Bermuda Premier: ‘Things Will Get Worse Before Getting Better’

Premier David Burt
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Premier David Burt has warned Bermuda of rising prices, global challenges and the increasing toll of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying: “Things will get worse before they get better.”

Speaking at the opening of the 56th annual Progressive Labour Party (PLP) delegates’ conference on Wednesday night, he said: “Today, we face a new challenge. The United States, our major trading partner, is experiencing rising inflation, which is having a ripple effect right here in Bermuda.

“Global supply chain challenges mean that prices will increase in the supermarkets and in local shops. These rising prices are putting more stress on Bermudian families.”

He added: “In Bermuda, we often hear people say we need to have an honest conversation. Bermuda, let me give you some honesty, our country, like many around the world, coming out of this pandemic is in a very difficult space and there will be demanding times ahead and it is likely that things will get worse before they get better.

“However, the challenges can only defeat us if we choose to face them as individuals rather than as a community and a unified country.”

Burt called on the next generation to “take ownership of the future” by getting involved in the party. He said transformational change could not come from sitting on the sidelines.

“For the change that you want to see happen you must get involved,” he said. “You must get involved in how laws are actually changed in Bermuda. It means that you, like I did, 17 years ago, should get involved in the work by the PLP.

“You can get involved at your local branch level supporting local residents in your constituency, you can get involved in the discussions on government policy so that the decisions for your future reflect the views of future generations. I am calling on the next generations of leaders to get involved and get ready to take ownership of the future of this country.”

Ariana Caines, youth speaker for the delegates’ conference, spoke on the meaning of involvement in the context of our society and what it means for the next generation.

Referencing the momentous rise of youth activist groups in recent times, Caines said.

“How do we encourage a continuation and help promote young people to make a lasting impact?

“We have to listen, give them a seat at the table and let them get to work. We must engage in discourse that will move us forward. Over the last decade … I have seen we have a consistently interested youth. Let’s make sure that we capitalise on this.”

The coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed 100 lives on the island, has left the island’s already struggling economy in tatters, with the national debt approaching US$3 billion.

The PLP has been in power for all but five of the past 23 years after toppling the now-defunct United Bermuda Party in 1998.

It lost the 2012 election to the One Bermuda Alliance, but regained power in a landslide in 2017 and increased its majority to 24 in the 36-seat House of Assembly in a snap election last year.

When he led the PLP to victory in 2017 at the age of 38, Burt became Bermuda’s youngest-ever premier.

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