Kim Swan, PLP MP

Comments made by well known local entertainer Tony Brannon on social media that he later apologised for, came under fire in the House of Assembly.

Progressive Labour Party backbencher, Kim Swan described Mr Brannon’s “cockroach” remarks as “very insensitive comments”.

“Mr Brannon has referred to persons in the Government — in objection to the position the Government holds on immigration — as ‘you cockroaches need to open up immigration’.

“It has become a firestorm and one which is most concerning,” said Mr Swan.

“Anyone in Bermuda, no matter what position they take, knows that immigration is one of the most racially emotive issues that comes up in our country.”

Derrick V Burgess, Deputy Speaker, PLP MP

His comments were echoed by Deputy Speaker, Derrick Burgess who referred to another comment posted by Mr Brannon on social media, that said “the cockroaches here wouldn’t even give you a PRC”.

“When we refer to cockroaches, regardless of who you are, we get the spray and try to kill them because we don’t want them in our houses or even around our houses,” said Mr Burgess.

“This statement is a very serious racial statement against black people and to refer to a government as cockroaches, a Bermudian local entertainer, I take great offence to that and many others take great offence to that.

“I don’t think all white people are racist, I really don’t, but what I do ask them, those that are not, they need to come out and condemn these types of statements.”

Opposition Leader Craig Cannonier stated that everyone in the House was concerned by the comments.

The OBA’s Deputy Leader, Leah Scott, added: “The offence is not only that he can make such a comment, but that we have supported him economically and he has benefited from, essentially, benefited from cockroaches.

“So our money has value, but we have no value.

“He cannot think that this is acceptable, I’m sure that he has been told about the backlash and I don’t think that there’s anything that he can say that will change his remarks,” she said.

“He will never ever get another dime of mine.”

On Monday (March 1), Mr Brannon posted on Facebook: “I apologise and meant no racially motivated slur by using the term cockroach, though I was aware it is a negative term and used it in that context.

“I was not aware that some consider it a racist remark, and would never have used the word had I known.

“Former Police Commissioner Jonathan D Smith pointed this out to me after I made a social media post, which I deleted, about a popular restaurant being empty on Saturday night.”