Derrick Burgess On Jobs, Education, Tourism

September 2, 2013

Saying he did not expect the OBA to produce the 2000 jobs they promised during the election campaign in the first year, Acting Opposition Leader Derrick Burgess said he did not expect to see jobs being created for non-Bermudians, and job cuts by Government and the private sector.

Speaking at today’s [Sept 2] Labour Day event, Mr Burgess said, “During the lead-up to the December 2012 General Election, the One Bermuda Alliance campaigned on many promises.

“The one promise that stands out in the minds of Bermudians, especially those Bermudians who still remain un-employed or under-employed, is the promise of 2000 jobs. Many Bermudians took that promise seriously and believed that if they voted for the OBA and they were elected to power, jobs would become available.”

Labour Day Speakers Bermuda, September 2, 2013-4

Saying he did not expect the OBA to produce 2000 jobs in the first year, Mr Burgess said: “I did not expect to see jobs being created for non-Bermudians, as in the case of the Heritage Wharf project, and I did not expect to see job cuts by Government, as in the case of the Bermuda Department of Tourism and more job cuts in the private sector as in the case of Butterfield Bank, in spite of the guarantee given the Bank by the PLP Government to save the bank and Bermudian jobs.”

Mr Burgess continued, “The Minister of Tourism has stated that there would be no job losses at the Department of Tourism. Yet, the staff members at the Department have been told that if they want to work with the new Tourism Authority, they would have to apply.

“I cannot end my address today without referring to the situation at the Ministry of Education, which I can only describe as reprehensible and shameful.

“Today, we have more people employed within the Ministry of Education, with certified doctorate educational degrees than ever before in our history, yet the Ministry of Education states that none of these people are capable of fulfilling the position of Commissioner of Education.

“In a press conference approved and written by the OBA Government, the Government insisted no qualified locals had been overlooked, and attributed the uproar over the appointment to a small group of disgruntled applicants twisting the facts to stir the public’s emotion around Bermudianisation.”

“We in the PLP embrace change, but change must be executed in the right way. One must follow with respect the proper protocols. Obviously some of us have lost our way. Are we still operating in a paternalistic slave society that prohibits solidarity? And discrimination against the fearless.

“That’s why we need to know our history and every so often we must reread those history books so we don’t forget from whence we came. They must stop profiling our people, particularly those of colour and those of us who joined the PLP as being incompetent, lazy and corrupt.

Mr Burgess’ full remarks follow below:

Today, we pause to celebrate labour day and to remember, honour and celebrate the men and women who fought to make Bermuda a more just society for all of us. Many of us today take for granted the benefits that were won as a result of hard work, dedication, sacrifice and yes in some instances, blood sweat and tears of trade unionists in Bermuda.

During the lead-up to the December 2012 General Election, the One Bermuda Alliance campaigned on many promises. The one promise that stands out in the minds of Bermudians, especially those Bermudians who still remain un-employed or under-employed, is the promise of 2000 jobs. Many Bermudians took that promise seriously and believed that if they voted for the OBA and they were elected to power, jobs would become available.

Did I, as the Deputy Leader of the PLP and a Member of Parliament, expect the OBA to produce 2000 jobs in the first year? No, I did not.

Did I expect the OBA Government to employ 2000 more people?

No, I did not.

However, I did not expect to see jobs being created for non-Bermudians, as in the case of the Heritage Wharf project, and I did not expect to see job cuts by Government, as in the case of the Bermuda Department of Tourism and more job cuts in the private sector as in the case of Butterfield Bank, in spite of the guarantee given the Bank by the PLP Government to save the bank and Bermudian jobs.

Certainly I did not expect as many migrant workers on the Heritage Wharf project as there was. You will recall that earlier this year the OBA government announced that 75% of the workers on the Heritage Wharf project would be Bermudians and 25% would be work permit holders. In response to questions from the PLP, months later the Government announced that there are 21 work permit holders and 70 Bermudians on the project. I asked the Minister in Parliament what is the total hours worked by Bermudians and non-Bermudians, because with these figures I can determine whether the 75 to 25 percent ratio was in fact the truth. The Minister called the question rubbish.

The OBA Government continues to violate the Collective Bargaining Agreement and disrespect the Trade Union Officials. First there was the issue of the Millenium ferry, a decision was made by the Ministry of Tourism and Transport without following proper protocols with the union as per the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Again, just last week, the same situation occurred with the Department of Tourism without any consultation or discussion with the Bermuda Public Services Union and again with the Bermuda Union of Teachers with regards to shortening the school year.

The Minister of Tourism has stated that there would be no job losses at the Department of Tourism. Yet, the staff members at the Department have been told that if they want to work with the new Tourism Authority, they would have to apply. These same staff members have been told that if they are successful in their applications, there will be a probationary period. This means that the “successful” applicants will no longer be government workers and they will not benefit from GEHI, and the current benefits afforded Government workers as per the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Therefore, as I see it, there are some redundancy issues here. Additionally, the Minister of Tourism has stated that those civil servants in the Department of Tourism who are not hired by the new Tourism Authority can be transferred to other government departments as there are vacancies, yet the SAGE Commission has recommended in its Interim Report that Government should freeze all vacant positions in the Civil Service.

In 1981 all the unions converged on Union Square in solidarity to fight the injustices of the UBP Government. A lot of those same people who participated in the 1981 general strike are now or approaching their 65th birthdays and this government, and the past government, have discriminated against them by dismissing them because they have reached the age of 65. I agree with what Rev. Tweed said on Friday night at the BIU’s Banquet, that the present day workers must reach back for the spirit and power of our elders to fight and eradicate any present day injustice.

As a Member of Parliament, and as a trade unionist, I have long advocated for the removal of age discrimination. “In England age discrimination is unlawful. We believe that as long as a worker is capable of being productive in the workplace s/he should continue to be gainfully employed.

I cannot end my address today without referring to the situation at the Ministry of Education, which I can only describe as reprehensible and shameful. Today, we have more people employed within the Ministry of Education, with certified doctorate educational degrees than ever before in our history, yet the Ministry of Education states that none of these people are capable of fulfilling the position of Commissioner of Education. In a press conference approved and written by the OBA Government, the Government insisted no qualified locals had been overlooked, and attributed the uproar over the appointment to a small group of disgruntled applicants twisting the facts to stir the public’s emotion around Bermudianisation. To add insult to injury a spokesperson for the Ministry sought to single out and condemn those Bermudians who dared question the decision. Are we going back to the days when freedom fighters like Rev. Monk, Rev. Tobitt and Rev. Golring were persecuted because they were fearless in their condemnation of a system that was unfair and unjust? Remember the special test that the Bermuda medical board set for Dr. Gordon and former Premier Dr. Brown a test they have never given to anyone else. The test was designed for them to fail in order for them not to have a licence to practice at the islands only hospital. Is history repeating itself?

We in the PLP embrace change, but change must be executed in the right way. One must follow with respect the proper protocols. Obviously some of us have lost our way. Are we still operating in a paternalistic slave society that prohibits solidarity? And discrimination against the fearless. That’s why we need to know our history and every so often we must reread those history books so we don’t forget from whence we came. They must stop profiling our people, particularly those of colour and those of us who joined the PLP as being incompetent, lazy and corrupt.

To whom this may concern, we will not get over this, workers in this country marched for a shorter work week. Workers marched in the streets for overtime pay, workers marched in the streets for paid vacation, maternity leave, workers compensation, public holiday pay, pensions, health insurance and if you try to persecute those that speak out, we will march on you also.

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Comments (71)

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  1. Sad says:

    Was this a Labor Day or PLP political rally?

    • Mazumbo says:

      Just a friendly reminder Labor is in PLP. duh, and PLP came out of the Labor Movement just like Bermuda Employers Council is part of the Oligarchy Business Association. LMAO

    • FACT says:

      Must have been because I didn’t see any of the W—- they must have been on their boats.

      • Bermuda Male says:

        Yeah, because all white people own boats and all of Bermudas black population was present at the Labor Day rally.

        It is knowing people that think like you are attendance keeps many away from events like these. Blame the past all you want, but with your mindset you are ensuing the future stays the same.

        • Mazumbo says:

          I have to disagree with you Bermuda Male, historically white people have never joined or supported the plight of black Bermudians, either they already had what blacks where fighting for or didn’t want to be seen associated for fear of reprisal(Dr. Barbara Ball)for instance. And what’s amazing is that most places around the world that have labor and union movements are black and white participation but in Bermuda??????????? Go figure, so your comment is kinda weak, so blaming the past carries no weight, it’s the mindset of the past that we’re experiencing.

          • Sandy Bottom says:

            White people fought for the end of slavery, along with black people. And made it happen. But that was nearly 200 years ago, maybe the details slipped your mind.

            • Mazumbo says:

              A handful of Abolitionist yes I agree, but where was the white support for struggle in Bermuda in the Post-Slavery Era during the 1950′s 60,s,etc maybe those details slipped your mind.

              • Vulpes says:

                Very ignorant indeed.

              • Albert says:

                Mazumba, you need to go into BIU Headquarters and look at the photographs on the walls. You WILL find white people supporting labour and the plight of black Bermudians as you call it. Think before you type incorrect statements trying to paint everyone in one particular race with the same brush…. In fact that way of thinking was one of the main things blacks and many whites fought against -prejudice…

            • Johnny says:

              Hmmm, white people (slave owners) fought themselves to end slavery.

          • Sad says:

            Yes we are and guys like you just perpetuate the same mindset. Not funny, but true.

        • I voted OBA,,,,,,and I voted wrong says:

          Interesting theory. So why when I attended Cupmatch both days the only white folks I saw was 95% tourist/ work permit holders and 5% white Bermudians.

          Say it isn’t so. When the game ended on Friday it was so clear what segment of the community was not at the grounds. The only white person I think I saw was Hon. Michael Dunkley he’s more a brother anyway and he’ll make a good leader. The man doesn’t run away from being Bermudian, he attends all the events.

          Cuptmatch is not a black event it’s a day to celebrate emancipation by holding annual picnics to mark the anniversary of the abolition of slavery, but every year a certain segment of the voting population does not attend.

          • Bermudahome says:

            So explain to me how you came about your 95%-5% ratio. I can maybe see where you can identify tourists but do work permit holders have a sign on their forehead? How about black permit holders? Can you single them out also?

          • Sad says:

            Amazing that you can look at white people and determine if they are tourists, expats or Bermudians.

          • Bermyman says:

            I think you believe that the majority of White people you see are not Bermudian and all black people you see are Bermudian. Which means you profile and judge every book by it’s cover. Explains your mindset and your ignorance.

            Just an FYI- Bermuda has no natives, in my opinion anyone who lives and calls this Island their home has every right to appreciate and celebrate a national Holiday.

          • WillSee says:

            You are just assuming they were all tourists!
            Typical, jumping to conclusions.

    • It was more of a P.L.P.political rally without a doubt! Derreck, why aren’t you out and about looking for a BILLION Dollars unaccounted for instead of stirring up the pot?Had it not been for your Party that was our Govt. for 14 years we today wouldn’t be in this, “do-dooo”. There are millions of unaccounted for dollars that you know about, so please stop attempting to distract us,(the voting public / Taxpayers)from the shenanigans you and your, “P.L.P. Part’ee” did to Bermuda and every one of we Bermudians.

      • Albert says:

        RRay, exactly.. And the PLP were at an advantage because everyone in Bermuda saw what was happening in the USA as it fell into recession and the PLP Government kept pissing away our money like it was going out of style. Everyone knows tht Bermuda is heavily dependent on the US economy so when we all saw bad times in the US why didn’t we prepare for bad times here! Instead we threw away millions and millions of dollars. Love Concerts, trips all over the place with paid police officers as security, renting huge SUV’s, $10 million to cricket in one year, etc, etc…..2 and 3 massive capital projects on the go at one time…..the list is endless. PLP supporters constantly bemoan that the PLP cannot be lamed for the worldwide recession but they can and should be blamed for not preparing for the recession before it reached Bermuda because everyone saw it coming….or did they?

  2. Wait a minute! says:

    Derrick Burgess was spot on about education!!!

  3. concerned bermudian says:

    Was Mr. Burgess asleep during his party’s reign? They issued more work permits than any other administration. Does he not remember the firing of 95 teachers many of whom were Bermudian? More importantly, we are in this situation because of the $ 1.4bn debt they accumulated! Not interested in anything any of them have to say!

    • TheyWereCrooks says:

      its funny how your throw stats out there to serve your bias without offering any context in how those stats should be interpreted. Is it really surprising that more work permits were issued under the PLP given the obvious fact Bermuda reached the peak of is economic performance under their tenure pre-2k8; you know, before that train of a global economic downturn [most OBA supporters think we should have been immune to] came rolling through?? And if you think 1.4b has nothing to do with that, watch how it grows under your new [can do know wrong] government. perhaps at that point you OBA’ers will finally realize the things that cause sh!t storms here are way beyond the control of our small time islander local politics…

      • Sandy Bottom says:

        So the PLP wants credit for the good years, but takes no blame for the bad years?

      • Bermuda Male says:

        So what’s your excuse for the PLP firing all those teachers as sell as the axing of a whole DoT department in favor of a foreign firm?

        Economic recession?

      • Double Standards says:

        So the economic recession is to blame for the millions upon millions of wasted tax payer funds on so called capital project “overruns?” Did th eeconomic recession cause the numerous financial instruction breaches as highlighted by the AG in numerous reports?

        Just imagine what the tens of millions of dollars spent (wasted?) on Gran Atlantic coupled with the hundreds of millions in so called “overruns” could be used for during these tough times.

      • yesman says:

        TheywereCrooks, I have to agree with you on that. People on this forum are fully aware of the global economic downturn and the impact it had on the our small island. They are only trying to be trolls to give the OBA some heightened false glory.

        • Story Teller says:

          And you are simply trying to deflect from the PLP’s screw-ups…

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Burgess hopes his blind followers memorys are as poor as his

    • Watching says:

      And he supported certain contracts knowing full well that capable and experienced Bermudians were available. Hypocritical, the whole lot of them!

  4. God 1st says:

    @ Mazumbo LMFAO!!!!

  5. Thunder Man says:

    Blah blah blah blah, PLP would have created the world in 5 days, blah blah blah

  6. This is why i will never go 2 labour day march! I thought it was to celebrate labour for the people of Bermuda! Looks like the PLP/BIU use it as a chance to bash the OBA, which is cool i didn’t expect any less from them! Yes, Mr Burgess we MUST not forget the history of Bermuda including the 14 years of destruction left by the, well we all know! Just think about it this man (burgess) would have been our premiere if the PLP got back in, makes me feel sick!

    • Concerned Citizen says:

      The young, uneducated person from Cavello Bay speaks again. Can you tells us about the history of the OBA, it’s formation and intent, and how you have Craig as your leader……….smh! Or did you just started to pay attention to politics when the OBA was created, I mean formed, I mean………..?

    • Mazumbo says:

      So at what point did you decide not to go to Labor Day March, the first one was in 1982,and as far as (labor for the people), as long as I’ve been fighting for labor for the people there’s been a certain segment that has been absent, so let’s not fool ourselves using excuses for not being a pert of the cause when in reality you have no interest at heart.

    • Johnny says:

      How old are you? 2?. Cause the OBA ain’t much older than that. And why do you guys keep deflecting from the issues at hand, and keep bringing up old issues. You want an old issue? How about when the UBP sold out Bermuda to their IB friends and kicked tourism to the curb. This started the steep rise in rents and caused the ridiculous inflation in prices for essential goods and services.

      • Double Standards says:

        Yeah, the demise of tourism had nothing to do with the numerous labor strikes, the shouting at tourists, and forcing them to walk across the cause way with their bags.

        Even Bill Marriot (founder of the Marriot hotel chain) said the biggest regret in his career was opening a hotel in Bermuda. Read the book to find out why.

  7. U can always tell when u hit the nerves of some people! Truth hurts!! uneducated well like i said i grew up in the government system while the PLP was in power! So there u have it again the Plp failed on education to!

    • We all we got says:

      Education system has been broken for about 21 years..When the government changed the old system

  8. Really says:

    It’s ok for him to rant on he made out in the hay day !

  9. lay down! says:

    People are always jumping on Cavello Bay i think he/she is telling the truth on some occasions!

  10. sooooooo says:

    Who wrote his speach? Man has enough trouble, with spelling let alone punctuation.

  11. Ghost Rider says:

    no one is listening to burgess or any of the plp.

    • Time Shall Tell says:

      If that where the case you wouldn’t be here commenting… Truth is Mr.Burgess has been the voice of the labor force for a long time (since we started having this march over 30 years ago). The roots of the PLP is also in the labor force so it would only make sense the two would go hand in hand. If no one was listening to the PLP anymore then the last election would of been a land slide with the OBA having clear numbers in the house but that didn’t happen. Unless OBA start to listen to the people & stop steam rolling through with no thought of how their actions effect people they will be the ones with no one listening to them come next election.

  12. Victor says:

    I can guarantee one thing – Derrick Burgess Burgess Ethan al back in power and that will be it for IB – we can be forgiven once, but twice?

  13. Victor says:

    …er, read ‘et al’ (spell check…).

  14. IneedaJOB says:

    I’m a Bermudian looking for a job. Tired of this Black white stuff. Just need a job.

  15. Double Standards says:

    Can I ask the reason why some PLPers and labor supporters (in this march) didn’t find it fitting to march against job losses and the growing cost of living in Bermuda until 2013?

    Did the workers’ rights and well-being not matter to you lot under the previous administration? I mean, it is not like job losses and the cost of living rises just began in 2013.

    Please explain to me why you guys were so quiet before?

  16. Double Standards says:

    Out of curiousity will the Labor leaders also be taken a paycut in line with their members, or do they simply agree a deal but refuse to partake? Given the financial pressures will the Unions be decreasing the members’ dues as a means to assist with their hardships?

    I ask because if yuo look at the BIU financials from between 2000 and 2009 (as those apparently are the latest ones issued, despite being a breach of the law) the following was highlighted:

    - Members’ dues: $20.1 million
    - Trade benefits (received by members): $1.03 million
    - Union Salaries & Benefits: $14.7 million

    So in the ten year period (2000 to 2009) 73% of members’ dues were spent on the paychecks of the Union leadership while only 5% of member funds were utilised in a manner to assist their members.

    So will the upper echelons of the Union’s heirarchy also be sharing in the sacrifice, or will the worker continue to fund their lifestyles?

    • Bermyman says:

      Blind sheep being led? Maybe someone should publish an article as to your point. Maybe those that can read will take it in and realize they have been abused by their so called leaders for years. The BIU would rather the economy on it’s knees than anything else.

      • Mazumbo says:

        It’s no different from the leaders of this country and an employer the difference is Union members are benefiting with overtime pay, sick pay, good insurance plan, maternity leave, paternity leave, compassionate leave, etc, etc , unlike other employer’s who treat their employee’s like sh1t and would envy what Union members have, now do a research on private businesses and construction companies and see their financials and the profit margins they make and the lack of benefits their employees receive. So trying to sow a seed of discourse is not working that already happened with the swing voters. LMAO

        • Story Teller says:

          Most of that is already included in the labor legislation that we have…

          So you don’t care that your dues are simply being paid with no sort of accountability (i.e. missing audited financials)?

          And you don’t care that the Labor leaders won’t take a pay cut or reduce monthly dues despite the hardship labor has been feeling over the last several years? But yet you are the first to demand company leaders take a pay cut and the like. Strange logic.

          You don’t really care about the worker.

  17. Navin R. Johnson says:

    Very easy Double Standards…prior to December 17th the PLP supporters were constantly and consistently lied to. They were told the economy is turning the corner…there are green shoots and an endless list of pie in the sky excuses regarding the number of Bermudians out of work…and this from a supposedly labor Governement…..no excuse that Burgess would be babbling on as he has done for years….where is all the money?

  18. Puzzled in Paget says:

    Only whites on boats Ha, Ha

    Take a look on any Big Week-end.

    On the biggest boat are all blacks.

    I wonder is these are the people that EVA & CHRIS are talking about that spend all their wealth on themselves and not give back to the struggling black community?

  19. Nuffin but da Truth says:

    burgess should go bsck to making drinks!

    NO,,2nd thoughts,,,he was useless at that too!