DeSilva denies being forced to quit by Premier
Former government minister Zane DeSilva denied claims last night from Progressive Labour Party sources that he was ordered to quit Cabinet by the Premier.
Mr DeSilva branded it “absolutely false” that he had been told by David Burt to resign from his post as Minister of Social Development and Sport.
Sources both inside and close to the PLP said earlier that Mr DeSilva had been summoned to meet Mr Burt after a public break from the party line last week over former premier Ewart Brown.
The Premier was said to be angered over Mr DeSilva’s support for Dr Brown at a press conference set up to denounce the Government’s own health regulator.
Dr Brown blamed the Bermuda Health Council and its fee cuts for the closure of the high-tech medical CT scanner unit at his Brown-Darrell Clinic in Smith’s.
Other sources suggested that Mr DeSilva’s own leadership ambitions played a part in his Cabinet exit, which was announced by Mr Burt on Sunday.
The Premier said he had “reluctantly accepted” Mr DeSilva’s resignation and said he was “a friend and colleague”.
Sources, however, insisted that Mr Burt was taken by surprise by Mr DeSilva’s show of support at last Wednesday’s press conference, at which PLP MP Derrick Burgess also allied himself with Dr Brown.
Mr Burt, in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum, could not be contacted for comment last night.
Mr DeSilva denied in the media this week that he was ordered to tender his resignation.
He insisted his close friendship with Dr Brown had sparked his decision to resign.
Mr DeSilva’s Register of Interests in the House of Assembly also lists a directorship in the private dialysis clinic Bermuda Life Centre Ltd, in which Dr Brown is also an investor.
Dr Brown blamed the BHeC last week for a political “vendetta” against him, calling out several members by name.
Tawanna Wedderburn, chief executive of the BHeC who was one of those named, refused to comment yesterday on whether the health watchdog had stepped up security at its Wesley Street headquarters.
Mr DeSilva was said to be interested in the top job in the PLP when former leader Marc Bean was under pressure to resign in 2016.
The Southampton East MP rejected the suggestion after he quit Mr Bean’s Shadow Cabinet.
He told The Royal Gazette that he had “never put myself up for leadership; it’s not my agenda to do so”.
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