We have reached the first milestone of the new Progressive Labour Party (PLP) administration – the end of its 100-day plan. Or, as I like to call it ‘The Plan to Start a Plan’.
For the record, I strongly dislike the 100-day deadline as I don’t believe the US style of politics is one to mirror, especially in their current state of affairs. But the PLP have done a wonderful job of emulating and implementing ‘Trumponian’ tactics to our shores.
Some have asked ‘What does this plan mean for my children, the country, and me?’. Unfortunately, very little.
The PLP said that they would fully execute their 21 initiatives. However, to date, only six of those 21 have been implemented; 11 have merely been started; and the remaining four, well, it’s unclear where they stand on those, or if they’ll ever be acted upon.
That’s your 100 days folks.
Not much has changed between the Government of today and the PLP we knew and started to distrust after the coup in 2003 and their ultimate demise in the 2012 election. History is indeed on repeat. It’s amazing they find themselves in this position so fast.
Over the last three months we’ve seen them tackle the simple administrative task of going with the One Bermuda Alliance 9OBA) legislative agenda. However, with as much inaction and deflection as humanly possible. They even have to resort to using others words and misconstruing them in order to make their points. Is this because they can’t rely on their own convictions? The November 1st Senate session would be a good example of this.
Don’t get me wrong, they have done some good things. $300,000 in bursaries were handed out to students looking to study at Bermuda College, but the question must be asked: is this sustainable as this was their position when they were last in Government? I thought that we learnt that not everything can be free but we must provide those with the lack of financial resources the opportunity and access to something that is universally required.
To add to this sustainability, the striking thing about this endeavour is the low expectation level placed on our students – our future leaders of Bermuda. In order to receive financial support, they must simply obtain a 2.0 GPA. I’m concerned about the message this sends to our youth. We should be encouraging them to reach and strive for excellence. Not simply jamming them through another systematic passing system that doesn’t offer no real world value if they don’t know how to use the ‘paper’. We want to provide young Bermudians with a solid foundation to succeed in their futures. Because in the competitive, technologically advanced world we’re living in today, that’s what is expected.
When it comes to the Bermuda First Advisory Group, it seems like another instance of history repeating itself. Under the last PLP government, this group’s recommendations on how Bermuda should respond to the global financial crisis weren’t adhered to. In fact, they were left to die on the kitchen floor. One can only hope they finish what they start this time.
We’re also seeing the same old antics from the PLP playbook, recent changes to the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) board. As echoed by Senator Nick Kempe, the important body that was formed to develop the small business sector in Bermuda, didn’t have a board for the last three months to approve any guarantees, as the PLP has done a clean sweep, getting rid of all its members. Interestingly enough, this isn’t the only board that has been forced to go through such drastic changes, in order for the PLP old guards to take back their old seats at the tables, which some have no professional or social merit to sit on. Having boards filled with your own people isn’t consultation, it is simply autocratic.
The PLP has hired a slew of consultants – and it’s shaping up to be an amplified version of the Friends and Family Plan we experienced under previous administrations.
The idea to put Wi-Fi in all schools was an initiative right out of the One Bermuda Alliance’s platform, and already started under the last administration. While the task is quite the undertaking due to our schools infrastructure, it cannot happen overnight, even though some think it can. It’s no surprise that the PLP are touting this initiative as if it were their own – as the PLP’ss platform was simply a copy and past job. The point here is this: key initiatives started under the OBA government are being repackaged with a PLP tag on it.
- The PLP started the first 100 days with a rollout of Cabinet, which was larger than the previous one (another point on the hypocrisy scoreboard).
- Questionable appointments. One of the PLP’s Cabinet Minister’s is in a questionable position of awarding himself a Government contract that he ultimately profited off of. Do we care about ethics or integrity, or was that just a criticism against the OBA?
- Then we have the Attorney General, who was appointed to the Senate, and serves at the pleasure of the Premier (not the people), who is handling cases of alleged corruption against her own colleagues on behalf of the country, in which she has dropped for her own ceremonious ‘review’. This makes me doubt my trust in Government, which has our youths’ future in their hands. But this speaks more to the truths, and each week it seems the same bad actors are finding their way back in power. How can you blame them when you paint yourself as being more transparent and independent of past PLP actions, but on the other hand those bad actors have been rewarded in their position. Furthermore, don’t these appointments and those within the PLP who support them in their silence now become complicit to past actions?
- The PLP created a new ministerial position to tackle the oversized bureaucracy, or at least that would be my interpretation of what Government Reform is, but it seems we will have to wait and see on that.
So let’s dig more into other actions that happened during these 100 days…
We had a Minister of Home Affairs, who started his tenure by waiving the work permit requirement for the Reverend Tweed, because he finally remembered that he was a spouse of a Bermudian. It is a Government’s duty to abide by these processes or how do we control fairness and equality in our country?
Then he gave Preserve Marriage, a group that has made the headlines recently for major controversy and hypocrisy, charitable status to solicit donations to protest same-sex marriage. This all has come from a Government Minister who says he has fought for minority rights all of his life, while his actions speak another tongue. Giving charitable status to an organisation that belittles and denigrates a minority group is your definition of fighting for rights?
The Minister then took charge on the British and the Governor on the printing of passports, the need to free himself from his colonial oppression and was joined by high ranking people within his party. The Premier then had to come and backtrack from the statements made within their own party – seems to be a hallmark of the first 100 days.
Will the real Leader please stand up?
On top of this, we have a Minister of Education, who has wasted no time in creating chaos and confusion whilst actually prematurely announcing that Dellwood Middle School was cleared of mould. Another Trump moment of reinventing history, as the PLP told us they found and delivered thousands of dollars that in reality had already been budgeted for under the OBA administration.
He has also made other premature statements regarding the handling of the Commissioner of Education saga, which he has been silent on for 31 days.
Real leadership should be concerned about what happens now to our children, teachers and parents as they have waited long enough for the Vision and Strategic Plan! But wasn’t that under the Commissioner’s leadership? So, whose guidance is it under now?
What happened to the PLP plan of ending middle schools next year with no data to back up this band-aid approach? Empty rhetoric with no data, plan, or clear direction for our future. Is that what we want for our youth?
The people elected the PLP Government into power on July 18th in good faith and with the heartfelt belief they would do the work of the people. But they’ve been in a concerted view to undermine our democracy even before the election day. Obtaining voters confidential email addresses from the Parliamentary Registrar’s office, and obstructing the boundary changes – changes that make our system more democratic by leveling the Constituency voter totals – before and after the election. But why? Why do all of this when your party used to be the champions of making our political system more democratic?
Sadly, we’re seeing that the sketchy past of the PLP re-emerging today.
They have a thirst for absolute power, one that can never be quenched. Don’t take my word for it. History is known for repeating itself and the signs are all around us.
Future Bermuda Alliance – Chair
- Justin Mathias is a young entrepreneur and the Future Bermuda Alliance Chair (youth division of the One Bermuda Alliance). He attended Mount Saint Agnes from K-12 and graduated in 2010 with an Honors Diploma and Hero Awards. He graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree with a Major in Accounting and a Minor in Political Science from Saint Mary’s University. He focused his political science studies in the areas of political institutions, procedures, International Relations and Law, and has followed Bermuda’s political arena since 2002. He is a keen debater from his time participating in the Bermuda Debate Society events in middle and high school, and his participation in Saint Mary’s University’s delegation at the Model United Nations Conference in New York in 2016, where they won a Distinguished Delegation Award.