Bermuda should ‘strive’ to get off list of non-self-governing countries – Prime Minister – The Royal Gazette

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Created: Nov 20, 2022 9:39 PM

David Burt says Bermuda needs to have a mature discussion about sovereignty. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Bermuda needs to have a mature discussion on sovereignty that is neither adversarial nor aimed at gaining political ground, David Burt said.

However, speaking during the adjournment motion on Friday night, the prime minister said Bermuda should “strive” to get off the list of non-self-governing countries.

Mr Burt said the opposition wanted to trick the country into believing that a vote for the progressive Labor Party was a vote for independence.

He said: “If we want to have a mature debate in this country, because let’s be clear, this is a bipartisan issue, it doesn’t have to be adversarial, let’s not take it to the level where everything is to try to regain a political base.

“That’s not the Bermuda government’s only point – it’s the UN resolution. The UN has recognized Bermuda as a Non-Self-Governing Territory, we are still a colony. They have a special committee on decolonization and Bermuda is listed as a colony. We are not a fully democratic island, that is a fact.

“The UN resolutions say that all administering powers, of which the UK is the greatest of those administering powers of so many different colonies still under their sway, and all those members of the UN are bound to carry forward self-determination issues to get off the list.

“It’s a place Bermuda should strive to leave and whatever decision we make is a decision we will have.”

Mr Burt said that after five years as Prime Minister he was a stronger supporter of sovereignty than he had ever been ‘because I have seen the disregard given to our problems by the government from London”.

Rena Lalgie, the governor, reserved her assent to the government’s controversial flagship cannabis legislation in May.

Burt, who was speaking after the Attorney General made a statement on the report assessing Bermuda’s sufficiency of self-government in compliance by United Nations official Carlyle G Corbin, added: “This is not a facade to His Excellency [the Governor] because she is only a representative of the British government.

He said that at the quarterly meeting of the Bermuda International Business Association, he was asked a question about sovereignty.

He said: ‘I’ve outlined the government’s decision and made sure I’m saying we can have a mature discussion about the pros and cons of a change in our constitutional status.

Mr. Burt said the government, mandated report on self-government, announced in the Speech from the Throne, would be made public once tabled in the House of Assembly.

He added: ‘If we’re really talking about wanting to secure a future, how can a place like Bermuda go further on the international stage, do international trade deals, make sure we can do these things at a higher level? – we’ve always said we weigh above our weight – so these are discussions worth having.

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