“Resist Temptation To Politicise Gov. Property”

November 26, 2012 | 29 Comments

“With the general election in full gear there is a need for me to call for greater discretion by political entities – in this instance the PLP and OBA campaign teams – to resist the temptation to politicise government property and by extension place government workers and their clients in an untenable position,” said Independent MP Kim Swan.

Mr Swan continued: “In the absence of sufficient regulations and needed code of conduct governing politics outside of election day, it is important to point out a few do and don’t scenarios for the protection of government services, the staff and their clients.

“In recent weeks we have seen the OBA correctly criticised by the PLP for placing posters in government bus stops but on the flip side we have the PLP launching a political campaign on the grounds of a government residential care seniors facility [Sylvia Richardson in St. George's] and using public schools for political rallies.

“Additionally, there are several residential care facilities, hospitals and government funded treatment facilities – Sylvia Richardson, Lefroy House, KEMH, Gulfstream, MAWI and others – which should not be used as political instruments and access should be invited to all political candidates irrespective of political affiliation.

“While there are offenses listed in the Parliamentary Election Act 1978 to cover: Undue influence; Bribery; Secrecy during and after poll; Misconduct at parliamentary election; Prohibition of offensive weapons or propaganda apparatus on polling day.

“These offenses relate specifically to election day and save and except for broadcast regulation, there is a void of rules and regulations governing political behaviour in the lead up to an election.

“When it comes to the lead up to general elections in Bermuda, especially during the writ period, there are areas that need clear rules, regulations and modernization such as:  Code of Conduct for parliamentarians and approved candidates; Campaign Finance Regulations; Rules for the establishment, operation and dissolution of political parties; Annual publication of financial statements by political parties consolidated with their respective branches.

“Modernising the rules governing politics and its participants is necessary and long overdue, but in the absence of these rules we ask all those participating in this election to act responsibly,” concluded Mr Swan.

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  1. Charles Swan: Time Is Ripe For Electoral Reform | Bernews.com | November 28, 2012
  1. Concerned says:

    I remember when the PLP used Bethel A.M.E. Church to announce their Candidate for that area and the Presiding Elder Rev. Malcom Eve who was Pastor at that time sure set them straight about it.

    Zane DeSilva should not have been allowed to speak as he did at the Sylvia Richardson Seniors Home in St. George's or any other Government operated Senior's facility, perhaps most of the residents aren't able to vote, some probably can't remember who is who and the rest are fair game to his and other's confusion.

    Want to talk politics take it to the Aquarium and blow bubbles with de fishes.

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  2. Hmmmmm says:

    Kim, don't be so bloody ridiculous. So where should a press conference highlighting the importance of the Government's record on helping seniors be held ? Sylvia Richardson Seniors Home didn't happen by accident. It is concrete proof of a point the Government wishes to make as part of their campaign. If the OBA could find a venue that suited their purpose I would expect for them to use it too. This is an election campaign not Sunday School. Incumbency has its advantages. Taken to its logical extension, Barack Obama shouldn't have flown to campaign on Air Force One. Its the power of the incumbency at work. This is democracy, like it or not.If we prevent political events from happening at schools or other areas that receive Government funding then it will leave nowhere for them to be held.Campaigns all over the world use various venues and backdrops to illustrate the political message of the moment. What an ignorant statement to issue.

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    • Zombie Apocalypse says:

      But it wasn't a Government press conference. It was a PLP rally, with PLP flags and banners. You don't it when the OBA talks advertising in government bus shelters because there's a 'rule' about not advertising on government property, but when the shoe is on the other foot you squeak like a drowning rat.

      "Incumbency has its advantages". No, it doesn't. The law applies to both sides equally. One side is sticking to the rules and the law, and the other side is treating us like fools.

      You're a bunch of hypocrites and liars.

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      • More Confused says:

        @ Hmmmmmmm.

        PLP = Political Party
        Government = Government

        In democraccies the two are separate. The Political Party sets policy and Government carries it out. Bermuda is no different, except the PLP have deliberately clouded the issue to mean one and the same.

        Zane DeSilva could have held a press conference as Minister of Health. There would be no political flags, green cloth or anything to identfy the PLP. Instead he held it as an election campaign rally.

        The same applies to the use of GP cars for political party or personal use. This is against the rules but like many rules and laws are routinely ignored.

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      • Hmmmmm says:

        Breathe in between your hate and think about this for a moment. Why would the OBA want to have a press conference at Sylvia Richardson, or the Lamb-Foggo Clinic, or the new Police Station, or the bus terminal...get the drift....their political aims are not satisfied by featuring somewhere that's working. For the record, I have no issue with any political advertising in bus shelters or anywhere else for that matter. Every other country on the planet has it so why are we so special? Those rules date from a time when you weren't supposed to mention politics and everyone knew through gerrymandering who would win anyway. Things have changed and people should have yard signs, posters, buttons...anything they like. But to suggest that because something is a government-run or funded facility and so its exempt from politics is nonsense. If the OBA were smart they'd take a leaf from the PLP's book and get out from behind that dreadful no-modesty podium and sterile HQ press centre and get some real people in the frame for a change.Breathe.

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        • More Confused says:

          Calm down and chill. When the OBA put up their perfectly legal posters in the bus shelters the PLP had them ripped out. Then the PLP held their rally at Sylvia Richardson.

          Do you see the hypocrisy?

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          • Hmmmmm says:

            I keep forgetting how immature Bermuda is politically. I'm done. Folks you need to get out more; these special little nuances that apply only in Bermuda politics are just tragic and make us look just dumb.This Government built the Sylvia Richardson facility; are they supposed to pretend it doesn't exist to satisfy the niceities of what "When Voices Rise" called our "polite society" ?! Of course not. This is a political campaign people......just like that one picture of the dock features in every single article everytime its mentioned; well I expect the Government to push their achievements in our faces just like the OBA has a responsibility to push their failures.I'm done on this one. This lack of political acumen is just scary.

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        • Rick Rock says:

          "For the record, I have no issue with any political advertising in bus shelters or anywhere else for that matter." Well, how convenient for you. Your PLP government however DOES have a problem with it. Hence the blatant hypocrisy we're seeing (and which you aren't).

          Why don't you 'breathe in between your hate and think about this for a moment'.

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        • Concerned says:

          Please please please why is Bermuda being compared to other countries constantly. Compare Bermuda with Bermuda - records from 1998 til present, compare racist comments from time until today - the only people racist are those that are living in the past and holding on to the tentacles of the whip which should be rotten by now. Stop using the laws for the PLP's good/evil and use them for the good of the PEOPLE - all of the People, for the PEOPLE, with the PEOPLE in mind -not your selves (Gov't and those alike). So fed up!!

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      • Question? says:

        Is the OBA having a rally?

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    • argosy says:

      "Incumbency has its advantages".

      Yeah we know. The rules do not apply to us because we are the incumbents. Now where have we heard that before? It's been their swan song sonce Nov 1998 and it's time to let the fat lady sing a different tune!

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  3. terry says:

    Hmmmmmmmmmmm
    Ali Akba.

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  4. Liars says:

    Traitor

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  5. Errin Butterfield says:

    When are you joining the OBA Kim? Does it depend on if they win the election or not? Or you joining in the future regardless?

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  6. Triangle Drifter says:

    Here's an idea... How about having set date, set term, set budget elections.

    Set budget you wonder? Yes, each party is only permitted to spend a set amount on its campaigne. A representative from each will audit the others spending to make sure one does not spend more than the other.

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  7. SMH says:

    Kim I agree with you about putting employees in the middle of an election. I don't like it one bit. There are quite a few Government workers that give all they can and enjoy their job; and then there are some that are just there.

    But to put a of them in the same basket and make an issue out of something that was done in a department and fault the entire Government Working Body is just shameful.

    When you do this is make them feel as if the late nights weekends and early morning at for naught. ( and there are quite a lot that work weekends nights and early morning)

    With out them all of the Governemmt necessities and wanna haves we enjoy would not be possible. Yes they get paid for it, but we still need them to do it and do it well, without feel like they could become the next political football or blog beat down.

    Go after the parties and the policies and leave the employees alone.

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  8. swing voter says:

    I want 2 items added to either OBA or PLP platforms.

    (1) cut ministerial salary to $1 per year for 2 years

    (2) mandate the Auditor General unlimited dumpster diving privileges

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  9. swing voter says:

    BTW the company that won the retaining wall contract doesn't have heavy equipment so they have to sub contract a large portion of the job to a company that does...now who do you think the minister of W&E and cabinet would recommend .....go f$%%^in figure...after 3 election cycles, bermudians are still so slow to connect the dots

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    • Hmmmmm says:

      Handle this one with care. You all (Bob Richards included) don't know who owns Brown & Co. It ain't Wendell Brown but Martin Brown formerly of Parks. Let's just say he was surprised to get the contract for a number of reasons......mark my words, we'll hear no more about this one now that the OBA have figured out who is involved. It doesn't fit the "friends and family" narrative you all like to pitch. Watch how this one disappears from the discussion. Poof !!

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      • .am says:

        Brown & Co, PSL, P-Tech (and, I assume, SAL and BGA) ..all Wendell Brown.

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        • Hmmmmm says:

          Wrong Brown. If it were Wendell Brown we'd have the "Auditor General/Royal Commission" chorus striking up in the background with Pat Ferguson and Kevin Comeau as the romantic soprano and tenor leads. This story will go no further because of the hue and ilk of he who got this contract. Improper or not. Watch.

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  10. Familiar says:

    Personally, I don't care where they choose to do things, so long as all parties and independents have the same freedoms. Equality. How hard is this for us to understand?

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  11. Zombie Apocalypse says:

    Here's a quote from the PLP, in October 2012:

    "Allowing advertising on government property sets a dangerous precedent. When the PLP was offered, we turned it down as we believe it's highly inappropriate to have political advertising on government property. We believe that this is a common sense position and have no intention of splashing political advertising on government property. We challenge the OBA to abide by the important precedent that government property is no place for partisan politics.
    "The OBA crossing this line is very dangerous. Today, politics in government bus shelters. Tomorrow, who knows what! This is a very slippery and dangerous path that the OBA would have for our country. Bermuda needs to steer clear of allowing political messages to appear on government property."

    Interesting how it's all different when the PLP wants to use government property. Hypocrites.

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    • Hmmmmm says:

      Everyday you're name calling, insulting, being nasty and focused on petty stuff is a day you could be figuring out how to communicate your economic recovery plan. That's what people care about. I wonder if these newbie candidates (Nandi, Alexis, Andrew and the gang)really know what a nest of vipers they're in....keep being who you are; we like it that way.

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      • Mad Dawg says:

        How is he 'being nasty'? He quoted a PLP statement. And, rightly, he questioned whether they are bothering to comply with their own stated standards. How is that being 'insulting'?

        If this is 'petty stuff' why does the PLP make such an issue of it? And if it's petty, wouldn't it be easy for the PLP to comply with it?

        Is it really insulting when a PLP statement from 2 months ago is quoted back to you? Wow.

        Why won't you debate the facts, rather than yourself resorting to name-calling?

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      • Zombie Apocalypse says:

        It's a PLP quote. It's very inconvenient for them to say the least, given their actions since, but it's a PLP quote. I'm not sure how that becomes "name calling, insulting, being nasty and focused on petty stuff", unless you're saying you think the original PLP statement was "nasty and focused on petty stuff".

        You don't seem to like losing a debate on the facts.

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    • Triangle Drifter says:

      You don't get out & travel much do you.

      The US elections were just held. Go through any town. Political posters were everywhere. On the property of small business, not so much national chains, on private property & all over the property of the local courthouse on the town square.

      Equally interesting was that the day after the election all of the posters were being removed by those who put them up otherwise they faced littering charges.

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