Business Development and Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert. *File photo
Business Development and Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert. *File photo

SUNDAY, AUGUST 26: Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert said he has had enough of the “vile” and negative online comments that “spit” on Bermuda on news sites and Facebook pages. They are hurting Bermuda business and tourism.

The Tourism Minister said it is causing people to book other destinations and people should focus on the positives rather than the negatives.

Mr Furbet said he recently received an email identifying tourists who were considering visiting our island. They passed after reading the negative stories in the daily and in anonymous online comments.

The Minister posted that on the Facebook page for the Bermuda Election 2012,

On it, several posters also commented on the issue and it has generated over 75 comments since he posted it Sunday morning.

Business owner Quency Phillips said:  “I've had numerous conversations with friends that have said the same thing to me as it relates to no longer wanting to visit the island.. I hope it changes soon.”

Linda Trott said: “This is not good - and has been said many times before. I am in the recruiting business and time and time again, I am faced with convincing future employees for hard to fill positions NOT to read those blogs and negative comments attached to many stories. Some former expats and residents are also reconsidering Bermuda as a vacation destination because of the changes they see via they media outlets.

“They post about it sometimes before we hear it. Our only daily newspaper in my opinion does more harm to our community than it empowers us.”

Linda Mello offered a contrary opinion saying “I'm beginning to think someone is putting bat juice in the water, cause people are sure starting to act batty. What the hell do people want the media to produce? Fantasy tales? All of us sitting around a camp fire singing Kumbaya?

“What they print, and broadcast is what's happening. We are all at each other’s throats over stupid politics. I don't base my vacation plans on whether or not the people of that country are merry old souls. Unless there is civil war going on and I may get my a** shot, I'm going there.

“To suggest that people won't travel to Bermuda because there are negative news items, or negative bloggers is bordering on the ridiculous.”

Another poster, Anthony Gerard Alexander Fernandes, said “Wayne how is it possible that the OBA who is not in power is somehow more hamrful than those in charge? Are you saying that, if someone has a different opinion, it harms the island?”

Mr Furbert said on the PLP website (www.plp.bm): “I have read some of the most vile and disgusting comments made anonymously on online forums. I even read one comment that said that black Bermudians should, and I quote, “for those who blame white people for the situation they are in… don’t… you should blame YOUR ancestors, they were offered a chance to go back to Liberia..they didn;t go.” That is an unedited quote!”

“What do you think a visitor would think of our island if they read that or any of the other vile and anonymous comments posted?”

Mr Furbert also took aim at OBA Shadow Finance Minister Bob Richards and OBA Party leader Craig Cannonier for their negative comments.

Mr Furbert said:  “We live in a connected world – and, the world is listening. The OBA, their friends in the media and their army of anonymous commentators keep talking down Bermuda at every opportunity.

“They don’t talk about the good things that are happening here. They don’t talk about the expanded social safety net that includes FutureCare and DayCare which are helping families during these tough economic times.

“They don’t talk about the EEZ and tax concessions for small businesses that are helping Bermudian owned businesses create Bermudian jobs. They don’t talk about the Incentives for Job Makers Act which is attracting and retaining international business in Bermuda. No. Instead, they are constantly negative.

“The OBA, the media and the anonymous commentators instead just spit upon Bermuda at every opportunity. It’s hurting our competitiveness. And, I, for one, have had enough.

“If they were serious about bringing this country together, they would be having a debate over ideas and vision – not just spewing constant negativity. It’s time for the OBA to stop spitting upon Bermuda and tell us what they would really do so that we can have a debate over ideas. Bermudians deserve to know who is really standing strong for them during these tough economic times.”