Dunkley confident of the way forward for Bermuda
New Premier Michael Dunkley pledged yesterday to rebuild the public's confidence in his party after he was sworn into office at Government House.
The National Security Minister said he believed the electorate still trusted the One Bermuda Alliance after the Jetgate scandal, but he added: “I believe that there has been some doubt about the way forward and we will rebuild on some of the challenges we have had and we will make sure that the people are confident as we move forward.
“Politics is full of twisting turns in the road and I have every faith in the colleagues that we have in our team. If I can do anything by my leadership it will be to be straightforward with them: we'll face the good times together, we'll face the bad times together and be open and transparent with Bermuda.”
He said: “It's easy to field the very easy questions but those difficult questions, I will ask my colleagues to step forward to give those answers. You might not like the answers that you hear all the time but we know that we are in a difficult situation and nobody is going to be comfortable with some of the decisions we make going forward. We were elected to lead and we have to lead.”
The Premier was answering questions from reporters after swearing the oath of office before Governor George Fergusson, OBA parliamentarians and his wife and brother.
Mr Dunkley, who was previously Deputy Premier, agreed to take on the top job after his predecessor Craig Cannonier resigned on Monday night over mounting criticism about his relationship with US developer Nathan Landow and a $300,000 donation to the OBA's 2012 election campaign.
Asked yesterday what lesson he had learned from Jetgate, he replied, to laughter from the audience: “I don't like losing sleep.”
In a prepared statement, he told the audience he was “humbled by the responsibility I have now been given”.
He thanked Mr Cannonier for his work for the country and said it should not be forgotten that the former leader led the OBA to a “significant victory at the polls”.
Mr Dunkley went on to say that the foundation for Bermuda's economic recovery had been set in the last 17 months by a “hardworking team of men and women”.
“Now I have the honour to lead that team and our mission remains the same — we must renew the promise of this country, we must create jobs for people, we must educate our children and we must keep Bermuda safe.
“These are the expectations of the people and we must not only meet but exceed those expectations each and every day.
“I am committed to working hard on finding solutions to our problems and delivering on the promises we made to the people of this country.”
Mr Dunkley thanked his parliamentary colleagues and said he would meet with each individually and with the party's wider membership to continue “our work on behalf of Bermuda”.
He added: “Needless to say, the last couple of weeks have been testing at times and to the people of Bermuda it may have seemed that we had lost some of our focus.
“Well, politics can do that sometimes. However, let me take this opportunity right now to assure the people that this country of theirs has a Government that is unwavering in its commitment to improving the economy and restoring prosperity and success as part of the Bermuda story. We work at it every day.”
He said Ministers Shawn Crockwell and Mark Pettingill, who travelled with Mr Cannonier to Washington on Mr Landow's private jet, would “most certainly” stay in Cabinet and that he had no immediate plans for a reshuffle.
Mr Dunkley will remain as Premier until the summer, when OBA members will take part in a poll to elect a new leader.