A new portfolio will address Bermuda’s ageing and increasingly chronically diseased population, the new Junior Minister for Disability Tineé Furbert said yesterday.
Ms Furbert was speaking after Senators Crystal Caesar, Vance Campbell and Jason Hayward were appointed junior ministers alongside her at a ceremony at Government House.
Ms Furbert is the new MP for St George’s South and sat as a senator from November last year until this summer’s election.
She said: “I’m very excited for the community. Bermuda is still at a place where we need to continue with awareness of disability.”
Ms Furbert added that building accessibility also needed to be prioritised.
She said: “I think with Bermuda having an ageing population and having an increased chronic disease population, that we definitely need to focus on disability and how we can make our community and our environment accessible.”
David Burt, the Premier, said: “We have an opportunity to include people who are differently able in this Government’s priorities.”
“We must understand their needs and address them in a manner that will support this population’s development.
“We understand that people with disabilities have an important contribution to make to all sectors of our society, and we must be inclusive.”
Ms Furbert and her fellow junior ministers are all relative newcomers to the political scene and ran as candidates in the General Election last month.
Ms Caesar will take on the junior portfolios of tourism, home affairs and economic development, while Mr Campbell will take finance, public works and government reform.
Mr Hayward will serve in education, workforce development, national security, social development and sports.
Ms Caesar, Mr Campbell and Mr Hayward were all appointed to the Senate last month, having challenged in seats traditionally held by the One Bermuda Alliance.
Mr Hayward said he was “elated” by the trust that had been placed in him by the Premier.
Asked how he would balance his new responsibilities with his existing roles as the president of the Bermuda Public Services Union and a leader of the People’s Campaign, Mr Hayward said that a “good structure” had been put in place within the union.
He added: “We have a strong team, so the burdens of the responsibilities of the union are not always placed on my shoulders.”
Mr Hayward said of his move into Government: “Where I was advocating for policies, I have an opportunity to assist with ensuring that those policies come to light.” Ms Caesar said it was “an honour” to be able to serve the country.
She added: “I’m just ready to dig in and learn all that I can as a junior minister.”
Mr Campbell described his appointments as an “awesome responsibility”.
“It’s a responsibility that I will take on with integrity, hard work, and diligence, as I would with anything in life,” he said.
He added that the economy and balancing the budget, along with addressing the cost of living in Bermuda, and the idea of a living wage, were all areas of “high importance”.
With regard to public works, Mr Campbell said that work had already commenced on preparing school facilities for the upcoming year.
Mr Burt said the four junior ministers would all bring “energy, professionalism and a unique perspective to the table”.
“They are now in a position to make a real difference in the development and growth of Bermuda for all Bermudians.”