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Burch criticises coverage of House speech

Other issues to discuss: Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch hit back at critics (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch has criticised coverage of his controversial speech about the next Chief Justice.

Colonel Burch was responding after he came under fire for referring to status Bermudian Narinder Hargun’s Indian heritage in the House on June 1.

The Minister of Public Works said: “I spoke for around 17 minutes. It wasn’t quite the whole 20 minutes.

“I say that because I must have spoke more than one word, but it seems as if several people who sit in this place, who were present last week and heard all 17 minutes about what I had to say, only heard one word and only remembered the word five days later.”

Colonel Burch said he had spoken at length about issues including independence, succession planning and Bermudianisation, but no one had discussed those elements of his speech.

He also took aim at a critical editorial in Friday’s edition of The Royal Gazette and unfavourable comments by anonymous bloggers.

Colonel Burch went on to say the Government would be working to provide affordable housing for Bermudians.

He told the House the majority of requests he had received since becoming minister had been about the need for housing, but the OBA government had not built a single home during their time in office.

Colonel Burch had come under fire after he accused Chief Justice Ian Kawaley of failing to nurture a successor, resulting in the controversial appointment of status Mr Hargun.

He said that if the Chief Justice wanted his legacy to be “something people remember fondly regardless of their political persuasion, you must produce somebody to take your place other than an Indian”.

Michael Scott, PLP backbencher, said Mr Hargun was an able and skilled Bermudian lawyer who was born in India.

However, he said Colonel Burch was addressing an important and valid issue but a single comment became the focus in media reports and headlines.