• The Hon. Derrick Burgess, JP, MP

    Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly

    D. Burgess (NEW)Email: dburgess@parliament.bm  

    The Hon. Derrick V. Burgess, had a long career in Bermuda’s hospitality industry before assuming the post of President of the Bermuda Industrial Union (BIU). During his tenure as President, he quickly enhanced his reputation as a fearless defender of the rights of workers in Bermuda. Having commenced his career as a busboy at the Coral Island Hotel, he rose to the post of General Manager of the hotel, as a result of his work ethic and commitment to the tasks at hand. He later worked at the now defunct Holiday Inn, later Lowes Bermuda, later Club Med Hotel, and at the Hamilton Princess Hotel. In addition, he has served as Director of Human Resources at Grotto Bay Beach Resort.   

    Mr. Burgess 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, and the Lewis Hotel School in Washington, D.C. and not surprisingly, given his background in trade unionism, the George Meany Labour College, also in Washington, D.C. The Deputy Premier’s involvement in trade unionism commenced upon his election as shop steward at the Holiday Inn Hotel. He steadily rose to prominence in the BIU, assuming the position of President of the Hotel and Restaurant Division and Vice President. It was no surprise, therefore, that upon the retirement of long-time BIU President, Mr. Ottiwell Simmons, MP, in 1996, he assumed the presidency. During his ten year tenure as President, the BIU made significant progress on a number of fronts, including its financial position, the construction of a new gas station, the renovation of several properties owned by the BIU and, most importantly, the commissioning of Mr. Ira Philip’s history of the BIU.  

     In October 2001, Mr. Burgess was elected the First Vice President of the Caribbean Congress of Labour, the first Bermudian to hold that position. He has traveled extensively throughout the United States and the Caribbean wearing the hat of trade unionist. Additionally, as a worker representative, he for many years traveled to Geneva, Switzerland for the Annual Meeting of the International Labour Organization. In June 2007, he was particularly pleased to lead Bermuda’s tripartite delegation to Geneva as Minister with responsibility for labour.  He was first elected as a Progressive Labour Party [PLP] Member of Parliament in the 1998 by-election, was re-elected in November 1998 when the PLP swept to victory and formed the Government. At the time, he was appointed to the Board of Immigration, the National Pension Plan Board and the Labour Advisory Council. Later, he was appointed chairman of the Government Employees’ Health Insurance Scheme.  

    On 1st September, 2006, he was appointed Minister of Labour, Home Affairs and Public Safety, with his Ministry re-configured as the Ministry of Labour and Immigration some three months later. Then on 20th December 2007, following the PLP victory in the General Election held three days earlier, he was appointed Minister of Works and Engineering. As Minister of Labour and Immigration, Minister Burgess continued to be outspoken on issues affecting the workers in Bermuda. He worked tirelessly to protect the interests of Bermudians, ensuring that there was justice and fair play in the work place and went on record stating his zero-tolerance stance towards breaches of Immigration policy and law.  

    While serving as  Minister of Labour and Immigration, he saw the enactment of the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Amendment Act 2007, representing the culmination of a comprehensive review of the law relating to land holding in Bermuda. Via this legislation, the Government strengthened the machinery whereby the majority of the housing stock and undeveloped residential land in Bermuda is preserved for Bermudian ownership.  

    The Hon. Derrick V. Burgess was elected Deputy Leader of the Progressive Labour Party and Deputy Premier of Bermuda on 28th October, 2010, following the election of the Hon. Paula A. Cox, as Premier of Bermuda.