I didn’t read the entire advanced copy of Premier David Burt’s first-ever Budget Statement, as Bermuda’s youngest Premier to lead the country.
There was a time when that would have been ‘automatic go-to-right-away reading’ when it was released early this morning, and embargoed until after the entire speech was read.
There was a time when it was even mandatory to read it before it was actually delivered on the floor of the House of Assembly.
But seasons change – just like Bermuda’s political season changed with that landslide victory, when Bermudians went to the polls last year on July 18.
Three hours into the early morning website news run today, the email came through. It would be another hour or so before I decided to open it for a quick glance.
Speed reading has its benefits and five pages in, I smiled to myself and said leave it, because as a seasoned journalist I know first impressions are best.
I decided to wait to go see and hear it for myself. After what I read on first glance, based on the tone of what I read from the outset, it was a ‘no-brainer’ that it would be worth the wait.
I figured – why bother to race. In today’s world of technology there is no real race!
For the first time in Bermuda’s parliamentary history, the Premier’s Budget Statement went out across the planet via Facebook Live while in progress.
After witnessing many a Budget Statement dating back to the 1980’s, as a born and raised Black Bermudian woman who is a journalist, a parent of a young Black male, a daughter, sister, aunt and all that – I was truly proud of Premier David Burt today.
As a journalist who has interviewed and spent time with the likes of the late L Frederick Wade, the late Dame Lois Browne-Evans, great trade unionists like the late Robert Johnston and Brother Kenyetta Young, the late Dr Barbara Ball and David Allen, and Paaulu/Roosevelt Brown – what I witnessed today made me proud to be a Black Bermudian.
I still have countless tape recordings stacked in boxes to transfer for posterity. There’s so many who paved the way to what this young man said and did today.
I’m immensely proud because for the first time in a long time, I heard concrete plans to address those BIG ELEPHANTS in Bermuda’s room.
Elephants like INEQUALITY and EVENING UP THE PLAYING FIELD. Elephants like Bermuda’s banks that pay damn near next to nothing in the form of interest on your savings, while those same banks take in monthly payments with interest.
But they don’t lend money to certain people. And more often than not, those people look like me. Yes I said it!
I was proud to hear this young man say they’re going to open up Bermuda’s banking sector because competition is the name of the game – not competition for the chosen few.
I was proud to hear the real deal on just how many jobs the great big millionaires expensive toy boat race DID NOT PRODUCE – an event funded by Mr and Mrs Joe Public to help make those other ‘Joes’ more rich!
I was happy to hear he plans to DROP the DUTY on basic HEALTHY FOODS in a country where diabetes and obesity is running rampant. And yes I’m glad there’s going to be a sugar tax on some products!
I decided to walk away – let it all marinate for a bit, mull it over, take it all in before I start churning out Budget Statement news in overdrive this weekend.
I’ve decided to report from a political history point of view – you know that point of view most foreign journalist CAN’T REPORT ON from a firsthand point of view.
The only real Bermuda history they know is what they’ve read, or what they’ve been told and chances are whatever that was didn’t come from MY PEOPLE – BLACK PEOPLE LIKE ME!
After all is said and done, it is what it is and the good news is in today’s world – in a world of entrepreneurship – a world with the world wide web and independent media, I personally am glad to hear this young man speak it all into existence!
Yes, it’s going to take a lot of hard work but one thing’s for sure, the way forward is backed by a lot of yesterdays full of self-centred, one-sided promises that ultimately were full of crap! And they damn sure did nothing to UPLIFT MY PEOPLE!
You can’t solve today’s problems with yesterday’s thinking – that jig is up – it’s OVER!
And I’m sure, like he said there will be resistance on both sides of the House moving forward. Sure! But that doesn’t mean we as a people won’t move forward!
From where I sit, based on the numbers alone – 24 to 12, in a country being led by a party that pledged to put Bermudians first – ALL Bermudians – I say buckle up! Suck it up if you have to because it won’t be business as usual. And it’s about time!
But you best believe the road ahead will not be about maintaining the status quo. And no the status quo won’t like it either! But guess what – it’s coming – whether they like it or not!
What I’m proud of most is the fact that it took the youngest-ever Premier to serve Bermuda to ‘drop it like its hot’ on the floor of the House of Assembly today.
And yes there are those who would say he is merely doing what the first Progressive Labour Party government should have done when they had the chance the first time around.
But all that’s water under the bridge now, because this leader was given a clear mandate by the constituents of Bermuda!! From what I heard firsthand today he’s well on his way to deliver!
Like I said – time will tell, but I’m on board with what I’ve seen and heard for myself so far!
And may the force be with you Premier Burt. Let the record show that on this day in history you made your people proud!