Video: PLP Annual General Conference

October 19, 2022 | 0 Comments

[Updated] The Progressive Labour Party [PLP] is holding their Annual General Conference opening night today [Oct 19] and you can tune in and watch live below.

According to an email from the PLP, tonight’s line up will include:

  • Welcome to 57th Annual General Conference – Party Chair, J Dawn Simmons
  • Opening Prayer – Sis. Kellianne Smith
  • Moment of Reflection
  • Special Tribute to former Secretary General-Mrs Francine Simons & Party Stalwart-Mrs Anita Masters MP Zane Desilva & Mr Tulani Bulford
  • Performance – Violin Sisters
  • Tribute to Stanley Lowe, JP MP – Mrs Chantelle Berkley
  • Speaker – Senator Lindsay Simmons
  • Performance – 2nd Division
  • Progress of Alaska Hall Renovations
  • Speaker – MP Jache Adams
  • Branches in the Community Getting Involved-Slideshow
  • Guest Speaker – Prime Minister of Bahamas, Hon. Philip Davis KC MP
  • Performance – Fire Wayne
  • Introduction of Premier & Party Leader – Ajani Robinson [2022 Alpha Beautillion Winner]
  • Premier & Party Leader’s Address

For clarity, this is not the event where the leadership election will be held, that will be held tomorrow night.

Update: The live broadcast has concluded and the replay is below:

Update: Premier and Party Leader David Burt’s full statement follows below:

Good evening PLP family.

Thank you, Ajani, for that kind introduction. Thank you to all tonight’s performers helping us open this important event, Sari Smith – Violin Sister and 2022 Youth Delegate, 2nd Division, and Fire Wayne who my children love so much.

To all of this evening’s speakers, prayer from Sister Kellianne Smith, tributes MP Zane Desilva & Mr Tulani Bulford; and that fitting tribute from my St. Paul AME sister Mrs Chantelle Berkley to former Speaker of the House, Stanley Lowe;

Speeches tonight from Senator Lindsay Simmons; and my friend and neighbouring MP, MP Jache Adams; and thank you to our MC, Ms. Gina Davis.

I would also like to thank the party executive, organisers, and volunteers who have worked tirelessly to put this conference together and bring us all together in person again for the 57th Annual Delegates Conference.

And a special thank you to our guest speaker, whom we are honoured to have with us this evening, the Hon. Philip “Brave” Davis, Leader of the Bahamas Progressive Liberal Party and Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. Thank you, sir, for travelling here to join our Conference.

This party has worked hard to rebuild our relations with parties in the Region, and your presence here, along with the former leader of the Progressive Liberal Party, the Hon. Perry Christie and your delegation, including the Foreign Minister, who is no stranger to Bermuda, prove that this party has been successful in holding to what is inside of our constitution.

I thank you for your friendship and your wife’s gratitude and kindness to my wife, Kristin. I look forward to joining you next year as your country celebrates its 50th anniversary of Nationhood. Conference, let’s welcome our guests!

Before I begin this speech, I am acutely aware that this is my last time addressing this party in my current term as Party Leader, and it may be the last time I address you and the country as leader of this great party.

Therefore, it is only right that I give thanks to all those who have supported me in this role over the past four years because there is a whole lot of work that goes on in the PLP.


First, all of us who serve in the House of Assembly represent constituencies, and all of our constituencies have PLP branches. I am blessed to have a dedicated executive team in Constituency 18. I want to thank all of you for standing beside me, supporting my family and me, and…. also for getting me in line if I start to go off track. Can the members of the C18 Executive Team please stand up. I am honoured to represent you, and I’m grateful for all of the efforts that you have given to support our party and our Pembroke West Central constituency. Thank you!


The Leader of this party does not stand alone, and the work of this party is carried out by our party Executive. Members of this Party Executive have done so much over the last four years, and that is not just the current party executive because the Leader’s term is four years but the executive’s term is two years. And though we’ve had our challenges, we have emerged as a stronger party, a more professional party, and a party with a clear mission and vision.

I would like to ask every single person who served on the party executive from 2018 to 2022 to please stand at this time. The members of this party and the entirety of Bermuda should appreciate your service as you volunteer in the desire to build a better Progressive Labour Party, which has a mission to build a better and fairer Bermuda – Thank you.

Central Committee

When this Party’s Annual General Conference is not in session, this party is governed by its Central Committee. I remember my first experience in the party, attending my first Central Committee meeting in 2004, and though not much has changed since 2004, our Central Committee plays a vital role in the governance of this party.

Every other week members take at least 2 hours of their time to sit and vote on decisions that affect the future of this party and this country.

I would like all members of the Central Committee to please stand at this time. The Progressive Labour Party is a bottom-up party, and you represent that bottom-up governance that is the PLP. Continue to be strong to ensure that your Progressive Labour Party Government is carrying out the will of the members of this party. Thank you for your service!


I have had the fortune, or some would say misfortune, of leading the largest Caucus in the history of the PLP. At the beginning of this term four years ago, there were 29 members of the Parliamentary Group, and now there are 34! [When I became leader there were only 20 of us].

I would like to ask all members of the Parliamentary Group to please stand at this time. We meet regularly, we share laughs, and we also engage in heated debates, but each one of you has brought your own unique perspective and form the collective fabric of what the PLP represents in Government.

The last four years have not been easy, but I want to acknowledge you and thank you publicly for the service you have given to this party and this country.


Our party Constitution gives the Party Leader and the Party Leader alone the responsibility to select members of the Cabinet. Over the past four years, our party in government has been served by a number of cabinet ministers.

These persons give their all, and – at times, especially during a pandemic – it has been incredibly difficult. They, like I, sacrifice time with their families to serve this party and this country. Despite it all, members of the Cabinet have remained focussed on executing the initiatives that were blessed by the wider party membership.

I ask every single member of Caucus who has served in the Cabinet since 2018 during this leadership term that comes to a close tomorrow to please stand now and be recognised.

Deputy Leader

For the last four years, I have been fortunate to have a Deputy Leader that has a deep understanding of this party, a deep history in this party, and someone who I have relied on in the most difficult times during my leadership. Walter [and Nadine, please stand], thank you for your steadfast dedication to this party, thank you for your sacrifice, thank you for your counsel.

Our party is fortunate to have had someone who embodies our values so truly, serve in that role for the last four years, and it has been an absolute privilege to have worked alongside you and I sincerely hope that I have the chance to continue to work alongside you for four more years.

My Family

Family, None of us in Leadership do this job by ourselves. We all have support at home. For the last four years, I have been supported by my family. To my Father, Mother, to my Sister, and Nephew – who are all here tonight – thank you for your constant support and affirmation.

To my children, Nia and Ed, who are up front tonight [past their bedtime] – thank you for always being so happy to see Daddy when he comes home. No matter how bad the day is – the challenges that Daddy has had to face when he comes home – he’s always greeted with screams of “Daddy’s Home” and hugs – and all of the stress and pressure of this job fade away for those moments. Thank you!

And last – but certainly not least, to my wife Kristin, the first lady of the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party, what can I say? We’ve been through so much over the past four years. A pandemic where you had to shoulder most of the Burden of home-schooling while I worked. An election where you had to shoulder most of the burden of our household, and you’ve had to deal with the vicious & false stories that the enemies of the Progressive Labour Party have used to try to attack the leader of the PLP – who is so blessed to be your Husband.

But through it all, you have continued to be that rock that I can depend on, that calm in our crazy storm, an example of a powerful black woman – all while serving your adopted home and also advancing your own career. Kristin – I admire you, I cherish you, I love you, and on behalf of the members of this great party, I thank you.

And finally, to all of our delegates and members here tonight, thank you for being part of this great party and for all of the support you have given to my family and me. With dedication and hard work, we will keep growing our party from strength to strength, and we will stay true to our promise of Rebuilding Bermuda with Bermudians at heart.

And family, as I look out at all of you here tonight, I see the women and men who make our party strong. You helped us deliver landslide victories in 2017 and 2020, and you are here today, shaping the future of our great party.

You are the leaders in our communities and the representatives of the hardworking Bermudians of this country. The PLP Government is committed to building a better Bermuda for them. And I thank all of you for giving your time, energy and efforts to helping this Government do the work it does and will continue to do on behalf of each and every single Bermudian. Thank you!

Now time for the speech from the Party Leader!

Much has been said about this conference and the election process we are undergoing, but the bottom line is that this party is a democracy, and democracy allows individuals who believe they are suited to fill roles on the Party Executive opportunity to do so by engagement with the delegates of this Party.

These last few weeks for me, nor have they been easy on Kristin, Nia and Ed, or my immediate family in front and our extended family here, but we know that this too shall pass, and we must hope that these attacks come from a small minority of persons who want to see this party divided.

A lot has been said, much of it negative, in an effort to pit one candidate against another and create division in this party.

Interestingly I have heard from a few people that they felt the debate last week between MP Dickinson and I was “boring” and they expected more “fireworks”.

Well, let me explain something to you… as many of you have heard me say, as I go around the country, I do not draw my “political sword” on fellow members of the Progressive Labour Party. That “political sword” is reserved for our political opponents in the OBA and those who do not support our vision of tackling the status quo.

I have respect for MP Dickinson, as a man, as a professional and as a member of this party. And he has my appreciation for the work that he did as Minister of Finance and the work he continues to do as an MP.

And no matter who wins this election, just like MP Adams said, whether it be MP Dickinson or myself when it is done, we must all move forward and support all persons in this party to drive our agenda forward.

And you do you know why family? Because our success and our unity frighten our political opponents, it always has. They know they cannot beat a unified PLP, only a divided and weakened one. They know that the best way to defeat us is to malign the leader of the Progressive Labour Party through their friendly media arms, as they did to Dame Jennifer, Alex Scott, Dr Brown, and Paula Cox.

They do it to create public resentment and internal division in our Party – but Family we must not allow them to do that this time. We must continue to treat each other with respect, recognising that a strong and united Progressive Labour Party is unstoppable. So now that the campaign is over and tomorrow we vote – I pray that all members of this great party we can put this silly season behind us!

And why is that important? Because we are a party that stands on the shoulders of giants who stood up to entrenched racial and economic injustice over decades in opposition. Imagine how brave the founders of our party were 59 years ago when they gathered in that garage, knowing that they and their families could experience economic and social retribution for organising against the establishment.

Their bravery and selflessness are the foundation on which our legacy is built, and today we inherit the institution they began and carry on their mission.

I am proud to have worked in the trenches at all levels of this party the last 19 years and proud to have led this party since 2017. As I come to the end of this current term as party leader, let’s look at what we have done over the past four years for this Progressive Labour Party.

Working together over the last four years to improve our operations, we have:

  • Eliminated all debts through successful fundraising efforts; you saw the video earlier:
    • Commence the first major upgrade to PLP Historic Alaska Hall in 30 years!
    • We have instituted the Dame Jennifer Smith Scholarship Fund
    • Rehired full-time staff in the Party Office
    • And during the pandemic, provided over $50,000 in support for residents through vouchers and community givebacks.
  • Last year you asked us, delegates, for members to be more involved. And, we established working groups with Ministers in response to delegates’ desires for more member involvement in Government Policy.
  • In accordance with our Party’s Constitution, we re-established, reaffirmed and strengthened links with sister parties in the Commonwealth, sending delegations to the Bahamas, Jamaica, the British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands and the United Kingdom to conferences of all our sister parties.
  • We have attracted new and younger members to serve on the Party Executive.
  • We helped most branches remain active, supported by the central office in the promotion of branch events around the country.
  • We created a Vision Statement and Mission Statement for the PLP that reiterates this party’s commitment to bring sovereignty to Bermuda.
  • And we have grown our membership while attracting new candidates to stand for the PLP in General Elections.

When I assumed leadership, this party had 17 members of Parliament. We built that number to 24 – and at that time in 2017- we called that a landslide! In 2020, we built that number to 30, and together, working together, we won seats that were previously considered UBP/OBA strongholds.

In the process, we gave stalwart members of our party, such as Gregory Jacobs, Lanel Furbert, Roddy Burchall, Pamela Richardson, and Dr Lana Talbot, a Progressive Labour Party MP, for the first time ever! – Yes – clap as we should be proud!

But family, the leadership of our great country and our great party have never been without challenges. Yet, through it all, we continued our dedicated work for the people of Bermuda.

Family, cast your mind back to 2017, please. We inherited the largest debt in Bermuda’s history, a lousy airport deal that we fought against in opposition, and the failed Morgan’s Point project. Do you know that those two projects alone have cost us 250 million dollars since we’ve been in Government? 250 million.

That is $250 million more that has been added to our debt. But just imagine the help and assistance that could have been provided with even a small portion of that $250 million or even just the interest that we have had to pay on that $250 Million. Imagine the projects we could have advanced, the additional progress we could have achieved.

But yet, that other party wants us to believe that they understand how to deal with the economy of this country. Nonsense! People should not forget their record.

This is the bad hand we were dealt, but – despite those obstacles – this Government reduced the deficit without cutting Bermudian jobs while investing in education, healthcare and social programmes.

And what’s important to remember is that, in 2018, in the first Progressive Labour Party Budget I was pleased to deliver on behalf of this Government. We closed the dividend loophole, which saw many persons who own large local companies withdrawing millions of dollars in dividends tax-free. While their employees paid taxes on every dime, they earned. Yes, we don’t talk about this, we don’t talk about the good that we do enough – but this Government has a record of implementing fairer taxation – and investing in our communities.

But history reminds us we don’t plan everything – and just as things were improving economically, we were hit with a once-in-a-century pandemic. But remember how your party in Government responded…

During this unprecedented challenge for Bermuda, this party provided the strong and steady leadership that was needed. We implemented policies to protect our shores from coronavirus outbreaks, built a world-leading testing regime and provided jobs and training opportunities to young Bermudians.

We extended the Government purse to support unemployed Bermudians with over $80 million in direct assistance, including over $70 million paid to those unable to work due to the coronavirus. And we provided $12 million in grants and loans through the BEDC to support struggling small and medium-sized businesses. And I don’t see the President of the Bermuda Public Services Union here, but I know that some executive members of the BPSU are here, and I see the President of the Bermuda Industrial Union here.

It is important to note it wasn’t just the Government alone. Our public officers sacrificed, to enable us to provide that relief to this country. And the public officers who are sometimes maligned, and we hear stories about the public service is bloated, have worked under incredibly difficult conditions.

But understand late at night, when Minister Wilson and I were working, whether it was the public officers of the BPSU, support staff from the BIU, when persons were needed to pick up the pieces and go ahead. They all did it! That’s what we do, we work together to achieve our goals.

Last October, during the Delta outbreak, this conference was forced to be held virtually. While members of this party and the community were mourning the loss of loved ones, and we lost members of our party. While we visited our constituents and families that were grieving, we wondered when this pandemic would end. But, as a country, we did not give up hope. We pressed forward and moved beyond the pandemic.

However, it is important that when we look back at these four years, we shouldn’t only acknowledge our successes; leaders must also acknowledge the areas where we could have done better. I recognise that the Government was not perfect during the coronavirus pandemic.

I know that there are persons here and watching at home who were negatively impacted by Government regulations and policies and who felt unheard. This caused unwanted division, and I recognise that some of the decisions of the Government, caused that division, especially the home quarantine policy in 2021.

It is our job as leaders to listen to you and address your concerns. Sometimes we must make difficult decisions that may not align with everyone’s views; just like you said MP Adams, we do not always get our way. But that does not mean those opposing views are not valued.

So I say to you members and Bermuda, if there has ever been a time when you have felt like the Government that I lead did not value your views during the pandemic, I sincerely apologise. Every Bermudian is valued, your views are valued, and yes as this Government moves forward we do hear you.

Today we face new challenges as a country – global inflation, yes global inflation, not seen in 40 years- and I know that persons are worried, and I know that the members of this party feel the stress in the community. In order to overcome these challenges, we must be as unified as we were in the early stages of the Pandemic, and we must come together and support one another as Bermudians.

We need the business community’s support, we need grocers, wholesalers, energy providers, shipping companies, trade unions, the Government and all members of the community to come together as a unified front to do our best to tackle global inflation.

And here is the thing family, we have seen the great things we can accomplish when we stand side by side and support each other. We should be confident as the Progressive Labour Party that if we work together, we can reduce the impact of Global Inflation on working-class Bermudians.

Though there is much work to do, your PLP Government has responded quickly to assist the working class in dealing with the impact of global inflation. Let me cover a few points:

  • Your PLP Government passed a payroll tax rebate for 75% of Bermuda’s workers who make less than $96,000 a year. – And we have good news, the applications are live, and you can apply today at
  • But that is not it, because we have to remember our history. Your PLP Government, since 2017 have reduced taxes for those making less than $96,000. Since 2017 working people have paid up to $4,920 less in payroll taxes than they did when the OBA were in charge.
  • Your PLP Government for the first time in history reduced private vehicle licensing fees by 10%
  • Your PLP Government under the leadership of Colonel Burch and with the support of this Minister of Finance, is investing over $20 million to renovate 137 older housing units.
  • Your PLP Government launched the National Drug Formulary to set maximum prices for common medication and to reduce prescription drug costs.
  • Your PLP Government introduced work permit moratoriums on 52… let me repeat… 52 work permit categories to protect Bermudian opportunity.
  • Your PLP Government increased pensions for Bermuda’s seniors in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021 and guess what? When we go back to the House of Assembly, we’ll do it again for 2022! Because this PLP Government keeps its promises.
  • And while we talk about the platform, your PLP Government promise that we would increase the FutureCare prescription drug benefit and guess what? We increased the prescription drug benefit under FutureCare from $2,000 to $3,000.
  • Your PLP Government launched a Mortgage Guarantee Pilot Programme to help Bermudians buy their first home with a reduced interest rate of 5% and a reduced down payment from 20% to 10%. Saving new homeowners with a $500,000 mortgage, $500 per month, and a reduction of $50,000 in down payments. Thank you MP Adams.
  • And does anyone remember the platform for the 2017 campaign? What was on the first page of our platform? Thank you very much, the first thing on our platform was Education!
    • And Your PLP government has delivered on the promise we made in 2017 to open our first Signature Schools at the Berkeley Institute and Cedarbridge Academy, in which 289 incoming S1 students will join signature learning programmes.
    • And Yes – we kept our promise to deliver a trade school with the Signature School at Cedarbridge Academy, providing a Trades and Professions programme that will equip students to enter the workforce with the skills to be the tradeswomen and tradesmen of the future. You should clap for that!

And we got some new Whatsapp forwards today. I should ask, as we have our whole Caucus here today, is there any member of Caucus sitting here today that I have come to ask to sign an MOU? Put up your hands, put up your hands, put up your hands…. Not a one! Fake news!

But we got another Whatsapp forward today, and we know debates are difficult, and you may say a word or two, and people know I talk a lot. And I know this is important to you, President Furbert..

  • This Government also sealed a deal to reopen the Fairmont Southampton, creating hundreds of jobs in construction and hundred of BIU jobs when it re-opens!

Now, why do I talk about a Whatsapp forward? Because I think it was the gentleman in the back, Shaun Connolly, who wrote a story on Monday, and the headline says “Fairmont Southampton” deal signed. And I remember it came up online, and I wrote the editor of the Royal Gazette, and I said, “Mr Editor” – it was late- “we signed the heads of terms, we are going through the closing documentation, funding has been confirmed, and we are going through it”. And the latest Whatsapp forward today is people saying the Fairmont Southampton deal is not signed.

The heads of terms have been signed, the deal is progressing to closing, there are teams of lawyers working through that closing process, and I have complete confidence that that deal will close because we must deliver those jobs and the return of tourism to this country.

Family, we have made incredible progress over the last four years. We have worked long hours, enjoyed some incredible highs and faced seemingly insurmountable obstacles, but we continue to deliver!

And I am here to reassure you and the country tonight that the commitment of this Progressive Labour Party and the Government of Bermuda to deliver on the mandate that we were elected is as strong as ever!

We know that we have more work to do. We have more work to bring the cost of living down and more work to continue our education reform, more work healthcare reform and tax reform. Together, together, this party will deliver for the people of this country. And we have proven time and time again that there is no problem too big or small that we cannot solve together.

We want to leave Bermuda’s next generation – which includes Nia and Ed, with a country that they can be proud of and that they see as full of opportunity. We want to show them that even when great challenges arise, the Party of which they are some of the youngest members – and their country – can overcome.

We know that nothing changes overnight. We have been hard at work for four years of this time, and long before that in the history of the PLP, to change this country for the better. And, if we keep working at it – together, we will make more progress on the issues that matter to the people of this country who voted for the Progressive Labour Party.

So, in closing – when this conference ends, when the commemorations are over, and when the voting is done, we must get back to the work we have committed to do on behalf of the people of Bermuda.

And, at the end of the day, we must stand in solidarity because if we do, we will continue to transform this country.

We will implement a national minimum wage. We will provide affordable healthcare for Bermudians. We will phase out middle schools, and we will continue to take decisive action to address the cost of living and tackle Bermuda’s affordable housing shortage and we will, Minister Weeks, make the investments necessary to address the root causes of community violence in this country.

Family, that is this party’s work, that is this party’s mission, that is this party’s calling, and that is what the members of this Bermuda Progressive Labour Party, which will turn 60 years old next year will accomplish working together.

Thank you and God Bless the PLP and Bermuda. PLP! All the way… all the way…PLP!

Thank you.

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