Minister of Bling cuts a fine swath through sea of mess
By his own admission, Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch does not like talking to or being associated in any way with The Royal Gazette. So it had to take something of great significance to get the Colonel to assemble all media, including the “big bad RG” and Bermuda Broadcasting, No 2 on his personal hit list.
Trash — and lots of it.
“We as a people, all of us, must do better.”
That clarion call to the nation on Wednesday served temporarily to get us off the “Naughty” column in his book stored to memory of those who have been naughty and nice.
We hope it is a sign of things to come, for a working relationship with all Cabinet ministers is absolutely essential for transparency to be seen to be done and for the Government adequately to get its message of good governance across in the democratic manner it believes to be equitable for all.
That's not to say there cannot be mavericks. And who fits the bill as a maverick more than the “Minister of Bling”, he who tells it like it is and he who suffers no fools gladly?
Notwithstanding that Burch's relationship with 2 Par-la-Ville Road has been fractious at best, dating back to the days of the Progressive Labour Party first gaining and then retaining the government, the early signs six months in have been that he has been among the more effective in David Burt's first Cabinet.
Then someone forgot to collect the trash.
The public works minister, whether he wishes to or not, comes across as the rock star of Cabinet, his exclusive interview a fortnight ago with veteran journalist Ceola Wilson of BermudaReal.com and TNN's Trevor Lindsay — affectionately the media's Bonnie and Clyde, if you will — catapulting his popularity among the common man and, possibly, a few more up the food chain.
It was good watching: straight-talking, plain-talking, believable.
And for those who are so inclined, he even got in a sly dig or two at the “big bad RG”.
Had we published the latest, albeit unscientific, Royal Gazette poll earlier than today, there is no doubt that Burch's popularity when measured against his peers might have usurped all but the Premier — it may yet do so still.
But, then, someone forgot to collect the trash.
Obviously, not as simplistic as that, but a perfect storm of scenarios has presented Burch his first brush with adversity, which has been laid bare for all to see — all over our streets, from east to west.
The broken promises last week from one stumbling government brief after another have resulted only in feral cats having their way in an extended and island-wide open house.
Then the minister himself manned up and took it on the chin.
Beginning with a forthright apology, while not unexpected, was the right thing to do. This has been followed with transparently committed efforts to see the job through — by way of sorting out staffing issues and also expediting an agreement with the union over the work-to-rule with hands-on efficiency.
Bermuda may resemble a cesspit for just a few days more, putting the Keep Bermuda Beautiful brigade on all-out alert, but the minister has now made up for a perceived slowness to react.
Whatever misgivings some hold of Burch's past ministerial life before Burt embossed his election success in Warwick North Central with a place in his first Cabinet, this version merits some benefit of the doubt.
As long as he continues to wear his heart on his sleeves: straight-talking, plain-talking, believable.
In words he can use.