Video: Premier Burt On UK Committee Report

March 4, 2019 | 53 Comments

[Updated] Premier David Burt is holding a press conference this afternoon [March 4] to address the suggestions from the British Parliament Committee, and we will have additional coverage later on and in the meantime the live video is below.

Update 1.35pm: The Premier spoke about the Motion he gave notice of which calls for the House to reject the “unwarranted and unjustified attempt at intervention into Bermuda’s domestic affairs and calls on the UK Government to reject the Report and its retrograde recommendations.”

This follows after the suggestion from a British Parliament Committee that all UK citizens who reside here should be allowed to vote and hold elected office in Bermuda, Britain should order all Overseas Territories [OTs] to legalise same-sex marriage, and urged the UK Government to lay out a timetable as it pertains to the plan for the UK to order all OTs to make their beneficial ownership registers public.

“We do not accept that there is any justification to deny legally-resident British Overseas Territory and UK citizens the right to vote and to hold elected office,” the report said, adding that the FCO should “set a deadline for phasing out discriminatory elements of belongership.”

The Motion appears likely to receive bipartisan support, as Opposition Leader Craig Cannonier previously said the “OBA will support efforts to resist this imposition” as “Bermuda’s future should be dictated by Bermudians.”

Update: The live broadcast has concluded and the 10-minute replay is below

Update 1.40pm: Premier Burt said, “Good afternoon and thank you for coming.

“Less than one year since we celebrated the 50th anniversary of universal adult suffrage in Bermuda, and the 50th anniversary of our Constitution, Bermuda is confronted with views and recommendations expressed in London that defy the very nature of our relationship with the UK.

“In the 2012 White Paper, the UK Government confirmed that ‘Each Territory has a unique community and it is for the Territory to shape the future of its own community.’

“The right to vote in Bermuda has evolved to our democracy of today, where Bermudian men and women cast their votes freely in elections for the candidate of their choice. There are still many Bermudians alive today who experienced firsthand being denied the right to vote based on property ownership or gender. And when those things were done away with, a system of undue paperwork and administration was used to frustrate those who would express themselves at the Polls.

“Here we stand, 16 years after the first true election of universal adult suffrage, of single seat constituencies with one man/woman, one vote, each vote of equal value; forced to take a stand to defend the right of Bermudians to determine the direction of our own country.

“The UK Government has two months to determine how or it if it will proceed with the Foreign Affairs Committee’s recommendations. The Motion tabled in the House today is necessary for three important reasons:

  • 1. To make Bermuda’s position clear on the recommendations. The Report comments on the adoption of public register of beneficial ownership for Bermuda and the issue of voting rights for British citizens resident in Bermuda. On beneficial ownership, our position is a bipartisan one, endorsed by successive Governments: we will adopt a global standard for a public register beneficial ownership when one is implemented.
  • 2. To signal the political unanimity of Bermuda on the issues. It has often been said that while we may disagree internally, to the world we must present a united front. The Motion tabled today provides an opportunity for all elected Members of the House to speak with one voice in the debate and with their vote. This united front will convey to the UK Government that on these issues, Bermuda is of one accord.
  • 3. To meet the growing threat the Report represents. Some have sought to downplay the Report as only a Committee report that should not be taken as the views or intentions of the UK Government. Ordinarily, this would be a valid argument and we might be persuaded that Brexit and other matters would occupy the attention of Ministers in Whitehall.

“This is not so. In a move that even the UK Government was not prepared for, a cross party amendment has been introduced into the House of Commons in London and is slated for the report stage under their procedure today. The amendment seeks to further force the issue regarding public registers of beneficial ownership and we understand that its support is considerable and growing. It seems that some members within the House of Commons are not waiting for the Government to take a position on the Report’s recommendations; they are moving with haste to force their implementation.

“Since 1968, the relationship between Bermuda and the UK has matured. The term ‘self-governing’ has become our way of life as we elect our leaders, determine our own immigration policy, fund our government and services from our own taxation and revenue generation, and most importantly, make our own laws. Our Constitution and the body of laws that support it are homegrown. This principle is now at stake in this relationship and on this point of principle there can be no erosion of rights.

“A mere 7 years after The White Paper’s indication that Overseas Territories are responsible for shaping the future of their own communities, the recent FAC Report casts aside the need for such cohesion and asserts not only a right to vote but also the ability to hold elected office for BOTC and UK citizens with virtually no additional qualifying criteria. This is a willfully ignorant suggestion that ignores decades of institutionalized privilege and one that would further divide this community along lines that we are determined to erase.

“I look forward to leading the debate on this Motion and tracing for the people of Bermuda; reminding some and perhaps informing others, of the history of voting rights in this country and setting out in the clearest possible terms that Bermuda, in this 21st century, will not be turned back to worst excesses of a bygone colonial era. Thank you.”

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  1. Merrick says:

    He’s making a meal out of this one. Could it possibly have something to do with dishing dissent within the ranks by creating a so-called crisis?

    • sandgrownan says:

      He does look increasingly foolish. Who told him defending the right to discriminate would be a good one?

    • The Red Coats up to their “I will conquer this World” attitude, every Continent, Country and Island they INVADED they caused tyrrany, even with Ireland, Scotland and Wales, their own kinfolk ( Brave Heart). Even their own blood de Americans where at war with them ( meanwhile the Americans did their own terror).
      I guess its in de blood.
      Tell em Burty.

      • sandgrownan says:

        I’m not sure Celts are kinfolk with Saxons…but yeah, carry on.

        • One thing I love about History is you cant argue with it.

          • Come Correct says:

            Like Irish slaves and the Barbary slave trade?

            • Black Panther says:

              There were no Irish slaves…only Irish Indentured servants.
              And I might add only white supremacists push this internet myth…

          • Question says:

            And yet there are more slaves today than at any time in history.

          • LaV says:

            But OJ, history and made up crap are not the same thing, only in your warped little mind.

          • Ringmaster says:

            It all depends on who you are believing. History is replete with falsehoods and untruths. Then add in the Hollywood version to complete the confusion.

      • Come Correct says:

        That month you were in JA I really missed laughing at you. Stay a while, please.

        • The Truth is an offence but not a sin.
          Suck it up.

          • Come Correct says:

            “Braveheart” is truth? God I missed you.

            I suddenly have the urge to run down Front St with nothing under my kilt screaming “Freeeeddooooooommmmmmm”.

      • Reality says:

        …the thing that people tend to forget is that throughout history pretty much all countries were at war and causing tyranny…

        The Brits are just the ones that won the most… They’re no more evil than anyone else, they were just better at implementing it.

      • Merrick says:

        I wouldn’t tell that to an Irish person, unless they run around in bowler hats in July.

      • question says:

        What did you mean exactly by the phrase “I guess its in de blood.”?

  2. Joe Bloggs says:

    More deflection. The Committee Report does NOT represent to policy of the British Government.

    Please will you address the issues that DO matter!

    • truthertz says:

      “Some have sought to downplay the Report as only a Committee report that should not be taken as the views or intentions of the UK Government.”

      Burt even acknowledges the above and then subsequently tries to manipulate it by focusing on the BO register push and failing to mention there is no appetite in the UK Parliament to force voting rights on any OTs.

      But being truthful won’t assist in riling up people towards their true goal and that is independence.

  3. J J says:

    “Here we stand, 16 years after the first true election of universal adult suffrage, of single seat constituencies with one man/woman, one vote, each vote of equal value;”

    David Burt, you have quoted the cornerstone of the Committees argument. You have one class of British Overseas Territories Citizen (Status less) that cannot vote and enjoy full rights. You have your rights, but we still do not have full suffrage. When BOTs born here can vote then we will take a step closer.

    So the idea that one class of BOT can have rights and another one cannot is not what our forefathers fought for.

  4. question says:

    Why didn’t he throw in some quotes from Ghandi and Martin Luther King? Isn’t that what pretentious hysterical people are supposed to do?

  5. DeOnion says:

    I don’t think the UK should get involved in the way they suggest – but, wasn’t this the committee that Burt/Brown snubbed? They really should have been there.

  6. sandgrownan says:

    It’s a useful distraction given what an utter shambles the PLP are making of the economy.

  7. road rash says:

    Ok, so what was our London office doing? What is it doing? Where is our lobby firm? Do we have a lobby firm?

  8. red rose says:

    So what is being done to stop this? Please outline that.

    • sandgrownan says:

      Stop what? There’s nothing happening. It was a committee report, no green paper.

  9. trump supporter says:

    Dont look like they showed up ready for a photo shoot.

  10. dick francis says:

    The Premier talks of bi-partisan support – why not have a bi-partisan press conference?

  11. Ringmaster says:

    Premier Burt seems to be getting too upset over a committee report. It seems that without in any way impairing his verbal fluency, he has disengaged the operation of his mind from the content of his speech.

    • Question says:

      You’re giving too much credit to the operation of his mind….

  12. JohnnyB says:

    You are simply looking for ways to get the people behind you because right now, we are all pretty embarrassed by your performance thus far in government. This is a non issue, how about some focus on the real issues Mr. Premier.

    • Come Correct says:

      Shadow boxing himself in the mirror lol. What a joke. My land tax trippled.

  13. the Dizzying Gvt spin says:

    Brace yourselves–there is something lurking in the wings.

    Maybe our beloved leaders have boxed themselves into a corner
    with immigration reform–so they need a new enemy.

    Or perhaps they realize that there is no silver bullet to repair this withering economy

    or maybe they just can’t figure out how to get the buses on the roads and the mold out of the schools!!

  14. Raj says:

    More divisive nonsense

  15. Cpm says:

    Must be time for a March led by foreigner Tweed

  16. Onion Peels says:

    “Here we stand, 16 years after the first true election of universal adult suffrage, of single seat constituencies with one man/woman, one vote, each vote of equal value;”

    And the plp is about to end that with the Corporations. No more one man, one vote for you. They will appoint the Mayor and Aldermen from now on. No need for you people to bother yourselves voting.

    Kim Swan should hang his head in shame. But oh, what a difference a steady paycheck has on integrity.

  17. Donderered says:

    This has provided a brilliant distraction for burt et al from the real problems: a tanking economy and a flailing fintech stimulous

  18. Confused.com says:

    Quite seriously, how many Brits are we looking at or considering would be eligible? As a Brit here of 20 years I’m clearly not in that circle especially given that I wouldn’t really consider it an option! I have been made to feel so unwelcome for so long why would I even consider spending my savings here as I’m not welcome? My kids are the same, feel so unwelcome, why would they consider a future here? Their Bermudian friends feel the same, our kids are raised in such a blinkered community and wonder why young Bermudians can’t wait to leave and don’t want to come back! I’m not in IB or private secture, I protect our community every day but will never be accepted as part of the community I chose to protect! Bermuda has a long way to go but needs to wake up, the world doesn’t revolve around you, you are way behind and stuck in the trenches with blind folded leaders stuck in an 80’s era looking to survive to hold power over those happy to stay in the trenches because they are told to to do so! I’m the big bad expat, I spend all my wages every month in Bermuda, I send nothing home as this is my home, my kids are in your schools both Gvt and private. I pay my taxes for twenty years and actually buy food in the stores and restaurants. I have fostered a stunning child for years without a word and take part in charitable events supporting the needs of the less fortunate in our community! I embrace Bermuda, this is home, you don’t need to respect that but I truly do as does my family. Respect to all

    • Bertram says:

      I left Bermuda to another offshore island. It turned out to be really wise decision.

      My new job pays almost as well. The much lower cost of living more than cancels out the slightly higher taxes. I can buy a house here, which means huge savings in rent over the long run. The public schools are much better quality and the crime rate is much lower. The hostility toward immigrants I experienced in Bermuda almost daily is close to non-existent here (though I saw one anti-immigrant bumper sticker about a year ago). There is nothing like the “60-40″ rule here, so running my own business is a real option.

      My work permit has no termination date. I can already vote, in three years I can apply for a passport and in five years I will have all of the same legal rights as someone born here.

      Expats go to Bermuda because of the advertised high wages but it just isn’t worth it in the long run. If you move offshore, you should go somewhere where you can live like a normal person, and that certainly isn’t Bermuda.

      I know you’ve been in Bermuda for 20 years, but might it be time for a change?

      • Clapping my hands

      • Real Deal says:

        yet you still checking in.

        If you are not Bermudian you should not vote you came here because you accepted how it was here for growing your kids and working. Your culture is not Bermudian so it should not be used to affect the future Bermuda as it would if you voted. The more generations you have born here the more Bermudian they will become because they will be indoctrinated in Bermudian culture and history. With the Bermudian culture and history apart of them they your children’s children can make a vote based on best interest of Bermuda because they will understand.

        example do you expect some one from the Usa to vote in China just because the live there. i can bet 100% any vote the make will based their USA culture and upbringing. The vote would not have China’s best interest at the core instead there vote would be to try and make China like the Usa because that is the culture that influences them.
        I think people who fail to understand this take voting too lightly.

      • J Austen says:

        Which island? I might want to join you – life is too short for this nonsense.

    • Real Deal says:

      Voting is more than your saving or where it should be spent voting is about the future of the Bermudian culture for Bermudian children.

      If you are not Bermudian you should not vote you came here because you accepted how it was here for growing your kids and working. Your culture is not Bermudian so it should not be used to affect the future Bermuda as it would if you voted. The more generations you have born here the more Bermudian they will become because they will be indoctrinated in Bermudian culture and history. With the Bermudian culture and history apart of them they your children’s children can make a vote based on best interest of Bermuda because they will understand.

      example do you expect some one from the Usa to vote in China just because the live there. i can bet 100% any vote the make will based their USA culture and upbringing. The vote would not have China’s best interest at the core instead there vote would be to try and make China like the Usa because that is the culture that influences them.
      I think people who fail to understand this take voting too lightly.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      “Quite seriously, how many Brits are we looking at or considering would be eligible?”

      None. We are not considering granting status to any more Brits than we are acceding to the suggestion of one man in Brussels that the EU impose taxes on Bermuda companies.

      This is a complete waste of time and a deflection from the things that really matter.

  19. J J says:

    Thank you for all that you do for the community. The politicians have crafted a very unfortunate narrative.

    At least those young people who leave Bermuda can see how far the world has moved on. Hopefully, some will return and help to challenge the divide and rule mantra often spouted. It is hard to be hopeful, but their tired racism and hostility will hopefully pass away as a more outward and welcoming Bermuda, representative of modern Bermuda takes the helm.

  20. Fools on this thread says:

    Nothing intelligent to say

  21. Fed up says:

    Oh please. Bermudians have the right to vote when they move to the UK and take advantage of our free healthcare and free education. I’m sick of being treated the same as anyone else who comes to work on this island. What is the Bermuda Govt so afraid of by giving us Brits the right to vote here? Sort out the real problems on this island .. so many of us leaving that you’re going to run out of people to pay your over inflated rents pretty soon.

    • Real Deal says:

      If you are not Bermudian you should not vote you came here because you accepted how it was here for growing your kids and working. Your culture is not Bermudian so it should not be used to affect the future Bermuda as it would if you voted. The more generations you have born here the more Bermudian they will become because they will be indoctrinated in Bermudian culture and history. With the Bermudian culture and history apart of them they your children’s children can make a vote based on best interest of Bermuda because they will understand.

      example do you expect some one from the Usa to vote in China just because the live there. i can bet 100% any vote the make will based their USA culture and upbringing. The vote would not have China’s best interest at the core instead there vote would be to try and make China like the Usa because that is the culture that influences them.
      I think people who fail to understand this take voting too lightly.

  22. LaV says:

    “I think people who fail to understand this take voting too lightly.”

    It’s you who doesn’t understand how xenophobic and ignorant you are. You’re pathetic, go away. You’re not Bermudian enough for me.

    • Real Deal says:

      I beg to differ you have to reel yourself in you are fully confused.

      • lav says:

        Sweetie, no one takes your dumb jump up a$$ seriously, run along, munchkin.

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