Money talks: MP Dale Butler yesterday officially announced that he was in the running for the leadership of the PLP and said reducing government spending would be a top priority. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
Money talks: MP Dale Butler yesterday officially announced that he was in the running for the leadership of the PLP and said reducing government spending would be a top priority. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
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Slashing his own salary will be a priority for Dale Butler if he is declared the next Premier of Bermuda.

The backbench MP confirmed he was running for the leadership of the PLP and Bermuda to make “our beloved country” a better place for all.

Mr. Butler vowed to bring together all walks of life to address the needs of the people.

He said government spending needed to be reduced and he would start by slashing the Premier’s salary by 20 per cent and ministers’ salaries by 10 per cent for two years.

Officially launching his Premiership bid outside the Salvation Army Shelter yesterday, he revealed he would be campaigning under the slogan ‘Together everyone achieves more’.

But there was no big show of support from the political community at yesterday’s press conference.

Instead Mr. Butler, who has always been popular with the people, was fittingly flanked by about 30 members of the community.

His attentive supporters, who included street cleaners, the homeless and Salvation Army workers, blew air-horns, clapped and cheered on their premier-in-waiting.

Supporters wore green and white ‘The Butler Delivers’ T-shirts stating that Mr. Butler stood for integrity, honesty, fairness and transparency.

Mr. Butler said that under his premiership ‘Team Bermuda’ would pull together “to make Bermuda an even greater success for all.”

He outlined his new social agenda to develop “a common cause for a better Bermuda.”

He said he wanted to see a Bermuda where “everyone is included and not excluded because of race, creed or colour.”

Mr. Butler said he wanted to go back to the party’s working-class roots and meet people’s basic need for shelter.

His priority would be to continue his plight to help the homeless, building a new shelter within the first two budget periods.

Mr. Butler also highlighted a wide range of other issues that he would focus on:

  • Technology should play a larger part in fighting crime;
  • An all-boys school should be opened and some schools closed to be converted into community centres;
  • More needs to be done to catch drug importers;
  • The needs of the unemployed should be met;
  • An ‘Ideas Council’ made up of ideas raised on radio talk shows will be set up;
  • Aquatics will be made a national sport and its funding increased.

Mr. Butler, who is one of seven children, joined the PLP age 16 and went on to become Bermuda’s youngest school principal at the age of 28.

He was elected to parliament in 1998 and served for six years. He resigned from Cabinet after Premier Dr. Ewart Brown’s government survived a motion of no confidence in June last year. He spoke out about Dr. Brown’s handling of the arrival of four Chinese Muslim Uyghurs in Bermuda and after he quit he was reported as saying: “I could not see the PLP fail.”

Mr. Butler has this week appealed for people to donate food to the needy and he used the press conference to hand the donated cans to The Salvation Army.

Mr. Butler — who is known as the king of fishcakes — also gave out free fishcakes to all his supporters.

Mr. Butler said: “After all is said and done, win or lose, this campaign has demonstrated in word and deed that we care.”

 Party delegates will select the leader at their annual conference in October. Paula Cox and Terry Lister are also running for the leadership.

Mr. Butler will be at Harbour Nights tonight at 6:30pm to talk about his Bermuda regeneration plan.