Premier ‘missing in action’ over Covid, claims OBA
David Burt, the Premier, has been accused of being “missing in action” after failing to publicly address the current Covid-19 crisis.
Mr Burt last spoke publicly on coronavirus developments at a press conference at the beginning of August.
Press conferences on the latest Covid developments were both fronted by Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health.
Cole Simons, the leader of the Opposition One Bermuda Alliance, said the Premier’s absence showed a lack of leadership.
Mr Simons said: “It would appear that in the midst of an unprecedented time in Bermuda’s management of the pandemic, the Premier is consistently missing in action.
“The people of Bermuda want, need, and deserve strong leadership. How can the Premier remain quiet when the numbers of positive cases of Covid continue to rise to unprecedented levels?
“We need consistent communication from the leader of this country. The pandemic-related media conferences used to be weekly when the numbers were much, much lower. How can the Premier justify having emergency powers, and then go missing when the country is clearly in an emergency?
“The questions arising from many on traditional and social media platforms are many, like ‘where is the Premier and why is he dodging the difficult questions?’
“It is obvious that some people feel abandoned and need some form of comfort from the leader. What are his plans for mitigating Covid-19, given the spike and extent of infections?
“It’s not good enough that the Premier embraces the accolades. As the leader of this country, he must take centre stage and face the nation, even when the news is bad. Bermuda needs leadership and moreover, the country needs direction.”
Michael Dunkley, the OBA spokesman on health and national security, echoed his leader’s concerns.
Mr Dunkley said that, while the OBA supported many of Government’s Covid-related policies, Mr Burt’s absence was questionable.
Mr Dunkley said: “We believe we are in a critical position in the midst of a fourth spike with over 1,000 active cases and our healthcare system tested all around.
“The OBA supports the Government announced changes made to help combat this spike, in fact we suggested a curfew, reduced gathering size, and reinforcing the mask mandate.
“Sadly, the Government appears to have been caught off guard by the spike, failed to communicate enough or effectively through the spike and – shockingly – the Premier was not part of the conference today.”
Tonight, a spokeswoman for the Premier said: “As previously announced, the ministry of health would provide technical briefings for the media. The minister of health will address any public health regulations on behalf of the Government.
“As Premier Burt addressed in his ministerial statement on Friday in the House of Assembly and during the parliamentary question period ‘As a country, we've been doing this for 17 months, and now it's time for each of us to adjust our behaviour, follow the rules, and take personal responsibility to do our part to reverse the current trend and end this outbreak.
“Further, if the media have questions for the Premier, they are welcome to submit them.”