Premier Cox Appoints New Cabinet

November 1, 2010

Former Premier Jennifer Smith returned to the front benches as Bermuda’s Education Minister when newly-installed Premier Paula Cox unveiled her new Cabinet at a Government House ceremony today (November 1). Dame Jennifer resigned as Premier in 2003 following an aborted backbench coup led by Dr Ewart Brown in the immediate aftermath that year’s General Election. Premier Cox said she was “humbled and gratified” the St. George’s MP had agreed to take on the Education portfolio, the only Cabinet appointment greeted with a standing ovation by those gathered at Government House.

The other members of the team Ms Cox unveiled were:

  • * Deputy Premier Derrick Burgess is Minister of Public Works;
  • * Terry Lister, Ms Cox’s chief rival for the PLP leadership position becomes Minister of Transport;
  • *Col. David Burch, the former Labour & Home Affairs Minister, is now Minister for National Security;
  • * Longtime Cox loyalist and confidante Michael Scott is Bermuda’s new Attorney General and Minister of Justice;
  • * Kim Wilson has been shifted to the newly-created Ministry of the Economy, Trade & Industry;
  • *Zane DeSilva, Minister Without Portfolio under former Premier Dr Ewart Brown, is now Health Minister;
  • *Neletha Butterfield is Minister of Public Information Services;
  • * Patrice Minors is Minister of Tourism and Business Development;
  • *Michael Weeks has been appointed Minister Without Portfolio
  • * Walter Roban is Environment Minister;
  • * Glenn Blakeney is Minister for Youth Affairs & Families.

Ms Cox replaced three of Dr. Brown’s Senate appointees, dropping Walton Brown, Thaoo Dill and Marc Bean to make way for longtime Bermuda Industrial Union activist LaVerne Furbert, businessman and former PLP chairman David Burt and PLP stalwart Cromwell Shahkir. The appointment of Ms Furbert drew the largest applause of all three new senate appointments.

Responsibilities for the old Ministry of Labour & Home Affairs have been divided between Sens. Burch and Wilson. As Minister of Economy, Trade & Industry Ms Wilson will oversee work permits while Sen. Burch will continue to supervise passport applications and “border control issues” as National Security Minister.

Update 4:30pm:
Official Government release in change of Cabinet:

Premier, The Hon. Paula A. Cox JP, MP unveiled significant changes in the composition of Ministries today. In the Finance portfolio retained by the Premier, HM Customs has been streamlined to permit a newly styled Minister of National Security to have responsibility for border control and interdiction while the revenue collection function remains within Finance.

Signaling her clear intention to tighten controls on spending and project management, the Premier also assumes responsibility for the architectural design and construction section formerly within Works and Engineering and it is joined with a new division of contract and project management to form a Procurement Office.

“I promised to reconfigure and reshape the way we do business and these changes deliver on that promise,” the Premier said.

“The heartland of Government’s care and concern for the people…” the Premier said in describing the Ministry of Youth, Families and Community Development. This new Ministry will administer the transformational Mirrors programme and combine the “helping” services of Financial Assistance and Child and Family Services. Youth, Sport and Recreation and the Department of Human Affairs round out this community-based ministry. “Minister Blakeney will forge key partnerships in a continuum of care catering to all aspects of making our communities stronger and empowering our youth and families”.

Under new Attorney General and Minister of Justice Michael Scott, the portfolio combines the Department of Corrections, Department of Court Services and the Department of National Drug Control. “The administration of justice must be cohesive and providing one Ministry will all the elements to prevent recidivism is key,” the Premier continued.

Two new Ministries among those created demonstrate a keen focus on the Island’s economy. Sen. Kim Wilson becomes Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, which assumes responsibility for the work permit regime as well as “the natural synergy” between Labour and Training.

The Ministry of Business Development and Tourism sees a return to Cabinet of Mrs. Patrice Minors who will be tasked with heading the development and growth of the Island’s existing twin economic pillars: International Business and Tourism. “This is an exciting area,” the Premier continued. “There has long been a desire to better align these two sectors and combining these responsibilities with an emphasis on development will instill confidence in Bermuda and our future in these two areas.”

A clear and sharp focus on public safety issues is evidenced in the new ministry of National Security. Lt. Col. David Burch will now add border control elements of Customs to his portfolio and retains the Police and the Bermuda Regiment. “Combining these critical functions under this experienced Minister will result in a stronger interdictive force against the scourge of drugs and guns in the community. This flows from the Gang Task Force joint initiative and will strengthen the efforts of our uniformed, front-line services,” the Premier indicated.

“This Cabinet unites significant experience with fresh faces and we are committed and well equipped to meet the challenges facing Bermuda today.”

[Editors note: This was posted extremely late, and we apologize for this. We had severe technical issues and clearly provided very poor quality coverage today. We sincerely apologize for this, and will bring full video coverage later]

Update: For a photo gallery from yesterday click here, and for video coverage and bios of the new appointees, click here.

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Comments (44)

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  1. Sandgrownan says:

    "The appointment of Ms Furbert drew the largest applause of all three new senate appointments."

    That tells you everything you need to know about the mentality of the PLP. Vindictive, hateful, homophobic and racist. Disgusting.

    Cog is a failure as Premier already with this cabinet.

    DeSilva as Health Minister? With a new hospital to be built? Wonder who will build it?

    It's more of the same for Bermuda. Shame on Cog.

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    • Organic Bermudian says:

      Get over yourself Sandgrown if you have nothing good to say....... You should know the rest!!!

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    • PLP Member says:

      Minister Desilva's company is Island Construction. The successful bid team for the Hospital project included BCM McAlpine. So, your incorrect and ill-informed speculation about Island Construction getting the job gets you and the readers nowhere.

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  2. Tired of nonsense says:

    Watch out whiteys!

    Laverne Furbert now has the ability to spew even further hatred under parliamentary privileges.

    Political patronage at its worst...

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    • Dragging A Lure says:

      The Bros.Sandgrownan & Tired of nonsense are quick on the draw. Was Expected. Any excuse to shoot without aiming. Hey bros.the good ole days will never return. Go back to your site Bermuda is another world, the company is good for you both.
      Cheers

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    • King Solomon says:

      You actually are tired and full of nonsense. How about "Chronic Fatigue" or
      "Al Zheimer" for a screen name?

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  3. Year Zero says:

    LaVerne as a senator?! Words escape me.

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  4. Dee says:

    Homophobic, racist are the words that come to mind. Truly a sad day for Bermuda when this hateful woman can rise to the position of Senator and Junior Minister and the other Cabinet members are delighted. Shame on you Premier Cox.

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  5. k says:

    What is cog, sandgrownan?? Maybe you should call jennifer !!!

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  6. k says:

    I agree organic. Sad that there's hatred in peoples comments. I'm sure they're living an angels life !!!

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  7. No Clue says:

    I put my cog in the wheel to see what erybody was talkin about. Man that hurt!

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  8. Amazed says:

    Delighted to see Dame Jennifer in Education - if only she had been there for the last 7-8 years and also pleased to see the Colonel has been kept on.... Derrick Burgess as Deputy has influence and is rewarding Laverne's blind loyalty - she has toed the party and union line and never allowed the facts to come in the way of her pro union arguments; given that no credible entity would or has employed her, it's a bit of a charity appointment. You have to admire her steadfast commitment to personal expediency - that's the kind of cog this particular wheel needs - party loyalty first; Bermuda second. Shame the Premier could not let go of Finance - given that in her view the Finance Minister is a mere cog in a wheel, then she doesn't need to keep it for control since in her experience, the Finance Minister has none. Would have liked to see Marc Bean appointed to work with the Youth ministries and think that David Burt is a good, bright and welcome addition to the Senate. With 39 delegate votes it would have been politically naive to not involve Terry Lister but the Premier kept his allies in the backbenches which is politically sensible.

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  9. rob says:

    Four Chinese immigrants were smuggled into Bermuda by two individuals,one being our newly appointed National security Minister, Funny! now the taxpayer has to pay for this rediculous position, come on premier,this is not the time to show pity, i was pretty sure you were going to rid of the old baggage,and start afresh,but the same old same old,will not stop behind you back.just remember! you are in charge. shame!

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    • Organic Bermudian says:

      It is amazing that not one of you haters care that people like Roger Sherritt can come to Bermuda as a PC and end up running the Corporation of Hamilton or a Sheelagh Cooper can raise her children in privlege yet tell parents who have to work 2-3 jobs a day to keep a roof over their childrens' heads as well as feed and clothe them with/out assistance from a father. Parents who are forced to have older siblings care for the younger ones who come home and are shocked at the state of their home because the child can not cope with this responsibility and responds in frustration to her situation by smacking her child that she should talk to them or give them time out when all she needs is to come home to an organised house. Yeah right! Smacking (not beating the crap out of) children to teach them has molded many teachers, bankers nurse etc. (professionals) because they learned early what it means to take charge and to heed good advice!!

      How many foriegners have been smuggled into Bermuda by employers who never do back ground checks Check your local Bill Zuill who has been so critical of every aspect of this Government yet when it comes to a liar who he has employed his dust it off as his personal life but the people are racist?? Get real people and get over the days when Black Bermudians sit back and accept racism from White Bermudian and White permanent residents who got here through lies and deception!! Let us be honest about our history and the injustices served by White Bermudians and Non-Bermudians on Blacks!!!!

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      • Tigga says:

        Laverne - that you??

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      • Rob says:

        Is that your view or bernews!

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      • LA says:

        a very good first part of your point...alas as always the race card quickly comes in...sad very sad, your (its all the white man's fault debacle every time does get old and most people upon reading that automatically switch off).

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      • Rich says:

        The difference being that those 'smuggled' in to whom you refer actually came to Bermuda under the legal immigrant regime. Furthermore, that these folks aren't 'organic Bermudians' such as yourself doesn't take away from their right to say things that you may disagree with.

        HOWEVER I would share your frustration with folks who are quick to bring up the refugee issue ad nausea. And criticising folks like Col Burch, who has been one of the most effective Ministers we've had and who has been nothing short of competent, diligent and pleasant when I've dealth with him.

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      • Interesting Facts says:

        The two people that you mentioned are working for a better Bermuda, and have done for over decades. They may not be Bermudian by birth, but they care about Bermuda and her people, regardless of economics or race. I would rather have people that work for the development of Bermuda than people that just point fingers at who's fault it is.

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      • Jays says:

        Next time you want to bring race into something, remember that you're the racist in this situation. Remember that you offend white and non-bermudians just as much as you feel offended by them when you say such nasty things, you uneducated hopeless human being. Go outside and really see how much "rascism" you see for other races on blacks. Blacks are the only race "allowed" to make comments like this and not get seen as nasty as if another race said it. People really have no clue what is actually rascism now adays. Go read a book and realize we're living in the 21st century.

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  10. Almost speechless says:

    Wow what a very sad day for Bermuda and all the members of the BIU. We were 80% of the BIU was sold out during the exterminator Brown days and now Miss know it all Laverne Furbert who always manages to put the cart before the horse as a senator????
    I guess we can say farewell to the remaining 20% of the union. Our forfathers who sacrificed so so much to give us what we have today and watch it be thrown away. I guess they are constantly rolling around in thier graves no rest for them. But I guess some of us would sell ourselves for personal or political gain, not to mention the so called president at the BIU who could only speak whatever the great doctor dictated to him. Come on union members wake up its a new day pay attention to what belongs to you. you need to look no further then PHC club and see how far they have travelled under the same wanna be leaders?????

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  11. Lisa says:

    I am a PLP supporter and don't agree that Ms Furbert should be a Senator! I applaud Dame Smith being Education Minister long overdue. Would have liked to have seen Wayne Perinchief in charge of Police.

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    • Confused... says:

      Here, here. Laverne shouldn't be a senator and Wayne Perinchief is vastly underused.

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  12. Free Man says:

    Ministry of National Security? Where is that nation? Poor Burch a minister that has nothing to do.

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  13. Rich says:

    I am not a PLP supporter, and I don't like Laverne Furbert as a Senator either, but I understand it.

    Paula Cox has to accommodate some of the more diehard parts of the PLP, especially as this government is about to embark on what will likely be a hugely controversial venture if it wants to cut $150 million from the government budget and take on the extraordinary levels of job losses this will entail. That may play well with middle class Bermudians and UBP voters; it's not exactly going to endear Paula Cox's government to some of the PLP's traditional core vote. So every now and again, she's going to have to throw some benefits towards that group to make sure they don’t abandon the PLP come election time, starting with this appointment.

    I would reiterate support for Dame Jennifer Smith’s appointment as Education Minister. She has enough political experience, savvy and goodwill to try and get some much needed reforms put in place. I like that David Burch and Kim Wilson are getting expanded briefs; they were definitely the star performers of the last Cabinet.

    I, unlike some earlier commenters, also support Paula Cox retaining the Treasury aspect of Finance. She has also taken on public procurement and capital project administration. People beat her up unnecessarily on the ‘cogs’ comment but there was some truth to that. There is only so much a Finance Minister can do; she disbursed funds, but it’s Cabinet that approves programmes and Parliament which appropriates.

    Her new arrangement puts all fiscal aspects of the government’s agenda in the hands of one person; here, it’s Paula Cox. She sets the agenda as Premier, hires and fires other cabinet ministers who do not tow her line, controls supply legislation as party leader, issues warrants of expenditure, has line of control over government-wide accounting, overseas large spending capital projects, and will put out all new projects to tender.

    It’s a frightening level of power, but (1) if there is one person whose ethical credentials cannot be impugned in this manner, it’s Paula Cox, (2) if she is genuine about her spending programme, it means that she is in a greater position to make it a reality, and (3) she is the only person to be held to account for when things go wrong. There will be no more buck-passing when there is chronic overspending or project mismanagement. She will rise and fall entirely on how she performs.

    Finally, perhaps it's almost too obvious to say with a new female Premier, but this Cabinet gets high marks for gender balance. There are 5 female members out of a possible 13. Not quite gender parity but a damn good record compared to other democracies.

    I think there genuinely is an opportunity to turn the page for the PLP. I await to see how Paula Cox uses her early goodwill to get things going.

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    • LOL says:

      Derrick Burgess is the real Premier. Bet your boots on that one.

      LOL

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      • Dragging A Lure says:

        LOL,
        Looks like you have your net and GPS system out. (smile)

        You have to try using inflammatory bait.

        Let's see how your statement works.

        Who you fishing for?

        Cheers and good luck

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        • LOL says:

          Gottcha ...........

          LOL

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          • Dragging A Lure says:

            LOL,
            "Gottcha" sounds like Sarah Palin has hijacked your pen name. Shame on her.

            Cheers

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        • LOL says:

          Racists of the Black and/or White persasion tryin to clean this pond up....................

          LOL

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          • LOL says:

            Sorry but the PR machine in the PLP have more in common with Palin and the Republician Tea Partiers than anyone else on this island if you don't believe that then I have a bridge to sell you Draggin...........

            LOL
            ps Palin is perrty dumb but like you and the departed Doc she can get those Racists in line can't she.

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  14. Bermudian says:

    LAVERNE FERBERT????????????????????? YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING!!!!!!!! Holy moley!!! This is proof right here that anyone can be appointed to a goverment position...wow, kids dont bother getting an education, all u need to get into power is a loud mouth and cabinet friends!

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    • rob says:

      it was a toss-up between her and Johnny Barnes!

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      • Dragging A Lure says:

        rob,
        Johnny Barnes has much more class, why did you involve him in this discussion and than insult the man.

        Wake-up

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        • LOL says:

          Finally something we agree on.........

          LOL

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          • Dragging A Lure says:

            LOL,
            "Gottcha"!!!!!.
            Bait was not on the hook.!!!!
            Lesson #2 if you're fishing do not confirm or deny.

            I will attach a cost to the advise next time.

            Un voyage de peche

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  15. specialgirl says:

    Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man's sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.
    Martin Luther King Jr.
    US black civil rights leader & clergyman (1929 - 1968)

    Many of the comments made so far, reflect that we have actually not come that far as a people! I am really disappionted in regards to type of comments that have been made. We still have a long way to go people !!! I hope someday you will truely reflect upon your thinking, and see the uglyness of it !!! I hope that Day comes soon, as we have more serious problems as a country, than "HATING" upon our brothers and sisters ! We are all one people, when Bermuda sinks, We all go down !!!

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    • LOL says:

      Finally some "Perspective" good quote but do we/them (Black & White Bermudains) believe these words after all Draggin has stated this is all a game..........

      LOL

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    • Rob says:

      Specialgirl We had no CIVIL RIGHTS under the brown regime,we were muted, after the last budget, I now pay 40k. More a year on taxes thanks to the lavish spending of our leaders, and when I go to lovely TCD next year I can expect to pay another $100 on top, yes I'm angry, You are right, I don't dislike our leaders, I HATE them.

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  16. Lisa says:

    Special Girl this is a message board...

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