Burgess: ‘I Decided To Change & Make Progress’

July 28, 2015

Tristan Burgess — a Westgate inmate serving a 12 year sentence for armed robbery — says his mindset has changed and he’s decided to take a positive direction in life; with the young man taking GED classes and learning gardening skills, with the aim of starting his own business when he is released.

“When I first came to Westgate it was just like…it didn’t really matter that I was here, I wanted to keep doing what I was doing,” Mr Burgess said.

“But after time goes on you realize that you want to change and your mind changes, and the things that you want to do in life change. For me it started with myself, thinking that I want to change for my daughter, for my family and moving along on that route.

“I started getting involved in classes. I started doing a lot of work, playing football. After a while I figured out that I wanted to do gardening. I started gardening and just kept going and never looked back.

In describing how he first started getting into trouble, Mr Burgess told Bernews, “I got kicked out of school and from there I started hanging out in the streets and I got myself into mischief, and then I ended up in jail for twelve years.”

However, Mr Burgess says he no longer wishes to follow that path, explaining that since he entered prison he has started a garden and started doing GED classes, saying: “I’m just in the garden working, trying to stay focused and out of trouble.”

“Right now in the garden we’ve got squash, watermelon, corn and tomatoes and some beans are coming up now. By the time that grows my progress will be still going,” he said.

Mr Burgess looks at his garden that he is maintaining in Westgate:

tristan july 2015

Mr Burgess, who was 19 years old when he was first incarcerated, is currently taking GED classes saying he is “working slowly but making progress at the same time.”

“It’s all about disciplining yourself to take the classes and staying focused on what you want to do in life instead of just bouncing around and being in the streets and trying to get drugs or whatever,” said Mr Burgess, adding that he is trying to do some agricultural classes so he can start a business when is released from prison.

“Being here and watching my daughter grow up is kind of hard, being that I can’t be there for the little moments in her life and those memories that you can’t get back. I decided to stay focused and get myself out of here and not come back,” Mr Burgess said.

“Being that I’m here for twelve years, I decided that this wasn’t my life so I decided to change and make progress so I developed this mind status, like if you want change you’ve got to start with yourself, instead of depending on other people to help you change.

“I just changed my mindset, changed the things that I do and decided to just move forward with myself even if nobody wanted to help me.

“In the meantime I’m just trying to get all the young people follow the correct path, instead of leading the same path I just led and end up here for more time for the same crime or stuff like that.

Brief audio excerpt of Mr Burgess speaking with Bernews:

“Being an inmate isn’t a nice thing, but it’s just like you’re trying to progress and you’re trying to make a change for yourself, for the better of yourself and your family. You’ve just got to stick to it and just stay focused even though some days are different.

“It all starts with what you want to do in life and just saying focused and just not losing focus on what you want to do because at the end of the day it’s your life, it’s your time.  Just stay focused.

“Growing up without a father, and a male role model in my life. I had to defend for myself and make things happen for myself whether it was right or wrong, but then as I grew older and I had a child I decided that it’s all right, I’m going to make the right decisions based off what I needed for my daughter and what my family needs from me.”

“It all starts with being a man,” said Mr Burgess. “You’ve got to grow up and be a man about everything.”

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Comments (31)

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  1. Young man, I want to commend you on the choices you’d made. It’s great hearing you’ve acknowledged that the former / present life styles aren’t a life at all.
    With the accomplishments you’ve thus-far made and goals you’ve set, allow me to offer a bit of advice; “association leads to simulation.” When I was coming up I too made numerous “mistakes” but one thing has stuck in my head and that was a bit of advice which had been given to me by a stranger. They’d been sincerely concern about me and my future. He’d said, “birds of the same feather flock together.” He’d also said, “show me your company and I will tell you who you are.” I now want to past his advice on to you…and others.

    • The difference is one segment makes wrong choices they get a slap on the wrist or swept under the carpet.

      • stunned... says:

        @ onion juice: what segment is that please?

        • stunned... says:

          …typical non-fact by innuendo and then silence.

      • Anbu says:

        Love that black/white topic dont u mate?

    • FYI says:

      Be encouraged,Tristan!Allow your deep rooted wounds to heal and continue to develop yourself into the best version of you. God Bless you, your daughter and family!

  2. That’s good to hear, and you would have to work for yourself because its hard to get a job with a record.
    Unless you become a Politician.

    • Ed Case says:

      Ha Ha OJ, for once we agree! :-)

    • Redman says:

      Onion Juice,

      Yes it is hard to find work once someone has been incarcerated then released. That’s life. If you’re so concerned why don’t you hire him & others?

  3. enough says:

    Mr. Burgess it is nice to hear you are making such positive changes in your life. Believe me we all makes mistakes in life, it’s what we do after that that makes the difference. We can continue making the same mistakes or we can not. I think you are on the right track and don’t let anyoine tell you that you can’t be successfull because you can. Good luck to you and God Bless

  4. Wondering says:

    All the best Mr. Burgess! I agree with Raymond Ray Proverbs 13:20 He that is having dealings with the stupid one will fare badly. You have a bright future on the path your now on!

  5. Bozey says:

    Tristan,.. We are so proud of you!! We were neighbors and saw what you went through! Keep pressing on!! Big things are waiting for you! One thing though..don’tlet anyone rain on your patrade…like a particular fool passing silly comments here!!

  6. B Rech says:

    you have not choice but to change!! UNTIL…

  7. Terry says:

    Glad you recognized ‘accountability’.

    Your gonna farm fish or be another Tom Watson.

    Good on you son.


  8. Truth (Original) says:

    Proud of you brother. Be encouraged and stay focused. Bermuda needs you.

  9. Terry says:

    Prison life is hard.

    Once you go there your mind wonders.

    What did it take to get me here.

    What did I do wrong to be here.

    Or yeah.

    Wanted to be part of the crowd because my life was messed up.

    Hell it was better on the ‘outside’ but I did not seek help nor much offered by family.

    Now I see things from a different perspective that I was never exposed to.

    Compassion and help to broaden my mind and make me think being part of the “Street Gang” is better when you walk the street with others and be thankful that you can and enjoy Bermuda or elsewhere.


  10. Top girl says:

    Yes Tris

  11. D says:

    Hopefully he can get out earlier nice story stay focused mate

  12. real talk says:


    I dont care how much you think youve changed this lady and her kid lives will never be the same.

  13. Real Talk says:

    Who pays for all of this? I should have just went to prison and received free classes and learned a trade to then be released to start my own business instead of struggling to find money for school. Isn’t this just wonderful.

  14. Redman says:

    Good luck Mr. Burgess, hopefully you will be successful in all your endeavours. There will be many bumps in the road; just keep a positive mindset and keep forging ahead.

  15. Hopeful says:

    While I’m happy you’ve realized you were heading down a destructive path you not once apologized to the people uou help terrorize while robbing them with a weapon. I hope your daughter never has to go through the trauma that your victims (including a child) still has to deal with. May God bless you

  16. crystal says:


  17. little girl says:

    Your last mistake is your best teacher ,good luck to you .

  18. Oh,I see now says:

    Real Talk says:
    July 28, 2015
    Who pays for all of this? I should have just went to prison and received free classes and learned a trade to then be released to start my own business instead of struggling to find money for school. Isn’t this just wonderful.

    You talk as if prison is a joke or a free ride just ask a guy doing real time versus someone in for a civil matter what’s the difference.The embarrassment of not knowing how to read is a burden some struggle with daily in jail.Learning how to read can fill a young man with enough self esteem that it begins to encourage change in his life.Not all inmates are like this young man who could have been the one to brake into your house in the future if not for those”free classes”.If you really wanted an education you would find a way.I once read a story about a homeless mother living in a car who managed to obtain a doctorate maybe she wanted it a little more than you did.

    • Real Talk says:

      It sounds like you’re making excuses for a criminal and throwing insults my way while you yourself do not know how to read or write. The word is “break” not “brake”. Who says because they receive free classes that they will not return to a life of crime? You’re a regular ol’ idiot aren’t you? You clearly also don’t know how to comprehend what you read, especially sarcasm. The point is we are rewarding antisocial behavior while the public education system is a joke and people who actually need money to better themselves just have to deal with it. Now shut the hell up, dummy.

    • Real Talk says:

      Also here is a reminder of his crime. Just take a look at the awfulness of it that included one of his co-conspirators sexually assaulting a woman. I say the chances of re-offending are pretty high. To think he has a daughter while he stood by and watched that happen. Disgusting!



  19. Oh,I see now says:


  20. Unbelievable says:

    I have read Mr Burgess’ lovely story and all the comments from everyone, and I must say I am truly amazed by some of comments especially Mr Burgess when he stated that it’s all about being a “‘MAN” , you have to grow up and be a man, ” As I know the victims very well, firstly if he now considers himself a man and is changed as he said he has, he should have reached out some way to the victims by now, this is what a changed person would have done. I’m sure he must have realized by now what he has done to this family and how they have been impacted by what he done at their home. They have to deal with what happened to them everyday, especially the child, she has been traumatized by the incident to no avail, and is always frightened that someone is coming to her home to hurt her, and just to think that he has a daughter and states, he can’t be there for her for the little things in life, he should have realized that before he committed the crime that he did, was he thinking about his daughter then??? I certainly have my doubts regarding that statement. And for some one to post, hopefully he can get out earlier, what a double jab in the heart for the victims, a very disturbing crime was committed and 12 years is certainly a slap on the wrist for this crime,. If Mr Burgess has taken the steps to fiurther his education and has become a man well good for him, everyone deserves a second chance no matter what, but he must make sure he upholds the statements that he has made regarding the changes that he has now made which should include seeking forgiveness from the victims if he truly considers himself changed.

  21. Yeah right says:

    ^^^^ very well said.
    He will be focussed until life bites him in the rear end when he’s released, then he’ll revert back to his criminal behavior? Karma is not spending time in prison….I agree 12 years is by far too short of a sentence…think about it, the same people he terrorized have to pay for his incarceration…..do the victims get a break here? I say not…..