The changes came after Education Minister Wayne Scott left cabinet, reportedly to pursue other interests. His place has been taken by Cole Simons.
Outerbridge, the legislator for St George’s West, was sworn in at Government House on Thursday as Minister of Social Development and Sport, taking over from Sylvan Richards, who replaces Simons at Environment and Planning.
Simons is the One Bermuda Alliance’s (OBA) fourth Education Minister in four years, following Scott, Grant Gibbons and Nalton Brangman. The opposition Progressive Labour Party (PLP) had doubled that number of Education Ministers during its 14 years in power, which ended with defeat to the OBA in the 2012 general election.
The Premier said he had confidence that Outerbridge would “take the next step” in her political career as, at 29, she became the youngest person to enter cabinet in Bermuda’s recent history.
“I have worked with and supported Nandi for nearly five years now, and can say with conviction that she is smart, organised and strong,” Dunkley said.
“Nandi has grown from year to year in confidence and knowledge. She has proven herself as an MP, government house leader and party whip, and she has carried forward her responsibilities as Junior Minister for Social Development and Sport with seriousness and energy. Nandi is ready to take the next step.”
Asked how she felt to be moving up the political ranks, Outerbridge added: “I am pretty excited by it. I have enjoyed working as the junior minister for this ministry for some time to I am ready for the next step.”
Dunkley also praised Simons, who was first elected to the House of Assembly in 1998, saying: “Minister Simons has proved himself a very capable performer in cabinet, moving issues forward for consultation and decision, and providing a perspective to discussions that brings into play his business knowledge, his compassion for others and his love of country.”
After being sworn in, Richards told reporters he needed to get up to speed on the issues facing education in the coming weeks.
“My priority for education is this: all Bermudians have different learning styles and we have to address those learning styles. You can be academic, hands on, musical or artistic. People grow through different methods,” he said.
Speaking on the appointment of Richards, Dunkley said he “remains a strong presence at the cabinet table, using his experience in international business and his community awareness to progress public concerns and needs”.
Leah Scott, appointed junior Minister of Education, thanked the Premier, but admitted her opinions had “not always coincided with those of the government or of the party”, but said she would do her best to “get the party where it needed to be”.
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