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Curtis Dickinson resigns as finance minister

The Premier, David Burt, yesterday announced the resignation of Curtis Dickinson, the finance minister (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

The shock resignation of Curtis Dickinson as finance minister just before the Budget has plunged the Government into turmoil.

Mr Dickinson’s shock decision – only a week before the blueprint for the next financial year is delivered to Parliament on February 25 – has blindsided the political establishment.

David Burt, the Premier, has been left scrambling to replace a key Cabinet member as the island braces for another tough Budget in the wake of the economic fallout of the Covid-19 crisis.

The Royal Gazette understands the resignation may centre on disagreements over a deal with developers Gencom and the Southampton Princess renovation – although no reason for Mr Dickinson’s decision to quit has been given.

Well respected across politics and in the financial world, Mr Dickinson was talked of as a future premier.

Mr Dickinson told The Royal Gazette he was not ready to make the reasons for his dramatic exit from the front bench public.

Mr Burt earlier said: “Bermuda has been well served by Minister Dickinson’s steady and thoughtful hand at the helm of the Government’s finances and fiscal strategy.

“Minister Dickinson led the financial support response to the pandemic and invested tremendous personal energy and commitment to ensure that the needs of the Island’s workforce were met as people were impacted by the necessary strict public health measures.

“Personally, I know the immense toll that an individual’s public service takes on families, and in thanking Curtis for his service, I must also recognise the sacrifice of his wife and children during this unprecedented period of economic strain for Bermuda.

Cole Simons, the Leader of the Opposition, praised Mr Dickinson and said his abrupt departure so close to the Budget was “alarming” and “painful”.

Mr Simons also suggested that a Cabinet bust-up over the Southampton Princess deal could have triggered the sudden resignation.

Mr Burt said in the House of Assembly ten days ago that he expected a deal to be signed with Gencom in the near future, but no announcement has been made.

He added that legislation for Government-backed support for the reopening of the Fairmont Southampton was to go before the House of Assembly.

Mr Burt said that the move would “provide certainty to the various investors who stand to inject over $200 million into this redevelopment”.

Mr Dickinson’s resignation leaves two gaps in the PLP’s ranks, as Mr Burt has still not announced a new senator to replace Curtis Richardson who resigned last month.

It is understood a sitting of the Senate last week was put back and senators are now scheduled to meet on Wednesday.

There has been no indication of who might be in the frame to replace Mr Dickinson.

Mr Burt, with Wayne Furbert, now the Cabinet Office minister, as the junior finance minister, held the portfolio before Mr Dickinson.

It is understood Mr Dickinson will not quit Parliament and intends to concentrate on his job as a constituency MP.

Two trips by Mr Dickinson to the US as finance minister in recent months cost taxpayers more than $17,000, it was revealed last week.

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Published February 15, 2022 at 9:27 am (Updated February 15, 2022 at 9:27 am)

Curtis Dickinson resigns as finance minister

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