Premier defends against concerns raised about fintech future – The Royal Gazette
Created: March 15, 2023 7:54 am
Nothing to do with Bermuda: Premier David Burt holds a press conference after delivering the 2023 Budget at the Cabinet Building (Photo by Blaire Simmons)
Amid ongoing scrutiny of the government’s digital asset strategy, David Burt, the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer, took to the floor of Parliament on Monday to hit back at relentless opposition questions in the wake of the latest slump in fintech’s fortunes in the market.
His defense came before regional bank stocks rose in Tuesday trading during a volatile market session, a clear reversal from Monday’s selloff in the wake of the closure of Silicon Valley Bank.
Even Butterfield Bank, which had been affected by the market turmoil, bounced back, gaining $2.50 (8.93 percent) to close at $30.50.
But state regulators in California had seized SVB and appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as receiver on Friday.
Local concern came as the bank scare included a forced halt in trading in shares of some regional banks, including Signature Bank, which was shut down by authorities.
Both Signature and SVB had exposure to fintech and cryptocurrency developers.
And Signature was the bank introduced four years ago by Premier as the institution local fintech businesses could trust.
On the motion to adjourn in the House of Commons on Monday, the Prime Minister brushed aside opposition criticism of his administration, noting that Signature is not even a Bermuda bank.
He quoted a bank board member as saying the institution is still operating.
He chastised the One Bermuda Alliance: “How is the opposition going to be happy about a situation that could happen overseas that could affect businesses here that employ Bermudians?”
The Premier took issue with the opposition’s remarks aimed specifically at him, because of the potential harm to the fintech industry as a result of the recent problems.
He said: “I don’t understand how it is a blow to Premier Burt. It is a blow to the people who may be affected.
“It is as if they are so blinded by the hatred and animosity towards me that they would make a statement like this.
“To use a situation that has absolutely nothing to do with Bermuda in an attempt to try to tie it in somehow and attack.”
“Here’s the truth. Local banks did not want to bank (fintech business). The diligent people in the public sector to find a solution that worked.
“I know that the ‘combined opposition’ is trying, as always, to use a circumstance that is completely beyond Bermuda’s control as an attempt to try and tear down the ambitions of this government.”