While opinion polls prior to his re-election as Progressive Labour Party (PLP) Leader and by extension, Premier of Bermuda may have indicated a less than favourable rating, David Burt remains intent on delivering items promised and pertinent to the wellbeing of the country’s populace.
Moreover, the Premier told TNN that he and his team are determined to create a fair playing field in respect of the working class, which makes up the PLP base, one that has been given short shrift among the annals of history.
“I think that the only thing I focus on is delivery,” the Premier told Trevor Lindsay recently. “ And I know that it sounds boring, but what people want and they consider when they go to the polls is whether they have a government that is delivering for them.
“And I understand the frustrations that are inside of this community. Trust me, I get it. They are not things that are lost on me. Not one things that are lost on my extended family on the campaign trail, the different things that we have heard.
“You’ve heard me in the debates speak of how community violence has affected my family, as it has affected many others.
“There are issues we are dealing with, the cost of global inflation and the challenges which it has.
“But I’m not going to, you know, worry about, I guess I would say popularity. Because it can’t be a popularity contest, it can’t be.” Arriving at a place of greater equity for all walks will be difficult, Mr Burt asserted.
However, he added how such was the task he’d accepted and would do his utmost to achieve. “We have really difficult decisions to make,” he continued. “I think what people want is to know that the government is on their side.
“And it’s no secret that there have been challenges in making sure that we have a unified government approach to the issues that I think are the most critical, which are: Jobs in this economy, the recovery of the tourism industry. I mean, right now there are people who want to travel to Bermuda and cannot find a hotel room. There are people who want to travel here and cannot find a plane.
“That is why we were so pressing, why the Cabinet was so urgent as to the need to get the Fairmount Southampton open.
“It was championed by ministers at the table even before and it’s important that we get this particular project done.
“And at the same point in time, the working class of this country feel hard done by and they want to make sure that they have more relief and they want to make sure that they have a government that is on their side and is not going to continue with policies that, over history, have not worked for us.
“And so, from that perspective, I look back over my time as Minister of Finance, and people will forget that, when I was there, for the first time in this country, wealth was taxed.
“For the first time in the 2018 budget. Over history people wer pulling out millions of dollars in dividends from their companies and never paying a dime in taxes on them while people who worked there were paying taxes on everything which they earned.
“We have brought some fairness, but there is more fairness to come and that’s what I think the people of this country want. They want a government that is dealing in fairness.
As far as his personal popularity was concerned, the Premier was unfazed, although not ignorant to the ways and whims of thought within a small local community, as the Island, where gossip reigns.
“On the other side of popularity, Trevor I think you know, and I’ll be honest with you, he said. “Some of the stuff is all about conspiracy theories and things which are not true. “We live in the most regulated financial place, where everyone knows. If I was taking money from the government, trust me, everyone would know already.
“We don’t control the police, so it’s just that type of stuff, but I understand.
“In my speech I gave at the opening of the delegates conference last Wednesday night there are divisions that have occurred due to the approach the government took from the coronavirus.
“And I understand some of the stuff still comes from there. But I would sincerely hope, that with your platforms as well, we would share what I said. Acknowledge the mistakes. Acknowledge the view that we have to move forward. Have to rebuild. And acknowledge the apologies that were given there.
“We’ll have certain times to move forward with that, but I believe the people of this country want, more than anything, is delivery and I believe that’s what this government, we focus on.”
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