Scott plans ‘background’ role
Two years ago on his appointment as education minister, Wayne Scott said he planned to stay in the position for the long term and “see the work done”.
However, yesterday Michael Dunkley announced that Mr Scott had other interests to fulfil and that the often troubled portfolio would go to former environment minister Cole Simons.
Speaking to this newspaper on his appointment as education minister in January, 2015, Mr Scott pledged to remain in the position “at least until the next election” and hinted that he would still be in place in five years as would be the case if he took up a position in the private sector.
But, stepping down yesterday, he said while that promise was not fulfilled, he drew attention to the fact he has been the longest serving education minister “in recent history”. The move added to the stigma of the portfolio being perceived as a hot potato — Mr Simons is the One Bermuda Alliance's fourth education minister in four years, following Mr Scott, Grant Gibbons and Nalton Brangman.
It has not been smooth running for the ministry which has come under fire in light of the Score [school reorganisation] report highlighting a severe deficiencies in school infrastructure.
Mr Scott, who had started to make some inroads into righting the problem in tandem with the Ministry of Public Works, told this newspaper at yesterday's swearing-in ceremony held at Government House that he would still be involved.
He said: “I am going to continue to be working on some of the initiatives that we have started in education in the background — the building of the school infrastructure identified through the Score report.
“I plan on still continuing to work in the background for the betterment of Bermuda. I am not stepping away into obscurity. I have to look at my professional career as well.
“There are a lot of things that need to be done that in some cases can be better served pushing in the background.
“Being a minister has been a very good leadership challenge and learning experience because it is different from being in the private sector and leading from a position of authority.
“Public service is a different animal. I have enjoyed my time, but it is in my best interests to do it from a different angle.”
The role of education minister has not been the only position to prove difficult to retain within the Department of Education. The department has been on the hunt for an education commissioner since the resignation, after just eight months in the job, of Edmond Heatley in April 2014.
Dubai-based education standards expert Paul Wagstaff had been tipped as the front-runner for the position last autumn but, as this newspaper revealed this week, he declined the offer.
It had always been the hope of Mr Scott that a Bermudian would be chosen to fill that position.
It is understood that an announcement will be made on the hiring within a month.