Sir John Swan: ‘Burt’s got a crisis on his hands’

Sir John Swan

Sir John Swan: ‘Burt’s got a crisis on his hands’

The island’s longest-serving premier last night criticised the way the shock resignation of finance minister Curtis Dickinson was handled.

Sir John Swan warned that the mishandling of the crisis by David Burt, the Premier, would hurt the economy and the island’s international credibility as the island prepared for the annual Budget on February 25.

Read Curtis Dickinson resigns as finance minister – Bermuda

He said: “It’s damaging to the economy, to international business. He had a background in banking.

“He understood finance. He understood connectivity. He was respected. This is so ill-timed – on the eve of a Budget.”

Sir John added there was no obvious replacement for Mr Dickinson in the ranks of the PLP. He added: “There is nobody there.”

Sir John, who was the United Bermuda Party premier between 1982 and 1995, added he believed Mr Dickinson’s shock decision to quit was linked to disagreements with Mr Burt about the proposed Government involvement with the renovation of the Fairmont Southampton hotel.

He insisted there was no one in the Parliamentary Progressive Labour Party with enough experience to handle the job and warned that Mr Burt, who held the portfolio after he became premier in 2017, should not take on the job himself.

Sir John was speaking after the One Bermuda Alliance accused Mr Burt of running an administration that was “out of control, in a crisis”.

The Opposition claimed that Mr Burt had dragged his feet over the appointment of a new finance minister and the replacement for a PLP senator who resigned in disgrace last month.

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The Government last night announced a swearing-in ceremony at Government House at 9am today – but failed to say what position, or positions, would be filled.

Sir John said the loss of Mr Dickinson was a blow to the island.

Sir John said that “everybody knows” Mr Dickinson had reservations about the Fairmont Southampton deal.

He asked: “Why not let him deal with the Budget first and then make a decision on the hotel? He clearly had reservations. Why the rush? Why did it need to be done now?

“We have enormous debt and slow GDP growth. The Premier could have waited. I think he’s got a crisis on his hands.”

The sudden resignation of Mr Dickinson on Monday sparked OBA claims that Mr Burt’s PLP administration was rudderless as the island struggled with the massive economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis.

‘Burt’s got a crisis on his hands’  Royal Gazette


Dean Nestor

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