’50 Years On, The Story Awaits Ending Chapter’

May 22, 2018

“The Class of 1968 taught us to be bold, and their example should be an inspiration to all of us, to finish the work that was started so that democracy in these isles can be hailed with a song that does not end with the word ‘king’ or ‘queen’, but pays tribute to our island home,” Premier David Burt said.

The Premier was speaking during a special joint session of the legislature held today [May 22] to mark the 50th anniversary of the first election held under Bermuda’s Constitution Order.

Honour To Address Joint Session

Premier Burt said, “Mr. Speaker, Madame President, Honourable Members of the House of Assembly and the Senate, former Premiers, former Members of the Legislature and the distinguished ‘Class of 68’, good morning.

“It is indeed an honour to address this special joint session of the legislature on the 50th anniversary of the first election to be held under Bermuda’s Constitution Order.’

1968 A Tumultuous Year

“Historians have described 1968 as one of the most tumultuous years in history. Last month we recalled the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and next month will mark a similar milestone that brings to remembrance the slaying of Robert Kennedy.

“There were student protests around the world, from Columbia University in New York against the Vietnam War, to the Latin Quarter of Paris against systems of economic injustice. Decades before NFL players kneeled in solidarity, two African-American Olympic medallists bowed their heads and raised gloved fists in a Black Power salute as their national anthem played in Mexico City.

 Bermuda Constitution Order 

“Amidst all of this unrest and more, an Order in Council was brought into force on 21st February of that year. In language that has now become familiar, The Bermuda Constitution Order attempted to codify the very ideals that were stimulating the protests around the world.

 Intent Was We Finish The Story By Writing Our Own Chapter Called Independence

“‘Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of the Individual’ begins Chapter one of a story that fifty years later is still unfinished. It is a story that was meant to be co-authored. The Bermuda Constitution Order was largely the British contribution to this narrative, and the intent was that we, the people of Bermuda, would finish the story by writing our own chapter called Independence.

“The constitution of the party that I am privileged to lead, states that the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party is to, ‘serve as a vehicle in moving Bermuda to independence.’ So, it can and should be no surprise that as Premier, I have no fears about repeating that ultimate aim.

“The fits and starts, the passing flirtations with independence have never taken hold in the hearts and minds of the people. This is perhaps because we, as politicians, have been consumed with managing Bermuda and all its disparate interests and have never turned our collective energies towards establishing the vision required to lead Bermuda into the next chapter of her constitutional development.

“This Constitution has been tested, from within our island and without. Every meaningful test of the 1968 document teaches us that it is imperfect, unfinished and stands ready to be better cast in the image of the Bermuda of today.

“It is unacceptable in a modern democracy to have decisions made thousands of miles away that impact our customs, our institutions, and our livelihoods. Likewise, it is not acceptable that decisions made closer to home reflect London’s desires, but bear no resemblance to our own desires as expressed at the ballot box.

1968 Began A Slow Move Towards Electoral Justice

“1968 began a slow move towards electoral justice and parliamentary dignity for Bermuda. The elimination of the property vote and the extension of the franchise to all those of age, eligible to vote was only a beginning.

“That fact makes all the more extraordinary the sacrifice of those men and women who put their names forward as candidates in that first election under the then new Constitution.

“This was new ground and the trail they blazed set the stage for further victories in democracy that culminated in the 2001 constitutional changes, and the 2003 general election where true universal adult suffrage was achieved: one man or woman, one vote; each vote of equal value.

“Over these fifty years we have comforted ourselves with small victories, and the knowledge that the Bermuda Constitution Order gives us more protections than those of our sister overseas territories. Occasionally, the tenets of the Constitution seem to work in our favour.

“But make no mistake, it does not take much for us to be reminded that the elegant strands woven together by its eight chapters, 108 sections and two Schedules can be easily converted to stifle growth, legitimate aspirations and the manifest will of the people.

‘Overseas Territories’ Is Politically Correct Way To Say We Are Colonial Possession Of UK

“Though we may now be referred to as ‘overseas territories’ – it is just the politically correct way to say that we are a colonial possession of the United Kingdom.

“A country with a Parliament that still thinks it is right to legislate for its colonies from Westminster; a place where we have no voice, a place where we have no vote, and a place where our people’s futures are treated as convenient political punching bags without regard for the lives that are impacted by the UK’s domestic political squabbles.

“Just yesterday, the Palace of Westminster witnessed a debate where the residents of the colonies were treated with disdain, and where peers spoke about the contingent liability of the colonies, with members who may have never set foot here, purporting to have the right to make laws for this colony.

It Is Not ‘Independence At All Costs’ That Will Serve Us Well 

“Mr. Speaker, Madame President, Honourable Members of the House of Assembly and the Senate; today’s observances are a critical part of understanding our past and using that understanding to chart this country’s future.

“Though some may not agree, it is not ‘independence at all costs’ that will serve us well in writing the long awaited next chapter in this Island’s story. As the former Honourable Member and Premier Dame Jennifer Smith said on an August night in 1995:

“Independence alone and of itself will not solve the many problems that face us today and that threaten our children’s future. For independence to mean a better future for Bermuda it must be based on a solid foundation of electoral and constitutional reform.”

“Our charge after this commemoration of the unfinished story is to collectively build that solid foundation. It is to lead the movement to those reforms necessary to assure the people of Bermuda that when the inevitable question on independence is asked, the answers are clear and the people are properly equipped to uniquely finish the work that was started in 1968.

Fifty Years On, The Story Awaits An Ending Chapter

“Fifty years on, the story awaits an ending chapter.Mr. Speaker, Madame President, Honourable Members of the House of Assembly and the Senate; today’s observances are a critical part of understanding our past and using that understanding to chart this country’s future. The question is will today’s teenagers have to wait until they collect their pension cheques to read that chapter?

“It is my hope that while Bermuda is challenged by the neo-colonialism from Westminster that all Bermudians, white and black, PLP and OBA, can relax our political tribalism long enough to realise that if we do not meet the threat posed by the UK Parliament’s latest actions, that we in Bermuda may not have the means by which to write that final chapter.

 Class Of 1968 Taught Us To Be Bold

“Mr. Speaker, the Class of 1968 taught us to be bold, and their example should be an inspiration to all of us, to finish the work that was started so that democracy in these isles can be hailed with a song that does not end with the word, ‘king’ or ‘queen’, but pays tribute to our island home that gave us the present and departed kings and queens of the Class of 1968, the pioneers of Bermuda’s imperfect but yet unfinished democracy.”

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Comments (65)

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  1. Legalgal says:

    Bermuda’s Brexit moment. Be my guest. Then you can legislate for discrimination in the Constitution as well.

    • Onion Juice says:

      Back to the matter at hand, the evil and racist ideology that was LEGISLATED by those who were given responsibility to Govern, totally misrepresented the oder of treating your fellow mankind with dignity, respect and LOVE.
      But looking at these comments that are supposed to reflect on a racist era shows that, that same spirit is alive especially whan Trump sounded de dog whistle.
      Well put together Premeir, your predecessors went through worst.
      Same S#!+ different day.

      • Vortex says:

        But more importantly OJ, good luck with that visa to the USA – EVERY TIME YOU GO. Good luck with hundreds of Bermudians sent home from the UK – including the bad ones in jail or protection and forget the financial assistance, police help, post hurricane help, and the monarchy- and those US tourists love Meghan & Harry.

        But you’ll be free from emancipation and an even better person.

        What utter horse manure OJ.

      • rumsoak says:


      • Question says:

        You have never treated anyone with respect and love. Not that I’ve ever seen.

      • legalgal says:

        Don’t bite the hand… Either make the break (subject to the will of all the Bermudian people and totally) or STFU. Would prefer not to have my tax pay for rights that are not reciprocated. with the race hate.

        • Onion Juice says:

          This island was formed on race hate.

          • Earth watch police says:

            I agree juice and still running that way same game different players.

          • SMH says:

            Yes OJ, and you still hate … people.

            Time to grow up and move forward…means getting up off that wall though :)

    • DifferncIs? says:

      People don’t panic. Independence comes at a literal cost. If Burt wants to go Independent we have to pay. Its not free. You don’t wake up , have a vote, design a flag and song and that’s it. You have to pay. Thanks to the previous PLP government we are broke and borrowing. So this ain’t gonna happen no time soon.

      • jt says:

        If getting out of the airport contract was too cost prohibitive there’s no chance we can afford this.
        Still, it’s been floated. Under the circumstances not likely a bad move. But the public register situation now needs to play out before much more happens on the independence front. Hopefully this isn’t a distraction, or worse yet, Burt’s main card.

  2. WSP says:

    Hey bitcoin Burt can I get my trash picked up first,then we can have that chat

    • Spanner breath says:

      Or even just the report on the wheelying trash truck!!

    • Question says:

      Or maybe you could organise getting a bus prepared for road use in under 5 months?

  3. Comfortably numb says:

    Would going independent mean all the freeloading Bermudians living off the dole in the UK would have to return and swell the numbers on Financial Assistance here?

    • wahoo says:

      Yes I think so and additionally a few of them might have some payback waiting for them in the form of gang violence when they return.

    • Question says:

      It would also mean all the students who want to go to the UK and study would have to pay the full rate.

      The PLP wants to prevent ordinary kids from getting an education.

      • connected says:

        Irrespective of independence, I believe this to be 100% correct. Keep the masses poorly educated, and you have their vote for life.

  4. Mark says:

    Right. Focus on achieving something, anything first. Independence over my dead body.

  5. San Patrick says:

    With all due respect Mr. Burt, you are bordering on treason, given that you attended Government House and pledged allegiance to the Queen and her Heirs. You will have “Cred” when you begin to walk your talk.

    • Onion Juice says:

      No different then when lands were Colonized in good faith only to be plundered in greed, murder and rape !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • wahoo says:

        What are you talking about? You idiot! These islands were settled there was no colonization.

        • Onion Juice says:

          I wasnt talking about these islands, but if you want to talk about these islands, we worked for FREE for 300 years, and treated worst then cattle, and after we were so called freed had to fight another 100 years for a livable wage and be accepted in society.
          I guess settlement dont get a free pass after all.

          • Question says:

            Still with the “300 years” myth?

            • Onion Juice says:

              Prove me wrong “myth buster”.

              • Question says:

                You made the assertion. Gives us the ‘famous’ dates.

              • Mrs Brady says:

                Prove that you were ‘treated worst then cattle’ on this island.

                • Onion Juice says:

                  On Gibbet Island 2 boys were beheaded, some wre hung and castrated and Sally Bassett was burned at the stake and countless other atrocities, but the fact that people were evil enough to encourage slavery and now some benefit and act like there is no long term effect economically, socially and mentally condescending.

              • Joe Bloggs says:

                Learn your Bermuda history OJ. I cannot prove you wrong if you refuse to read and accept history.

          • Up D Hill says:

            Stop living in the past OJ , your the Government again and like the first time your more miserable now than when in opposition! So tell us,, what is it you want OJ?

        • PBanks says:

          Colonialism isn’t just about settling and displacing natives.

      • Toodle-oo says:

        Independence , the final and ultimate poke (stick) in the eye for the evil colonialist descendants , eh OJ ?
        No single rational other reason has ever been given , because , well , there is none !

        As someone who lost everything they had and fled the Castro takeover in Cuba once said to me , ‘even if you still end up having nothing (which you will) it’s still fine with you because no-one else will have anything either.’

        • Onion Juice says:

          That boogieman talk dont play no more.

          • connected says:

            Again, but in English this time please.

          • Toodle-oo says:

            Still waiting for one good reason to do it . Please , I’ve been waiting for many decades !
            I already told you why you lot want it , now refute it .
            tic toc

      • Question says:

        These lamds were never colonized.

      • i myself and Me says:

        oj you speak thru your proverbial rear exhaust port and all to frequently. please enlighten me as to what was possibly “Plundered” from a location that has or had NOTHING to plunder??? BDA

      • Earth watch police says:

        There was nobody here when the British came

  6. GFO says:

    and the hidden agenda arises. NO thanks comrade shove it down peoples throats Burt et al

  7. i myself and Me says:

    let me assure you even if you get your ill advised wish you will then dance to a far bigger more monstrous entity that WILL tell you what you/we can and can’t do, how, when where and without question and believe me they are far more powerful than you lot. Its called the world governments and they will not give a rats tail about us and our feelings. We are an insignificant spot on the global map. lets think does (pick a country) shall we say Argentina really care about bermuda. NOT

  8. Deadhead says:

    To Burt, the English were here before you and will be here after you.GOD SAVE THE QUEEN

    • Onion Juice says:

      Ya, but watch that Royal blood get darker.

      • Come correct says:

        i think literally like 50,000 people read your comments and laugh… until they feel pity at how hypocrisy and ignorance can be so happily entrenched in one’s life… it’s quite strange.

      • connected says:

        Isn’t all blood red, regardless of the colour of your skin?

  9. campervan says:

    I get the abstract concept of Independence. Its very flag wavy and Nationalistic like “Vote Leave” in the UK. I’m also sensitive to the recent Colonial history of our Island home.
    Are we aware, though that it will require bestowing citizenship to people who have lived here for perhaps 10 years? The UK will not mandate independence without this caveat.
    I’m cool with that concept if we choose independence because I believe that competition and new blood makes for a strong vibrant economy/community, but I can’t see how this will jive with the section of the population who scream about Independence but rag on about recent emigres at the same time.
    I’m not sure that all the voters are aware of this requirement. Knowledge is power. Think about it.

  10. Vote for Me says:

    Well done Mr. Premier.
    The fear mongers have are already out and about.

    Bermudians – every nation sets to chart its own course as a matter of maturity. Lets at least not be afraid to consider what steps must be taken.

    Based on the recent decision of the UK Parliament about a public ownership registry, do you really think they have Bermuda’s best social and economic interests at heart?

    • Politricks says:

      So you think if we go independent and keep our registry in the same form as we do now that the OECD will simply say it’s ok now because they aren’t tied to the UK?

      We would have already been on the black list if it wasn’t for UK lobbying. So going independent would not solve that issue and as such it is silly to base such a decision on that one topic.

      Either way can you name some actual benefits from going independent? Will the cost of living decrease? Will our wages increase? Will tourism and business grow? What are the actual benefits?

      • Cow polly says:

        You get a song that doesn’t end with King or Queen and a nice pink and blue flag

      • Toodle-oo says:

        Well stated .

    • connected says:

      Do you really think the PLP do?

  11. Joe Bloggs says:

    “It is unacceptable in a modern democracy to have decisions made thousands of miles away that impact our customs, our institutions, and our livelihoods. Likewise, it is not acceptable that decisions made closer to home reflect London’s desires, but bear no resemblance to our own desires as expressed at the ballot box.”

    And now we see the real agenda.

  12. gustav says:

    Independence ?
    Mr. Burt ,
    travel to Zimbabwe and talk to the “leaders” over there.
    they might teach you , how to ruin a country much faster ……

  13. Dready says:

    I wont be able to go on my annual cruise now, no visa!

  14. Jean Foggo Simon says:

    This has been tried before. Do you recall Premier Swan’s attempt. Do some research before thinking this is something you came up with.

  15. Jerry Garcia says:

    My boy Burt seen black panther one to many times.Thinks he is in charge of Wakanda

  16. Will says:

    So when we go independent I assume we will change our dating system to month first, day second; and the ‘u’ will be taken from colour etc . I also imagine we will have Martin Luther king jr on our money….in all respects we will change one master for the next. at this rate I wish we were still a (real/actual) British colony

    Sigh..I’m tired of waiting for home rule again. And before anyone runs foul with that, first think of your family members who chose to move to the U.K. For various reasons ranging from better education, not homophobic, cheaper living, more to do and of course the elephant in the room : free welfare and please don’t deny that you don’t know anyone there for that reason.

  17. mumbojumbo says:

    Yes,agreed…by public mandate, you can’t be serious… reinstate trash pick up as needed.
    Buses also need to run consistently as well.
    If you cannot do this….you really have no right to consider any more responsibility concerning the welfare of a diverse population of Bermudians et Al.

  18. Stevie says:

    Burt got no clue

  19. Me says:

    What are the pros vs cons (race cannot be on the list)

  20. Onion Puke says:

    Thank God I married a Canadian!