Public Works Minister Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch did not mince words when he laid it on the line last night, saying he refuses to repair a wall at the Somerset Cricket Club, the home of Cup Match 2018, unless the club agrees not to invite the Governor to present the coveted trophy.

Speaking during the Motion to Adjourn in the House last night, Colonel Burch confirmed that he had issued the ultimatum to the club’s executive because he disagreed with Governor John Rankin presenting the cup at a celebration commemorating the emancipation of slaves in 1834, under the British Empire.

While noting that he is a paid member of SCC, the Minister said: “So why would we still accept, in 2018, inviting he who enslaved us to come and not only celebrate with us but also be the person who presents the cup.

“I would really like to help our club, but they have to work with me,” he added.

To be frank, he said he has asked the club to dismiss the Governor as presenter of the Cup Match trophy more than once.

After he was approached about repairing the wall before the club hosts Cup Match this year, he said he gave SCC  executive, two conditions – that the club should provide adequate recycling measures and that the Governor should not present the trophy to the winning team.

“They have been unable to find the fortitude to tell the man on Langton Hill thank you very much, but watch the cricket on television. “I figured I should stand on the floor of the House and give them some cover,” Col Burch said.

“Cup Match is seven weeks away. We could build a wall in a lot less than that, but we are going to need some courage.”



But he said: “I do recognize and need to remind some people in this country that the first day of cm marks the emacipation of slavery!

“The supervising power presents the cup and we need to stop it!

“And I don’t think it’s a request that SCC should bear alone… so I hope that I’m giving them cover by my words today. But i’m not afraid like a whole lot of people who talk quietly among themselves and still go up Langton Hill.

“I don’t go up there for a number of reasons, but when I was interviewed to be a Minister in this Government, I had two pre-conditions. And I had to remind the Premier this other day, because he forgot one of them.

“One of them was if you ask me to do a job, you cannot send nobody to tell me how to do it and the second prerequisite was that I was only going to go to Government House once. And I’ve been twice – 100 percent over my limit,” he said.

“That was a Wednesday, I had to remind him that I’m not going up there to talk to that man when you know and considering how they’ve been acting I won’t go until they learn how to behave!

“Now fast forward to 2018, I’m the Minister of Public Works and SCC wrote to the Government and one  requirement was for the wall to be repaired by Public Works.

“First i had to reprimand them for moaning to whoever, but in doing so I said there were pre-conditions. And there were two, one was they have to recycle because I’m tired of going to both places and they pay no regard. 

“That’s why it’s going to be mandatory [recycling]. SCC thought if they met one I might surrender! Tick that box! And the second was in order to get their wall built they could not invite the Governor to present the cup.

“They are unable to find the fortitude or whatever it is that they lack that he should watch it on TV! But you’re not welcome at SCC, at Emancipation Day.”

At one point he suggested that perhaps it’s “cowardice” on the part of both clubs. And on that note he said: “I am calling on the membership of my club, so it could be very easy for St George’s to follow suit next year because the precedent has been set. 

“And we should say if you want us to bring the cup down there so you could have a look at it and send it back, we can build a wall.”

But he said: “You’re going to have to build some courage! Until there is confirmation to this Minister of Public Works, I ain’t wearing no white fuzzy hat. I’m wearing red and blue not blue and blue that would give me a rash.

“I took a vote, it’s three-nothing and it’s me, myself and I and it is unconscionable  for the people who enslaved us to come and present the cup!

“I will take my licks if St George’s and Jesus helps them. I will accept the cup going to St George’s in fairness, if they beat us. But at some stage we have got to dig in!

“At some stage,  we have to say enough is enough! If we look at it honestly and sincerely this is a celebration of emancipation of slaves. And so why in 2018, would you accept that he who enslaved us should come and present the cup!

“And I would really like to help my club but they’ve got to help me!”

The only question now is what will SCC decide to do? We reached out to SCC President Vashun Blanchette, early this morning. And we have yet to hear back from him on behalf of the club’s executive.


Colonel Burch received some support from the Opposition.

Michael Dunkley, the former OBA premier, said the Premier should present the trophy.

He said: “This is an important Bermudian holiday, a community holiday. We should never forget our past, our history.

“It’s appropriate that the Premier present that cup at the end of the day.”