Tributes to Saul, ‘a man of great integrity’
David Saul will be remembered for his kindness, adventurous spirit and lust for life, Michael Dunkley, the Premier said today.
Governor John Rankin issued a statement saluting the former premier as “an individual who served Bermuda and many good causes on this island with dedication and distinction”.
“We offer our condolences to his wife and family and hope that the prayers and support of friends will help them in the coming days,” Mr Rankin added.
Meanwhile, Progressive Labour Party leader David Burt recalled Dr Saul as a man of “tremendous energy” who had a determination to “do things well”.
Dr Saul, the premier under the United Bermuda Party from 1995 to 1997, died this morning after suffering two strokes in the past two months.
A former teacher and businessman, his early political career culminated with a trial by fire — after winning the United Bermuda Party's safe seat of Devonshire South in a primary, and following it up in the General Election of 1989, he found himself pressed into service as Minister of Finance, after Clarence James lost his seat.
He went on to serve as Premier during the chaotic later years of the United Bermuda Party administration.
Mr Dunkley said in a statement: “My colleagues and I were so saddened to learn of the passing of former premier David Saul.
“On behalf of the Government and the people of Bermuda, I extend deepest and sincerest condolences to Dr Saul's family and friends. Dr Saul was a man of great integrity who had such an immense love for Bermuda.
“His career spanned many years in public service, including serving in the roles of Permanent Secretary of Education and Financial Secretary.
“As the Minister of Finance and later as the Premier of Bermuda, he represented our country with passion, pride and vision, advancing key policies aimed at progressing Bermuda forward.
“In his later years, as the public is keenly aware, he devoted all of his energy and attention to his philanthropic endeavours.
“Working with various charitable organisations Dr Saul made it his mission to raise awareness about the importance of protecting and preserving our marine environment.
“I was proud to call Dr Saul a friend. I will remember him for his kindness, his generosity, his adventurous spirit and for embracing all that life had to offer. He will be greatly missed. May he rest in peace.”
Sir John Swan, the former premier, hailed his old colleague as a man who represented “not only academia but sports — on land as well as in the ocean”.
Dr Saul served as Minister of Finance during a difficult era for the island's economy, and Sir John noted how as minister he “helped to bring the country to economic development — both in the finance department of the Government, and as an elected Member — he was always enthusiastic about the potential of Bermuda”.
Added Sir John: “He carried the flag. I spent a lot of time with him helping to formulate the growth of international business and out relationships with other countries. He was by my side a lot during my tenure, and I want to extend my sympathies to his wife and children.”
Dame Pamela Gordon, the Premier who succeeded Dr Saul, recalled him as “honest, insightful — but most importantly, he put Bermuda first; he wanted the best for the country”.
“David kept it real,” she said.
Not everyone appreciated his schoolteacher's style, she remembered: “What some didn't seem to appreciate was his honesty about the size of Bermuda — that we were Bermuda, inc, like a small town, and needed to stop thinking we were the be-all and end-all of countries. It was a reality check for some people.”
Dr Saul, she added, “adored his family — he always said, your family has to come first”.
“Then you can serve your country. Politics is a distant third. David lived that, and Bermuda is the richer for his services.”
On behalf of the PLP, Mr Burt also extended condolences to the family of Dr Saul.
“Dr Saul served as premier under the United Bermuda Party administration from 1995 to 1997 and we thank him for his service to our country. Dr Saul was a man of tremendous energy and, in every pursuit, he was determined to do things well.
“To his wife, Christine, children Jonathan and Robin, grandchildren, extended family and friends, I pray that your memories will sustain you during this difficult time.”