The team: Premier Cox and her newly minted Cabinet, seen here at Government House during the formal swearing-in ceremony on Monday. *Photo by Simon Jones
The team: Premier Cox and her newly minted Cabinet, seen here at Government House during the formal swearing-in ceremony on Monday. *Photo by Simon Jones
New Premier Paula Cox rang in the changes this week as she unveiled the “dynamic and able” team that will lead Bermuda.

Ms Cox first act as Premier was to create a raft of new ministries — completely reshuffling the responsibilities of several Government departments.

Former Premier Dame Jennifer Smith returned to Cabinet after accepting a plea to fill the pivotal education role in the new administration.

Patrice Minors is the new Minister of Tourism and Business Development and Terry Lister is the Minister of Transport — a sign that there are no hard feelings between Ms Cox and her leadership rival.

There was no position though, for Dale Butler — the other challenger in Thursday’s leadership contest.

Construction boss Zane DeSilva was given the health ministry and Glenn Blakeney took on a new role covering ‘youth affairs and families’. Neletha Butterfield also takes on a new role, that of Minister of Public Information Services.

Michael Weeks, one of the MPs for Pembroke and a rising star in the party, was appointed Minister without Portfolio and is likely to have a significant role to play in the Government’s anti-gang initiatives.

In the Senate, former PLP chairman David Burt, who will double as the Premier’s Chief of Staff, was one of three newcomers.

Bermuda Industrial Union stalwart LaVerne Furbert and community activist Cromwell Shakhir were also appointed to the Senate.

Politico Walton Brown and radio host Thaao Dill were not re-appointed to the Upper House.

Neither was former Senator Marc Bean — he is running for election in Dr. Ewart Brown’s old constituency in Warwick.

Colonel David Burch and Senator Kim Wilson kept their roles in the Upper House, taking on new ministerial responsibilities.

Ms Cox will not appoint a personal press secretary, relying instead on the Department of Communications and Information (DCI). She said she had no plans to renew the consultancy roles filled by Mr. Bean (on CARICOM) and Rolfe Commissiong (consultant to the Premier with a specific remit on race relations). But she did say there was likely to be a role for Mr. Commissiong in implementing the findings of the Mincy Report on young black males.

Ms. Cox repeated her promise, “it won’t be business as usual” as she unveiled her team.

And while many of the names remain the same, the roles have changed and the ministries have been significantly restructured.

Ms Cox said she had altered the shape of the ministries to suit the needs of the country.

There is no Ministry of Immigration and responsibility for work permits will fall to Senator Kim Wilson as Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry.

Colonel Burch will still have responsibility for passport applications and will head up border control issues as well as being Government’s point person for police and the Regiment in his new portfolio — Minister for National Security.

“Combining these critical functions under this experienced Minister will result in a stronger interdictive force against the scourge of drugs and guns in the community,” said Ms. Cox.

Widened remit

Responsibility for Corrections will now fall under the widened remit of the new Minister of Justice and Attorney General — Michael Scott.

Mr. Scott will also head up the Department of Court Services and National Drug Control.

There is no official Minister of Sport though this responsibility will stay with Mr. Blakeney in his ‘youth and family’ role.

Public Works Minister Derrick Burgess will take on housing, though Colonel Burch will keep the portfolio until the completion of current projects.

Ms Cox said she was delighted that she had been able to persuade Dame Jennifer Smith to come back into Cabinet.

She said she was “humbled” that Dame Jennifer — whose appointment was greeted with huge cheers at Government House on Monday morning — had put her personal ambitions aside for the good of the country.

“She was on the Speaker-track. She could have made history again as our first woman Speaker. She has taken herself out of that mix because she is prepared to do service.

“I am humbled and gratified that she was persuaded to take this role. She has been someone who always put education and development of young people as a priority.”

Of her Senate appointments she paid tribute to David Burt, who will also become her Chief of Staff and work closely with Ms Cox on reviving the economy and boosting business development.

“He has a big future,” she added.

The appointment of LaVerne Furbert to the Senate was the least expected move of the morning.

Ms. Cox said: “Senator Furbert has been forthright. She feels a commitment to the country and she is prepared to be an advocate on behalf of the people. Ms Cox said she wanted to “harness her energy and deepen her public service”.

She said Senator Shakhir, who hosts a Bermuda Broadcasting Company radio show, had been a community activist for many years and would help forge connections with the people.

Note: A version of the story above first appeared on our website on Monday.

Sun writers Sirkka Huish, James Whittaker, Simon Jones and Amanda Dale profile the members of the new Cabinet

Derrick BurgessDerrick Burgess
Deputy Premier, Public Works

An outspoken labour man, Mr. Burgess is a former President of the BIU and 1st Vice President of the Caribbean Congress of Labour.

He was elected to Parliament in 1998 and appointed Minister of Labour and Immigration in 2006. After the 2007 general election he became Minister of Works and Engineering in Dr. Ewart Brown’s Cabinet.

Mr. Burgess has a Diploma in Hotel Management from the Lewis Hotel School, Washington D.C., and has managed several properties on the island.

He and his wife Brenda have three children and two foster children.

Mr. Burgess is MP for Hamilton East.

His new ministerial portfolio will cover infrastructure and housing.

Jennifer SmithJennifer Smith

Former Premier Dame Jennifer Smith was a surprise announcement in Paula Cox’s cabinet.

She is a no-nonsense politician who still commands broad respect within the PLP and was always seen as a strong parliamentary orator.

Her popularity in the party was demonstrated by the cheers and standing ovation she received as she was named the new Minister for Education.

The St. George’s North MP was controversially ousted from power the day after winning a second term for the PLP in 2003.

Dame Jennifer had to resign as the first female Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly in order to take on the Ministry of Education.

David BurchDavid Burch
National Security

The firebrand politician retains responsibility for Public Safety and his role as Government Senate Leader under Ms Cox.

He loses Immigration and Housing, and will concentrate on violent crime, firearms and drug offences. HM Customs border control is also within his remit, plus the Police and Bermuda Regiment.

He was Labour, Home Affairs and Housing under Dr. Ewart Brown and is also a former Minister of Works and Engineering.

Col. Burch worked in international reinsurance underwriting but is better known for his military service. He attended the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, U.K. and was a commanded the Bermuda Regiment, which he served for 20 years of service.

Patrice MinorsPatrice Minors
Business Development & Tourism

Patrice Minors is an avid Scrabble player who has worked at managerial level at Bermuda’s banks.

Minister Minors was one of the PLP’s first Senators. She was elected as an MP for Smith’s North in 2003 and was Minister of Health and Family Services until October 2006.

She worked at Bank of Bermuda and Lombard Odier International Trust Company, and is currently assistant vice president of trust services at Butterfield Bank.

She is a former president of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Bermuda and a former deputy chairman of the Bermuda College Board of Trustees.

She is married to Stewart and has a daughter called Honor.

Michael ScottMichael Scott
Attorney General

New Attorney General and Michael Scott is a familiar face down at Magistrates’ Court.

The Sandy’s North MP studied law in England and is the proprietor of the Somerset legal practice Browne Scott.

He is known as an approachable and reliable MP to his constituents.

Mr. Scott was previously in charge of the Ministry of Telecommunications and E-Commerce under Dr. Ewart Brown.

His new role as Justice Minister will see him take on legislative changes as well as overall charge of the Department of Corrections, the Department of Court Services and the Department of National Drug Control.

Kim WilsonKim Wilson
Economy, Trade & Industry

Senator Kim Wilson is a lawyer and partner at Trott & Duncan Law Firm in Hamilton.

The former Attorney General was at the forefront of pushing through anti-gun legislation under Dr. Ewart Brown.

She also travelled to the U.K. last year to represent the government as Bermudians Against the Draft took their fight against conscription to the Privy Council.

The new Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry will assume responsibility for the work permit regime as well as the link between Labour and Training.

Ms. Wilson remains media-friendly and is known for her work ethic and sharp intellect.

Terry ListerTerry Lister

The main rival to Paula Cox for the leadership of the PLP, takes on one of Dr. Brown’s former ministries.

“We’re all adults,” said Ms. Cox of her battle with Mr. Lister and his appointment to a major cabinet post signals her intention to put any divisions from the campaign firmly in the past.

Mr. Lister, an accountant and estate agent who has held almost every ministry in Government at one point or another, will have to deal with several key issues.

Problems with ferry maintenance, the taxi service and congestion on the roads are now his to solve. During his campaign he also talked of enhancing Bermuda’s electric vehicle market — something he could work on with  the new Trade and Industry ministry.

Glenn BlakeneyGlenn Blakeney
Youth Affairs & Families

Glenn Blakeney is passionate in his beliefs, but he has a low tolerance for self-centered and superficial people.

This is how he describes himself on Facebook where he also calls himself a “God fearing man that’s open-minded, hardworking, fun loving, kind hearted and adventurous.”

A PLP MP for Devonshire North Central since 2003, he has served as Minister of Environment, Youth and Sport. Mr. Blakeney is founder and chairman of Inter-Island Communications, where he oversees the day-to-day operations of HOTT 107.5FM and MAGIC 102.7FM.

Minister Blakeney is married to the Gwen Joell and has two daughters, three sons and six grandchildren.

Zane DeSilvaZane DeSilva

Island Construction boss Zane DeSilva takes his first major Cabinet post, heading up the Health Ministry.

Previously Minister without Portfolio, he took a lead role in the reform of the Corporations.

His rise to Cabinet, since being elected as MP for Southampton East Central in 2007, has been meteoric.

A keen snooker player, Mr. DeSilva started his career as a dishwasher before establishing himself as a businessman. Of Portuguese origin, he is currently the only white MP in the PLP.

His business background, say observers, could help him get to grips with Bermuda’s spiralling health insurance costs — said to be a significant issue for local and international companies.

Neletha ButterfieldNeletha Butterfield
Public Information Services

Neletha Butterfield was elected to Parliament in 1998 and is MP for Pembroke West Central.

She has served as Minister of Education and Development, and Minister of Environment, Telecommunications and E-Commerce. Her last role, under Dr. Ewart Brown, was Minister of Culture and Social Rehabilitation.

As Minister of Public Information Services she will be responsible for implementing PATI (Public Access to Information) and overseeing DCI (Department of Communication and Information).

Ms Butterfield is a single mother of three and a champion of adult education. She founded the CARE (Children and Adults Reaching for Education) Learning Centre in 1983.

Walter RobanWalter Roban

A former Senator, Mr. Roban was elected MP for the Pembroke East constituency in 2007.

He has served on the PLP’s election Campaign Committee and was Minister of Health in Dr. Ewart Brown’s Cabinet.

He has also held Junior Ministerial portfolios for Health and Family Services, Tourism and Transport, Education and Development, and Labour, Home Affairs and Housing. He is an Assistant VP and Internal Risk Officer for the Bank of Bermuda HSBC. Mr. Roban is engaged to barrister Nadine Francis, with whom he has a daughter.

Mr. Roban’s Environment portfolio is expected to include elements of the former Departments of Energy, Telecommunications and e-Commerce.

Michael WeekesMichael Weeks
Minister Without Portfolio

Rising PLP star Michael Weeks is best known for his grass roots work in the community. Mr. Weeks is the PLP’s newest MP, winning the Pembroke East Central by-election with a landslide of 89 per cent of votes in August 2009. He now finds himself  Minister Without Portfolio.

Mr. Weeks, a lifelong resident of Pembroke, worked with boys in residential care before moving into the insurance industry.

Mr. Weeks, 50, is vice president of Western Stars Sports Club and a member of the Berkeley Educational Society Management Committee.

He likes Tai-Chi, chess and playing golf.

Mr. Weeks is married to Cindy Outerbridge-Weeks and they have three sons and one daughter.