Updated: 10/9/2021 8:02 AM
Everyone does it: Wayne Furburt, the secretary for the Cabinet Office, says he regularly buys online for overseas goods (Photo by Blaire Simmons)
Island retailers have failed to meet customer demand, which has led to an increase in overseas online purchases, a government minister claimed yesterday.
Wayne Furbert, the Cabinet Secretary, admitted that he and his wife were fans of online shopping and insisted that “every Bermudian does”.
He said it would “help” the situation if Bermuda stores had a wider range of products.
Mr Furbert spoke as he marked World Post Day in front of the GPO in Hamilton.
He was asked about a government plan by the Post to get into the import business with MyUS, an American courier company, to set up MyBermudaPost.
He admitted island courier companies were not contacted until the deal with MyUS was closed.
Mr. Furbert said: “Why not? Because we wanted to work with an overseas service that only offers service within the United States.
“I did not contact ZipX, I did not contact IBC.”
Sam Brangman, the Postmaster General, entered and explained why a request for quotation had not been made so that island companies could have suggestions.
Mr Brangman said, “In 2018 the Post made a request for information and the only two companies that responded to us were IBC and DHL.
“None of these companies had a US address or facility to accept our mail.
“So we were looking for another way to benefit Swiss Post and our customers.
“If no one replies to the RFI, you don’t have to go to the next step.”
But Mr. Furbert later said that island companies had depots abroad.
When asked why Bermudian companies weren’t asked to provide the same service MyUS had offered, he added, “Why not go elsewhere?”
Mr. Furbert was also asked whether the government is competing with island courier companies.
He said, “The post office has been around for 200 years so they are competing with the post office.
“This is nothing new. What we have done is improve the efficiency and services to get it through MyUS.
“All it is is a vehicle where you order your things from New York or wherever, they go to them and they deliver them to us.
“We’re just offering better service. US Postal Service has always been a service that we have offered. “
The Royal Newspaper Emailed a series of questions about MyBermudaPost to the government communications department two weeks ago but received no response.
Mr. Furbert insisted that the government backed Buy Bermuda.
He said, “We’re promoting this – but times have changed.
“I have a very strong passion and concern for retail and have been for many years. I met her again and again. “
Mr. Furbert asked, “How do we improve some of your services?
“Times have changed. My wife – I love to encourage her to shop more in town, but she says,” Wayne, when I go into town and buy a dress everyone looks like me. “
“I wear the same dress as everyone else – or I can’t find my size.”
Mr. Furbert said, “These are some of the challenges we face and so we only offer what other services offer.”
He later added, “If you speak to the retail industry, they will tell you that Wayne Furbert supported them.”
Mr Furbert was reminded that he had just criticized the island’s retail trade.
He said, “I criticized you? In which way?
“You ask the average woman… if you and I buy shirts, that’s fine, but most women don’t want to wear the same thing. It’s true.
Mr. Furbert added, “This is just the normal buying behavior of most women.”
He said he bought a lot of electrical appliances from overseas.
But he added, “I buy all of my clothes … English Sports Shop, English Sports Shop, English Sports Shop.”
Mr Furbert said customs-declared overseas purchases have risen to $ 25 million recently.
He added, “It’s typically $ 12-14 million. Every Bermudian does it and we try to offer a service that becomes cheaper. “