OBA’s Simons suggests Cabinet split could be cause of Curtis Dickinson’s shock resignation
There is more to the shock resignation of Curtis Dickinson as finance minister “than meets the eye”, the Leader of the Opposition claimed.
Cole Simons, the One Bermuda Alliance leader, said the sudden exit of Mr Curtis just days before the Budget was “alarming” and “painful” for Bermuda.
Mr Simons added: “There is more to this resignation than meets the eye. For finance minister Curtis Dickinson to resign in the midst of the Budget Season, with less than a week before Bermuda is to hear the 2022-23 national budget is more than alarming.”
Mr Simons said that the departure of Mr Dickinson could be the result of ruptures in the Cabinet.
He asked: “One wonders whether this resignation is tied to the Fairmont Southampton Princess negotiations, or because Bermuda finds herself yet again on the EU's Code of Conduct Group's grey list on matters of tax fraud avoidance and money-laundering, or is it because the Premier is very interested in taking over the Ministry of Finance portfolio yet again?”
Mr Simons said: “The Opposition, like the rest of Bermuda, stands poised with keen interest to see who Premier Burt appoints as Curtis Dickinson's replacement with less than a week before the National Budget is read."
He compared Mr Dickinson’s shock decision to quit with the resignation last month of Carika Weldon, the head of the Molecular Diagnostic and Research Laboratory.
Mr Simons said: “In my eyes, this is a leadership matter, which was not addressed.
“You'll recall that just last month, Dr Carika Weldon, chief adviser and laboratory director of MDL, also resigned as a result of negligence from the Burt administration.
“When individuals of this calibre resign their posts in mid-flight, it presents serious indictments regarding the Burt administration.”
Mr Simons added that Mr Dickinson was a “consummate investment manager and capital markets professional”.
He said: “He steered Bermuda's budget with a steady hand and brought fiscal discipline to Bermuda's government finances.
“He was not afraid to access and take on large challenges like the reduction of Bermuda's $1.75 billion in unfunded pension liability and the $357 million in accounts receivables and fees with the help of Ernst & Young and the McKinsey Group.
“This was a bold move that historically went unaddressed by successive PLP governments.
“His resignation is truly Bermuda's loss and Premier David Burt owes the public a solid explanation”.
Mr Simons added: “On a personal note and as Curtis Dickinson's shadow, his resignation is painful.
“While we did not agree on everything, we worked well together to push Bermuda’s financial legislation through the House with ease and in a dignified manner.”