Burt vows to listen in 2018 message

  • New year message: David Burt outlined government plans (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

David Burt has vowed to communicate and listen more as the Progressive Labour Party tackles inequality in 2018.

Delivering his new year’s message yesterday, the Premier said introducing a living wage and reducing the high cost of living in Bermuda would be key goals for the next 12 months.

He also issued a plea for the community to work together to confront “devastating premature deaths” as a result of gun violence, road deaths and poor health.

Mr Burt said: “In this new year, we will communicate more, listen more and do more as we will continue to focus on our promise to build a better and fairer Bermuda for all Bermudians.

“In the upcoming year, we will start to hear from the various committees that have been created as they share their findings and their recommendations.

“Over the next 12 months, we must tackle the core issue of a living wage and the high cost of living in Bermuda. We will address the needs of our seniors and education reform will remain a top priority.”

Last month, MPs passed

legislation re-establishing the Cost of Living Commission, which will have powers to hand out larger fines as it examines the costs and margins of importers.

At that time, Mr Burt said that the move would go hand in hand with plans for a living wage and tax reform.

He added yesterday that the Government would provide more opportunities for entrepreneurs and increase training for Bermudians.

Last year, 15 people died in road accidents and five were murdered, while health experts repeatedly warned of the growing threat of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.

Mr Burt said yesterday: “If I only had one new year’s wish, it would be for us, as Bermudians, to focus on becoming a healthier community.

“We must become more conscious of what we eat and the importance of exercise. You will hear this message over and over as we will work to reduce diabetes and obesity in Bermuda — and the Government will lead by example.

“Together we must find solutions that will reduce the devastating premature deaths in our society; those deaths caused by gun violence and road traffic collisions.

“A community approach is needed to reverse these two devastating public health crises. We need to be honest with each other and look out for our family, friends and neighbours.

“If you see a young person going down the wrong path, engage them to see how you can help them to make better decisions.

“Similarly, if your friend or loved one has been drinking, do not allow them to drive. We must work together to reduce premature deaths, and while we will introduce random sobriety tests this year, we must change our collective mindset when it comes to impaired driving.

“Bermuda, I look forward to celebrating our strengths and successes in 2018, as we work together to build a better and fairer Bermuda.”