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Bermuda should ‘strive’ to get off list of non self-governing countries – Premier

David Burt says Bermuda must have a mature discussion about sovereignty. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Bermuda must have a mature discussion about sovereignty that is neither adversarial nor has the aim of gaining political ground, David Burt has said.

However, speaking during the motion to adjourn on Friday night, the Premier said that Bermuda should “strive” to get off the list of non self-governing countries.

Mr Burt said that the Opposition wanted to lead the country to believe that a vote for the Progressive Labour Party was a vote for independence.

He said: “If we are going to have a mature debate in this country, because let’s be clear, this is a bipartisan issue, it doesn’t have to be an adversarial one, let’s not take it to the level where this is all about trying to reclaim a political base.

“This isn’t the Government of Bermuda’s sole item – this is the United Nations resolution. The UN has recognised Bermuda as a non self-governing territory, we are still a colony. They have a special committee on decolonisation and Bermuda is listed as a colony. We are not a fully democratic island, that is a fact.

“The UN resolutions say all administering powers, of which the UK is the largest one of those administering powers of so many different colonies still under their grasp, and all those UN members are required to advance matters regarding self determination to come off the list.

“That is a place that Bermuda should strive to get off and whatever decision we make, is a decision that we will have.”

Mr Burt said that after five years as Premier, he was a stronger proponent of sovereignty now than he has ever been “because I have seen the disregard paid to our issues by the Government in London”.

Rena Lalgie, the Governor, reserved assent on the Government’s controversial flagship cannabis legislation in May.

Mr Burt, who was speaking after the Attorney-General made a statement on the report assessing Bermuda’s self-governance sufficiency in conformity by United Nations official Carlyle G Corbin, added: “It is not a front to Her Excellency [the Governor] because she is merely a representative of the UK Government.”

He said that during the Association of Bermuda International Companies’ quarterly meeting he was asked a question about sovereignty.

He said: “I laid out the Government’s decision and I made sure that I said we can have a mature discussion about the benefits and the drawbacks of a change to our constitutional status.”

Mr Burt said that the Government-commissioned report on self-governance, which was announced in the Throne Speech, would be made public once tabled in the House of Assembly.

He added: “If we are really talking about wanting to secure a future, how a place like Bermuda can strike out further on to the international stage, strike international trade deals, make sure we can do those things on a higher level – we always say we punch above our weight – then those are discussions that are worth having.”

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Published November 21, 2022 at 9:38 am (Updated November 21, 2022 at 9:38 am)

Bermuda should ‘strive’ to get off list of non self-governing countries – Premier

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