The following statement was released tonight (April 19, 2021) by Opposition Leader Cole Simons, “on the recently perceived inequity from the Premier towards the local community” – One Bermuda Alliance…
Premier Burt, the people of Bermuda want fairness and accountable leadership, as there is real tension in the community due to the perceived treatment of Bermudians during this pandemic.
What they want is real equity from Government during this very stressful and difficult time. They want principled, honest and transparent leadership, with no more evasive behaviour or evasive responses.
It is not good enough to throw one of our Ministers under the bus after you both authorized the issuance of an exemption certificate to the ST REGIS HOTEL GROUP developers, and then withdraw it after you receive some blowback from a few members of the community.
A true leader would have said that the hotel plays a vital role in Bermuda’s tourism strategy, that it will create jobs for Bermudians, and that it will support more capital investment and hence the difficult decision was made to issue the Certificate of Exemption.
When the Minister said that the decision to rescind the issuance of the Certificate was issued in error due to an overload of applications, it does not bode well for the Minister of Security and her team.
As a principled leader, the Premier should have owned the problem. He should have stated the rationale for the decision, that he was responsible for making it, and that the buck ultimately stops at his doorstep. That is the mark of a true leader. Instead, he started up the ‘Don’t Blame Me’ bus and he rolled right over one of his own Ministers and
A similar scenario played out for our farmers and fishermen, who initially were not allowed to set up stands or sell their produce and fish on the streets.
Another example of the unbalanced treatment took place with our local athletes and Bermudian elite athletes, who initially were not allowed to train for the upcoming
Olympics, that will take place in Tokyo, this summer. Yet, there was no question about restricting SailGP competitors
from training for next week’s Grand Prix sailing event.
To be clear, the OBA supports this prestigious sailing event, but our local athletes and our international athletic guests should be treated with the same level of importance and fairness. Having one rule for Bermudian athletes and another rule for the international SailGP athletes was flawed from the start, and the Premier should have identified and addressed this inequity quickly when the COVID-19 protocols were being crafted.
Where were the checks and balances? Who provided procedural oversight? Where is the accountability?