Opinion Column: ‘PLP, Get Back To The House’

July 16, 2014

[Opinion column written by OBA MP Cole Simons]

In my years in the House of Assembly, I’ve learned a few important things about the working of our Parliament.

The first is the huge responsibility MPs carry into the House each time we meet – to represent the needs and views of the people who elected us and also the people who did not.

The second is the importance of showing up. If you’re not there, you’re not representing the people and you’re not taking care of the people’s business, which is what we were elected to do.

For these reasons, I question whose interests are really being served with the PLP’s boycott of Parliament.

When I first heard that PLP Leader Marc Bean had announced his colleagues would boycott Parliament until the Governor was recalled, I questioned their judgment.

The Governor’s statement on the matter did not reject the idea of an inquiry into historic losses of citizens’ property, rather he was sending back a motion he did not think was workable while suggesting a way to put forward a new one that would.

That’s not a trampling of our rights nor does it make our Parliament a “sham and a farce,” as Mr. Bean says.

PLP leaders chose to ignore the Governor’s suggestion for the House of Assembly to give him “clearer references” on the matter and instead said they would boycott Parliament until Britain recalls the Governor.

Now that’s putting oneself out on a limb. What if Britain ignores Mr. Bean’s demand? Is the PLP going to stay out of the House and the Senate for months? For years?

It seems a climb down is in order.

It was odd in the House last Friday with no Opposition opposite – just empty seats, with the exception of Independent MP Mr. Terry Lister. He expressed disappointment with the “absent Opposition” who should have been there to speak on a Bill affecting civil service pensions “but they’re not here.”

Mr. Lister asked that debate on the Bill be postponed a week in the hope that the Opposition would return with their views, but Finance Minister Bob Richards declined, rightly saying the Government had to get on with the people’s business.

The important point to remember in all of this is that the interests of the people are not being served in the House of Assembly by the PLP’s boycott. In this instance, Parliament is the place where a constructive approach can be worked out to an issue of significant historic and ongoing importance to many Bermudian families – loss of land, displacement of families and loss of generational wealth.

The only way that can happen on this and any other issue is for the Opposition to take their seats.

And here’s what doesn’t make sense to me: PLP leaders are off protesting to protect Bermuda’s democracy while their absence from Parliament prevents them from representing the needs and views of the people they say they represent.

My colleagues in Government would prefer the Opposition to be in the House, in spite of our differing views at time, helping to pass legislation that best reflects the needs of all the people. But that can’t happen if they remain on strike.

To end the boycott and bring some sense back to their ranks, I would urge my colleagues opposite to re-think what they are doing. Get back to the House, get back to the Senate and do what you were elected to do – making progress on the people’s business. There’s nothing more important

- Cole Simons

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Comments (73)

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  1. Smh says:

    Lol @ Cole, it’s a good thing the OBA will only be the Govt for 1 term!!!

    • Anbu says:

      And bermuda will be so much better for it huh? Go lay down u clown. People like u really need to wake up. I hope theres no place for u to go when this island finally sinks under the pee el pee rule. Theyre fighting for bermudian rights?! Dont make laugh. Bermudians my backside lol. Theyre fighting for one type of bermudian but i guess they r the only ones that matter right? Smh

    • sonso says:

      LOL @ you !

    • jt says:

      Good for who?

    • Kunta says:

      Typical House *—- Surrogate !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Peace says:

        If he was not free to give his own opinions, he would join the PLP.

    • Bermyluv says:

      Lord help us if you’re right…

    • Kunta says:

      This guy reminds me of GOOFY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • REAL deal says:

      Cole, you are such a good boy! You carry on for the them so you don’t get a swift kick in your backside but we you’re people won’t forget you could not stand on your 2 feet in the house of assembly and defend our rights, the rights of the people who look like you and your own family who were disenfranchised by the almighty dollar. You should look in the mirror and be ashamed.

      • Double D says:

        You racists are going to sink this island, including your own.

        • LOL (Original TM*) says:

          Thats just it those of us that are Bermudian are his people. Once again a plp supporter has shown their true colours (so to speak)and prove time and again they are not “standing Strong for all Bermudians and that they are not an inclusive party.

          LOL

  2. Anon says:

    I respectfully disagree with Mr. Simons on this as I think the PLP not sitting in parliament would be the best for Bermuda right now as important legislation can finally get done without the PLP soap opera going on

    • Agreed says:

      …the longer the PLP stay away, the better for Bermuda. Also, is the public taxpayer expected to pay the PLP MP salaries while they’re goofing off…

  3. The best advice I can offer them that are hanging off of the shirt tails of the Progressive Labour Party representatives is, “For your own good and the good of your children and their children, please don’t let your heredity distract you from your destiny”
    Yes, negative voices will always play the loudest…You must take of the damaged goods label and learn from the past so it doesn’t repeat itself.

    • Typo: “You must take off the “damaged goods” label and learn from the past so it doesn’t repeat itself”.”

  4. Sandgrownan says:

    Come on Cole..talking common sense….

    Think about it, without those clowns in the House, think bow much you can get done! They’re doing a greater service by not turning up!

  5. aceboy says:

    Urge all you like Cole, it won’t happen.

    Bean et al have an agenda that only includes a Bermuda future under PLP rule. Nothing else will do.

    What you can do, instead of urging Bean etc to do anything, is to organise counter protests and start stomping on the lies and misinformation that the PLP are spinning.

    The PLP *think* they are marching for democracy. A much bigger march supporting real democracy would send a message. I personally think people would jump at the chance to protest all the recent shenanigans that have done nothing but create division in our island.

    • Kangoocar says:

      @aceboy, I totally agree with all your points, but I would like to add one more important point, if this doesn’t make the OBA start the investigations on the previous alleged malfeasance of the plp and publicly hold anyone of them responsible if and when found guilty, then they actually do deserve to be a one time government!!!!! Get on with it OBA!!!!!

      • Dockyard Lackey says:

        I think that investigation is well underway and you will see some activity soon. When challenged by the opposition in the House several weeks ago about proof, Bob Richards replied, “Don’t worry, it’s coming.”
        I think the PLP sense this is imminent, so the best way forward is to pontificate and cause unrest so that when the truth is revealed they will claim it’s all lies and the Government, (We the People), are acting out of revenge for their present day activities.

        • Kangoocar says:

          I do agree with you, Gary Marino about 6 weeks ago said on the nightly news, that an arrest is imminent??? But that was the last I heard as well?? I am sure the plp are in a frenzy over it and will continue to cause disruptions!!! The plp have a long history of putting themselves first and the country and its people a distant second!!! Just unbelievable how their supporters can’t see it????

    • Terry says:

      And that part of operation pressure cooker.
      You will have many whites and a fair amount of blacks that join any march.

      Many blacks will not turn out because of fear for voting OBA.

      Get real.
      Reality is a b.
      Deal with it.

    • ----> @ Aceboy says:

      Good idea – let me know when the March for real democracy, including the holders of PRC’s will be so I can attend. I’ll even volunteer to ‘proof’ any signs for grammatical errors.

  6. Joonya says:

    The PLP are not listening to the Public and to the Government in the sense that priority now is getting our economy (which they broke) back on track with IB relationships and tourism.. much like when they did not listen to the Public and the OBA when told to curb spending, and to plan for rainy days. Once again they do what they want and kick and scream like children when they dont get exactly what they want.

    • hahahah says:

      Looked liek muc hof the public was in the march………….if not them, then who were they??????

      • Barracuda says:

        liek muc hof ? were you in charge of those signs?
        3 percent of the population is not a lot.

      • Come Correct says:

        Much of? Do you know how many people live here? That was basically less than 5% of “the public” and by the looks 98.79% plp supporters. It wasn’t supposed to be a plp rally yet the shirts, signs, flag and chants say otherwise. You can stir peoples emotions but you can’t control them. The true agenda clearly showed its face yesterday.

  7. Creme Brulee says:

    Thank you Cole, let sanity and reason prevail – that’s the only way to get us back up on our feet.

  8. Common Sense says:

    I would like to ask Mr Bean why the PLP did not address this issue during the 14 years they were in power. Please answer this!

    • Concerned says:

      how long are you willing to wait for Marc Bean’s response or any PLP unresponsible person

    • hahahah says:

      Simple minded people I tell you…………..reason being this, different leader equals different views. Its that simple!!

      Let me put it to you like this, the OBA today consists mainly of old ex-UBPers correct? When the UBP was in charge, they did a few underhanded things, correct? Now its the OBA, but under the new banner and new leadership, we all say its a different party with new views so how can it be the same correct? Well, PLP has new leadership and new views, so the 14 years they were in power it was under what, different leadership and different views.

      By your rationale and everyone elses, the OBA is still the underhanded nasty party of the UBP.

  9. Yahoo says:

    Cole might want to come down off his high horse. I’ve lived in his constituency for the past two elections and he has never come by my house. I’ve also seen him at Smith’s Parish Council meetings where he shows up late (so everyone sees him come in), shakes a few hands and then leaves before it is over.

  10. Truth says:

    Well Marc Bean’s tone and speech switched in the end, which sounded like a rally call for a vote for independence from the UK. If he thinks that is what’s wanted by the Bermudian public in 2014 (Black and White people) he’s in for a rude awakening. Especially considering majority of Bermudians in the UK currently taking up welfare would be VERY reluctant to lose that right

    • listen says:

      @truth you are foolish, majority Bermudians are not on benefits in
      uk, when I lived in uk me and my wife had jobs and paid out bills

      • LOL (Original TM*) says:

        Good thing you could get work in the UK then I guess.

        LOL

  11. No ticky no washee……what is availed insurance and social security and pension,are availed to working persons only.

  12. Portia says:

    “The important point to remember in all of this is that the interests of the people are not being served in the House of Assembly by the PLP’s boycott.”

    And what interest was being served on the people’s behalf when the UBP (yourself included) boycotted the first sitting of Parliament and the Throne Speech back in 2000, Mr. Simons? Or is it only laudable when you do it?

    • Double D says:

      I thought that bringing up past transgressions (i.e. the PLP did it too) was childish and only used to deflect. So is it only laudable when you do it?

      And nothing gets debated or passed at a Throne Speech as it does during a session of the House.

      • Portia says:

        Firstly, who are you referring to exactly when you said that bringing up past transgressions was childish? You must have me confused with another poster, because that was not in my comment (past or present).

        Secondly, I did mention in my comment above, that it was not merely the Throne Speech that was boycotted, the UBP also boycotted the first sitting of Parliament, so yes, there would have business discussed/ debated at that session.

    • Sandgrownan says:

      False equivalence, and has already been debunked in a previous thread on the matter. Please do try to keep up.

      • Portia says:

        No, not a false equivalence. Cleverly evaded, yes, but not debunked.

        • Sandgrownan says:

          Er no…the UBP did not boycott. A sitting of The House, during which the people’s business was conducted, but rather a largely ceremonial event where the then Government’s legislative agenda was presented. So, not the same.

        • JD says:

          In 2000 the PLP announced a boundaries commission which would recommend the number of MPS and seats. Crucially the proposal included the right of the Premier to amend the recommendations before they are presented to the House of Assembly. As the House of Assembly was majority PLP at the time this would effectively have given the PLP the power to amend Bermuda’s voting structure in any way they sought fit.

          The UBP boycotted the throne speech and first day of parliament in protest of this.

          Beyond the fact that both situations involve a boycott by a political party, please explain to me how these two situations are similar.

          Oh and save the BS about “it’s a challenge to our democratic process” – the Governor asked for the PLP to provide more clarity on the terms of the commission including crucially who is going to pay for it? God knows if there’s something we learned over the past 14 years it’s that the PLP thinks that money just grows on trees.

          This whole farce is the equivalent of a twelve year old getting an F on a history paper, being given the opportunity to go to the library and research some more facts, and instead choosing to refuse to go to class until the teacher gives them an A.

          But of course we all now know that this is not about the descendants of the victims of the compulsory purchases, this is all about politics and the independence debate, and its simply shameful that these people are being used to further a political agenda.

          • hahahah says:

            So exactly what was in the document that the PLP gave to the govenor? How do any of us know whether or not it was or was not enough information for him?? Answer is none of us know. We are simply making a judgement call on whether you like or dislike the PLP. According to the PLP, the document was justifiable and warranted a protest/march. But, like you and others, you’d rather use opinions to justify the way you think via posting on the net. Point is this, not one of the posters on here, including myself, know exactly what was in the document so we all shoudl reserve our judgement until we can read it for ourselves and then make a rationale and fact based post or rant on the subject.

            • 32n64w says:

              So your vote is for non-transparency and relying on the PLP to do the right thing with a secret document that’s likely filled with untruths and hyperbole? Um, no thanks. We saw firsthand from 2005-12 how well that went (not).

            • JD says:

              Ok – This is a direct quote from the Governor’s statement:

              “I am also conscious that such an inquiry would incur expenditure under the 1935 Act, which does not appear to have been the settled wish of the House, from either side of the debate.

              I note suggestions in the course of the House’s debate that, instead of using the 1935 Act, an inquiry might be established with funding arrangements other than those provided for in the Act proposed in the Motion. This may be possible, but would go both beyond the terms of the House’s Motion and my own powers.”

              Sounds pretty clear to me that the funding was not addressed.

    • Allspice says:

      At the very least in that event the boycott was not open-ended as this one is. The PLP have said that they will stay out until the Governor is recalled and that is frankly an unlikely thing to happen. They could be out for many months, a year, two years, whatever if they stick to their guns. This is ineffectual for the PLP and poor tactics.

      The longer they stay out the more irrelevant they will become, and the less likely they will be to win in an election, a fact of which they are surely aware.

      • Anon says:

        Allspice, but they’re staying out would be the best thing for Bermuda right now. A gift from God!

  13. Oh my…..un represented all sorts of legislative things can be put through without objection from plp…….ooooooooh boy…….who thinks this stuff up? Dum and dummah?

  14. Another excuse to get out and about ,couldn’t march till after five cause employers refuse to pay for people not doing their jobs…and quite frankly….in this economy….it is completely understandable……I wonder if the people who uttered racial slurs know their employers can see them saying these terrible things…

  15. swing voter says:

    Irresponsible and emotional. who needs overpaid MPs with those credentials? Who voted for that lot? How can a few hundred ill-informed 4th generation victims with anecdotal evidence be led astray so easily? Whitehall and the FCO won’t address this without documented evidence….anyone remember the petition against down-town Brown? It went no-where without the actual evidence.

  16. Crab Mentality says:

    I admire Marc Bean’s passion and persistence. Thing is, I wonder if he realizes the effect of his actions for the coming generations. He is making his story a national history…Thank you Marc for the “crab mentality”!

  17. Fred says:

    Please PLP… continue the boycott ! Forever. Please

  18. campervan says:

    Maybe the tax-paying working class folk of the UK should march up Pall Mall and protest their hard earned tax dollars being given to Bermudian interests in the form of subsidised education, welfare, relocation of gang bangers etc to Bermuda citizens who don’t pay a penny into the communal pot.
    sounds like cheating to me.

    • swing voter says:

      did you consider the costs associated with running Govt. House? It works both ways M8. Bottom line is the over emotionalism won’t get us nowhere. The PLP and organized religion one in the same….I call it ‘willful’ brainwashing.

  19. cromwell says:

    Disrespect for this Parliament seems rampant until the Speaker or some one restores order and the rules to the House.

    I would recommend to MP Simmons he refreshes his memory of the Bermuda Constitutional Order Section31 (D)about sitting MP’s “….absent for a period prescribed in the rules and procedures of the house…

    He and his colleagues can sort out those PLP who are not taking their seats that they can be shown the door to a bi-election!

    Once the PLP smell that possibility they will be back in their seats like children waiting their dessert.

  20. truth be told says:

    Here’s another PUBLIC OPINION:-

    plp….DISBAND!
    after speaking to many friends and friends of friends over the last few days,the general opinion is that the plp are no good for Bermuda and should disband.

  21. newman says:

    the PLP should be an essential service.

  22. Beware says:

    Who need`s the plp in the House anyway, they are a bunch of school children! I agree “truth be told” Disband PLP your useless !

  23. Triangle Drifter says:

    As nice as it would be for the PLP to boycott The House, without pay of course, an Opposition needs to be there. Too bad the PLP is not a mature responsible Opposition.

    Oh well, The House is about to rise for the summer break so what the PLP does matters little anyway.

  24. not tt says:

    I sometimes wonder who writes these opinion pieces for the OBA. I note they always seem to have certain people standing in to say they wrote it. A scapegoat so to speak.

  25. Dragon says:

    Please Mr.Simons,encourage the PLP to stay away from The House. They are only interested in stopping good legislation.

    • drunken ursula says:

      what that boy actually has something to say after all these years in parliament…this time I will tell you Cole shut up’

  26. Real says:

    Hope there not getting paid for sitting out!

  27. Alvin Williams says:

    No need to go to parliament PLP ; let the hollow words of this anti-Bermudian OBA government echo off the walls of a thoroughly useless political insitution as we continue to circle the walls of this OBA government until it crumbles into the dust to be swept up and consign into the dust bin of history.

    • BlueFamiliar says:

      You really have an interesting view of the world, Mr. Williams.

    • Sandgrownan says:

      You off your meds again?

  28. JH says:

    Fact is, the PLP has attached itself to several emotive issues of late – and this just happens to be the one that has taken hold. The fact that it is ‘land grab’ and not ‘PRCs’ or ‘jobs for Bermudians’ etc is completely irrelevant.

    If ‘free St Pauly for people’ had been the thing that caught on, they’d still be supporting it. In fact I’d be there!

  29. PANGAEA says:

    I wonder just how many people do not vote.” Why bother” they say! is it because they believe that they will not get?

    “WE THE PEOPLE ”

    Politicians, only knock on our doors just before the election and we never see them again, because they don’t want to listen to the discontent, frustration and anger.

    You can read about it in Bernews or hear it on the radio, is that the way to manage a country ? Town Hall’s are out of the question ,that is where Politicians come face to face reality.

    When it all goes wrong, you will get the blame. “SCAPEGOAT” will not work this time.

    Have we been told vote for the “lesser of two evils” ? is that the what is is supposed to be ? You often hear Oh ! we are here to do the peoples business and all we see and hear is arguing amongst your selves and political mud slinging.

    You have ears but you can’t see.

    Gentlemen that is not good enough,we all deserve better. Stop it, before it get out of hand. Go for a drive in your Mercedes and cool off.

    • BlueFamiliar says:

      Just a note: When a representative is elected to do the work the people want, they end up with a lot more work to do than pre-election style campaigning (ie door to door), that said, some elected reps are still accessible to the public.

      I’m sorry that your rep isn’t one of them.