OBA leader criticises Premier’s BBC sovereignty remarks as ‘untimely’ and ‘inappropriate’
The Opposition leader, Cole Simons, today said the Premier’s comments about sovereignty made on the day of the Queen’s funeral were “untimely” and “inappropriate”.
On Monday David Burt was interviewed by the BBC and paid tribute to the Queen, whose funeral he attended.
In the interview he said in response to a question about how relevant the monarchy remains in Bermuda in 2022: “I think that this is a day for reflection of the Queen’s long life and service, but what I would say is that our relations are with the United Kingdom Government and it is for the United Kingdom themselves to choose their path.
“Our next step is certainly to be a sovereign state and whatever form that sovereignty takes will be a matter for discussion on another day but today was a day to reflect on the Queen’s life and service.”
This evening Mr Simons, the leader of the One Bermuda Alliance, issued a statement saying he had heard many comments about the Premier’s remarks.
“Undoubtedly, it was a funeral of one of the most famous and well-respected global leaders. With an unprecedented level of 4.5 billion people watching from around the world, I cannot for the life of me understand why Premier Burt would make a statement about Bermuda’s sovereignty.
“Despite circumventing the process of a referendum in Bermuda to hear the sentiments of Bermudians, his comments were not only untimely, but they were also inappropriate.
“Quite frankly, that interview achieved nothing positive for Bermuda. To take advantage of a global stage and push his own agenda shows that he is clearly lacks sensitivity, protocol, statesmanship and foreign diplomacy.”
Mr Simons added: “If I were in his shoes, and given Bermuda’s economy, and the state of our domestic affairs, I would have embarked upon a path of international diplomacy in London.
“I would have sought ideas and recommendations from other Commonwealth or Overseas Territory leaders to seek their ideas on how they address their flailing economy, the increased cost of living, the high-cost of healthcare and increased crime.
“That would have been more productive for Bermuda than talking about the PLP’s aspirations for independence.
“Given the state of Bermuda’s economy, and domestic affairs, I would have used the opportunity to highlight common challenges and solutions to the issues that countries around the world all face. But to talk about sovereignty is crazy. It was a lost opportunity.”
Mr Simons said there were a series of questions to be asked about independence:
* How is independence going to address Bermuda’s cost of living crisis?
* How is independence addressing our healthcare costs?
* How is independence going to stimulate our economy?
* How is independence going to reduce our $4 billion dollar debt?
* How is independence going to address Bermuda’s housing crisis?
* How does independence address crime and stabbing incidents among our young people?
He said: “Independence does not improve race relations in Bermuda; independence will not put money in the pockets of the many hard-working men and women of this country.
“Independence does not help our senior population who face tough times daily by having to choose between food, or healthcare.
“Premier Burt, your presentation last night was a lost opportunity.”