‘Our next step is certainly to be a sovereign state’ Burt tells BBC during interview
David Burt, the Premier, spoke about Bermuda’s desire to become a sovereign state during an on-camera interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation yesterday, the day of the Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral.
Mr Burt paid tribute to the Queen and in response to a question about how relevant the monarchy remains in Bermuda in 2022, he responded: “I think that this is a day for reflection of the Queen’s long life and service, but what I would say is that our relations are with the United Kingdom Government and it is for the United Kingdom themselves to choose their path.
“Our next step is certainly to be a sovereign state and whatever form that sovereignty takes will be a matter for discussion on another day but today was a day to reflect on the Queen’s life and service.”
Mr Burt, who attended the funeral along with Rena Lalgie, the Governor, said that the Queen carried out her duties with “dignity and grace” and said world leaders honoured her service to her country and the entire Commonwealth.
Mr Burt said: “The service was an incredibly sombre event but it was an event that was fit for the longest reigning head of the state of the United Kingdom and the longest reigning monarch.
“Queen Elizabeth’s life’s service was without question unparalleled. I think she will be remembered as someone who fulfilled her role.
“The crowds that came out today, the pageantry that was on display, was a fitting send off for someone who dedicated their life to service.”
Mr Burt spoke about her last visit to the island in 2009 and made reference to comments he made at a joint session of legislature in the House of Assembly last week.
He said: “I spoke about the fact she went to so many places, how she enjoyed the local culture and how she fondly remembered her time there.
“I remember when I did have the opportunity to meet Her Majesty in 2019 in Buckingham Palace, there is a royal box in the City of Hamilton theatre and in there is a note from Her Majesty which was written from her first trip to Bermuda in 1953 and my children saw it.
“I was able to pass on that note and say my children did see it and I did say I am going to Buckingham Palace to visit the Queen and they said ‘make sure you say ‘hi’ from us.”
Mr Burt was asked what kind of relationship he hopes Bermuda will have with King Charles III.
He said: “I think what King Charles said was he will continue the view of his mother to remain out of politics.
“I think what is vital and important is that King Charles has spoken about a very important issue to small island states and that is about the environment and climate change.
“Bermuda is a world leader when it comes to making sure that we protect our oceans and advance matters on climate change so I think, with his leadership in the Commonwealth, that will be something that will be front and centre and it will certainly be something I think that mixes with where Bermuda wants to go and position itself as a country.”
Mr Burt said he had heard from many people since the Queen’s passing, adding: “People do recognise that you must honour someone’s commitment to service no matter what your individual political views are.”
Asked what the Queen’s legacy would be in Bermuda, Mr Burt added: “I think that the Queen’s legacy will be one of service to the world and to the Commonwealth.
“I think that the affection for Queen Elizabeth, the visits that she had to Bermuda, the memories of which persons in those times have, will remain undimmed and I have to think that people just want to pay tribute to someone who did serve with dignity and grace for 70 years.”