Caines regrets ‘significant distraction’
Wayne Caines published the following statement on social media in the early hours this morning after his resignation as Minister of National Security in the wake of his and fellow Cabinet minister Zane DeSilva's actions at a charitable event last Friday night.
“In 2017 I decided to run for government office; I wanted to make a difference in Bermuda. Over the past three years, I have been privileged to serve as the Minister of National Security.
“I was blessed to lead a team that started and nurtured fintech.
“The country can be proud of the work of the Gang Violence Reduction team led by pastor Leroy Bean. At one point, our island saw 15 months without any gang-related deaths. We have implemented programmes at the Berkeley Institute, CedarBridge Academy, Elliot Primary, and the Victor Scott School. Hundreds of students participated in the anti-violence programmes led by police and customs officers. There is still much work to be done. I am confident that the team will continue their most excellent and needed work.
“I am most proud of Redemption Farm, a programme designed to help at-risk males and teach them how to farm and help them develop life skills. This programme was seismic. The ministry saw significant progress with these young men, and I believe the Redemption Farm is a massive credit to our country.
“Our ministry created the Disaster Risk Reduction and Mitigation team, led by Steve Cosham. This team is prepared and ready to deal with any disaster that our country faces.
“The DRRM proved that it is worth its weight in gold when it spearheaded the hurricane relief effort for the Bahamas in 2019.
“We collected over $1 million in goods, and people from all over our country from every walk of life helped to prepare to send those goods to our brothers and sisters in the Bahamas. That was a highlight of my ministerial career. I was so blessed to see our country come together to help others in need.
“Shortly after that, our DRRM team was called on to lead our country through Hurricane Humberto. It was a privilege to lead the Emergency Measures Organisation as we helped our country prepare and recover from Hurricane Humberto.
“It has been a privilege to work with the Royal Bermuda Regiment, the Bermuda Police Service, the Bermuda Customs Department, the Bermuda Department of Corrections, the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service and the Bermuda Department of Immigration.
“But the last few months have been the most challenging of my professional career.
Working with the Ministry of Health, the DRRM and the Cabinet sub-committee dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic has been a life-altering experience.
“I have been working 12-hour days, seven days a week, without a single day off for 18 weeks.
“Press conferences, EMO meetings, Cabinet meetings, Cabinet sub-committee meetings, caucus meetings, parliamentary meetings, meetings with community groups/stakeholders, etc.
“I often visited the homeless shelter to check on the welfare of our most vulnerable. Frequently, I checked on the men and women of the Bermuda Regiment as they worked at night at the vehicle checkpoints. I also attended police briefings to show support for our officers. I visited the quarantine facilities and helped the DRRM manage incoming flights.
“I was humbled to be a part of a team that led Bermuda through some of the most challenging times in our most recent history.
“Which is a perfect segue to the unfortunate, viral social-media video that cast a shadow over what was a night dedicated to raising funds for Meals on Wheels.
“The MEF group applied to host a sit-down charitable dinner, which took place last weekend. The event's criteria were thoroughly vetted by the Ministry of National Security's DRRM team before approval was granted.
“The event took place per the Covid-19 protocols and guidelines.
“Please note that all attendees at the charity dinner had their temperatures checked. The restaurant staff ensured that face masks were worn when guests entered the restaurant. Additionally, names and contact details of all attendees were collected.
“Shortly after I arrived, I noted that several servers were not wearing masks, and I immediately approached the restaurant manager and asked him to make the servers put on their masks right away. The manager complied with my order, and all servers put on their masks.
“I can confirm that I was wearing a mask upon arriving at the establishment. While I was seated, I was not wearing a mask. I should point out that the Covid-19 restaurant protocols note that patrons are permitted to remove their masks once they're seated. Additionally, restaurant patrons are not required to wear a mask while seated and dining.
“Regrettably, during the two occasions when I was away from my table that evening, I did not re-mask. For that, I unreservedly apologise.
“Lastly, it should be noted that as the event concluded, the organisers arranged for a musician to serenade the attendees as they departed. And as I left the event, I re-masked only as I approached the exit when, in fact, I should have worn my face covering as soon as I left the table.
“As a public servant, I am humbled and aware of the responsibility I hold and the need to lead by example.
“The events surrounding the charitable dinner have become a significant distraction for the Government.
“Tonight I tendered my resignation to the Premier. It has been an honour to serve the people of Bermuda as the Minister of National Security.”