The Governor of Bermuda swears in the new Cabinet Ministers for Bermuda's Government.
Premier's Remarks from Today's Swearing In Ceremony
Thank you Your Excellency. Good afternoon to colleagues, family and friends. Thank you for coming to Government House today.
One week ago Bermudians were presented with a choice of who would bear the heavy responsibility for rebuilding this economy and reviving the livelihoods of our people. As the results have indicated, the choice made was clear and unambiguous.
The mandate of trust that has been emphatically expressed by the people of Bermuda is both humbling and inspiring. Humbling because I believe that our message of steady leadership is one that inspires confidence in our abilities and commitment. Inspiring because in so strong an expression of democratic will, there is an inherent hope that the vision presented will have every opportunity to succeed.
The 30 men and women who made up the Government’s legislative team prior to the election worked day and night for just over three years as a united group, in our efforts to put Bermudians first. I wish to thank every one of them for that effort and that service. I pay special homage to former MP and former Attorney-General Michael Scott, and I also must remember our dear departed colleague Walton Brown who tragically passed a year ago today.
With some new faces, especially in the Senate, that legislative team is now 35 and my hope is that, as our seniors rightly say: ‘many hands will make light work’.
First let me announce the ministers who will continue to serve in the Cabinet.
Minister Walter Roban, JP, MP will continue as Deputy Premier and Minister of Home Affairs, to usher in the renewable energy revolution.
Minister Curtis Dickinson, JP, MP will continue to serve in the Cabinet as Minister of Finance, focussing his energy on our economic recovery.
Minister Kathy Lynn Simmons, JP, MP will continue to serve in the Cabinet as the Attorney-General, and I have asked her to turn special attention to legal and constitutional reform.
Minister Kim Wilson, JP, MP will continue to serve in Cabinet as Minister of Health, focussed on implementing universal healthcare.
Minister Diallo Rabain, JP, MP will continue to serve in the Cabinet as Minister of Education, to finish the work that has been started in the phasing out of middle schools.
Minister David Burch, JP, MP will continue to serve in the Cabinet as Minister of Public Works, and will be focussed on upgrading the country’s infrastructure.
Minister Renee Ming, JP, MP will continue to serve in the Cabinet as the Minister of National Security, and to redouble our efforts in tackling the root causes of crime.
Minister Wayne Furbert, JP, MP will continue to serve in the Cabinet as the Minister for the Cabinet Office dedicated to economic development and diversification which, of course, as we know, is vital for our economic recovery.
Before I speak to the additions, I would like to thank the Members of the House of Assembly who will no longer be serving in the Cabinet. Former Ministers Lovitta Foggo and Neville Tyrrell are owed a debt of gratitude for their service and this change of responsibility is by no means a cue to relax on the backbench.
Minister Foggo in particular gave excellent service during the pandemic working so hard to implement the unemployment benefit and I have enjoyed her counsel over the last 39 months. I am grateful that MP Foggo and MP Tyrrell have accepted other assignments and remain committed to supporting the Government as we execute our agenda. With MP Foggo agreeing to accept the Chair of the Bermuda Land Development Company and also Chair of the Bermuda Airport Authority. MP Tyrrell accepting to serve as Chair for the West End Development Corporation.
To the new ministers, following a successful tenure as Chairman of the Bermuda Airport Authority in addition to serving for over two years as Government Whip, and as Shadow Minister of Transport before that, I have invited, and he has accepted the invitation, MP Lawrence Scott to join the Cabinet as the Minister of Transport.
Social inclusion is important and vital, especially as we as a country work through the economic challenges as a result of the pandemic. I have asked MP Tinee Furbert to join the Cabinet as the Minister for Social Development and Seniors. Minister Furbert will be responsible for our Seniors, Child and Family Services, Disability Services, Youth Development and the Human Rights Commission.
Given the fact that all previous Government Senators were elected to the House of Assembly, I have asked former MP Rolfe Commissiong to lead the Government’s senate team and join the Cabinet as the Minister of Community Affairs and Sports.
As the Governor indicated, he will now issue the oaths to the respective ministers, that would be the A-G and the three new ministers.
Thank you Governor and congratulations to the new ministers. Just a minor clarification, as I went over the list of ministers who remain, the Minister of Labour, Minister Jason Hayward, JP, MP, will also remain in the Cabinet and continue the vital work which is necessary required to ensure that expand the workforce in Bermuda during difficult economic times.
With each of the five former Government Senators now elected to the House of Assembly, a completely new team must be appointed to fill their shoes. Under the leadership of now Senator Commissiong, who having served in the House of Assembly for seven years will be able to provide the required guidance, I have invited the following persons to serve in the Senate as Junior Ministers:
Mr. Owen Darrell, who will serve Senator and Junior Minister for the Cabinet Office, Education, and Public Works;
Mr. Curtis Richardson, Senator and Junior Minister for Transport, Health, and National Security;
Ms. Arianna Hodgson, Senator and Junior Minister for Community Affairs & Sport and Labour; and finally
Ms. Lindsay Simmons, Senator and Junior Minister for Social Development and Seniors and Home Affairs.
I will now ask the Governor to issue the oaths.
Congratulations Junior Ministers.
Thank you Governor and congratulations Junior Ministers.
There may have been much to disagree with during the election campaign, but one thing is clear, all Bermudians know that there is an immense amount of work to be done and they rightly expect the Government they elected to do it.
The mandate of 2020 is a heavy one and Ministers charged with delivering on behalf of the people of Bermuda in line with our election platform will be assisted in their duties by parliamentary colleagues.
This is not unprecedented as in many jurisdictions, backbenchers are engaged to assist Ministers on certain initiatives – again, I remind, ‘many hands make light work’. I can only pick 11 persons from the House of Assembly to serve in Cabinet, but the scale of work is so immense that it will require more than what those 11 can do themselves.
The Government is spoiled for talent – so I am grateful and the people of Bermuda should know that the entire Government team will be engaged to work and to deliver on your behalf.
Whilst the public push and imperative is the rebuilding of the economy, this must be done in concert with the strengthening of our families and caring for society’s most vulnerable. Just as finance and economic development need dedicated ministerial level oversight, so must our social services. We promised to rebuild Bermuda with Bermudians at heart and we must ensure that we have a more inclusive society. That heart for the people must form a big part of what we do.
Before the impact of COVID-19 and the advent of a culture of masks and physical distancing, we had set Bermuda on a path to fiscal sustainability and renewed economic growth. That mission is unchanged. And though it may be a little bit more difficult we have a strong, diverse, and united team, backed with the support of the people and have no doubt, this Government has the will to do what is required.
Let me close by thanking all those who offered themselves for public service. Thank you also to the families who provide the invaluable support which makes what we all do that much easier. Sadly the pandemic has limited attendance today, but I’d like to thank all of the families, all of the branch workers, all of those who work behind the scenes and never get the credit or do not get acknowledged.
This team is your team, this team is Bermuda’s team, and now it is time for this team to get to work.
Congratulations all and thank you.