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Burch clash with garage owner caught on video

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Ongoing row: Mark Sousa, owner of Cardoza’s garage (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

A video showing public works minister David Burch telling off a garage owner for allegedly breaking the law has sparked interest on social media.

The recording was made by Mark Sousa, owner of Cardoza’s garage, as Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch rebuked him for leaving cars parked on a restricted public highway in Paget.

It captured only a minute and a half of what Mr Sousa claimed yesterday was a four-hour standoff on June 5. The garage owner has been locked in a dispute with neighbours about parked cars on the road outside his business for years.

The video, filmed at the opposite end of Mission Road to the garage, close to the Evangelical Church, also shows several police officers, works and engineering staff and Kevin Smith, the chief executive of GET Ltd security firm.

The video begins with the minister making comments which seem to be directed at one of the police officers.

He says: “I don’t give a rat’s. This has been going for 50 years. It is ending today. What you need to do is call the courts, not him. That’s who you need to talk to.”

Referring to Mr Sousa, the minister adds: “He can film whatever he likes.”

Colonel Burch then turns to Mr Sousa, who is behind the camera and cannot be seen. The minister wags his finger and says: “You have broken the law.”

Mr Sousa can be heard replying: “Come here, let me give you loves and kisses, honey bunny. That’s what you need. You need love, baby, lots of love. Let me love you. Let me give you a hug.”

Colonel Burch responds: “Don’t touch me. Please do not put your hands on me.”

The minister adds: “You got away with this for way too long and you have met your match. And the fat lady is singing on your hiney. That’s what’s happening here.”

He then walks away, with the words: “Let’s go.”

A forklift, parked near a works and engineering van, can be seen behind him and begins to move. Mr Sousa says: “This is private property.”

The Ministry of Public Works served an abatement notice to get Mr Sousa to remove the vehicles outside his garage in 2015. In February this year Mr Sousa lost a Supreme Court challenge aimed at getting the notice overturned.

A further appeal to the court is understood to have failed on June 4, prompting the visit by the minister and his staff the next day.

It is understood that Mr Sousa had moved some of the cars from outside his garage to the nearby church car park and Colonel Burch was instructing his staff to remove the vehicles.

The minister says in the video “You lost yesterday” before the recording abruptly ends.

The road outside Cardoza’s garage was largely free of cars yesterday, in stark contrast to how it used to look.

Mr Sousa declined to discuss the dispute in detail but insisted he would comment later in the week.

He said: “Freedom is a very demanding mistress and she guards her rights jealously. Freedom has to be won every day.”

Asked about his comments to Colonel Burch, he added: “Why meet anger with anger? You meet anger with love. I tried to calm the situation down.”

The video was posted on Facebook by Jordan Sousa, prompting many commentators to voice their support for the minister.

Colonel Burch was employed by GET before his 2017 return to frontline politics, although it is not known if he still is. It was not possible to reach Kevin Smith yesterday.

The Ministry of Public Works did not respond to a request for comment by press time and nor did Bermuda Police Service.

The scene yesterday at Cardoza’s garage (Photograph by Akil Simmons)