Premier Burt On Dr. Weldon, Staff For Testing

January 11, 2022

There was a “difference of opinion” with Dr Carika Weldon, Premier David Burt said, adding “I understand, recognize and accept that, but the government of Bermuda has to balance all of the challenges.”

The Premier also addressed a question about the staffing for testing saying that “we have to move to a place of sustainability” and the Bermuda Health Council will be issuing directions “to doctors’ offices, to pharmacists, to dental offices, to enable them to be able to administer supervised antigen testing.”

Premier Burt was speaking during a live BNV interview yesterday where he answered a number of reader questions spanning topics including testing, travel authorization, vaccination for children, SafeKey, curfew, his vacation, tourism, minimum wage and more.

Extract from the BNV where the Premier replies to the questions about Dr Weldon & staffing for testing

Dr Carika Weldon

Reader Question: ”Why wasn’t Dr. Carika Weldon given the resources she requested, and why isn’t more being done to ensure that her guidance is being followed and perhaps even convince her to return?”

Premier’s Reply: “I will just speak in a broad measure in regards to Dr. Weldon. The first thing is that I was responsible for bringing Dr. Weldon to Bermuda. I remember sending her a WhatsApp message describing the challenges which we had, and it was an incredible amount of work that has been done by Dr. Weldon…by all of the public health teams throughout this pandemic.

“The question says advice which was given. The government of Bermuda, and the Ministers are charged with policy decisions, not public servants, and it was the determination of the government of Bermuda, which I think is supported widely by parents across this country, is that the best place for students to be is in school learning in classrooms.

“There was a difference of opinion, I understand, recognize and accept that, but the government of Bermuda has to balance all of the challenges there. And we recognize that there was some inconvenience with the delayed and staggered return to school, but I think that would pale in the comparison to some of the recommendations that were given to start school remotely for two or three weeks. I do not believe that that would’ve been the proper course of action.

“Here we are today on Monday, where all of our preschools are open, all of our primary schools say for one are open and all of our middle schools say for one are open. Our high schools are on remote learning and there will be interruptions as we go forward. But what we want to do is to keep faith with what we promised the parents of this country is that we are going to do what we can to ensure that there is a safe environment in schools for our students, and we know that they learn better, it is better for their emotional and mental health and their development to be in school learning.”

The Premier, Colonel Burch, Dr Weldon & Minister Wilson at the official opening of MDL Lab in July 2021

Molecular-Diagnostic-Laboratory-Bermuda-July-15-2021-3 ewteq

Closing Staffing Gap

Reader Question: “What steps or solutions are government considering for closing the staffing gap for testing?”

Premier’s Reply: “We speak about the staffing gap and I was brought up to date on this. There was a request that came into the government for additional staff last week, Monday, and it was approved on the same day last week, Monday.

“Certainly it does take time to onboard persons, but the approvals were given on the same day, which they were received, and I know that additional staff have started working in the laboratory already.

“It certainly is a challenge when we have these types of spikes and backups, that much is accepted. And I want to certainly apologize to persons who were certainly inconvenienced. I recognize that there were persons who had travel plans changed, but I also want to pay homage to the public officers who responded quickly, who implemented alternative plans, who put in place overnight, antigen testing at the airport to address the issues which we face there.”

“What’s most important is on long term, we talk about the staffing gap, we have to move to a place of sustainability when it comes to the coronavirus response. And so I understand that the Bermuda Health Council will be issuing directions today to doctors’ offices, to pharmacists, to dental offices, to enable them to be able to administer supervised antigen testing throughout the country.

“The testing backlog can’t just be on the government. If we’re going to move ourselves to a place of living with the coronavirus, there needs to be multiple spaces for access to testing throughout the country, and we’re going to make sure that happens.

“And I would urge persons to encourage their doctor’s offices, their family doctor’s offices, and certainly I know that there’ll be pharmacists that will be on board to assist in this regard, and I think that that will certainly help the situation as well.”

You can watch the full 35-minute BNV video here, read the extract on travel authorization here and read extracts on the quarantine period, whether we will see vaccine mandates, and vaccination for children here.

covid-19 divider 1

You can find more information on the links below from our dedicated website, which is the most comprehensive resource and historic record available of Bermuda’s handling of the pandemic.

  • All Charts: Vaccine, testing & more here
  • Timelines: Dates of major developments here
  • Test results: Chart of testing stats here
  • Vaccine: Data covering vaccinations here
  • Dedicated website:

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Comments (16)

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  1. Ringmaster says:

    Clearly while the Premier was enjoying his vacation he never considered the extra stress put on Dr Weldon to get the school kids tested, preventing her from taking a very well earned rest over Christmas? He vacationed while she worked her b^^^ off. Not even an acknowledgement from him. No wonder she resigned.

  2. puzzled says:

    Difference of opinion?
    The mans an idiot.
    Vote them out.

  3. unknown800k says:

    Give the dr another 1.2 hell get us out of this im sure.
    maybe the 800 k went to these entertainers as they are acting like clowns right now.

  4. had all my jabs and booster says:

    who would you trust,burt or the Doctor?

  5. new name says:

    got a new name for him the Waffle Man cause that’s all he does when asked a question infact the whole lot of them. The party should re name to I hop. Just answer the question and stop trying to BS us we are NOT STUPID.

  6. aceboy says:

    Stop the testing. Staffing problem solved.

  7. Guy Carri says:

    So we’re going to move to rapid antigen testing and gov wants the private entities to administer it. I get that.
    For rapid antigen – Why have you waited so long? Why is it STILL not here? We’ve accepted rapid anti-gens for arrivals for weeks. Common sense didn’t conclude accept it for everything?

    The school requirement – what a cluster! How embarrassing. And now after all that, including Dr. W. resigning AND still not getting the results back in time as required, you will now do a pilot program for rapid-antigen. Wow.

  8. Cant be serious says:

    The irony that oh my family had to meet up because we havent seen each other in two years umm ahh um ahh um ah , oh and ahhh my cabinet ministers were encouraged to take a break. YET, Mr Burt all has Dr. Weldon working like a robot and even teachers were informed by the Commissioner of Education that the Government is discouraging non essential travel. So clearly Minister vacations are essential but civil servants vacations are not. And you wonder why teachers are up in arms on the ignored advice, sloppy implementation of returning to school…… because there are two sets of rules.
    EVERYTHING IS LAST MINUTE in the education system communication, implementation etc. I demand my money that pays all of you, be put to better use because as your employer I am disappointed in your performance. I will be encouraging everyone in my neighbourhood not to bother answering their door come re election time. Hold on to that.

    • Truthhertz says:

      I haven’t seen my overseas family members in nearly two years. And not because I am not vaccinated, I am, but because I lost my income for almost 1 year (and am still digging myself out of the hole that it put me in).

  9. The Sleuth says:

    Was this interview done from Belgium? Bernews, you might want to verify Premier Burt’s present whereabouts.

  10. Sick of it All says:

    Oh! Go have a party! While I wait for two of the 56 busses that did not show up today at my stops. How many years now, you jokers? There is no hope, not even with the basic things. Other countries now are putting us to shame. We are no longer a shining example of a tourist destination. Far from it. I go out there to visit family, like Burt. I don’t bring them here! Not ANYMORE! There is no ‘difference of opinion’ there. I don’t talk up anybody coming here. Not proud to be Bermudian. The Government has made me sick to say it. Too much debacle here to be truly happy.
    Bermuda is begging for a massive change. One of these days we will get a truly devastating Hurricane which will do significant damage. Then maybe we will see the light. Perhaps some of the greed and selfishness and pompousness that reigns over us will give way for awhile.

  11. Derrick says:

    A difference of opinion.Who is the scientist.We find ourselves in another dilima because we didn’t respect another extremely qualified Bermudian.Who are the civil servants responsible for this debacle.As these covid numbers rise this is how wetreat the one qualified Bermudian who can get us out of this messs.GOD HELP US ALL.