• The following statement was released last week and embargoed until today, Monday, April 22, 2019 by One Bermuda Alliance Leader Craig Cannonier

Michael Weeks, in a recent article, accused the One Bermuda Alliance of being revisionist. I thought it was a wonderful piece of deflection – the PLP’s usual modus operandi – which is ordinarily not worth the time it takes to read, let alone reply.

This one was different however, as it made an issue about the protection and care of our children who do not always have the platform from which to speak (or the services of people to speak for them).

In the article, Mr Weeks says ‘the mold issue is a legacy from the OBA administration’. Mr Weeks – when we came to into Government we where confronted by the most frightening balance book in Bermuda’s history.

We inherited out of control spending and a burgeoning debt that, if allowed to go unchecked, had Bermuda on a one-way track to financial meltdown. We would have loved to have had more money to fix everything – but your Party’s monetary incompetence made that impossible.

In the last two Budgets, the PLP failed to balance its books and as a result, the debt continues to grow. They will be in a financial straight jacket for generations. I agree, our children do deserve better, but the PLP has let them down.

Mr Weeks’ article says the ‘PLP believes in investing the necessary resources to ensure our children are educated in safe schools’, but he has overlooked an inconvenient truth – the money allocated by this Government in the education budget for minor works and school safety has been reduced by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Is this what our children deserve? What do you think Mr and Mrs Bermuda?

Was a $1.2m ‘friends and family’ payment an investment in the ‘necessary resources to ensure our children are educated in safe schools? I don’t think it was, do you?

In regards to TN Tatem, it is important to point out that the OBA took very decisive action and after performing things like air quality tests, we moved all students to Clearwater while full remediation work was carried out. We felt that action, coupled with proper maintenance, would keep the school in good order.

So my question is: what was the maintenance programme under the PLP to prevent mold coming back?

This summer the PLP will have been in Government for two years, yet Mr Weeks somehow wants everyone to believe that everything happening at TN Tatem is the OBA’s fault.

That is just a deflection from the fact that in that time, despite promises to the contrary, his Government has not solved this issue. It looks as if mold will be a PLP legacy, doesn’t it?

Shadow Minister of Finance Nick Kempe recently wrote an opinion piece which detailed, point by point, by the rise in Government’s propaganda machine and a ‘pattern of voices critical to Government being silenced and of independent organisations being dismantled or subject to political interference’.

Nick Kempe, Shadow Minister of Finance

He pointed out in his article that the budget for ‘communications’ has increased by $2.7m.

So is PR and spin the priority over education? It seems it is as because despite all those budget increases, we are being told that the Department of Education is seeking to employ a media consultant – for how much we don’t know – but wouldn’t it be better to spend the money on issues affecting education rather than a propaganda machine that will spin us the lie that everything in education is good?

Does PR now outweigh the needs of our children? Our children deserve better, don’t you think?

Lastly, while we have seen the PR budget rocket, we have also seen the continued under-funding for litigation guardians and a near total silence from the Attorney General on the Department of Child and Family Services.

We agree, our children do deserve so much better.