HAMILTON, Bermuda, Sep 8, CMC — Premier David Burt has reprimanded one of his leading Cabinet ministers over a video he posted on his social media site, in which he asked a young woman server in a London café for “titty milk”, saying it displayed a “lack of respect for women”.
Burt said on Friday night that he had spoken to Caines about the incident, which he said displayed “poor judgment conveyed by the actions in the recording”.However, Burt did not indicate whether the comment would cost Wayne Caines his job as Minister of National Security.
The premier said that Caines had expressed regret over the matter and apologised.
“I am disappointed that the incredibly hard work Minister Caines does every day on behalf of the people of Bermuda, including on his trip to London, has been overshadowed by this extremely poor conduct,,” Burt said.
He said that he regularly referred Cabinet members to the ministerial code of conduct and the requirement that “ministers are expected to behave according to the highest standards of constitutional and personal conduct in the performance of their duties.
“Moments like this provide a valuable opportunity for each and every one of us to pause and reflect to ensure that we individually and collectively serve the people of Bermuda in a manner befitting our responsibilities as leader,” Premier Burt added.
The premier said he was proud to lead a party that “has been led by, and continues to benefit from the contributions of exceptionally strong women at every level,” adding “this government respects and values the role of women in this community.”
The opposition One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) dismissed Burt’s response as a “smack in the face for every woman on this island” and called for Caines to resign from cabinet.
Caines continued to attract headlines in response to the controversial video he recorded and uploaded to his Instagram page on Wednesday, while on government business in London.
In the clip, he is heard to ask a female employee at a branch of the Cereal Killer Café if the store had “titty milk”.
His actions received a backlash from across the political divide before Caines issued an apology on Facebook on Thursday.
The article was picked up by British newspaper the Evening Standard, which reported that “Wayne Caines, Bermuda’s minister of national security, recorded a video of himself making the enquiry as a ‘joke’ before posting the footage to his 4,000 followers on Instagram earlier this week.”
The newspaper noted Caines was in London to meet with National Crime Agency officials to discuss Britain’s work on child sex abuse and exploitation overseas.
Bermuda’s Centre Against Abuse has since called for a “change of mindset” after the incident.
Executive director of the charity, Laurie Shiell, said the public needed to be aware of sexual harassment.
“It’s time perpetrators of sexual harassment change their mindset. It’s time perpetrators of sexual harassment control their hands and words. It’s time for us to no longer accept sexual harassment as a joke. It is time sexual harassment ends in Bermuda, and we can start today,” she said.
Caines, whose Facebook and Instagram pages have now been deleted, said in his apology: “What was meant to be funny is now anything but. I know better. This is an unnecessary own goal.”