David Burt’s vanity has left blood in the water
“One of the deadliest causes of destruction of divine destinies is when a leader is failing, but he does not know it. Ignorance about your role is a death plot against people's successes.”— Israelmore Ayivor
David Burt is bleeding politically. The economy is on life support. His Covid consultant quit her post in disgust. His former finance minister “resigned on principle” and threw in the towel. His national security minister had her position “revoked” after she made it clear she was going to resign because of “differences”.
In a strange twist of judgments, his handpicked senator was allowed to resign with some dignity rather than have his position revoked after humiliating his elderly landlord and leaving her with a substantial loss of rental revenue.
Thankfully for Bermuda, Mr Burt terminated the former Minister of Tourism from his role after performing poorly in 2021. We recorded only 8 per cent of our tourist arrival numbers when compared with 2019, while other islands are seeing record tourism numbers compared with the same period.
The last time he was this mortally wounded politically, he was rescued from the jaws of death by the disruption of the global Covid virus and a badly unprepared opposition party in 2020. He used this window of opportunity to risk lives to secure victory at the polls.
Where is his saviour going to come from now?
We should all be worried because his last opportunity was paid for by the needless loss of life, the loss of countless careers, four waves of the virus, the loss of homes, businesses and the skyrocketing cost of living.
The disaster of his leadership is now blatantly obvious even to diehard and lifelong Progressive Labour Party supporters, including a growing number of his backbenchers. Bermuda’s choice is also obviously clear: we need to get rid of David Burt’s incompetent leadership to save our island from further economic disaster and outright ruin.
The new budget has just been completed and it does not contain anything to make us optimistic. Sadly for Bermuda, the Premier has chosen himself to be the new finance minister. The last time he was in this position, we learnt that he lent $800,000 of our money to a scam artist and gave $1.2 million to a financial donor of the PLP. There should be no surprise when we learn in the near future what else he has done with our money, especially knowing that his leadership is coming to a swift end.
Without a doubt, this is an important turning point for our country. It is tempting to think that all Bermuda needs is to replace one failed leader with any other PLP leader married to the same ideology of race-baiting and deflection while the economy continues to suffer.
Bermuda requires visionary leadership like never before. Three more years of deficit-spending, increasing the debt, plugging holes and kicking the can down the road will sink us even deeper into despair.
The local business sector has to grow to provide much needed employment. We require a robust housing market where loans are affordable and home values can increase again. Our children need hope and opportunities so that they can do better than their parents’ generation.
We need to foster growth of the population and incentivise our young people to grow their families. We need to provide opportunities and optimism to Bermudians who have fled our shores with a reason to return home. Progressive immigration reform is desperately needed to attract productive employment to contribute to our economy.
Bermuda needs the entrepreneurial spirit to be reignited and supported. We require good jobs and many more employment opportunities without our own people in long unemployment lines and dependent upon feeding programmes that inevitably will increase hostility towards foreign labour.
In essence, what Bermuda must have are workable ideas and visionary goals that provide optimism and opportunity. They must be able to restructure and reinvigorate our economic machine. These ideas will have to be comparable to the ones that fuelled our international business sector and energised the inception of our tourism model many decades ago.
There is no doubt that because of our tiny size, the right vision, initiatives and plans for our country can turn things around very quickly. This swift turnaround with bold, workable ideas can provide the rapid sustainable turnaround that we desperately require.
Quite frankly, the only reason why we cannot and do not have this, again, is incompetent and self-centred leadership. We have vast amounts of capital, human talent and material resources in this country. Some of the best minds in international business reside here. Instead of using these resources to our island’s benefit, the PLP has spent decades sowing the seeds of mistrust among the Bermudian people to the island’s detriment.
We have some of the most educated people in the world per capita, but the PLP has failed to drill into this resource in an effort to provide opportunities for the country. It is past time for the leadership of the PLP to rebuild our economy with an all-hands-on deck approach rather than just a few hand-picked friends and family benefiting at the expense of the country.
It is painfully clear that PLP mismanagement has created what looks like a permanent economic underclass unlike anything we have seen in this country in generations. Too many of our young people, especially our young Black men, have not been prepared to meaningfully participate in the lawful economy. The recent stabbings and killing involving teenagers should arrest all of our attention.
Bermuda, we need a vastly improved political leadership culture if we are going to turn around our country and have any chance to revive our prosperity. What we no longer need is the usual PLP Band-Aid, personality-driven, all-talk-no-action approach, which helps to improve David Burt and his friends economically while the country and tens of thousands of Bermudians become poorer.
The cold hard fact is that this turnaround of Bermudian fortunes will happen only with the end of Mr Burt’s disastrous failure of leadership. Quite frankly, the sooner, the better.
• Vic Ball was a One Bermuda Alliance senator from November 2014 to July 2017, and more recently a candidate in the 2020 General Election in Smith's West (Constituency 9)