for Bermuda and which, combined, could make that third pillar.
We don’t know yet what the Unit’s remit is going to be, we don’t know the kinds of industry it will look at, although we can be certain that it will be a technology hub at Southside as that is a particular favourite of the Premier, so we know that will be top of the agenda.
But will the Unit also look at the so-called blue economy which, has been totally and scandalously neglected by successive Governments.
Will it be approachable to new ideas? Will it look again at the Blue Halo project?
If it did, what an incredible way for the PLP to write itself into history and at the same time put Bermuda front and centre on the world map for something other than tax evasion.
Does this Government have the guts, does it have the vision?