Locally, he was educated at Harrington Sound Primary School, and at Prospect Secondary School for Boys (also known as Cunningham's). He 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 George Meany Labour College, Washington, D.C.
He began his career as a busboy at the now defunct Coral Island Hotel, where he rose to the post of General Manager. He later worked at some of the best hotels in Bermuda receiving a number of promotions due to the high standard of his performance.
His involvement in trade unionism began with his election as shop steward at the Holiday Inn Hotel. He steadily rose to prominence in the BIU, becoming President of the Hotel and Restaurant Division and later Vice President. In 1996, he became President, a position he held for ten years.
In 2001, he was elected First Vice President of the Caribbean Congress of Labour, the first Bermudian to hold that position.
He was first elected PLP Member of Parliament in a February 1998 by-election, and re-elected in November 1998 when the PLP swept to victory and formed the Government after thirty-five years in opposition.
He has served on the Board of Immigration, the National Pension Plan Board and the Labour Advisory Council. He has also served as 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. On 20th December 2007, he was appointed Minister of Works and Engineering.
His term as Minister of Labour and Immigration 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.
He was elected Deputy Leader of the PLP and Deputy Premier on 28th October, 2010, and was named Minister of Public Works. In November 2011, he was named Minister of Transport.
Mr. Burgess is a member of St. John A.M.E Church. He is the father of three and grandfather of six.