[Updated] “The Government’s proposed ‘debate’ on the idea of an Equality Act is just another example of an ‘all talk, no action’ government,” said Senator Toni Daniels, Shadow Minister for Youth Affairs and Family.
Senator Daniels continued: “Its proposal demonstrates a serious failure to lead on an issue of fundamental importance: Are we a society that will allow discrimination – in any form – to remain on its books?
“The OBA is committed to removing all forms of discrimination, as our leader Craig Cannonier said in The Reply to the Speech from the Throne last November:
“We will not leave anyone behind. We will eliminate all forms of discrimination. We will end the politics of division and show Bermuda there is a better way. That is where our future lies.”
“If the Government truly believed in a society without any vestige of discrimination on its books it would have brought forward legislation proposing real equality for all.
“Instead, it has proposed a talkfest without making a commitment. Its ‘take note’ motion for the House of Assembly is an exercise in avoidance and a sham. Imagine legislators of Bermuda being asked to debate whether citizens of Bermuda should be treated equally. Really? Are they serious?
“It says to us the Government has put internal political calculation ahead of moral imperatives,” continued Senator Daniels.
“Instead of bringing forward actual legislation to make this a more fair and equitable society, they are proposing a debate for consensus on a fundamental issue. It is a dodge and an outright failure to do the right thing and lead by example.
“We challenge the Government to bring forward an Equality Bill that reveals its intentions. And we urge the Press to press the Premier and her colleagues on this matter. Why not move an Equality Bill? The Government will get its ‘consensus’ when MPs vote on the Bill. Stop playing games.
“It is unacceptable that a country such as Bermuda, with its history, should have any form of discrimination on its books. This is not about endorsing any kind of lifestyle. This is about making sure Bermuda has learned from its history to build a model society that enables all of us to live together as equals,” concluded Senator Daniels.
Update 9.04am: A PLP spokesperson said, “Where have the OBA been on the issue. Nowhere, besides being missing in action until the Minister Blakeney decides to move forward in bringing the matter front and centre via the “Take Note” motion that was tabled on Friday June 29th.
“So now they obviously feel the need to respond so as to give the impression that the issue is something that they are committed to. Well let’s hear what they have to say during the debate. We believe that matters of fairness and equality are serious issues that are worthy of discussion in the community and the House of Assembly.
“The PLP has been consistently committed to making amendments to protect the rights of all members of our society during its tenure. If the OBA doesn’t want to debate the motion, they are fully within their rights to stay silent during the debate.
“However, the PLP supports the Minister’s move to give Bermudians and their representatives the right to speak on an issue of improving fairness and equality to our island.”
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