Burt hits back over Tweed claims on airport deal
Claims the Government would have cut the same controversial airport redevelopment deal it attacked the One Bermuda Alliance for signing were dismissed by the Premier.
David Burt spoke out after the Reverend Nicholas Tweed, a pastor and leading member of the People’s Campaign pressure group that opposed the public-private partnership with a Canadian developer, said the PLP’s problem with the deal was that it was not their idea.
Mr Tweed is also Mr Burt’s pastor.
Mr Burt said he would not comment on Mr Tweed’s remarks, but insisted he had always opposed the airport contract, which he insisted had left the island’s finances with a “critical challenge”.
Mr Burt said: “I’m going to state the facts that it was not the best decision.
“It was the wrong decision that was made at the wrong time.”
Mr Tweed, who helped lead the People’s Campaign, said earlier this week that the majority of the Progressive Labour Party’s leaders “only supported protesting or using the airport as a protest issue when they were not in government”.
He told news website Bermuda Real that the PLP did “absolutely nothing except complain the deal was so airtight they could not do anything about it” after it regained power.
Mr Tweed insisted “That leads me to believe that the truth probably lies somewhere along these lines – the most egregious thing about the airport was that it was not the PLP’s idea.”
Mr Tweed has declined invitations to speak to The Royal Gazette.
Mr Burt said: “Reverend Tweed, who is my pastor, preaches social justice from his pulpit every single week and it is not unsurprising to me that a week before The Royal Gazette is going to print a massive spread as regards the fifth anniversary of December 2nd that they have finally decided to pay attention to what Reverend Tweed is saying.
“That is not in any way, shape, or form a coincidence that’s lost on me or many other persons in the country.”
Mr Tweed added in the interview with Bermuda Real that ordinary people had been “scapegoated” after the clash outside Parliament on December 2, 2016 when protesters tried to block the airport legislation from being debated.
He added: “You had people targeted and dragged before the courts. I was one.
“Not one MP had the courage to say, wait a second, this was our call – if you’re going to bring anybody before the courts, it should be us.
“Half of them didn’t even show up in court in support of the people who were being scapegoated.”
He said that the PLP had “the most progressive platform of any government in Bermuda so far that I have seen”.
But he added: “When it comes to the practice and implementation of that and how it’s done, I can be extremely critical of that.”
He said he was not attacking the Government but “attacking government policy”.
Mr Tweed said that the PLP was “a government that has a labour name” but that it had failed to tackle the problems that had damaged the island’s Black families.