WEDNESDAY, OCT. 27: Good evening Cabinet Colleagues, Members of Parliament, Party Executives, Delegates and PLP Members.

Four years ago, you placed in my hands the opportunity of a lifetime and the fulfillment of a lifelong dream – A dream born within me in my youth, a dream cultivated by my parents Helene and D. A. Brown – A dream that some scoffed at and others prayed would never be fulfilled – A dream that one day, I would have the opportunity to do what only nine Bermudians before me had; serve as the leader of the country of my birth.

It was through your trust, support and sacrifice that I have had the opportunity to serve you, work for you and with you to bring real and lasting change to our country.  Through your trust, support and sacrifice, together we have moved to improve the quality of life of our people.

Forty-eight months ago I stood before you and promised you a government of action and execution.  Promise made, promise delivered.

In 2006 when I was campaigning to be your leader, Bermuda had benefited from 8 years of successive PLP governments.  Yet, there were tasks my administration assumed to continue the PLP legacy of  working on behalf of all of Bermuda’s people.

It was a place where single mothers often struggled to find affordable daycare for their children.

It was a place where some children would have to worry about money to catch the bus to school.

It was a place where those with the will but without the means were denied access to higher education.

It was a place where our seniors, the bedrock of our society, the men and women who laid the foundation of our country, struggled and sacrificed to pay for their car registrations and their healthcare needs.

It was a place where you could live in the city of Hamilton or the Town of St. George’s and still be denied the right to vote or have a say in the affairs of your community

It was a place where the divisions between Bermudians black and white, were swept under the rug, avoided and ignored – leaving years of pain, anger and injustice unresolved and unanswered.

Yes, in 2006, Bermuda was a very different place.  Thanks to the path left for me by my predecessors Dame Jennifer Smith and Hon. Alex Scott, and thanks to my Cabinet colleagues and PLP parliamentarians and Senators, our government over the past 4 years has continued to make great strides on behalf of our people:

  • We have FutureCare for our beloved seniors, and affordable day care for our precious young. 
  • There is an improved health care delivery system, so our residents can seamlessly access health care from some of the best hospitals in the world – Hopkins, Partners and Lahey.
  • We have an urgent care center in the East end with plans for one in the West end.
  • There is no indigent clinic.  All of our citizens have access to the same health care system – no more poor persons’ clinic in Bermuda. 
  • Dockyard has been revitalized, and a brand new cruise ship pier has been built to allow us to stay competitive in the cruise business by being able to accommodate the mega ships.
  • The eye sore that was Club Med on the hill is gone.  Your PLP government has worked hard to ensure the people of Bermuda, particularly the people of St. George’s that our world heritage site will be renewed… and it will thrive with jobs, a new hotel, spa, and golf course.  St. George’s will have a Park Hyatt luxury-branded hotel within the next 3 years.
  • The PGA Grand Slam of golf came to Bermuda, and through TNT, resplendent Bermuda was showcased in 88 million households in the US and 100 countries around the world.
  • The Grand Slam was played on Bermuda’s own public golf course, Port Royal, which has been heralded as one of the most beautiful public courses in the world.
  • Lower-cost airline travel and airline carrier and destination options to and from Bermuda are regularly enjoyed by our residents as well as our tourists now– that was not always the case.  Meanwhile, there is no time wasted at TCD and fast ferries are commonplace. 
  • We have a Mirrors program for our children to help them chart healthy paths during their challenging teen years. 

Our list of accomplishments goes on and on.  Yet our work is not finished.

This is why even after I am gone we must fight on – not for me, but for our people, for the Bermudians who believe in fairness and equality……for the Bermudians who work hard, play by the rules and sacrifice so their children can have a better future……for all Bermudians who deserve to enjoy the best our country can offer.  This is who we fight for and why we must never back down, never bow down, never retreat, never yield and never, ever surrender.

The combined opposition has never been weaker, never been more desperate, and never been more deadly.  A wounded, cornered animal is perhaps the deadliest of all the denizens of the wild.  Never forget that.

There are those who believe that once I am gone efforts to divide us, delay our agenda and destroy our reputations will end and the threat will recede.  To those who have been beguiled by sweet words and hollow promises of unity once I am off the stage, I say don’t be fooled!

Hear me and hear me well.  The agenda that will continue to oppose the PLP and all it stands for is one that would return power to those who had it before.  That agenda has not changed, their tactics have not changed, and most of the players have not changed! You owe it to our people and you owe it to yourselves to never forget that.

As there are threats outside the Party, there are threats within the Party as well.  There are those who believe that their personal interests and persuasions should come before the Party and the country.  There are those run to the propaganda arm of the combined opposition, and under cover of night and anonymity attempt to divert, divide and destroy all that you, I and so many before us have worked so hard and sacrificed so much to build.  I say to you, speak your piece within the party framework.  Work for change within the party framework.  Don’t be afraid to state your name and your position.  I and others may disagree with you often, but the PLP has room for dissidents and we will respect you.  But don’t come to Central Committee meetings and Caucus, hear all of our strategic positions and then run to your friends in the combined opposition to tell them everything you heard in confidence.  If you are that close to the Royal Gazette and others who wish for the demise of the Party, why don’t you just man-up, join them and fight us from the outside?  Be our open enemy if you find us so objectionable.  Do as you would do in a domestic marriage – just leave!  Find someone else to spend your life with, with whom you might be more compatible. 

I say this because tomorrow we will select the fourth person to lead the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party since the victory of 1998.  Our next leader will need your loyal, unwavering support more than a PLP leader has ever needed it.  That person should not be made to fight within and without the Party.  Too much is at stake.  All the arrows that are released from Friday onward will be geared toward destabilizing the Party in an effort to win back the government in 2 years.  The PLP needs all hearts and all hands on deck.  Be sure that yours are in the right place.

The person we choose will become part of a proud lineage – one of which I am grateful and honoured to belong.  As I did, our next leader will follow in the footsteps of legends, stand on the shoulders of giants, and walk in the shadows of the greatness that was L. Frederick Wade and Dame Lois Browne Evans.  And, undoubtedly, our next leader will leave his or her own mark.

Regardless of who we choose tomorrow, I know that the Party and Bermuda will be in good hands.  The three currently seeking your support are known to all of us and each bring a unique set of strengths and abilities that will move Bermuda forward in ways and at a pace yet unimagined.

It has been said; “Uneasy is the head that wears the crown.”  Despite this, any leader of the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party will never find themselves alone.

I have been blessed to have at my side, my rock, my lady soldier and my love, Wanda – A woman who sacrificed so much in support of my dream of a better Bermuda.  A woman who, in spite of all the things hurled our way, has always conducted herself with class, dignity and honour.  Wanda I thank you and so look forward to spending the rest of my days with you.

Thank you.

To the next leader of the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party:  The love and support of your family will be the bedrock of your strength as you go forth and lead our people.  But, know that as you ascend to leadership you will gain another family, unconnected by blood or familial relations but eternally connected through our shared values, beliefs and hopes for our country.

Wanda and I saw the power of our other family first hand in the prayers, letters, emails, voicemails and whispered words of encouragement that over the years played a major role in giving us the strength to go on fighting for Bermuda.

We saw its power in the thankful faces of the families that benefited from free daycare and free bus service for students.

We saw it in the relieved eyes of our seniors who through FutureCare no longer have to worry about whether they can afford to get the quality medical treatment they need and deserve.

We saw it the eyes of the students at the Bermuda College who took advantage of the free tuition to improve their skills and become a more active participants in Bermuda’s economic success story.

Much has been done.  Yet much remains undone.  The time is coming for a new generation to seize the wheel and steer the ship of state to the horizon.  My generation – the one that marched to tear down racial barriers in the 60’s; protested for social change in the 70s; moved up the ladder of success in the 80’s; built our homes and educated our children in the 90’s; and led our country for the first decade of the 21st century will soon leave the stage as I have.  But, there are many who have not left the stage, and they should not leave…Many should be honoured, respected and treasured -- because they have much left to contribute to our country. 

Today will mark the final time that I stand before you as your Party Leader and Premier of Bermuda.  The past 48 months have been a truly unforgettable experience, one that Wanda and I will treasure always. 

To my Cabinet, Parliamentary Colleagues and Senators, thank you. 

To the Central Committee and Party Executive, thank you.

To my Branch Chair and branch executive, thank you.

To my outstanding team at the Cabinet Office, thank you.

And last, but certainly not least – to you – members and supporters of the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party, thank you.

To our next leader – May the Force be with you!  God Speed!