Full Video Replay: Premier’s Roundtable

October 11, 2010

[Replay now available] Bernews is pleased tonight to make our very first foray into live video streaming, and will be bringing you the live video and audio from the Premier’s Media Roundtable from its scheduled start time at 8pm.

Representatives from the various media entities were invited with the Premier saying “Many of the representatives selected to participate in the panel are among some of my loudest and most vocal critics. I am excited to be in a position to give them have one final opportunity to raise tough, probing and pointed questions before completing my tenure in office.”

Video and audio will go live at approximately 8pm, check back then.

Update 10:12pm: Replay provided below, approximately 1 hr and 20 mins long

7:55pm: People are getting into place. The Royal Gazette has Tim Smith, the Bermuda Sun has James Whittaker, Bermuda Broadcasting has Gary Moreno, VSB has Bryan Darby, the Workers Voice has Laverne Furbert and we have Larry Burchall. [photo]

8:04pm: Premier has arrived, moderator Sherri Simmons, better known as “Sherri J” , is introducing everyone. Mrs Simmons is explaining the procedures. Mrs Furbert is asking the first question, she asked about the role his family has played. Dr. Brown said his family has been very supportive, and his wife has been “amazing”. He says his larger family is Bermuda, and they have been very supportive.

8:09pm: [Feed be back on shortly] Bryan Darby of VSB asked the Premier about his strong statements on the media. Gary Moreno of ZBM is asking about the statement he made calling Bermudians his extended family, saying many may not feel that way. Dr Brown asked all media if they haven’t had access to him, and asked if anyone hasn’t. Tim Smith of the Royal Gazette said he has been waiting for an interview for quite a while.

8:14pm: Gary Moreno is asking about all the white construction companies getting work, and asked about  black business owners. Dr Brown says he thinks that is “one of the most unfair things people can say”. Mr Moreno continues to question, and Dr Brown says it is a misconception that Zane Desilva and Dennis Correria get all the work.

8:18pm: Larry Burchall is asking about declining tourism numbers, and hotel bed count being down, and asks Dr Brown if he feels his time as Tourism Minister has been a success. Dr Brown says he thinks it has been and explained why, mentions the worldwide recession. Dr Brown continues to explain, saying he feels the numbers would have been worse.

8:20pm: Quick apology for our stream, or lack thereof. As we can see our debut into live streaming is not exactly going according to plan, we hope to have it back up soon.

8:26pm: Dr Brown speaking on air vs cruise arrivals, and says a cruise visitor is better than no visitor, which earns the first applause of the night. He earns the second round of applause of the night for saying “he isn’t talking down about cruise passengers, as he is going to be one soon”

8:33pm: Sorry about the glitch, stream is back. Tim Smith has asked why the Premier thinks there has been more attacks on his integrity vs others.

8.39 Dr. Brown earned thunderous applause from the audience for describing himself as “combative” and saying he traditionally fought back against what he considered to be unfair media attacks.

8:46pm: Dr. Brown said he is not to blame for the worldwide economic downturn that occurred during his term [which drew some laughs], and while Bermudians as a whole might not be financially better off than they were when he became Premier, there have been some outstanding economic success stories. And Bermudians, as a whole, feel more culturally empowered than they did under his predecessors.

8:49pm: Mr. Burchall asked why Government did not do some “out-of-the-box” thinking in terms of investmenting in the island’s tourism infrastructure when it could afford to do so? The Premier said even if he’d been aware a recession had been coming, he would never have encouraged Government to invest in private ventures like new hotels. Dr. Brown said Government’s role is to facilitate investment in new hotels, not to provide direct financing. Government must lead the way and stimulate the private sector sometimes ..,” said the Premier.

8:53pm: Tim Smith asked about Dr Brown about his high amount of travel. He says he hasn’t traveled much more than others, just he is not apologetic about it. This draws laughs. He said he holds three portfolios and earns one pay cheque — as Premier, Transport Minister and Tourism Minister he is required to travel overseas to conduct public business. He mentions bringing the new airlines here; Jet Blue and Westjet and this draws very loud applause.

8:58pm: Still on the travel expense subject, Dr Brown says “and we don’t normally stay at the Motel 6 if you don’t mind”. This draws laughter.

8.59pm: ZBM’s Gary Moreno asked how Bermuda has benefitted from accepting the four former Guantanamo Bay Uighur detainees. The Premier said there was no quid pro quo involved in the secretive Uighur deal with the US. He suggested this “humanitarian gesture” may have prevented the Obama Administration from branding Bermuda a “tax haven” saying he “did not know” but the Obama admin seemed to ease off.

9:03pm: Asked by Tim Smith about the Auditor General, the Premier said the Auditor General is supposed to ask hard questions about public finances. But the Auditor General’s remit does not extend into the political realm.

9:07pm: The Premier said Bermuda’s bureaucratic red-tape is to blame for many delays and cost overruns in public projects. But he accepts Government can be more efficient.”Let me tell you, this is aimed directly at the unions, when you want to make something more efficient, that’s where the resistance comes from …”

9:08pm: The moderator says we have 10 mins left. Mrs Furbert asks why he choose to do only one term, and will be accept a knighthood. Dr Brown says he doesn’t think its good to extend when “toxicity levels” are so high.

9:10pm: Bryan Darby asks Dr Brown about returning home to Bermuda and having ‘scores to settle’, and what his scores were. Dr Brown said he said that in 1993, and one score was his party had never won an election. He conceded this wasn’t the best choice of words — that he wanted to balance what he viewed as an imbalanced community.

9:13pm: The moderator says it is almost time, Dr Brown says he will do another 15 mins off camera. Draws applause. Answering a question from Gary Moreno, the Premier said he would be hard-pressed to single out his “greatest” achievement in office. He said posterity would probably consider Lambe Foggo Center, Future Care for seniors and free day care among his most compelling legacies.

9:17pm: The Premier said gaming would re-surface as an issue at some point and Bermudians should be prepared for that. He said the failed bill on gambling was a victim of unfortunate timing — a vote on the PLP leadership was underway at that point.

9:18pm: The “official” portion is over, and audience questions are now being taken.

9:22pm: Dr Brown brings up the infamous “plantation questions”, and says he has been dealing with the press for years. He says when he is asked a question that he feels is reserved for a black leader, he will comment on that. This draws loud applause.

9:27pm: An audience member asks about the $28 million dollars given to cricket and football, and does he think it was well spent as so much of the island’s sports success comes from individual sports. Dr Brown says “the jury is still out.” Says we need to give them some time, says he thinks we should consider adding more national sports, says sailing should be added.

9:39pm: Dr Brown thanks all the journalists for coming. Says he doesn’t feel he is leaving under a cloud. Large applause. Meeting ends.

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  1. The night of the roundtable « Breezeblog | October 12, 2010
  1. D says:

    Bernews,

    Will you post the video once the roundtable is over? I don’t need to see it live as long as I can see it afterwards.

    • bernews says:

      We will yes….but….rather unprofessional to say, it will have that short segment missing where we went off air. We should have about 90% of it though..

  2. Nicki says:

    I love you Bernews but the ad pop ups, the video audio and quality is annoying. The crowd laughter and applause is louder than the actual speakers and it’s hard to hear when they start up laughing etc.

    • Ed says:

      I think it is great to have the streaming. Bernews is an independent news organizations and the bandwidth isn’t free (hence the ads). I would rather have a few ads and less than perfect microphone positioning than have to put up with only the coverage that the rich ‘establishment’ thinks we should have.

      • Nicki says:

        I understand that and I agree but it’s a discussion, I’d like to hear what Ewart Brown is saying and when the only thing you hear is the crowd laughing and applauding it’s annoying. I think it’s great too though. Bernews is much ahead of others and always up to date so again I still love bernews.

        • Axion says:

          Ok…well take Bernews out of the picture and you have no feed. You could’ve always just watched the Royal Gazette live feed which missed half the points of the meeting…

          Be happy with the super loud claps and annoying ads. I’m deaf too. Deal with it..

        • bernews says:

          Honestly speaking, if anyone has troubles with the ads, best to plan not to visit in future as we will have many more on down the road.

          All staff went without pay for 6 months, worked completely free to build the site, and we couldn’t continue, how many could work free forever?

          Only way for Bernews to make money is ads. To stay alive we need to have them. I would rather go ad free myself and have the site look all chic, but I would starve to death if I did so :-)

          Patricia

  3. Orion says:

    Despite a few technical glitches, you provided terrific coverage of tonight’s meeting. Thank you so much for your efforts! Was as good as being there — and certainly a lot more convenient.

  4. Truth says:

    Great work Bernews! What a nice alternative.

    As far as the discussion goes, I only caught the last hour but I have to say, perspective is an amazing thing. Its remarkable how two people can assess one decision and have such strong opposing reactions. That’s not a bad thing at all but I do wish that Bermuda can mature with respect to how we deal with those differences.

  5. Rockfish#2 says:

    It would have been better without a live audience, as Brown was clearly playing to them. eg. the reference to not staying at the Motel 6 (audience hooting and laughing)was meant to avoid answering questions regarding staying at luxurious hotels etc. It was more like a comedy than a serious Q and A session.
    Unfortunately, we learned nothing but how to evade and spin.

    • ronnie j says:

      Would have been better if the press didn’t get sucked into Ewarts sad attempt at image massaging. From L Furbert ( really!!! ) to the moderator to the overt personal support in the audience, it was simply a useless exercise.What did we learn?????

      Streaming aside, it was a non event…

  6. sm says:

    Well, I had suspected that watching it would just make me angry, and it would appear I was right. He’s still disrespectful to the press, and by extension anyone who does have serious, valid concerns about his policies, and he’s still skilled at manipulating his image. Good riddance, not soon enough.

    • ronnie j says:

      Why watch it when you know it was simply going to be spin, without substance and more of the same???

      Ewart will soon be gone, his legacy not soon forgotten , given the negative residuals, however we need to get on with the business of ensuring that this shocking and destructive period is never repeated..

      My only parting shot being not understanding how so many people of colour support this guy when they ( nor the country) have never benefitted from his friends and family policies..This makes the outpouring of support last night so perplexing when he touched on radically charged matters. Ewart only speaks like a radical… He is a capitalist in radical garb. He says ” Right On ” to the brothas/ sistas and Tabon to his chosen contractors…

      Black people, we’ve been had, hoodwinked by a master… LOL

      • sm says:

        I should have clarified: I didn’t watch/listen, but it’s what I’ve gathered from the various pieces I’ve read about it.
        As for the rest, I’ll not argue with you there..

  7. Jermaine says:

    Nice to hear words from his mouth. I love when he puts Royal Gazette in their place. They have for too long been biased spin doctors who support one side of the community. Say what you want he has accomplished a lot. His combative style is not liked by some. But others respect his ability to talk frankly and eloquently and the fact that he stands up to The Royal Gazette and other detractors is only a bonus in my eyes. Whilst he has not been perfect, he has been made hard decisions and lived with the ramifications. I can respect that.

    • d hunte says:

      While I am no supporter of the RG, they can’t be blamed for questioning the dubious manner in which Ewart has managed yours and my money for the past few years. His so called accomplishments have resulted in our debt rising to levels that are worrying, to say the least. That is not the work of an accomplished business leader.

      His combative style is self serving and simply camouflage. He ask us black folk to rally behind him to ensure that he is afforded the opportunity to advance our station in life. He harkens back to his days as a black activist to ensure that we put on our dark shades and dashiki’s to defend the black cause. Unfortunately the only interst he has is his own, however, I have to give him serious props for knowing how to manipulate our senses. He knows how gullible we are and he has played us comprehensively. Heck, after leaving us near financial ruin, we are still defending him.

      Spin and Ewart are kissing cousins and as for talking frankly, wouldn’t you much prefer honesty and transparency? Further, we place way to much emphasis on eloquent speech. It is past time that we had less eloquence and more ethics, less arrogamce and more leadeship, less flash and more substance.

  8. Emelita v johnson says:

    Interesting comments so far. I would like to briefly address the issue of hotel accommodations. It’s the way we have done it BEFORE politics and no doubt after. With regards to nothing being accomplished those ferries my friends took to dockyard on their visit to your island was a mirage. My elderly aunt does not know it yet but, after the Premier leaves, she is going to be billed retroactively for land tax and auto registration. I could go on but why bother. Progress has been made and when you collectively begin to rise and prepare daily menus containing positive nourishment only then will your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health rid itself of the curable disease, chronic negativity.