Burt hints Bermuda could plough a new constitutional furrow
Bermuda might redefine its relationship with Britain in the future – but an alteration to the link with the UK is “not an issue for now”, the Premier has said.
David Burt tackled the topic of going it alone in an interview with business publication The Insurer.
Mr Burt told the global reinsurance and insurance industry site that he rejected the term “independence” because it “conveys something in people’s minds it is not”.
He asked: “Indeed, in 2021, is there really such a thing as an independent country? We are all interconnected.”
Mr Burt said in the interview, published on Monday, that the Progressive Labour Party was “naturally sympathetic to redefining our relationship with the UK”.
But he added sovereignty was off the table because it had not been included in the party’s election manifesto last year.
Mr Burt was asked about Bermuda’s relationship with the UK in the wake of Britain’s huge shipments of protective equipment and vaccine to the island, which assisted the response to the Covid-19 pandemic and boosted its vaccination programme.
He said: “The United Kingdom has been incredibly generous to assist with the supply of testing kits.
“And when it came to the vaccines, the British government said the proportional amount of vaccines the UK had for its populace, it would supply to Overseas Territories.”
Mr Burt added the island’s relationship with Britain was “a good one and it will continue to be a good one and we value that”.
He was asked if the supply of vaccines from the UK could lessen any desirer for independence.
Mr Burt asked: “Should we look to redefine our relationship for the benefit of Bermuda?”
He said: “For example, we do not conduct foreign affairs – those are conducted by the United Kingdom.
“Our international business community is concerned Bermuda cannot lobby international organisations directly. Is that right in the long term?
“After all, the United Kingdom is no longer in the EU.
“That was the decision of the British people, but it is difficult to see how that was in the interests of Bermuda or its international businesses.”
Mr Burt added a discussion could be had at some point on “what is the best construct for Bermuda”.
He asked: “What is the best construct for us long term, what is the best construct for our insurance industry, what is the best construct for growth?
“Is it what we have right now?”
He said: “Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but Bermuda is successful because we’ve never been shy of innovating, so we should always be questioning the status quo.”
Mr Burt said it was possible that the island might “devise a new structure that has never been tried before”.