PLP Press Conference: Burt, Rabain, Wade

September 25, 2020

The PLP held another press conference this morning [Sept 25], with candidates Premier David Burt, Minister Diallo Rabain, and Senator Ianthia Wade all delivering remarks.

Premier & Party Leader David Burt’s remarks:

Good morning,

Welcome to Alaska Hall. To date the Bermuda progressive Labour Party is the only party that has released a comprehensive plan for Bermuda’s future.

I want to begin by thanking everyone who helped to work on the PLP’s platform. It was truly collaborative. And, it didn’t happen overnight. What I’m most proud of is how we reached out to social groups including in Bermuda, or Union partners, our party membership. Members of our caucus contributed and much work was done to make this platform a success. The research and platform committee worked hard and I would like to thank Dr. Lana Talbot and the Deputy Chair Lauren Bell for their efforts.

It’s because of the tireless hard work of our members that we are not only the only party offering a choice in all 36 constituencies, but, we were also the first party to put out a comprehensive platform with an economic plan to see us through the tough times ahead.

In these tough times, we need a government that has a plan to address the economic crisis and a record of delivering for Bermudians. These are going to be tough times, and some tough decisions need to be made and the question in this election is who is best able to see us through a possible second wave of the virus as well as the economic recovery.

What is also important, is that you consider the teams. Our team has the right experience needed for these difficult times. Look at the Ministry of Health – the Hon Kim Wilson, and the work her team has done. And with an economic crisis, we have Minister of Finance – Curtis Dickinson to ensure that our difficult fiscal waters are navigated. When you go to the polls next week you must ask yourself who has the experience to make the right calls to keep your country safe and to protect the economy.

OUr plans are informed by our experience in the pandemic. The challenge of the pandemic was how to synthesize various expert advice and then source all the supplies we needed in a short time and set up new systems to deal with the new reality.

That’s exactly what we’re doing now with the economic recovery – with programs like Work from Bermuda and how that model can be scaled. And, leveraging the revolution in digital payments to allow us to create a new Digital Bank that will allow us to offer low-interest loans to Bermudian entrepreneurs and homeowners.

Today, we’re going to hear from Diallo Rabain, our Minister of education who is going to focus on what we’ve done so far and what we’re going to do to improve and reform public education. Minister Rabain… Public education is personal to us, as both of our children are in the Public Education System, and I am really excited of what the future holds

Ianthia Simmons-Wade is a long time advocate for our seniors. Social issues are important in this election and the PLP has a good record, but also a solid plan going forward. She will highlight some of our criminal justice reforms… Ms. Simmons-Wade…

Minister Diallo Rabain’s remarks:

Good morning Bermuda and particularly good morning to our Parents, Students and Educators,

I want to begin this press conference by highlighting some excellent news. Bermuda, we have successfully opened our schools during the pandemic. As I speak to you today, our students and educators are back in School Buildings and learning.

This is indeed good news, and it is a credit to our teachers, administrators, support staff, parents and students who are enforcing the guidelines we developed to ensure a safe learning environment. When you look beyond Bermuda’s shores, you can see that this is quite an accomplishment as other countries, much larger than ours, have not managed to reopen schools safely.

When the PLP entered government, we found a public school system neglected by the previous OBA government. The OBA left our school system underfunded, in disrepair and morale at an all-time low with our hard-working teachers on work to rule.

Our first task was to the right the ship, and we did that. Then, we began working on the significant structural change that our education system needs.

I want to remind all that changing a decades old school system doesn’t happen overnight. Education is like a massive ship; it does not turn on a dime. I remind that it was the mid-90s when we moved to a 3-tier system with Middle Schools under the UBP. We have started the process to return to a 2-tier system of Primary and High schools. Still, unlike the failed movement to the Middle School system, we intend to reform education equitably and methodically to ensure success for all.

Instead of rushing in with unrealistic promises, we will take our time, measure twice or as many times as needed to get this right. It takes a lot of consultation with everyone involved – teachers, administrators, union officials, parents, policy professionals, international experts, curriculum developers, ministerial staff, students and support staff. However, we are up to the task, and that process is already well underway

We are completing the process that includes the change management necessary to implement the significant structural change: phasing out the middle schools and replacing them with signature schools.

Bermuda, this change is happening, and you can expect to start to see changes in the next school year as we aim to have our first Signature Schools come on board. While we have spent a lot of time over the past three years consulting with various stakeholders, the widespread public consultation will begin shortly.

Linked to phasing out middle schools and introducing signature schools, our plans for reforming education include:

  • The introduction of an Authority for Public Education that will be responsible for the performance management of all Schools and persons at the administrative, classroom and student support levels.
  • Providing our teachers with more support, including professional development and teacher education initiatives.
  • Ensuring Bermudian history is enriched and mandatory in, and I want to emphasize – both public and private schools. Because, no matter where you go to school in Bermuda, it is critical and necessary for students to know and understand our history, our culture and our heritage.
  • Ensuring the early introduction to Trades and Vocational Education along with an Entrepreneurial Curriculum to ensure that our students recognize the importance of Trades in our economy along with academic pursuits.
  • Making sure that the needs of our exceptional students are not left behind in the new signature schools introduction.
  • Ensuring critical early education is paramount with the already developed Foundation Year curriculum.
  • Strengthen Bermuda College by building a multi-million-dollar Career Development Centre focused on technology and IT innovation
  • In this age of online learning, we will strengthen already existing ties with the University of the West Indies Virtual Open Campus to expand the curricula available to our students.

Bermuda has been asking for our school system and the middle school system to be reformed for a very long time. I know that reform doesn’t always happen fast enough, but, I can say this: we are committed to our students and ensuring that they have every opportunity possible. I want to assure Bermuda that we have started the necessary process to rid ourselves of Middle Schools and introduce a system that will provide our country with Quality Graduates and we will finish the job.

Senator Ianthia Wade’s remarks:

Good morning

On June 27th along with thousands of Bermudians from all walks of life, I marched proudly in the Black Lives Matter March. I have read the Social Justice Bermuda platform and I applaud their actions of champions of social justice.

I’m proud to say that our Platform includes many of the ideas and goals advanced by the global Black Lives Matter. This Government has listened to the Movement and we stand in solidarity with many of their goals.

To this end, I am pleased that our Government passed legislation to expunge criminal convictions from the records of those persons with simple possession of 7 grams or less of cannabis with non-violent cannabis convictions. This Legislation rids our society of the unfairness, especially to young black men, of harsh drug enforcement and criminal justice practices long recognized as having a lifetime impact on education and employment prospects for our youth. Globally this is a very progressive position and I’m proud that our government took it.

Our approach to crime prioritizes tackling the root causes of crime rather than the enforcement. This approach has paid dividends with more peaceful communities and productive activities.

One of our biggest successes is the Gang Violence Reduction Team which is out in the community working to combat the risk factors that often set our young people on a path toward gangs and antisocial behavior. The team operates from a coordinated plan to tackle gang violence and antisocial behavior through a series of strategically designed prevention, intervention and rehabilitative programs and initiatives. The Redemption Farm programme will be expanded if we have the honor of serving you again.

Other policies include:

  • Creating a prison cooperative that allows prisoners to learn a new trade and earn money, which gives them an opportunity to thrive in a work release programme
  • Increase support to probation services and expanded treatment programmes for offenders with mental health, substance abuse or violence issues
  • Enhance provisions for transitional living

This government is committed to the principles of the global movement of social and racial justice. Together, we will build a fairer Bermuda, where Bermudians have opportunities and are not held back by structural discrimination.

Thank you

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Comments (4)

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  1. Want the best for Bermuda says:

    Other than handling the Covid situation well, you have done nothing but make it so much harder for us to survive and now no one gives a crap about anything anymore!! Bda drives stupid, trashes the island with litter, the roads are the worst they have ever been, the education system is still crap, the roadsides are all overgrown, the bus schedule is crap. Let’s vote PLP so they can continue to sink in their own crap. Just know this will make it even harder for us to survive. I give up.

  2. Ringmaster says:

    Hilarious that the PLP always refer to 2017 as if they were not the Government from 1998 to 2012. There is still no platform to show what they intend to do to increase the economy – it is all about spending money, and worse borrowed money Bermuda does not have. Classic vote winning but putting Bermuda into an unsustainable debt position. Nothing like seeing the youth of today enjoying the proceeds of debt and not knowing they have been put into financial slavery to service it, not even pay it down.

  3. dunn juice says:

    less 800k

  4. Question says:

    Their plans are entirely comprised of replacing what works with what sounds good.