New Bermuda premier a “miracle baby”
HAMILTON, Bermuda, CMC – An older sister of Bermuda’s new Premier David Burt says he was a “miracle baby” as their Jamaican mother, Merlin, suffered complications during her pregnancy.
Burt, a father of two, is the youngest of six siblings and at 38 – is Bermuda’s youngest ever premier.
According to his sister – Winsome Burt-Smith, the family fiercely protects their “baby” brother, adding that it was clear from a young age that he was exceptionally smart.
“He was born when I was 15 years old, so we raised him. You know, you nurture your little ones. He is the baby,” she told the Royal Gazette newspaper.
Burt attended Saltus Academy in Bermuda but his sister said he went abroad at a young age to seek a fresh challenge, heading to Florida Air Academy and qualifying as a pilot.
He excelled there and, later, at George Washington University, where he obtained a bachelor of business administration in finance and information and a master of science in information systems technology. He was awarded the university’s presidential administrative fellowship.
Burt was first thrust into the political spotlight when former Premier Paula Cox appointed him a senator, as well as junior minister of finance and environment planning and infrastructure strategy in November 2010 after Cox replaced Dr Ewart Brown at the helm.
Under Cox, who went on to lose her seat in the House of Assembly in the party’s narrow 2012 defeat to the One Bermuda Alliance (OBA), Burt served as chief of staff, having been party chairman between 2006 and 2009.
Although the PLP lost the 2012 election by two seats, Burt won in Pembroke West Central and easily retained it in the recent general election as his party stormed to a 24-12 landslide victory.
Burt had served as Opposition Leader for the past eight months after replacing Marc Bean, who stepped down following a stroke earlier last year.
“Whatever David does, he does it well and along the way he always lifts up others,” his sister told the Royal Gazette newspaper.
“He has nurtured so many kids, he’s got friends in every country, of every colour. We knew for a long time he would be successful.
“People don’t really know him because he never really speaks about himself but he’s a very kind person and, if you see his circle of friends, you’ll be surprised.”
She said their mother taught all the siblings to be strong, kind, respectful and loving to one another.
Burt-Smith said her brother would be a “great” leader who would push his team to work hard “because he works hard”.
“He expects a lot from his people and that’s why he chooses them. They have to have that motivation and I think a lot of them do have that. When you have a good leader, you become good yourself.”
When the PLP’s victory was assured on Tuesday night, Burt-Smith threw her arms into the air, yelling, “My brother is premier! Thank you, Jesus!”
Burt, whose father Gerald is Bermudian, shouted “Hallelujah!” as he embraced his wife Kristin, family and supporters when the final count came in for Pembroke West Central.
Burt, the father of a two-year-old daughter, Nia, and a one-year-old son, Ed, insisted life at home would continue as normal.
“First order of business today: changing my son’s diaper,” he wrote on his social media site first thing on Wednesday.