Grin when you’re winning: Derrick Burgess is all smiles as he joins new Premier Paula Cox at a press conference last night, held shortly after he was named deputy leader of the PLP. *Photo by Ras Mykkal
Grin when you’re winning: Derrick Burgess is all smiles as he joins new Premier Paula Cox at a press conference last night, held shortly after he was named deputy leader of the PLP. *Photo by Ras Mykkal
New Deputy Premier Derrick Burgess last night expressed his joy at his election, saying: “I’m proud to serve my country in this capacity, very proud.”

He would not comment on whether he hoped to keep his Ministry of Works and Engineering portfolio as it was at the Premier’s discretion.

He looked at Ms Cox beside him and joked: “My leader is to the right.”

Happy

He said his priorities now are “hard work, hard work, hard work, hard work, hard work”.

Mr. Burgess told the Bermuda Sun after the results were announced: “I’m proud to support her [Ms Cox] 100 per cent.

“The result is most satisfying and I am happy.”

He said his next role would be “something for the leader [to decide]”.

Mr. Burgess is known for being outspoken and fiercely patriotic — he has always made his feelings very clear.

His opening remark after the Budget of “thank God for Paula Cox” left it in little doubt where his allegiances lie.

And his “sons of slaves” comment in the House of Assembly earlier this year — directed at UBP MP Trevor Moniz — was as unexpected as it was shocking.

The former Minister for Works and Engineering started his career as a busboy at the now defunct Coral Island Hotel. He was first elected to Parliament in February 1998 in a by-election.

Ever since then he has topped the polls in the Hamilton East constituency. Mr. Burgess is perhaps best known as a no-nonsense trade unionist.

He had a long career in the hotel industry before throwing himself into the work of the Bermuda Industrial Union, of which he later became president. His involvement in trade unionism commenced upon his election as shop steward at the Holiday Inn Hotel.

In October 2001, he was elected First Vice President of the Caribbean Congress of Labour, the first Bermudian to hold that position.

The father-of-three has travelled extensively throughout the U.S., the Caribbean and Geneva, Switzerland, wearing the hat of a trade unionist.

Mr. Burgess continued to pursue his studies while working full-time.

Minister

He earned a Diploma in Hotel Management from the Lewis Hotel School in Washington D.C. and has pursued programmes of study at Bermuda College, the City College of Chicago, the University of Maryland, the Lewis Hotel School in Washington D.C. and the George Meany Labour College, also in Washington D.C.

On September 1, 2006, he was appointed Minister of Labour, Home Affairs and Public Safety, with his Ministry re-configured as the Ministry of Labour and Immigration three months later.