Ministry of Youth, Culture and Sport Post-Budget Briefing

The Ministry of Youth, Culture and Sport is extremely proud of its role in ensuring that our culture and heritage is preserved and promoted; providing support for our young people; and nurturing and guiding the next generation of elite athletes. 

We recognize the fiscal challenges that have been caused by the pandemic. Like other Ministries, we had to ensure that there was a prudent allocation of funds for various services.

But I can assure the people of Bermuda that our Ministry remains committed to ensuring that it continues its focus on supporting those critical programmes which contribute to the enrichment and betterment of our people. 

It’s important to note that our Budget allocations are designed to help facilitate the pledges that we made in the Government’s Throne Speech. Additionally, our Budget funds will assist in Bermuda’s economic recovery as we focus our attention on moving beyond the pandemic. 

With that, I wish to provide a brief overview of some of the areas my Ministry will focus on in this upcoming fiscal year.

The Ministry of Youth, Culture and Sport’s budget for this year is around $12.8 million. This represents a small decrease of 0.5% from the prior year’s original budget. It is higher than the revised budget for 2021/22 as the Ministry was able to achievesignificant budget savings this year, due to reduced activity as a result of the pandemic restrictions which prevented certain events from taking place last year.

Turning to the Department of Culture, we continue our commitment of supporting and celebrating our creatives, our artists and our cultural institutions.

Today, I am pleased to use this opportunity to formally announce that this year’s Heritage Month theme is “Togetherness”.

We chose this theme because despite the challenges that we’ve faced since the pandemic, the truth is that we are a community that relies and depends on one another.

Our Heritage Month theme gives our community the opportunity to think about what binds us together: how do we pull together during times of adversity, tragedy and need? 

More importantly, how do we celebrate and support one another and what value do we place on what we can accomplish together as a country.

In addition to the announcement of the Heritage Month theme, I am equally pleased to share that after a two-year absence, our signature annual event, the Bermuda Day Parade will return on Friday 27th May 2022.

Bermuda can expect to see the signature floats, drum bands, majorettes, dance groups, music trucks and of course our celebrated Gombeys which are all synonymous with this annual event. 

We’re currently working on the logistics and planning, and we will be sharing more details in due course, but I want to encourage those who wish to participate in the parade to start getting ready now. 

It will be a celebration that we hope will inspire all of Bermuda to join. 

Our budget allocations will go towards supporting the planning of the Bermuda Day Parade and Heritage Month activities as well as a number of other events under the Department of Culture’s umbrella.

These include:

▪ Funds for Bermuda Arts Council grant recipients.

▪ The continued hosting of the monthly Creatives Live events to support our musical artists.

▪ The Bermudian Heartbeats series featuring topics that include the Cottage Hospital, climate change, Railway Trails and more.

▪ Our Emancipation commemorations; and 

▪ A new initiative called “Gold Bermudians”. Following Flora Duffy’s Olympic success, the Department will create a series of short profile films to highlight the accomplishments of Bermudians who have performed extraordinarily well on the international stage.

Turning to the Department of Youth, Sport and Recreation, our Ministry values the importance of sport in Bermuda, and we continue to explore avenues that will promote Bermuda as a sporting destination. 

We’re excited to support the organisers of the Sail GP, the Bermuda Triangle Cup football competition, and the CARIFTA Triathlon and Aquathlon 2022. The hosting of these major events in Bermuda this year will assist in bringing much-needed revenue to our island and enabling our athletes to gain invaluable international competition experience.

As the public can appreciate, Flora Duffy’s success highlights the need for more financial investment in our elite athletes so that they can be prepared for competition on internationally.

During this upcoming fiscal year, we have reallocated resources to allow for an increase of $21,000 to further assist our elite athletes. Given the challenging fiscal environment, we were pleased to be able to allocate more funds to this important government priority.

Our budget allocations will also go towards supporting other Youth and Sport activities such as: 

▪ The annual Sports Awards, which will be live for the first time in two years with 37 recipients this year. This year’s Awards will be held on Saturday 12th March 2022;

▪ Sports investment funding for elite and junior athletes and for National Sports Governing bodies;

▪ Developing a new National Sport Policy to create an environment supporting consistent excellence in sport and underscoring the central role of sport in our society; and

▪ Enhanced programmes in our well-established and popular after school, summer day camp and island camping programmes that are much appreciated by the public.

In closing, quite simply as I indicated at the outset of my remarks, my Ministry intends to continue to develop and celebrate our people through a variety of cultural, creative and youth focused initiatives.

And we will continue to dedicate our efforts to sports development, by supporting elite athletes, our national sporting bodies, and youth organizations.