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Peets felt he was just hitting his stride before Cabinet sacking

Ernest Peets is no longer the Minister of Youth, Culture and Sport, having been replaced by Owen Darrell (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

A former Cabinet minister said yesterday he looked forward to the next year or more in post — before a reshuffle meant he handed over his responsibilities.

Ernest Peets was the Minister of Youth, Culture and Sport and the Government’s leader in the Senate.

Both roles were taken over by Owen Darrell, it was announced yesterday.

Lawrence Scott's appointment as the Minister of Transport also ended, with his responsibilities going to Wayne Furbert.

Dr Peets told The Royal Gazette: “These changes, of course, I’ve been made to understand, do happen from time to time.

“I wasn’t aware with any significant advance notice that a Cabinet reshuffle was going to occur, but I would imagine, given the situation of the last couple of weeks with the leadership challenge and other things, perhaps those people who are more astute politically would have sort of expected a change to come.

“Having said that, I really just approached every single day with the same level of attention and focus that I did on Day No 1 and just tried to do a good job for the people of Bermuda.”

The pastor, who is also a certified therapist and counsellor, said there was an element of surprise about the changeover, in that he was starting to really hit his stride.

Dr Peets explained: “In the beginning we were dealing with Covid the entire time.

“Now Covid is somewhat behind us, I was really looking forward maybe to the next 12 to 18 months, but having said that there are some wonderful things in the pipeline.

“I know the staff at the ministry are all gung ho. I know Senator Darrell quite well — of course we were in the Senate together — and I’m confident that he’ll push those agendas forward.”

Asked if he was disappointed that job no longer fell to him, Dr Peets replied: “In a small way, I would imagine, particularly because some of these things you were there for sort of in the infancy and you would love to see those things come to fruition under your watch.

“The fact that I know these things are going to happen because they’re in the pipeline, I guess there is some satisfaction in that.”

Dr Peets, a father of four, said he was excited in November 2020 to join the Cabinet as the youth, culture and sports minister, which aligned with his professional career as well as his passions.

He believed much was accomplished during his tenure and praised the ministry’s “top-quality” staff.

Dr Peets, a pastor of more than 20 years at the New Life Church of the Nazarene, in Smith’s, added: “The fact that they were able to help me to get all the Throne Speech initiatives completed — that was something really, really special.”

He said people involved in culture and sport on the island can look forward to a “fairytale time over the next couple of years”.

Highlights listed by the former minister included a cultural policy that supported Bermuda’s artists.

He added: “We did do a really good job with the youth policy — something that’s really been talked about for quite some time but never really got across the line.

“The fact that we’ve got policy out there right now regarding safeguarding our children and keeping their best interests at heart going forward is something that the entire Government as well as the community, certainly, need to get behind.

“Then of course, just two weeks ago we were able to get the sports policy done for the next five years, which really puts our sporting community and our NSGBs [national sports governing bodies] in good stead with the department.”

Dr Peets was a Progressive Labour Party General Election candidate in October 2020 and July 2017 for the Smith’s North seat in the House of Assembly, which was won at both votes by Michael Dunkley, of the One Bermuda Alliance.

He said he looked forward to being able to continue serving in the Senate as well as devoting his attention to work at Masc, which offers counselling for men by men.

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Published October 28, 2022 at 7:51 am (Updated October 28, 2022 at 7:51 am)

Peets felt he was just hitting his stride before Cabinet sacking

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