Bermuda Premier Sacks Two Ministers in Cabinet Reshuffle

Bermuda David Burt
David Burt

Premier David Burt has axed two of his ministers and promoted a former Member of Parliament in a cabinet reshuffle a week after leading the Progressive Labour Party (PLP) to a second successive landslide general election victory.

Burt, who retains the Tourism portfolio, dropped Community Affairs and Sports Minister Lovitta Foggo as well as Transport Minister Neville Tyrrell and replaced them with ex-MP Rolfe Commissiong and Lawrence Scott, son of Alex Scott, who was premier between 2003 and 2006, respectively.

Tyrrell had taken over the Transport portfolio in July after then Tourism and Transport Minister Zane DeSilva and former National Security Minister Wayne Caines both resigned from the cabinet after breaking COVID-19 regulations at a dinner party.
Foggo and Tyrrell will now return to the backbenches.
Commissiong, who stood down as a candidate before the election, allowing Finance Minister Curtis Dickinson to move to his safe seat in Pembroke parish after admitting a “mistake”, is the new Government Leader in the Upper House, where his four colleagues are also first-time senators as the previous incumbents all won House of Assembly seats in last week’s snap election, which the PLP won by 30 seats to six.
Tinée Furbert has been appointed Minister of Social Development and Seniors.
Burt said the mandate for 2020 was “a heavy one” and job one would be “the rebuilding of the economy”.

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The already struggling economy has taken a battering from the coronavirus pandemic and the national debt is edging towards US$3 billion.

Burt, who also led the PLP to victory in 2017, ending the One Bermuda Alliance’s (OBA) one term in office, promised a busy session of parliament after the Throne Speech on November 6.

According to the island’s constitution, at least one senator must serve in the cabinet. The developments came as the new ministers were sworn in at Government House on Thursday by Governor John Rankin, who leaves the post in December to move to the British Virgin Islands.
Owen Darrell, Burt’s chief of staff, will be joined in the Senate by Curtis Richardson, Arianna Hodgson and Lindsay Simmons. All will hold junior ministerial roles.

The OBA, which lost five of its previous seats last week, has not yet announced its three-strong Senate team.

Rankin said earlier in the day that Senate vice-president James Jardine, one of three independents, has retired after nine years in the Upper House.

The new cabinet is:

David Burt – Premier and Tourism

Walter Roban – Deputy Premier and Home Affairs

Lawrence Scott – Transport

Tinée Furbert – Social Development and Seniors

Kim Wilson – Health

Diallo Rabain – Education

Renée Ming – National Security

Curtis Dickinson – Finance

Kathy Lynn Simmons — Attorney-General and Legal Affairs

David Burch – Public Works

Jason Hayward – Labour

Rolfe Commissiong — Community Affairs and Sport

Wayne Furbert – Economic Development and Diversification