Video: Premier Burt On Bermuda/UK Relationship

June 19, 2018

While independence is an “ultimate aim” it is not part of our current mandate and “you will not find Bermuda going independent any time during this term in office,” Premier David Burt said, adding that he thinks there “are far more important issues than independence that we have to address” such as the economy, education, anti-social behavior, infrastructure, and our debt.

The Premier also explained that his reference to independence should be “kept in the context of the speech” which was for a special joint session of the 50th anniversary of Bermuda’s Constitution, which “was written as a pre-independence constitution with the expectation that Bermuda would go independent shortly thereafter.”

Premier David Burt recently sat down with Bernews for a live interview on a wide range of topics, with the constitutional relationship between the Bermuda and the UK one of the matters discussed during the wide ranging interview with Don Burgess.

Premier on Bermuda UK Relationship TC June 14 2018

When asked about independence Premier Burt told Bernews, “I think that independence is an ultimate aim and objective of the Progressive Labour Party. It has been there inside of our Constitution and I think that will never change. I take issue with you saying that I raise the specter of independence. I think that it has to be kept in the context of the speech in which I gave.

“The speech which I gave was a celebration or a special joint session of the 50th anniversary of Bermuda’s Constitution. The reason why Bermuda’s Constitution is different than all of the overseas territories that Bermuda’s Constitution was written as a pre-independence constitution with the expectation that Bermuda would go independent shortly thereafter.

“That is not the case and our Constitution has been tested and tried. What is important that we recognize is that for Bermuda to take its place on the world stage, we have to advance our constitutional relationship.

“The fact, and form, and fashion of what that will be we do not necessarily know, but it is incumbent on us as a Government, as a party, and as a people to discuss how we can do things better and how we can be more effective as Bermuda.

“Let me give you a perfect example. Right now Bermuda is embroiled in trying to make sure that we have effective relations with the European Union.

“The Bermuda Government is spending lots of money on consultants in Europe and the decision was made by the cabinet that we should have a permanent representative in Brussels to reduce the amount of money of which we’re spending and to increase our contacts inside of the European Union.

“We had to submit that request to the United Kingdom Government and we’ve waited four months for that response. These are the type of things that happen with our constitutional relationship and that presents a challenge.

“It’s the same things we were talking about negotiation of air routes. There’s many things we were talking about shipping. There were lots of things that were encumbered by, so whether it’s independence, whether it’s additional steps in so far as modernizing our Constitution, these are all things that responsible Governments should talk about and that responsible communities should talk about in how can we make sure that Bermuda can achieve its goals and objectives in the best way possible.

“But here’s the thing, what I’ve said on numerous occasions to the people of Bermuda is that independence is not part of our current mandate. You will not find independence inside of our platform, and you will not find Bermuda going independent any time during this term in office. We are sticking to the terms which are laid out inside of our platform.

Video excerpt showing Premier Burt discussing Bermuda/UK relationship:

“Often times people say that election platforms don’t mean anything, but after this first term of the Progressive Labour Party in office people will know that our platform means something because we tick the boxes every single time that we complete a task. That’s what guides us in moving our agenda forward.

When asked if independence could be on the cards during a second term, the Premier replied, “I think any measure or move towards that has to be predicated by a number of items. But let’s be clear, I think there are far more important issues than independence that we have to address.

“We have an economy that is still hurting. We have an education system that we need to fix. We have anti-social behavior which we still have to take care of. We have an aging population. We have an aging infrastructure. We have a debt that we have to get under control.

“There are lots of different things, and that’s why I say when they say that independence is not part of the Government’s agenda, there are many other things that are laid inside of our platform that deserve our attention.

“It is my view that if we get the governing right than the conversations around what our next constitutional steps may be, whether that’s independence, whether that’s associated statehood, whether or not that’s just amendments to our current constitution, all those particular items will happen in their due course.

“Right now, we’re focused on fixing what needs to be fixed in Bermuda and making life more comfortable for Bermudians,” the Premier added.


The video above was extracted from the full interview, in which Premier Burt discussed a wide range of topics including the Government’s plans in the fintech and blockchain, by-election results, sugar tax, education, same sex marriage, racism and more. To watch the full 40-minute live interview replay, please click here, and if you want to listen ‘on the go’, you can also access an audio-only version of the full interview in the podcast section of the Bernews app.

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Comments (11)

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  1. Joe Bloggs says:

    “you will not find Bermuda going independent any time during this term in office”

    Really? Have you told Col. Burch that?

  2. Truth is killin’ me... says:

    You need $$$$$$$$$$$$$ for Independence and a stable economy and right now you got NO MONEY! Look at the roads. Ain’t been fixed in years.

  3. Black Soil says:

    If you can’t make the busses run, why would you ever think you can take Bermuda to independence?? The PLP are driving the Bermuda bus off the cliff. Soon the financial buzz they got from the OBA will burn up…and from there on it will be down hill.

  4. aceboy says:

    Back track! Back track!!

    Classic PLP, Grand pronouncements followed by a “Whoops, went too far”, then a speach about what was really meant by the previous speech.

    • Black Soil says:

      It’s about pleasing the PLP base, and then go back to following OBA economic policies. Thank you PLP for giving Bermuda a Front Street budget. We just need the PLP to keep the unions in their place.

  5. facts of the rock says:

    as usual,more lies by the plp!
    but you all thrive on their lies and green t shirts and gladly give your money to them and the biu.

  6. jt says:

    This is presented as a set up for independence being on the plp platform for the next general election. Don’t expect a referendum. They view an election win as sufficient.

  7. ProudBermudian says:

    Good for you Premier Burt. Focus on the issues we face as a country should be the priority, so you’ve got it right. Especially since this will make you unpopular with certain members of your party who have independence and power as their personal mandate…

    You just need to shake off the miserable haters in your party who continue to divide Bermuda. Then maybe we can all get along and you might find the support for the PLP increases among those who have doubted you in the past.

  8. Soooooo…what will Bda dollar be worth and how would that be determined please?

  9. independence from what? says:

    Mr. Burt- Independence from what? The opressive British Regime?
    How many PLP supporters and relatives of PLP supporters are in England right now, BECAUSE of our connection with England?
    The PLP can’t even sort out the Unionized bus driver issue, who hold their own residents and visitors to ransom!
    How much help would WE get if hit by a catastrophic hurricane like PR or the other islands down south?
    Please wake up and put this ridiculous drive for independence to rest!