THURSDAY, JUNE 7, 12:30PM UPDATE: Walter Roban is today back in the Cabinet as successor to Derrick Burgess, who handed in his resignation last night.
Mr Roban was sworn in as Minister of Transport by Governor George Fergusson at a ceremony at Government House just months after resigning from Cabinet in a scandal over planning permission granted to two colleagues.
He said today that the controversy would not cast a shadow over his reappointment.
Mr Roban added: “That matter was dealt with when I resigned.”
And he declined to comment on the circumstances surrounding Mr Burgess’ resignation.
He said: “I don’t have anything else to say at all, other than I was there at one point and you must make decisions in the best interests of those issues greater than yourself – and I believe that’s what the Minister did and he should be commended for it.”
Mr Roban quit as Public Works Minister only seven months ago after coming under fire for a decision to grant in principle planning permission to Cabinet colleagues Zane DeSilva and Wayne Furbert.
He granted the permission just before transferring from the Environment Ministry, which includes Planning, to the Public Works Ministry.
Premier Paula Cox, who attended the ceremony today and praised Mr Burgess’ contribution to Government, declined to comment on the circumstances of his resignation.
She said: “I think that is a matter for Mr Burgess. As far as I’m concerned he has resigned. You may want to speak to him directly.”
Mr Roban’s resignation last year was praised by PLP insiders, who said he had taken the honourable course of action — despite having done nothing illegal — although one said he had laid himself open to criticism because he approved the applications just before moving Ministries in a mini-shuffle by Premier Paula Cox.
Mr Burgess resigned last night after a face-off on May 25 with fellow Minister Michael Scott in the members’ lounge/kitchen area of the House of Assembly.
Mr Scott was at the ceremony today, although Mr Burgess did not attend.
It was reported by The Royal Gazette that Mr Burgess and Mr Scott, Minister for Government Estates and Information Services, had clashed over an accusation by Mr Scott that Mr Burgess was aiming to oust the Premier.
In his resignation letter, Mr Burgess admitted he had had a “discussion” with Mr Scott, but added that reports of the incident had been “embellished”.
He said, however, that he was resigning to avoid distraction from “our party’s effort to serve the people of Bermuda”.
Biography of Walter Roban
supplied by the Department of Communication and Information
Walter Roban was first elected to office December 18, 2007. On June 7, 2012 he was appointed Minister of Transport.
Previously, Minister Roban held the portfolios of Environment Planning and Infrastructure Strategy and the Ministry of Health. He served as Junior Minister of Labour, Home Affairs and Housing from February 2008 and was appointed to Cabinet June 23, 2009 as Minister Without Portfolio.
Mr Roban is a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, where he received a Bachelors Degree in Business and International Studies. He then furthered his studies at the University of Birmingham in England where he received a Masters of Arts Degree in International Studies, specializing in international politics, political risk and foreign policy analysis.
He has worked in the legal profession and also in the banking industry, most recently as an assistant vice president in the Private Banking Division of HSBC Bank in Bermuda.
A young man with a passion for politics and the community, he joined the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party Youth Wing, Progressive Youth, in the late 1980s. He served as its chairman and representative to the party’s Central Committee from 1991 to 1993. In 1995 he was elected to the position of secretary general of the PLP, which he held until August 1999.
In 1995, Mr Roban worked on the team that revised the PLP independence policy. Ten years later in 2005, he was selected to chair the Committee that was responsible for drafting an update of the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party’s policy on independence, which was submitted to the Bermuda Independence Commission (BIC).
Mr Roban served as deputy chairman of the PLP Campaign Committee for the November 1998 election, playing a key role in all aspects of the historic national election campaign. In 2003, he was appointed to the PLP’s Executive where he held the positions of acting secretary general membership and acting public relations officer. In addition, he was spokesman for the election campaign as well as a Campaign Committee member.
Mr Roban is a former government senator and held the junior ministerial portfolios of Health and Family Services, Tourism and Transport, and Education and Development, serving in the Senate from 2003 to 2006.