Premier says he is ‘putting money in people’s pockets’
David Burt, the Premier, said he was “putting money in people’s pockets”, and doing a good job.
The comments come despite widespread concerns about a cost of living crisis in Bermuda.
Mr Burt admitted the Government had made mistakes and misjudgments, but said he was not going to “dwell” on them.
The Premier said that if Progressive Labour Party delegates decide to oust him and go in a “different direction” at a party conference in October, that would be their democratic right.
Giving an upbeat assessment of the Government’s performance, he told The Daily Hour this morning: “We are making sure that there is more money in working people’s pockets, and we are going to continue to provide relief.”
He added tax cuts meant that working-class people “have saved $5,000 if they are making $50,000 a year, cumulative over time – making sure that we are putting money back in people’s pockets.”
Mr Burt, who is also finance minister, said the Government had limited power over costs, but pointed to a gas price freeze, even though it has drawn some criticism.
He said: “We cannot, in Bermuda, control global prices, and we can only focus on what we can control.
“If we had not put in a gas price freeze, gas would be $11.03 a gallon versus $8.86 a gallon.”
Mr Burt defended his style of leadership but admitted mistakes had been made.
He said: “I am responsible for everything that happens under my administration.
“The fact is that we made certain errors and misjudgments and certain points in times and we just have to press on. That’s the way the Governance works.
“But, at the same point in time, I can’t dwell on the mistakes of which were made, or the things which we may have been doing differently.”
With a delegates conference of the Progressive Labour Party looming in October, Mr Burt said it was up to members to decide his fate if there is a challenge to his rule.
The Premier said he would press on with his agenda. “If the Progressive Labour Party delegates decide to go in a different direction, that’s OK too,” he added.
“This is democracy. We survive in a democratic party, inside of a democratic country where we have freedom of expression.
“So, I just press on with what we need to do.”
Mr Burt told MPs last week that the Government was considering an aid package for families struggling with rising food prices, which would be unveiled to the House of Assembly by July 15.
He admitted that although the official statistics said food prices had risen by five per cent in the past year, many items had increased by as much as five times that amount.
And the Consumer Price Index has this week confirmed that the cost of some food items rose by nearly 30 per cent in the past 12 months.
The CPI recorded that top round beef rose by 29.3 per cent, while frozen spare ribs increased by 28.8 per cent, imported lettuce rose by 20.9 per cent and apples by 13.6 per cent.