Burt report card: praise for works, security
David Burt praised one of his Cabinet members for addressing long-running problems that had plagued his ministry.
The Premier said the Minister of Public Works, Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, had “inherited a ministry that was debilitated in many areas” after the Progressive Labour Party returned to power in July 2017.
Mr Burt said: “He had to make difficult decisions, such as moving trash collection days to once a week. He started to upgrade public parks with fitness equipment.”
The move to once-weekly collection remains in place despite being met at one point with industrial action.
The Premier gave Colonel Burch high marks for the merging of the Bermuda Housing Corporation with the Bermuda Land Development Company in November 2018.
He added: “A lot of people don't remember that he got the land title registry up and running, and completely functional.
“There was the work done on King's Wharf in Dockyard, something people didn't think would get done on time, and they used Bermudian engineers to get it running on time and on budget. It was a very proud moment.”
Mr Burt noted the ministry's emphasis on training young Bermudians, and said four promotions announced last November marked “a Bermudian success story”.
He added: “People don't complain about potholes any more. They can e-mail about it and it will get done the next day.”
During a wide-ranging interview about his government's performance during the first three years of his premiership, Mr Burt also paid tribute to Wayne Caines, who held the national security portfolio for almost three years, before he resigned and was replaced by Renée Ming last month.
He hailed the removal of conscription early in Mr Caines's tenure, and the introduction of roadside sobriety checks by police as something long discussed that delivered “a long-term impact on road safety”.
“There's a question of speaking and then a question of doing,” Mr Burt said.
He insisted “we are making progress” on gang violence reduction, although the present economic challenges “might make it more difficult”.
Mr Burt cited the expansion of the Gang Resistance Education Programme in schools and the boosting of vocational training.
He added: “There's no one in Bermuda right now who can't upgrade their skills. We came into office and said we would focus on the root causes of crime.”
Mr Burt pointed to the Redemption Farm and restorative justice programmes as initiatives in national security that had “borne fruit”.
He linked it to plans announced by Diallo Rabain, the education minister, to phase out middle schools for signature schools.
“This will help us to direct our young people's energy to different things,” Mr Burt said. “A lot of the time it's easy to forget the things that were achieved in Year 1 and Year 2.”