Video: BNV Brief | Premier On General Election

August 23, 2020

Rather than hold a series of by-elections it was better to call a General Election and allow “the government chosen by the people to focus squarely on our economic recovery,” Premier David Burt said during a brief Bernews News & Views episode shortly after he announced that a General Election will be held on October 1st.

When asked why he called the General Election, Premier Burt told Bernews, “With the government entering in it’s fourth year, we had to make an important economic choice, whether or not we spent hundreds of thousand dollars on multiple more by-elections and then have to pay for general election, or if it was more financially prudent just to go ahead and have the general election and allow those MPs who wish to retire the opportunity to do so. I chose the option that saves Bermudian taxpayers’ money.

“I also thought about the fact of the incredible unity which the country has experienced, and then the thought of 20 months of back and forth in a series of by-elections, as we saw which happened a couple of weeks ago, when the Opposition, one of their members resigned. Instead of subjecting Bermudians to months and months of division, I thought it was make more sense to call a general election that allowed the government chosen by the people to focus squarely on our economic recovery. And I just basically chose to get on with it.”

“As I said, we’re in our fourth year of government and the truth is everyone knows that tough times lay ahead. And so the government needs the backing of the people to make the hard decisions today that will benefit all Bermudians in the long run. And I do not believe that Bermudians need back and forth, they need to decide who they want to lead them going forward so that we can get on with the job.”

In response to another question, the Premier said, “I don’t regard it as a snap election. The fact is that we would have had to have a by-election or everyone could go to the polls. The Opposition Leader made it clear that he’s expecting a number of resignations from his benches, and I think that months and months of division with multiple by-elections would not be the best thing for the country.

“So the country, on October 1st, will choose who they want to lead us through these trying times of economic recovery ahead.

“We are certainly proud of our record, we’re proud of our record before the coronavirus, and we’re proud of our record during the coronavirus, and we’re going to continue the work during this period. It’s not going to be a normal election, but the fact is that Bermuda and the world have changed since the last election. And so these times require capable, steady and proven leadership that is focused on the job.”

The Premier added, “The unity of which we had during this time was smashed by the One Bermuda Alliance when they decided to hold, or force, a by-election.

“We need to focus on managing the economy, making sure that we are dealing with the health crisis, and making sure that people have access to affordable healthcare, finalize our education plan, which the phasing out of the middle schools and the Minister of Education has a brilliant plan which is supported across the board in order to make sure we do that, and make sure that in the economic rebuilding, we create more owners in the society and ensure that Bermudians are able to own and be a part of whatever economic growth we have in the future.”

Asked if he feels that if the government wins the election, that it will be a mandate on how he has handled, not only the last three years, but in particular the Covid crisis, the Premier replied, “Elections are certainly about what has happened in the past, but elections are also about the future.

“And so in this particular instance, as I said, the Progressive Labour Party is proud of its record in the past and is confident of the work which we will do to lead the country into the future. And so from that perspective, I’m happy to fight an election on any instance.

“It’s certainly the job of an Opposition to be ready for an election at any point in time. When there was the protests in 2016, if the One Bermuda Alliance would have called an election at that time, then we may not have had an airport project which is costing us so much money, and we would have probably avoided the challenges with our seniors getting pepper sprayed.”

Asked how quickly can we expect the rollout of candidates to be rolled out, the Premier said, “The Progressive Labour Party will be holding our first rollout on Monday.”

He added, “There is a 40 day election period. I think it’s important to note that it will be incumbent on all journalists to know the new rules of elections. This is the longest election period of which we’re going to have, 40 days. We’ve recently changed elections to enable them to be safe voting, which I think is particularly important.”

Asked for a prediction of how well he thinks his party will do, the Premier told Bernews, “That I am not going to prognosticate on. The fact is that, for me, what I’m most concerned on is the people in this country making a decision so that we can move forward in unity and focus on the job at hand.

“So rather than a by-election after by-election and by-election, we’re going to have a general election, let the country make its decision, and we’re going to move forward, whether it is me leading the country or somebody else.”

The Premier ended the interview by reminding everyone to ensure they are registered to vote.

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Comments (7)

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  1. Proven says:

    25-11 seat majority is not an enough mandate for Burt! What does he need? This election is all about him making more money than everyone else for five more years. It should be about releasing information on Damon Wade and inserting Jason Hayward over the wishes of the Constituency. It should be about failure to liquidate the Bermudiana, increasing debt and shortage of growth ideas.

  2. Now Ya Nice says:

    The Premiere has forgotten that only a few weeks before the Covid pandemic his head was on the chopping block from his own party. Covid-19 saved his job because it is no secret that he had not lived up to the expectations of the party or the country. His job creating and economy saving plan of making Bermuda the mecca for blockchain / cryptocurrency cost us how much money in conference trips? How many jobs created, how many companies have come here?

    This election will buy him some time and I only hope for us all that he starts surrounding himself with people more like the finance minister that have experience and know their job instead of the many career politicians that have jobs only as a favor because of who they are or who their spouse is? The PLP has a few too many dead weight career politicians collecting paychecks and have nothing to show for it!

    I hope that the OBA does the same. Both parties must cut the fat, and make their teams lean and mean! A good balance of experience, and youth and most importantly they need to show public respect and know how to work with each other!

  3. Unbelievable says:

    I’m actually more interested in the US election than this election. AND I’m Bermudian.

  4. sandgrownan says:

    You’re proud of your record? Are you f****g kidding me? The economy is in tatters because of a know nothing, do nothing government. 20 years of failure.

    • Unbelievable says:

      Exactly. They had no ideas on how to stimulate the economy especially the Govt’s finances or they were dragging their feet on some ideas. IE gaming? There IS STILL NO gaming in Bermuda yet there is an office costing us millions a year.
      You know what this Work From BDA certificate is comparable to? It’s just the America’s Cup without the boats if you think about it? Come to Bermuda and work for a year – all you have to do is apply and pay the fee. Only difference is that the AC was a 3 year event. It’s really no difference between the two except the lack of boats and sailing. Isn’t that just incredibly ironic yet we congratulate the PLP for their “innovating”? Oh please.

  5. Bermuda says:

    Premier the PLP has listen to the people and done a great job. Unfortunately the name changing UBP aka oba has to deal with finding surrogates to run as fronts. They never figured out why all the black voters departed so they will try and whitewash everything that was done. They already lost the election by placing Jetgate as their leader. Further more they continue to believe placing a black leader to the front of a all white party to win back the black votes is the correct thing to do.

  6. trufth says:

    Calling this election right now is shameful. It is in extremely poor taste and says an awful lot about the PLP.

    Who takes time off their jobs in the middle of a complete s^!t storm to go politicking?

    Absolutely shameful.