OBA: Language & Reference Was Offensive

June 5, 2018

“The language and reference made by Minister Burch was offensive,” Opposition Leader Jeanne Atherden said this evening, adding that it is “difficult to understand Minister Burch’s remark as anything other than a slur against Mr. Hargun based on his ethnicity.”

“That the Minister thinks it appropriate to take cheap shots at both the departing Chief Justice and his replacement is regrettable,” Ms Atherden said. “That Mr. Hargun is also ‘Indian’ is not relevant to his ability to serve Bermudians in this important judicial role.”

Her comments follow after Minister of Public Works Lt/Col David Burch, while speaking on the Courts, said, “If you want that legacy to be something that people remember fondly regardless of their political persuasion, you must produce somebody to take your place other than an Indian. You must produce opportunities for Bermudians on the bench across the board.”

Audio excerpt of Minister Burch’s comments in the House:

OBA Comments

“The Premier must publicly state whether he supports one of his Ministers who cast a slur on the new Chief Justice based on his ethnic origin,” One Bermuda Alliance leader Jeanne Atherden said.

“During a debate on the House of Assembly last week Minister of Public Works, Lt/Col David Burch, was scathing about the choice of Narinder Hargun to replace Dr Ian Kawaley as the new Chief Justice,” the OBA said.

Ms Atherden said, “First of all, the Minister sought, incorrectly, to blame the current Chief Justice for Mr. Hargun’s selection, rather than the committee that recommended him.

“That the Minister thinks it appropriate to take cheap shots at both the departing Chief Justice and his replacement is regrettable.  Of greater concern is that Minister Burch said that Chief Justice Kawaley ‘must produce somebody to take [his] place other than an Indian’.

“Mr. Hargun is widely regarded as an exceptional jurist.  I am sure he will prove to be a fine Chief Justice.  Mr. Hargun is Bermudian.  That Mr. Hargun is also ‘Indian’ is not relevant to his ability to serve Bermudians in this important judicial role.”

“When the Premier announced there would be a new public holiday on November 4 next year to commemorate the arrival of Portuguese people from the island of Madeira, he said his Government was a Government for all.

“The Premier’s exact words were ‘Mr. Speaker, this Government is a government for everyone and we are determined to forge a society where our differences are celebrated. We must have meaningful inclusion if we are to chart a future of success for our children and future generations’. It appears Minister Burch missed that particular memo.”

“The ethnic reference was made by Minister Burch during criticism of Chief Justice Kawaley in the House by National Security Minister Wayne Caines after Dr Kawaley criticized the Attorney General over staff shortages.”

“It is difficult to understand Minister Burch’s remark as anything other than a slur against Mr. Hargun based on his ethnicity.  If this is what he means, then his statement is completely unacceptable and he must explain himself,” said Mrs Atherden.

“If he cannot, or if he refuses to explain himself, then the Minister needs to be called out, both by his PLP colleagues and by the wider Bermudian community. Mr Hargun’s appointment is within the appointment guidelines and the language and reference made by Minister Burch was offensive.

“If the Minister’s comments were meant as they seem at face value – that Mr. Hargun, as a Bermudian, should not serve as Chief Justice because he is ethnically Indian – then the Premier too must explain whether he supports a Minister who holds such shocking views. If he does not, then he must censure his Minister.

“There is no place in Bermuda for racial hatred.  The OBA believes that we are one Bermuda and the Bermudian community, must come together to demonstrate this fact, loud and clear.”

Premier’s Comments

Premier David Burt said, “In the course of debates in the House of Assembly, Members often express themselves in terms which, upon reflection, are not best-placed to convey the point being made.

“This is not unique to one political Party and I have discussed with the Minister and my colleagues generally the need to elevate debates and communicate effectively on the good work we are doing on behalf of the people of Bermuda.”

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Comments (76)

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  1. rumsoak says:

    Imagine if someone talked to you like that in real life.

    • Onion Juice says:

      Well remember we are lucky to be born in Bermuda.

      • Smells Like EntreManure says:

        I think they call that PLP Privilege? What no March? No banners? No call by the Unions to down tools until he has been dismissed?

        Is the Peoples Campaign going to rebrand and call themselves “Certain Peoples Campaign”.

        He needs to resign! This is not how a so called LEADER should act.

    • Alan says:

      It is real life and it is time for this minister to go. Apart from the fact that what the Colonel said is deeply offensive and wrong, I wonder if he has any clue how many potential investors are watching. Good thing it was not Saul Froomkin who was appointed…

      • Smells Like EntreManure says:

        Premiere Burt, if you are struggling with this I ask you to pretend it was someone else speaking about the PLP party, the BIU, BTUC or similar organization. Lets then change the word “Indian” with “Black”? How would you feel the someone said in Parliament:

        “If you want that legacy (Insert here…PLP, BUT, BIU or anything else) to be something that people remember fondly regardless of their political persuasion, you must produce somebody to take your place other than a black person. You must produce opportunities for Bermudians on the bench across the board.”

        Would you not me asking for his resignation? Would you not be supporting a march? I’m confused!

    • sage says:

      I never liked Burch, still don’t, but Hargun is an Indian, 90%+ of those complaining refer to First Nations wrongfully as ‘Indians’ because of the murderous, confused thief Columbus, West Indian’ is another misnomer which no one finds offensive either funnily enough. Burch promised to resign if cannabis was decriminalized here, I would like to remind folks.

      • The Original Truth™ says:

        The irony is that many West Indians have East Indian ancestry. While the UK colonized Jamaica & other Caribbean islands at the same time they colonized east Indian. The British brought East Indian slaves to Jamaica & the other islands to work. They also brought Chinese slaves. Many African slaves mixed with the Chinese & East Indian slaves. This is why there are people in the Caribbeans & Bermuda with Indian surnames like Mahabir & Chinese surnames like Ming. The Curries in the Caribbean dishes came from India not Africa. Bermudians need to realize that most of them are not purely African in origin & are mixed by their ancestors own free will. In today’s world there’s no way to separate people because by this time we are all of mixed race even if we can’t see it & don’t know it. All party members should be made to take a genealogy test so they can see once and for all that they are all mixed & no one can claim a certain race or nation.

  2. Clem says:

    “In the course of debates in the House of Assembly, Members often express themselves in terms which, upon reflection, are not best-placed to convey the point being made.”

    Weak Premier Burt. I am surprised that you can brush this off. How about an apology from David Burch or even ask him to make way for a more progressive leader who will unite rather than use repugnant language about immigrant.

    • sandgrownan says:

      Weak? Dave BitCoin is scared

      • Ringmaster says:

        Premier Burt is clearly under pressure and this is a very weak and pathetic response. I remember not so long ago Trevor Moniz was ejected for using the word “boy”. Any apology from Burch would be as insincere as the one from Caines. They knew and meant what they said, it was not heat of the moment.

      • Wahoo says:

        That is the impression one gets isn’t it. Clearly he understands the gravity of it but brushes it aside. How pathetic he does not control his ministers. He knew what Mr. Burch was capable of long before he appointed him to a ministry what does that all tell us?

        • Smells Like EntreManure says:

          Premiere Burt nor any other Premiere should not have to control anyone. However, they are representing the people of Bermuda and they should not let power go to their head! And those that do should know that what they say should not go without consequences.

          Many years at Warwick Camp would have the same effect on many people. Many high ranking officers made the lives of innocent “volunteer” privates miserable just because they didn’t like them and because they could get away with it.

          I’m just amazed that some of these skeletons of the past have not spoken as they come out of the closet. ‘o)

  3. Jerry Garcia says:

    I don’t understand why Burt wanted him back in the fold after the disastrous last term he was a minister.It just baffles me.

    • Gold Coast Girl says:

      I never understood that either to be honest.

  4. Question says:

    And Burt defends the bigot.

  5. puzzled says:

    Good night Bermuda.

  6. Marge says:

    Col Burch, PLEASE… stop the hate.. most of the P.L.P, ministers are married to none Bermudians,and who cares where they came from…. man give up the racist comments, it is a new world out there .

  7. WSP says:

    The man is a train wreck waiting to happen.If Burt wanted to rebrand the PLP why would he include him.

    • Question says:

      Because he basically agrees with him.
      This is what the PLP stands for.

  8. Harold evans says:

    I am deeply saddened that the. Premier, by not outright condemning this, effectively condones it. I had such good feelings about this government when it was elected but, unfortunately, it is showing its true xenophobic and racist face

    • Wahoo says:

      I wonder when CURB will make a statement…

      • sandgrownan says:

        bwwahahaha….best laugh all day..

      • nerema says:

        CURB has now said that a racial slur based on someone’s ethnic background is “not racism”.

        Couldn’t make this up could you.

        • wahoo says:

          Incredible and they wonder why nobody comes to their “meetings”. George Orwell could have drawn some good material from our plp and it’s various branches.

        • Smells Like EntreManure says:

          Many people that were victims of “Ethnic Cleansing” might have a problem with CURBs statement. Hate is wrong! You shouldn’t get a free pass from the leader of this country, CURB, or anyone else because you are in Parliament, in private, online, or just lucky enough to be selective with his words. The venom was in his tone, not just his words.

          However, I get that Burt wants to protect his friend and party, but I am more disappointed in CURB than the premiere. I can’t say that I have ever attended a CURB event but I have supported them in the past. That support ends today. I understand the acronym but thought they fought for everyone. I never believe their response to this statement one be one that is trying to rationalize it instead of condemning it.

        • One Who Escaped says:

          Isn’t a racial slur based on someone’s ethnicity the very definition of racism???? The level of ignorance in this country never fails to astound me.

      • The Original Truth™ says:

        CURB is a racist organization. To CURB if you’re not black than you shouldn’t have rights. They have their white surrogates to help them promote their racism.

        I’ve already corrected Lynne Winfield about CURB’s racist propaganda about the Portuguese. They keep claiming in their lectures that the Portuguese were brought in to make Bermuda “whiter” & they took Bermudians jobs. They keep repeating this after being corrected. The Portuguese were brought in because the locals did not know how to grow the crops the Portuguese grew. How could they? They were ship builders who knew how to build & sail ships & were great at it but the industry waned & Bermuda needed a new one. They were not farmers like the Portuguese. The Portuguese came in & made Bermuda successful again & taught Bermudians a new trade. CURB has hidden that history & made a fake, racist one for the Portuguese.

  9. hoodie says:

    no condemnation hmmmm….

  10. lol says:

    Burch is a complete racist. Burt better do something about this if he wants my continued support. An apology will not be acceptable. make him resign….Seriously

  11. Mark says:

    Wait the plp/trumps are racist?!? Shocking…

  12. facts of the rock says:

    if Col.ever spoke to me or any of my family like that he’d be dealt with real quick,this man is not fit to be a Bermudian!

  13. cpm says:

    Of course if it had been the OBA the afternoon show would have been calling for marches and disruption-not a peep

  14. cpm says:

    Well done Ms Atherden
    We all know why the premier is weak because he is controlled by others and we all know who they are

  15. Little girl says:

    Sadly Minister Burch has a long history of vitriol towards non Bermudians.He feels he is entitled to say what wants because of his position. Few will call him out and minimise his statements by saying ” he’s straightforward ,direct ,doesn’t beat about the bush” the truth is he has no filters or boundaries and his attacks towards foreigners are repugnant .

  16. mixitup says:

    I agree that this statement was offensive and He should apologize…Or lose his Ministry.

  17. Dan says:

    It’s called forward planning. Thay is what the military does

  18. Rhonda says:

    I heard the debate.. and he described him as an Indian man.

    We can argue if he should have described him at all but..

    What would have been the politically correct way to have described him..

    • Ringmaster says:

      Bermudian. Or should those PLP Minsters and MPs (and spouses) from the South be called West Indian?

    • nerema says:

      he was complaining because he thought a Bermudian should have been selected, not an Indian man.

      But HE IS BERMUDIAN. His ethnic background is of NO RELEVANCE, unless viewed from the perspective of a racist.

      This might surprise you PLP lot, but not all Bermudians are black.

    • Punch says:

      Bermudian would have been the correct way to describe him. Why even mention his ethnicity.

    • Smells Like EntreManure says:

      Rhonda, it is not just what he said but how it was said. It wasn’t a thought or suggestion. He is supposed to be a leader. Leaders know how to conduct themselves in such a manner to unite people and strengthen a country.

      But if you don’t get it, you never will.

    • One Who Escaped says:

      There was no need to describe him at all, neither PC or otherwise.

  19. Status Bermudian says:

    I read all this and did hear the original interview. I was incensed to hear Burch say- He’s not Bermudian. I am sorry but when are people classed as not Bermudian if they have Status-it seems your only Bermudian if your Born Bermudian.

    Status is Status Mr. Burch like it or not!

  20. Colibm says:

    The Colonel is the main reason I don’t vote PLP, Premier Burt please do something about his hate… not just of immigrants but of telling people that their opinion doesn’t matter as in that debacle with telling the public that if they didn’t live near Hog Bay they don’t matter regarding the ATV tour. Being forthright and abrupt is not an excuse to demean people; to lessen their worth,

  21. Colonel Burch Should apologise for his rudeness…no body cares what a man that cannot even take the trash out has to say!
    Have you noticed the amount of rats on the roadway?
    They are everywhere.
    Do your damn job and reserve your racist comment …For a fellow to not do his job to the point of pestilence and disease to form or Express for another person to not tenure is absurd.
    Colonel Burch …tell me.
    .does misery enjoy company soooo much that…because you cannot he shouldn’t…you cannot full fill your post so…another man shouldn’t full fill theirs….this is not a question you have a right to ask…now toddle off and do your due diligence and reserve comment untill you do do it.

  22. Dirty baskett…

  23. Kathy Cervino says:

    It is time for Burch to go! Premier Burt, you should ask him to step down. The man is poison for Bermuda and has extreme racial hatred in his heart. Hargun is nothing but the finest for Bermudian and we should be thankful that he is in Bermuda and not in India. We should be very grateful for his service. He is a fine man…can’t say the same about Burch and his wretched lip service.

  24. We the people pay you Mr. Burch to do one thing.
    Please do it.
    Have the trash picked up the way it should be!
    Twice a week!

    Otherwise your legacy will be seen as dirtness.

  25. Kevin says:

    Burch is only showing who he really is and we shouldn’t be surprised he has been this arrogant rude spoiled child for his entire political life and yes you voted him in and there are more of them in the plp it won’t be long you will regret 24 – 12, you may not admit it but when the Coin drops you had better hope its not too late …..this current Government is clueless on how to lead and clueless on energizing a nation they are brilliant at divide and conquer
    I didn’t vote them in

  26. steve says:

    Atherton “his words were regrettable”…by whom? This is PLP speak and many voters love it. Where have you been?

  27. Family Man says:

    Welcome to the new Liberia where citizenship is based on skin colour.

  28. Brian says:

    Resign Mr Burch.

    Anywhere else you would be forced to.

  29. stormy daniels says:

    That’s again to al the voters, that we rarely hear from anymore…

  30. we had to deceive you... says:

    wow- it would appear that the only people who AREN’T racist are members of the PLP! who would have thought?
    Mr. Burch you have shown me the way! Thanks!
    I have been doing it wrong all these years respecting every race- isn’t that what the AME churches are supposed to teach?

  31. PANGAEA says:

    I never thought that this sort of practice would stoop to the level of political peoetic license .

    To any one who makes an uncomplementary uncivilised demeaning remark in your presesence .

    Stop them imeditely in their tracks by saying .

    ” Be carefull what you say “.

  32. Onion Puke says:

    As Forrest Gump told us – “You can’t fix stupid”.

  33. TGAOTU says:

    CURB is so biased and spineless they will never step up to confront racism from the PLP. The PLP is consistently racist over all their years and terms in power, and yet CURB never steps up. Why? They work for them obviously. The last time Burch was in power the last time PLP was in, he and other PLP members were spouting terrible racism, members of my own family were victim to it. Atrocious. Disgusting that people like that are in politics. Get them out! Make laws to ban racist politicians! You backwards PLP people have the nerve to accuse OBA of being racists – when count the times the PLP has said outright racist things…

  34. nerema says:

    CURB is now saying that a racist slur based on someone’s ethnic background is “not racism”.

    How that bunch of PLP cronies maintains its ‘charity’ status is beyond me.

    • The Original Truth™ says:

      That’s because CURB is a racist organization.

  35. Meh. says:

    Where is curb’s reply? Oddly silent when its the PLP speaking.

    • ??? says:

      Lynne Winfield, president of anti-racism charity Curb, denied Colonel Burch had been xenophobic or racist.

      She said: “This is not racism or xenophobia rearing its head, as if Colonel Burch had referred to an Englishman, American, Canadian instead, would the reaction be the same?

      CURB yet again showing their true colors and which party they BLINDLY bow down to.

      • Seriously? says:

        If Ms. Winfield does not see this a racist comment…. then that explains the not so warm and fuzzy feel I have towards CURB, and she should perhaps consider resigning, or the Board of Governors should insist she resign!! DISGUSTING!

      • Family Man says:

        Bermuda’s own Rachel Donezal.

  36. Mark says:

    Curb said this was not racism…further showing their irrelevance. This was the most clear cut case of racism/xenophobia I have ever seen. Burt’s response was ridiculously weak as well.
    Everyone should know that now that Burch has referred to his statement outside of parliament, he has now effectively repeated the statement outside of parliament and is now open to a human rights complaint.

  37. Undecided Voter - No More says:

    Election day tomorrow and I’ve been very unsure which way to vote, if at all. Very disappointed with both parties and the tribal instincts of their respective followers. The latest racist outburst from the Colonel was deplorable but certainly not unusual given his history of racially divisive attacks. However, what is much more disturbing is the fact that the Premier has once again condoned his atrocious behavior with such an insincere rebuke. However, it is not surprising that Minister Burch feels justified in making such reckless attacks given the comments by the Premier following Mr. Hargun’s appointment. I cannot support a party that supports people like Minister Burch so tomorrow I will not be voting for the OBA, but I will be voting against the PLP.

  38. Warwick West says:

    Both Col. Burch and Derek Burgess have a HUGE affliction. It’s called Potty Mouth. They are also dinosaurs stomping around in modern day Bermuda dragging the PLP and where it should be going, down.

    The PLP and Bermuda will never get any better as long as they continue with these dinosaurs and any others like them. Ditch them PLP. They are dead wood. Get rid of them for all of our sakes and for a better Bermuda; for us, our children and their children.

    They have no place in modern day public society makind decisions on our behalf. Absolutely none.

  39. Col. Burch needs to be censured. I am sure that this will never happen.

  40. Silence Do Good says:

    I don’t know why everyone is surprised and shocked by Min. Burch. The people elected him on the same message and platform. It is what the voters wanted in a democratic society. Keep on doing what your doing Min. Burch. For better or worse you are the elected person. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!

  41. Bolt Action says:

    PLP Speaker now handed control of HOA to bunch of biased, bigoted, xenophobic, racist, unapologetic PLP. Sure the Guv is reporting back to the UK on this!!

    • Earth watch police says:

      Well clearly the speaker is spineless and doesn’t control the house and is inept at best what a drip.

  42. Build a Better Bermuda says:

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. Once again, the worst representation of the PLP has made comments that hide no racial/ethnic condescension towards another, and again the PLP refuse to condone it. CURB sets out to redefine the boundaries of what is racism, in order to downplay/excuse it coming from the PLP. Not sure why anyone is shocked by this, 2012 did not humble the party or its leadership, it just made them adopt more Trump to win.

    This only stands as one more example of the hypocrisy that is the PLP, one more example that had this been someone that wasn’t PLP, they would have demanded resignations, CURB would have decried it.

  43. Stevie says:

    So simple. Caines & Burch are the plp version of Bert & Ernie from Sesame Street. Oh Thats the plp show Sesame Street.Burt clueless.

  44. Stevie says:

    Anyone seen tweed? Oh biu quiet too. Hmmm. Tells you who is really ruining not running the country. Think about it. Especially you onion juice, grow up.

  45. I see a minister who has caused pestilence….every road has a dead rat on it because the ministry of rasism cannot see fit to have trash pickup for people of any colour…when it is obviously required….nahhh…if you can’t do that…stay out our other pervue not associated with you tenure…