Burt reafffirms push for medicinal cannabis
Cannabis cultivation for medical reasons will be legalised within months, David Burt told a conference last night.
The Premier pledged the Government would issue the first licences for production of the drug next year.
Mr Burt said: “The Government can apply to the United Nations to raise the import limit for medicinal cannabis but our thinking is, in a country that is desperate for jobs, why send money overseas to import what we can produce here?
“In line with the pledge made in our platform, the Government will begin issuing licences for domestic medicinal cannabis production.”
Mr Burt was speaking as he delivered the keynote speech as the Progressive Labour Party’s annual conference opened at St Paul AME Church’s Centennial Hall in Hamilton. The Premier added that the Government had to update its immigration policies.
He said: “In 2018, where the world is virtual and jobs are mobile, it is important to realise that we may need to take a different approach to immigration than we did in 1956 when the Act was written.”
Mr Burt added: “From the last census report it is clear that income inequality is getting worse. Black people continue to make less than their white counterparts.
“The violence we see has its genesis in that inequality.”
Mr Burt said that the promotion of black Bermudians in the business world would be good for companies, but those that did not would come under more inspection.
He added: “Particularly black Bermudians at times do not get to advance. Some companies are making efforts to change this trend and I commend them for doing so.”
Mr Burt said: “We need to move from a one-size-fits-all model of immigration to a model where good corporate citizens who hire, train and promote Bermudians are rewarded with a more streamlined system, while those who do not will be subject to additional scrutiny.”
He added: “The country benefits from a more efficient government and we will follow through with our platform commitment to reduce red tape and will make everything from getting a truck permit to a liquor licence to a work permit or to register a business easier for our citizens to do.”
Mr Burt added that his government also aimed to cut health insurance costs.
Christopher Famous, a PLP backbencher, said in an earlier speech that free health insurance for people older than 90 was being considered for next year.
Mr Burt added that workers’ rights must be balanced against the need to progress.
He said: “Our unions must stand up for the workers like the brothers of the Electricity Supply Trade Union did last week.
“But they must play a part in making government, tourism and our economy more competitive.”
Mr Burt added: “Any new power generation will require less staff to operate.
“We must ensure we create new jobs in energy for Bermudians. We have to prepare our people for a future world which will change even more dramatically as technology advances.”