• Excerpt taken from Premier David Burt’s address at the PLP’s 55th Annual General Conference on Wednesday, January 27, 2021…

As you have seen since the election, we have not stopped working for Bermuda. The members of the Progressive Labour Party have joined many community organisations in answering the call of service during this Pandemic. Many of our branches, up-and-down this island, have delivered thousands of meals to persons in need. We have checked in on our seniors who may not be connected to the internet to ensure they were getting the support needed, and we have continued to serve after the election.

That is the true essence of the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party. We have always been more than just a political party, but an organisation deeply rooted in the community with members committed to being servant leaders.

That same servant leadership is what you can expect from this party in government as we engage in the task of executing our mission to rebuild Bermuda with Bermudians at heart. And though there is still much more work to do as a party we should be proud of the progress that we have made on a number of fronts:

In our first three (3) years the PLP invested a cumulative $22 million more in public education than the previous government. We have invested in scholarships, apprenticeships, training, and the Bermuda College, with hundreds of Bermudians upgrading their skills, earning degrees and certifications, being prepared for the jobs of the future. No Bermudian in this country is denied further education and training due to a lack of funds.

Workers making $48,000 have seen their payroll tax bill slashed by 58% since we took office – yes 58% – and we kept our promise to start making our tax system fairer by ensuring that dividend payments are taxed for the first time ever.

We have strengthened the Employment Act, enshrined protections against workplace harassment, including sexual harassment, and – true to our labour roots – modernised our labour laws

We have started the process of health care reform by ensuring that money paid for health insurance goes to support our hospital and cannot be diverted to private company profits.

We have tackled the diversification of our economy and we see real progress with the creation of jobs in Fintech and the continued diversification of our insurance sector.

We have tackled international challenges to our financial services sector, and we have seen international business remain on our shores with new companies coming to provide more jobs for Bermudians.

We have put Bermudians first by introducing work permit moratoriums on 40 additional job categories [in addition to the 12 in place previously] to ensure that Bermudians affected by the pandemic can find work in their own country.

And, we have begun to tackle the painful cost of living by strictly regulating energy which has seen the first cost reduction in core energy prices in memory. Yes that is right, energy prices went down, and the government is committed to continuing its work to further drive down the cost of living in Bermuda.

And this is why our promise to “Rebuild Bermuda with Bermudians at Heart” touched so many people. The people saw the work that we had accomplished and the people trusted the PLP to rebuild our economy in a fair and balanced way.

Make no mistake, the challenge is enormous, but we can harness the collective talent and energy of our People and Country to transform Bermuda.

Moving to healthcare, we can recall our work in 2019 towards health care reform. Although it did not tackle the complete health care system, it only dealt with the financing of health care. What was interesting to watch was those persons whose families would benefit most from lower health care costs – were the ones on the front line defending those who benefit most from the existing system – those persons whose profits are driven by unequal access to healthcare that exists in Bermuda. This time around our change will not be piecemeal, we will tackle both the financing and delivery of healthcare – as we are determined as a party that what we have now is not sustainable – and we have the courage to fix it. We are committed to reforming Healthcare to establish a unified system to ensure all persons have access to quality health care.

Public education reform is also vital to ensure that our country is sustainable. I applaud the work of the Minister of Education, his team and the countless volunteers who answered the call to join in this transformative effort. Our reforms will ensure that we prepare leaders for the future recognizing that many different types of students learn differently and for our future success we must be able to harness the collective talents of all of our individual citizens.