New Governor : 'Challenges are crime and the economy'
The Island's new Governor, George Fergusson, was officially sworn in at a ceremony on the grounds of Cabinet today.
In a brief and candid speech before local dignitaries, visitors and the Bermuda Regiment's guard of honour, Mr Fergusson began by acknowledging the assault last month in London that left him blind in his left eye.
And he vowed that the economy and the Island's gang violence were the two challenges he would face alongside Government.
“I am delighted to be here,” the Governor said following his swearing-in. “I might have hoped to see Bermuda over the next few years with two eyes, but it's looking pretty good with one.”
Mr Fergusson expressed his gratitude for messages of good cheer sent to him in recent weeks from people across Bermuda.
Praising the Island's “internationally respected record for following the rule of law and managing its own affairs”, Mr Fergusson added: “That reputation is hard-earned. It's a major asset to this Country, not least during this economic turbulence.”
The Island's 88th Governor pledged to “play my part working with the elected Government of Bermuda to uphold and preserve this asset”.
Bermuda faces two immediate challenges, he added, a "serious and obvious economic and financial challenge” — and gang violence.
The Island's police, even with their high reputation, “cannot address this problem alone”, he warned, adding: “It's a problem for all of us.”
In a tip of the hat to Bermuda's Portuguese community, Mr Fergusson added that “where we live in London, there is a strong and, during football matches, very audible Portuguese community”.
When he returns to London this summer for the Olympics, the Governor said, “I'll be shouting for Bermuda's athletes and hoping they do well.
“From today, the privilege is now mine to sing 'long live Bermuda'.”
Mr Fergusson arrived last night; his wife Margaret has been delayed for medical tests. The Governor said tests were going well and she was looking forward to being on the Island soon.
This morning, before an audience on the Cabinet lawns and watched by passengers on the Veendam, Mr Fergusson made his first appearance in the white ceremonial garb.
In her welcoming remarks, Premier Paula Cox told him: “I believe it's a good omen that the sun has come out today. Bermuda welcomes you as you start your tour of duty, and we look forward in due course to also welcoming your wife.”
The Island, she said, needed “a solid dose of inspiration to get people through hard times”.
Ms Cox recited “the wolf creed” and told Mr Fergusson: “You will leave your mark.”
The half-hour ceremony was attended by Hamilton mayor-elect Graeme Outerbridge and Opposition Leader Craig Cannonier, along with various ministers, senators and business leaders, US Consul Grace Shelton and Bishop of Bermuda Patrick White. Former Premier Sir David Gibbons also sat by, and
A 17-gun salute boomed across Hamilton Harbour to announce the arrival of the Governor's carriage. Half an hour later, after taking his oath of office with Cabinet Secretary Donald Scott and Chief Justice Ian Kawaley, Mr Fergusson set off back to Government House.