• The following statement was issued this evening regarding the Farmers Association’s recent release about Westover Farm by the Ministry of Public Works on behalf of the Minister Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch.

It seems the Farmers Association missed the Ministers statement of Friday June 29th wherein he stated he was prepared to meet with the Bascome Family to satisfactorily resolve the issue.  That statement in its entirety is contained below:

“The Estates Department of the Ministry of Public Works in the normal course of their duties wrote to the Bascomes on May 14th, 2018 concerning their lease that had expired in January 2017.  When I was contacted some time later by Mr. Bascome III – I agreed to investigate the circumstances of their lease.

Before I could do that, however, I received written communication that included their lawyer – I indicated that this required me to alert the Government’s lawyer – the Attorney General.

As is their right, the Bascomes have sought legal advice and I’m fine with that.  My preference, and I remain open to this, is to discuss how we move forward. I have a duty to inform the Attorney General about legal issues but let me repeat, I’m happy to talk about this…”

It’s good that people feel confident to speak up and challenge us – it’s what we asked them to do in July 2017.

I am well aware of the Bascome’s contribution to both the Somerset community and Bermuda – I would never willingly simply ignore the opportunity to discuss any issue. 

This Government is working every day to help more black businesses get off the ground and so there is no way we or I would participate in destroying one.”

Interestingly, the Minister met this morning (July 9) with members of the Bascome family to discuss Westover Farm.

Minister Burch concluded, “That meeting was cordial, instructive and productive – I am not at liberty to discuss the specifics yet but suffice to say that we see a way forward and have agreed to meet again.”