My fellow Bermudians, the time has come for me to go and dedicate my skills to something else. Before doing so, I would like to make a totally frank assessment of my tenure as Premier. I hope you will understand that this is a very difficult task for me, given the high hopes that so many of you had for my administration five years ago.

The underlying theme of my speech to you is that I am deeply disappointed that most of you, other than the sycophants who secured jobs in my kitchen cabinet, will be much worse off today than you were when I became Premier. Not only worse off financially, but also in terms of your safety and day-to-day relations with your fellow Bermudians and the many guest workers we have in Bermuda. 

Let me concentrate on five main areas in which I have failed you.

1. Crime

As many of you know only too well, there has been an appalling upsurge in criminal activity and especially violent gun crimes and murders. The statistics are too awful to repeat here, and there is nothing I can do now to bring back to life people who have been murdered by guns in the last two years. I regret spending my time bickering with the Governor over who has control of the police when I should have been working with him to provide more efficient policing and greater safety for everyone. The buck stops with me.

2. Race relations

The success of Bermuda is highly dependent of mutual trust, friendship and happy working relationships with both the black and the white populations. There is no doubt that such relationships have deteriorated significantly during my term in office and for that I apologize to everyone. The strident tone of some of my speeches, and those of my colleagues, have inflamed relationships. I am mainly to blame by inventing the idea of a fictitious Bermuda plantation where the majority of the black population were cruelly treated by white overseers.

Whilst slavery is a sin and a blot on our history, it is perhaps relevant to understand that since the beginning of time, slavery has been an institution in virtually every country and every continent and has been imposed by every racial group on those who are different. Today’s white Bermudians cannot logically be held responsible for the actions of their ancestors. I believe everyone today knows that slavery was a sin, and wishes that it had never happened, but no one alive today can change the past. For poisoning race relations, the buck stops with me.

3. Tourism

This was once our main industry and Bermudians had established a well-earned reputation for being wonderful hosts to the many tourists who visited our shores. This was a thriving business which brought great prosperity and happiness to everyone — not least to those who worked in our hotels and restaurants. While the industry was declining before I became Premier and Minister of Tourism, I have accelerated the process by not managing the business in an effective manner and using the Department of Tourism as a means to indulge my passion of being photographed with the rich and famous.

This industry is a shadow of its former self and whilst I am not wholly responsible for its decline, I am certainly accountable for the decline over the past four years. To those many Bermudians who lost a job, and a career, I can only say sorry and hope that my successor will do a better job than I did. 

The buck stops with me.

4. Education

In terms of long-term damage to the future of Bermuda and Bermudians it is hard to name a failure that is worse than my inability to provide our young people with an education that would allow them to succeed in this highly competitive world.

I openly acknowledge that far too many young Bermudians, in their mature years, will come to regret my failure to resolve this critical activity despite the Hopkins Report of three years ago detailing the legendary flaws of the Department of Education. Of all my many failures as Premier this is perhaps the greatest; it is certainly the one with greatest long-term impact.  Adults have a duty to prepare the young for the future and as Premier of a government that sought to provide disadvantaged young people — especially black males — with equality of opportunity and hope for a better life, I can only regret this failure. The buck stops with me.

5. The economy

I inherited a thriving economy from my predecessors five years ago. Today, our economy is a shadow of its former self. Tourism is down, jobs are less secure, government and private debt has soared, long established businesses have either disappeared or are in serious trouble, job opportunities have diminished.

With regard to international business, many of my policies such as the six-year work permit rule have made it likely that international business will follow the path of tourism. I could go on and on, but I think Bermudians understand that our economy is now in worse shape than any time during the past 50 years.

Government debt, which was negligible when I came into office, has soared and government’s financial management has been poor.  There is a widespread belief — a belief that I share — that many politicians are completely out of their depth when it comes to managing the economy. The only person accountable for this dreadful state of affairs is me. I could blame the Minister of Finance but I appointed her. The buck stops with me.

I can only hope that my successor will provide more effective and efficient leadership than me. I wish the next Premier every success and I can only pray that I have not crippled Bermuda to such an extent that it cannot recover.

I have faith in Bermudian ingenuity and I am sure that in 10 years time my administration will be considered an aberration.