Premier says he is the best man in Cabinet for finance role
David Burt, the Premier, declared yesterday that he was the best-equipped in Cabinet to be finance minister.
Side-stepping a question on whether he retained the key post because he did not believe any other minister was up to it, Mr Burt said that all his colleagues agreed that he was best placed to do it.
The Premier told a press conference at Cabinet: “I believe and judge — and I think that my Cabinet ministers are with me — that I am the best placed to carry out that role and mission at the Ministry of Finance.
“Finance was my first love, it was a joke around here … and I used to tell people that the job that I wanted is to be finance minister and there was a joke that went along with that that you get to control the purse strings but you don’t have to put up with the stress of being Premier — now I have both.”
Mr Burt denied reports that a number of MPs had turned down Cabinet positions.
Flanked by Michael Weeks, the new national security minister, and Vance Campbell, who has taken over the tourism brief from Mr Burt, the Premier said that he spoke to MPs on Sunday and none of them said no.
Pressed on whether, formally or informally, some MPs had declined promotion, Mr Burt said: “There were only three people asked.
“One person, upon speaking with their employer, and further conversations, decided it was not the right time for them, and that is OK.”
This follows a senior PLP source telling The Royal Gazette that three people had declined a Cabinet post.
In response to a question from ZBM on whether he could confirm if five to eight MPs had turned down promotion, Mr Burt said: “I can say that no one declined the offer.”
Mr Burt also swerved answering a question about whether he thought having just three women in the 13-member Cabinet was a good look for the party.
The Premier said the PLP had a “strong history” of women in leadership roles.
The drop in the number of women in the Cabinet follows the abrupt departure of former national security minister Renée Ming.
Mr Burt would not be drawn on the extraordinary public spat with Ms Ming after her departure from the Cabinet.
Ms Ming said she quit because of disagreements with the Premier. Mr Burt said he had decided to “revoke” her Cabinet appointment.
He stated: “I would not say that it is correct to say I fired anyone.
“There was a view from myself that the Ministry of National Security needed full-time attention … and so it was decided that her Cabinet appointment would be revoked.”
The Cambridge English Dictionary defines revoked as: “To say officially that an agreement, permission, a law, etc is no longer in effect.”
Mr Campbell said he would hold a priority meeting with the Bermuda Tourism Authority.
He said: “One of the most important things is to increase the number of (hotel) beds, and to get people here to fill those beds.
“I will have my meeting with the BTA and we can plan how we will do it.”
Mr Burt also announced some changes to Cabinet portfolios, moving e-commerce, fintech and information technology from his portfolio.
The liquor licence portfolio will go to the Ministry of National Security from the Attorney-General.
The Attorney-General will take over the consumer affairs brief.