The following Op-Ed was released by One Bermuda Alliance Senator Dr Douglas DeCouto

The PLP Government is often pleased to trumpet its record on the environment, with glitzy press releases about ministerial travel to international conferences like the COP Climate Change Conference, or the United Nations Ocean Conference. But as per the standard PLP Government operating procedure, actions and results (or lack of) tell a different story that continues to illustrate the Government’s hypocrisy.

Here’s one of a number of examples. The PLP Government ignored Senate amendments to the Motorcar Act that would protect our national parks from vehicle traffic. Their response? Trust the Minister.

Furthermore, this PLP Government gave the SDO to the Fairmont Southampton project in 2009, which will allow Gencom to build condos all over the hillside in Southampton. When the Government says “it’s not about the condos”, you can be sure it is indeed exactly that. What other ways will this Government enable Gencom to damage our precious open spaces? Trust the Minister.

And, with respect to global warming and reducing carbon emissions, such as discussed at COP, instead of collaborating with Bermuda’s innovative and vibrant home-grown solar industry, Minister Roban is chasing a glitzy wave power project – “the world’s first utility scale” project. I translate that as: “not done successfully anywhere else yet”.

Why not pursue proven solar technology with local firms with successful track records? Last time I checked, the sun shines a lot on our beautiful island – and our solar industry provides valuable technical jobs for young Bermudians.

But the latest slap in the face of Bermudians is the lack of urgency around the BELCO emissions that is affecting the health, wealth, and lives of Pembroke residents. For several years, these residents have not been able to breathe clean air; their property and vehicles are covered in debris and soot. Their houses vibrate, And, their roofs and water tanks are no longer fit to supply clean drinking water. All this creates stress and negative outcomes for these residents, that they don’t deserve.

Why hasn’t Government held BELCO responsible for this damage, and created accountability for this long-running pollution?

Only now, Minister Roban says “urgent action is needed”, and legislation is in the “draft” stage. I guess the minister was too busy at overseas conferences to pay attention to this earlier, like last year, or every year before that. That’s not much comfort to the affected residents. And, I understand that PLP leadership has told local residents to “use their voice” to get the attention they need. Given that the BELCO CEO is a Government MP and former cabinet minister, and another PLP MP works at BELCO, they should be embarrassed at their failure to get a better outcome for these residents.

Finally, should we expect that Government will create laws with any teeth to protect residents? Based on the facts on the ground and PLP Government’s dismal track record for protecting people and the environment, including cancelling our island-wide pollution monitoring, don’t get your hopes up.

Bermuda, we deserve a Government that is accountable to deliver results for Bermuda and Bermudians. Don’t be fooled by the fancy words from the PLP Government – pay attention to their deeds and actions, and you will see who they are working for – themselves, not you.