Column: Second Cabinet Shuffle In 16 Months

November 5, 2018

[Opinion column written by Michael Dunkley]

I am curious and concerned upon learning of the Cabinet shuffle by Premier Burt, the second in 16 months after the election last year.

In addition, it must be noted that the Premier was misleading in his comments when he went to great lengths to stress the consolidation of ministries from 11-10. He did not acknowledge that it means nothing as the overall budget total for all ministries will stay the same, there is an increase in the total number of ministers, an increase to the total amount paid to Ministers and thus an increase to the taxpayer!

I am curious on the reason that Minister DeSilva is returned to Cabinet after he was fired or resigned earlier this year  over scanning fees. Could it be that since $1.2 million has now been paid to “settle” this matter they have kissed and made up? If this is the case it begs the question as to who is really in charge. A former Premier threatens legal action against the government, a Minister resigns and then the government pays out a huge settlement at taxpayer expense and with that the former Minister is appointed as the Minister of Tourism and Transport…the same Portfolio his friend and former Premier held when there were so many questions about decisions made during that time!

One can’t help but note that Minister Desilva now will sit in Cabinet and have direct influence on gaming, which has progressed little under the PLP Government and the Executive Officer position of the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission has been vacant for over a year! It should be noted that the individuals involved in the secretive scheduled New York City gaming meeting, of which so many questions remain, are in place with the responsibility to make critical decisions.

I am also curious and concerned about the need for an increase in the Cabinet with two Ministers having little or no direct responsibility but being paid a good check at taxpayer expense. The Premier has provided little justification for a Minister Without Portfolio and a Minister within the Cabinet Office to support a Premier who now does not have the finance portfolio.

It is also noteworthy that former Minister Weeks, after a very short spell in Cabinet, has been dropped without explanation while at least two other Ministers remain, one the Attorney General with reported legal issues and another having made grossly insulting public comments while overseas on government business. The perception of an uneven playing field appears real for many.

The new PLP Chair is on record as saying the party has a depth of talent on the backbench however, sadly, if this is the case, it is not evident in the most recent Cabinet selections as the newest MP, who has yet to deliver a maiden speech, and a former Cabinet Minister are brought into the inner sanctum. So much for the supposed talent on the backbench which has worked for the last 16 months supporting Premier Burt.

While the PLP like to talk about what they have done since the last election it is clear that the economy has slowed, with important economic indicators highlighting the concern. Education appears to have regressed and teachers and principals have shown their unhappiness; health care costs have risen under this government; there has been no progress on immigration reform; transportation challenges have grown; seniors are struggling; housing costs escalate and there are few jobs available for Bermudians.

This is not a good track record.

All Bermudians wish the government to succeed as it means that Bermuda and our people are better off. However as a former Premier and current Opposition Member of Parliament these recent Cabinet changes raise many questions and concerns and don’t send a positive signal about how we will deal with our challenges. Bitcoin will not create many Bermudian jobs and will not be a third pillar of the economy.

As always, results, or lack of results, will provide the answers. Be assured that I will be watching and holding the PLP Government to account.

- Michael Dunkley is the former Premier and the current MP for Smiths North


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Comments (56)

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  1. red rose says:

    Dear Mr Dunkley, why are you still here?

    • Dunn juice says:

      Same reason jahmal,Walter, Kim Wayne are still there.

      • RIP oba/UBP says:

        Last I checked their party was still in POWER PLP all de way!

        Dunkely lost so bad with the 25 to 11 beat down that even OBA NICK Kemp wants to remove him and his UBP boys LOLOLOL.

        The UBP has lost all my soul brothers and sister and they wonder why!! Dunkely you are the reason the OBA lost the last election now suck it up and leave politics neither party wants you in the group and that’s a fact.

        • dunn juice says:

          you mean Kim, jahmal and waynes x party.
          Theyll come running back, Jahmals already on his way out:)

          • Next says:

            If I was you I would stop changing the name and leaders in the oba aka UBP and focus on why so many Black Bermudians have departed over the years. You might just win again in 25 years

    • 2 Bermudas says:

      How is Zane Desilva and Derrick Burgess still sitting MP’s after the scandals involving Port Royal and the Court Building? De titty milk getting to ya head??!! ha ha ha!!

      • hmmm says:

        The only thing in ya head is that all my people departed from oba/UBP??!! ha ha ha LMAO!!! Looking back in history the UBP did worst scandal to black Bermudians. :( Craig Trump is your leader now that’s a real LMAO???!! :)

        • Toodle-oo says:

          Sorry , but you can not re-write history no matter how much you’d like to.

          ~Looking back in history the UBP did worst scandal to black Bermudians ~

          The UBP was actually responsible for creating the most prosperous black middle class , probably anywhere.

        • 2 Bermudas says:

          Keep drinking de titty milk. Still waiting to see PLP make a difference in black people’s lives. Been waiting since 1998. $2.5bn in debt and black people are still struggling. Things that make you go hmmmmmmmmm… Ha ha ha!!!

          • Swing Vote no more says:

            With your comment about black people still struggling now you understand it’s people like you who give the OBA a bad name. Mr. Dunkely these are the times when you need to speak up and comment about bloggers like this that are in your party giving it a bad name.

            Now you understand sir why the party will continue to lose. Clean your organisation up before you make comments about the PLP.

            • 2 Bermudas says:

              Nobody cares about your swing vote. Politics = race in Bermuda so lets call it for what it is. The day you can explain why Chris Famous beats Bob Richards then I’ll start to believe politics isn’t centered on race in Bermuda!!

              I just say no to the titty milk!! Ha ha ha!!

              • Answer says:

                Here is your ANSWER!

                As stated in his book “those little white boys don’t mind you being in charge as long as they can tell you what to do – “The House That Jack Built” by the Hon. C.V. (Jim) Woolridge.

                • 2 Bermudas says:

                  Not sure what you’re referring to? Is it the white boys’ fault for:

                  Port Royal
                  Court Building
                  Heritage Wharf
                  Playboy Mansion
                  Black Mayors Conference
                  $800m unaccounted for
                  Global Hue
                  Faith Based Tourism
                  Grand Atlantic

                  Chris Famous, Blockchain Caines and Crypto Burt will lead you to the promised land! Keep drinking de titty milk!! ha ha ha!!

              • PBanks says:

                How *did* Richards lose to Famous? consider Richards had been a long-time sitting MP, his seat was hardly considered a marginal at the time.

                Did all those constituents who happily supported Richards all those years change their vote because of ‘race’, all of a sudden?

                Certainly it has to be something else?

                • 2 Bermudas says:

                  The OBA won the 2012 election because PLP voters chose to stay home instead of vote. In 2017 they came out in force because of the racist narrative painted by the PLP. Yes, race played a huge role!!

            • sandgrownan says:

              15 years out of the last 20. 15 year. And nothing but failure.

              • Answer says:

                As stated in his book “those little white boys don’t mind you being in charge as long as they can tell you what to do – “The House That Jack Built” by the Hon. C.V. (Jim) Woolridge.

                • question says:

                  Interesting how you throw around the phrase ‘little white boys’ freely. I can recall not long ago an MP having to apologize for use of the word ‘boy’. The double standard at work.

                • sandgrownan says:


  2. Hurricane says:

    Because he likes to hear himself, red rose

  3. Stop says:

    Oh enough Milkman! Your opinion and comments don’t count! Go back to your silver spoon milk business and let the rest of us handle things. Hope you are paying your sugar tax on them juices that hurt Bermuda kids on the inside!

  4. 2 Bermudas says:

    I’ll say it again – the only person better off now under this PLP government is Ewart Brown. Keep drinkin’ de titty milk, PLP supporters!! Ha ha ha!!

    Burt is handing over the Finance Ministry to this newcomer so he can be the fall guy. Stay woke people!!!

    • trump supporter says:

      Handing over the finance after the payout yu mean:)
      Watch the gramer police focus on the spelling instead of topic at hand..

    • Okay... says:

      Well if you knew anything about the new minister of finance I’d suggest you seek direction from your nearest lactation consultant as he’s nobody’s fall guy and is actually a better fit for the position than the Premier. The Premier takes on the Ministry of Finance… folks complain that it’s a conflict of interest (and I agree that it’s not the best move). So the Premier finds a better fit for the job… folks still complain because now they think he’s looking for a fall guy! If a minister was sent straight from Heaven some people would still complain. Did you even consider the qualifications of the new minister? Your comment imply that he’s not qualified or as some would put, “a cog in the wheel”. Listen, I’m not the biggest Bob Richards fan… far from it, but I’d be the first to tell you that he is far from stupid, was qualified for his role, and knew what he was doing. Let’s put your big boy pants on and start talking like an adult.

      • Trump supporter says:

        I agree 100%, and in one of my previous post I did say I don’t know him so i couldn’t say. But do you think it’s funny we never heard anything about out debt the whole time the premier was finance minister. Now its getting close to budget time he hands over the reins.

      • 2 Bermudas says:

        Economy is tanking and Burt hands over de reigns to this new guy – a political rookie. Just because he works at a bank don’t mean jack! Ya boi is being thrown to de lions by Burt. Maybe he can pay our debt in Burtcoin!! Maybe start selling de titty milk like we are going to produce and sell cannabis!! Ha ha ha!!

  5. watching says:

    Some people really need to know when to exit stage left.

    • Wahoo says:

      Any comment about his column? No?

    • 2 Bermudas says:

      How come ya not telling Ewart Brown de same thing?! Instead ya giving him $1.2m!! Titty milk got you just sayin’ anything!! Ha ha ha!!

  6. Kim Smith says:

    To the haters… Mr. Dunkley is a seasoned Bermudian businessman and politician and he has given a lot to this country and I am grateful for his contributions. He has always conducted himself in a thoughtful and balanced manner in his comments and his actions. Just because he is asking questions that you don’t like, doesn’t justify your rude comments. Please tell us of your own personal contributions to this country so we can know the heart of your jabs.

    • watching says:

      Seasoned but also expired.
      He at one time made a valuable contribution but instead he is relegated to being a sideshow.
      What other former Premier do you see doing things like this? Not one!

      • question says:

        “What other former Premier do you see doing things like this?”

        Well if you read the article you might find out. If you need a clue, the one that just got $1.2m for absolutely nothing.

        As Dunkley says, the PLP appears to be bending over backwards to protect civil servants rather than to investigate the things that went wrong at Child Services. I wonder why?

        You idiots have absolutely no answer to the points he brings up. The only answer you have is “25-11″. Bunch of frikkin airheads.

        • 2 Bermudas says:

          Lots of titty milk drinkers out there!! Wayne Caines has de new monopoly in Bermy!! Ha ha ha!!

          • question says:

            I wish you would stop with this constant talk of titty milk. We all know Caines videotaped himself harassing shop girls. It was a disgusting display. But your constant reference to it is in bad taste and you’re devaluing the valid arguments against the government’s actions.

      • Stephen Thomson says:

        Could not disagree more.
        Michael Dunkley has a huge amount to offer Bermuda and I, like Kim, appreciate his insight and views.
        Answering your question….former Premier’s weigh in like Sir John Swan and former Presidents weigh in like Obama. They too have much to offer.
        Finally, Michael Dunkley is a sitting elected MP.
        He absolutely must weigh in and have his views heard.
        Your comment is simply out of touch and out of line.

        • watching says:

          I wonder if Jeanne Atherden and Craig cannonier appreciate(d) his constant chirping from the sidelines.

    • Okay... says:

      I agree. Mr. Dunkley can ask intelligent questions that are open intelligent discussion. I may not agree with all of his politics, but I’m more open to listen and consider his remarks as opposed the current opposition leader.

    • J Austen says:

      You are joking, right?

      A milk monopoly is exactly that, a monopoly in a basic, necessary commodity. If we imported the stuff as the MarketPlace has applied several t Ike’s to do, it would be cheaper and better. And don’t feed me that blather about a few poor cow farmers needing to get by… those lands could be put to much better and less damaging uses.

  7. J Austen says:

    His prose is dreadful too… bland, like that vanilla ice cream his firm at one time produced. Politically speaking, he needs to go the same way as that product. It really is time to stick to the golf, mate.

    • question says:

      Really? He is bringing up questions about whether or not children are being treated properly, and you think the main issue is the quality of his prose? FFS.

      • Our money says:

        Michael is a guy who cannot take any criticism and he cannot accept how badly his leadership failed in the election! That’s it! I have known him all his life and went to college with him and one thing is clear – Michael was never good at creating something and making it work! Got a great golf swing which tells you where he really spent most of his time!

      • J Austen says:

        He is never going to win a General Election, his electoral track record is a waste land, he needs to remove himself so that somebody who can will…

        By the way, he is about as empathetic and genuinely caring as say Ewart. The thing never to forget about both characters is that it will always be all about them.

        • question says:

          It isn’t about ‘winning an election’. It’s about pointing out cover-ups of child abuse in Child and Family Services. Weeks wanted to investigate it properly, and he got fired.
          And all you talk about is the quality of Dunkley’s prose.
          It’s asinine, frankly.

  8. sandgrownan says:

    LOL, I expected more of the PLP to venture out to gnash their teeth and wail…perhaps Dunkley Derangement Syndrome isn’t a terminal condition after all! There is hope!

    • Sid says:

      Why would the PLP be unhappy about Dunkley continuing to stick around? He is their biggest ally. He made it possible for them to win in 2007 and again in 2017.

  9. Me says:

    When the budget does NOt get balanced as they assured us they would Burt will blame his rookie bean counter sounds right sheild yoursellf then run

  10. rodney smith says:

    Michael, Michael, Michael , Have you not learnt yet ? When you’re Premier you’re able to make these types of changes to your Cabinet .So let’s not knock Mr. Burt for that .Had you listen , you might still be Premier. The OBA is off course attacking the PLP . Share with Bermuda our vision . Or don’t we have one . Put forward plans and ideas that the people of Bermuda can believe in . People need hope . People need to see a way going forward . People need to know that the OBA understands their concerns and situations . You must press the flesh and touch people . Something that we are not very good at . NEED I SAY MORE ?

    • question says:

      So you support the cover-up of abuse of children at Child and Family Services.

      The whole thing is a shameful scandal.

    • JAWS says:

      Mr. Smith correct you are. Also his bloggers above with their vile chats do more harm to the OBA. Their so enraged with anger from the lost at the last election that they don’t even realize it.

      Mr. Craig Cannonier is working so hard to bring the OBA off it’s knees approaching people of color, but the OBA’s writers/supporters continue to hinder everything he is working hard for.

      As a black voter my family supported the UBP & OBA in their day and so did so many other black families. That’s the only reason the both parties win.

      Black voters flip flop back and forth to both parties. However when you read their supporters and messages why would we ever want to return if that’s how they feel about black voters.

      • sandgrownan says:

        It’s not about race to me, it’s about competence. In the last 20 years, we’ve only had 4 years of competence. When do you think that was? huh? Come on?

        The rest has been abject failure.

        But keep banging that race card.

      • 2 Bermudas says:

        Nobody stopping you from voting PLP just like nobody stopping me from stating the truth!!

      • Toodle-oo says:

        *Black voters flip flop back and forth to both parties. *

        Can we at least be a little less ‘general’ ?

        Far from ‘all’ , more like 10-15%

  11. Grateful says:

    Mr Dunkley I am curious why you brought Craig back in Cabinet when as Premier you shuffled your Cabinet. Riddle me that, Sir!

  12. Oooooo…blah…blah…AGAIN!!
    BERMUDA’s worst Premier in all time..
    Insensitive, could-care-less-about Born Bermudians…blah…blah…blah!!
    Retirement, soon on the horizon!!Bermudians want this!!