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Burt: We must earn public’s faith

We have a plan: David Burt, the Opposition deputy leader, says the PLP must be clear about its policies ahead of the next election (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The Progressive Labour Party has a “substantial” plan ready for the next election campaign on how to improve governance, David Burt has said.

The Opposition’s deputy leader spoke to The Royal Gazette yesterday in response to a poll published in Monday’s newspaper, which offered grim reading for both major political parties.

The poll quizzed 402 people on whether the One Bermuda Alliance and the PLP had the confidence, transparency, unity or trust to lead Bermuda.

The leading answer in all four categories except confidence was neither.

Michael Dunkley, the Premier, Bob Richards, the Deputy Premier, PLP leader Marc Bean and Mr Burt also fared poorly on their personal leadership capabilities among respondents.

The highest score any of the four MPs achieved across the four categories was 24 per cent for trust in Mr Dunkley, while the lowest score was 6 per cent for unity in Mr Richards.

“By and large, Bermuda seems to be disaffected. It’s our responsibility as politicians to recognise that and put policies in place to correct that,” Mr Burt said.

The PLP’s deputy leader suggested that Bermudians had “clearly” lost faith in his party by the 2012 election, but added that the OBA had not lived up to its campaign promises since it came to power.

“The OBA was elected on a platform that promised better governance and transparency, and we’ve seen anything but.

“People’s expectations haven’t been realised, and I think that’s why they’re throwing up their arms and wondering whether or not they can trust either of us.”

When asked if the PLP should have regained the public’s favour in the past four years, Mr Burt said: “You could make that argument.

“I understand and recognise the cynicism that people have, and it’s up to us to give them a reason to have faith in us.

“We have a very substantial plan on how to improve governance, but in the next election campaign we will have to make it clear what our policies are.”

Monday’s poll also showed that 57 per cent of Bermudians believe there is too much infighting in both parties to run the country.

Mr Burt conceded that this was an issue, but added that disputes among politicians was an inevitability, given the “messy” nature of democracy.

“I don’t believe that disagreements are necessarily unhealthy within a democracy. It’s just a question of how to best manage those disagreements,” he said.

“You’re never going to get everyone agreeing on the same thing, although we can do a better job of managing our disagreements internally.

“But we have to keep the focus on what our job is and how to improve this country.”