[Updated] Today, Minister Glenn Blakeney responded to last week’s OBA press conference by noting that the OBA’s Nandi Davis “had her facts wrong” and questioned why she was “unable to field simple questions from reporters.”
“I was shocked to watch that press conference and when the first question was asked, she turned back to Bob Richards for help,” noted Minister Blakeney. ”Then, when the second question was asked, she also looked perplexed and Bob said, ‘I don’t want to take over these press conferences.’”
“Even in her prepared remarks, Ms. Davis got it wrong. We’ve expanded our prevention strategy at the Middle School level and the Sunshine League noted that while government funds remained steady, they saw a decrease in support from the private sector. Given this reality, it’s surprising that Ms. Davis didn’t address her concerns to major potential private sector donors.
Last week’s OBA press conference:
Minister Blakeney continued: “Mirrors just graduated another successful class. It’s telling that the OBA would criticize the PLP for not expanding Mirrors even further when it was the PLP that introduced the programme!
Minister Blakeney took “great exception” to Ms. Davis’ remarks about the Mirrors Programme and reminds the public that Mirrors is still very strong, citing the recent graduation of yet another cohort.
A statement from the PLP said: “The OBA also touts another deliberately false and untrue statement, suggesting that the Sunshine League closed as a result of their reduced Government Grant. The truth is that the Sunshine League Board of Trustees had determined they were closing before they even knew that their grant would be reduced.
“The primary reason cited was the major difficulty they had with securing private sector funding support and that they did not want to continue operating as a 24-hour residential facility.”
Update 8.11pm: OBA Leader Craig Cannonier said: “Mr. Blakeney isn’t going to win the election by bullying our female candidates. That might work in less tolerant societies, but I doubt people here will appreciate it at all.
“Nandi Davis did a great job during that press conference. At the end of a statement that took 10 ten minutes or so to deliver, she had the good sense, when she was unable to answer a question, to turn to an expert instead of trying to dodge or make something up.
“That’s exactly what she should have done. The question was about the extent of private sector debt, something no one would expect a politician who was not also an economist, like Mr. Richards, to know anything about.
“And there was nothing wrong with the statement Ms Davis read from. She did not say, as Mr. Blakeney would have us believe, that the reduction of Government’s grants directly affected charities so that they closed as a result. However their grants were reduced and they did close. Mr. Blakeney cannot deny there was a connection.
“Ms Davis spent her time in front of the microphones (the interview can be seen in full on Bernews) talking about the horrendous debt the Government has run up. Can Mr. Blakeney tell us she got that wrong?
“Has he anything to say about his part in creating the debt? Can he tell us what the Government will do to get us out of the hole? We doubt he has anything to say on that point. We believe Bermuda doubts it, too,” concluded Mr Cannonier.
Update 10.36pm: A PLP spokesperson said:”This has nothing to do with gender, this is about performance. We are the party that is led by a woman and has placed several women in leadership and Ministerial positions. Can the OBA say the same about their leadership?
“We hope that Mr. Cannonier will encourage Ms. Davis to accept the debate challenge that Mrs. Renee Ming has offered up and allow the people of constituency #2 to determine who is best prepared to represent their interests in the House of Assembly”