The following Op-Ed was released today (Feb 2) by One Bermuda Alliance MP Scott Pearman, the Shadow Minister for Legal and Home Affairs…
Do you remember ‘A Chorus Line’?
Professor Google says it was once the longest running show on Broadway. But Bermudians are more likely to remember the film version, starring our very own Michael Douglas (take a bow Sir). The story unfolds on the empty stage of a theater. Douglas plays the imperious Director, vetting those auditioning. The casting call is heavy with desperation.
This production sprang to mind during the final sitting of the House of Assembly for 2021.
After the business of Parliament concludes for the day, there is the final ‘Motion to Adjourn’. Any MP can speak on any topic for a fixed time. Because all 36 may speak, the Motion can drag on for several hours – and sometimes does. As you might imagine, the speeches vary greatly in interest and quality. From time to time it allows for political theatre.
On that pre-Christmas night – unusually – numerous PLP backbenchers decided to speak in the Motion. A line of auditions: one after the next. Casting themselves in the best light possible in front of their leader. Was Premier Burt perhaps planning a Cabinet reshuffle in the New Year?
Now, I am not so sure. Who were they auditioning for? Which Director might cast them?
Another week. Another scandal. Another PLP resignation. How many have stepped down now?
Senator Curtis Richardson was twice my opponent in Constituency 22. Our two campaigns did not feature the issues that have now forced him to announce he will quit the Senate. Given the circumstances, he had no choice but to resign – and is right to do so.
Yet his resignation does not get the Premier off the hook. Premier Burt must answer tough questions about his own role in this scandal. And there are many. The focus, naturally, has been on the misdeeds – an alleged threat, an apparent breach of a Court Order, even, we are told, an Arrest Warrant. People are rightly asking why the Premier made this Senate appointment given what he knew at the time.
On Friday, the family of the elderly woman involved called upon the Public to demand answers from the Premier. We shall see if he responds. My question to you is this: what would have happened if these matters had not leaked? Would anyone have been held to account?
These sorry events – following after three other PLP resignations – call into question not only the Premier’s leadership, but his judgment. Yet again, the current PLP Government behaves as if the rules apply to others, but not to them. It is said that a fish rots from the head down.
A NEW SILVER LINING
After the PLP’s Throne Speech, I wrote of “dark clouds and silver linings”. Well, sadly, the financial clouds remain pretty grim. Yet 2022 will see at least one bright streak in our sky: a lightning-fast one. The announcement that Sail GP is returning to zip around our shores in May should be welcomed by one and all. Well done to everyone who achieved the return of Sail GP. A chorus of applause.
The 2017 America’s Cup was a world-class event. AC35 showcased the stunning beauty of Bermuda. Yet it also proved that our tiny Island can do BIG – and do it very well.
Elsewhere, my OBA colleague Ben Smith called upon the PLP to put aside politics – pursuing OBA solutions if necessary. As Ben suggests, why not bring the America’s Cup back to Bermuda?
Jobs? We need those. Foreign investment? Yup. Tourists? Yes please.
AC37 Bermuda would bring some much needed financial sunshine. Time for the PLP to be bold.
Scott Pearman, is the MP for Paget East (Constituency 22) and the OBA Shadow Minister for Legal & Home Affairs. He can be reached at [email protected]. This article was written on Saturday, 29 January 2022.