BERMUDA-Social Development and Sports Minister resigns

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Zane-DeSilva.

Premier David Burt says he has accepted “with reluctance” the resignation of one of his cabinet ministers, Zane DeSilva.

Burt said DeSilva, Minister of Social Development and Sports, had resigned Sunday because of a conflict over changes to fees for MRI and CT medical scans. It was not immediately clear what the conflict is.

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DeSilva is a close ally of Dr Ewart Brown, a former PLP premier, who this month announced the CT scan service at his Brown-Darell Clinic in Smith’s parish would close due to fee cuts with the loss of four jobs.

DeSilva, the only white among the PLP’s 24 Members of Parliament, was not immediately available for comment.

But the former health minister in the previous Progressive Labour Party (PLP) administration that was in power from 1998 to 2012, will remain as the parliamentary representative for Southampton East. The PLP ended the One Bermuda Alliance’s one term in office with a crushing victory in last July’s general election.

Burt, who is also Minister of Finance, said in a statement Sunday that he had “reluctantly accepted the resignation from cabinet of Zane DeSilva.

“Mr DeSilva has expressed the conflict he faces by a set of circumstances this new government inherited — specifically, the decision made by the former government to significantly reduce the fees paid for MRI and CT scans in Bermuda and the new government’s actions to mitigate the impact of those fee reductions without increasing health insurance costs.

“I respect Mr DeSilva’s decision and, like him, I remain committed to accomplishing those things we were elected to achieve for the people of Bermuda.”

But said that on a personal note, he regarded DeSilva as a friend and colleague and hope to continue to benefit from his insight and wisdom.

“In his public service, Zane is a tireless worker and has devoted his time in parliament to serving this community. I wish him and his incredibly supportive family the very best.”

Burt said Minister for the Cabinet Office Lovitta Foggo would assume the duties of Acting Minister of Social Development and Sports until a new minister is appointed.

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