Opinion Column: ‘Separate The Fact From Fiction’

January 7, 2015

pat_pamplin OBA 23[Opinion column written by Minister Patricia Gordon Pamplin]

Two years into the OBA’s first term as Government, the green shoots of economic recovery are starting to show. After almost six years of non-stop economic doldrums, business closures and job losses, Bermuda’s economy has recorded growth, businesses incorporations have increased, hotel developments are poised to begin and we will host the America’s Cup finals in 2017.

Despite these hopeful signs, the opposition pours cold water on the progress being made and fills the media, airwaves, and online commentary with mischievous misinformation.

They take quotes out of context, make assumptions lacking any credibility and portray anecdotal stories as fact, all in their attempt to portray the OBA as a party that is only interested in big business and promoting the interests of a select, rich few at the expense of struggling Bermudians.

A few recent examples will illustrate this calculated and sustained opposition effort to undermine the Government and sow doubt in the minds of Bermudians.

The Opposition claimed that I had my roof repaired by Public Works staff. Not true. In fact, my roof is still not repaired and every time it rains water pours in.

An Opposition member erroneously claimed in the Senate that a principal of the Desarrollos Hotelco Group, which will develop the Club Med site, had been convicted and jailed for participating in a Ponzi scheme. The Senator later withdrew his accusation, perhaps because he knew the offended party had instructed local counsel to sue him if he didn’t.

The Opposition claimed 115 men had been locked up during the past two years for non-payment of debts. The truth is that the number of persons incarcerated for debt-related issues is the lowest it has been in 10 years – 10 people in 2014 compared to 158 in 2004.

Debtors are not imprisoned for being unable to settle their debts, they are imprisoned for contempt of court, examples of which could be not showing up for a scheduled court appearance or deliberately refusing to pay a debt when they have the ability to do so.

On the proposed building of a new airport, the Opposition claims the Government is giving away a billion dollars in future revenue to a foreign developer and privatising the operations. These are fabricated claims seemingly designed to distract the public from their failed attempts to build a new airport during their 14 years in Government.

The truth, as has been repeatedly outlined by the Minister of Finance, is that while the financial details are still being worked out, any speculation is simply a distraction from what we are aiming to achieve – a new airport, jobs for Bermudians and no further debt added to our already overstrained treasury.

Opposition Leader Marc Bean accosted and subjected an OBA member to a misogynistic verbal attack, denied he did so but later confirmed he had done so in a message to his colleagues.

He later continued his sexist insinuations on talk radio and neither he nor his colleagues have apologised or distanced themselves from these attacks – thereby condoning such behaviours as acceptable to Opposition members.

Each week in the House of Assembly, Opposition members trot out a laundry list of the same old attacks. And each week they are refuted with the facts by Government members.

It’s easy to say the Opposition simply don’t know what the facts are. But over and over and over again? That is surely a calculated attempt to gain political advantage by misinforming the public.

The problem is, these false claims which are reported and available online for the world to see, undermine the Government’s efforts to attract foreign investment and get our economy back on track.

Scaring away foreign investment means fewer jobs for Bermudians – the very people the Opposition claim to represent. They are, in effect, cutting off our noses to spite our faces.

Will the Opposition find reasons to attack the America’s Cup and explain how it is bad for Bermuda and Bermudians? We wait with bated breath!

Certainly it is the Opposition’s responsibility to constructively criticise Government policies and legislative agenda. However, this should be done in a well-researched and rational manner rather than simply throwing mud in the hope that some of it will stick.

The Government will always challenge the Opposition’s falsehoods. The public should do likewise. Be suspicious of the Opposition’s charges. Separate the fact from fiction.

- Patricia Gordon Pamplin

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Comments (19)

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  1. SMH says:

    …and don’t forgot the resounding silence by the opposition and the People’s Campaign when the auditor’s report about the $20M (500%) cost over runs at Port Royal. Ironic to say the least. I also can’t wait to hear all their uproar when the yet to be released auditors report on the cost over runs on Heritage Wharf come out. They will be crying for heads to roll, demand resignation and claim it is a slap in the face and an insult to ALL Bermudians…..it will be interesting to see indeed if they man up this time and really stand for what’s right for Bermuda and Bermudians and not just the PLP and BIU and their elite who desperately want back at the trough.

  2. not surprised says:

    LMAO!

    “The problem is, these false claims which are reported and available online for the world to see, undermine the Government’s efforts to attract foreign investment and get our economy back on track.”

    Really Minister Gordon – and what did you do from 1998-2012.

    It’s funny how the OBA say the plp make things up when their old premier had to resign in disgrace. It’s funny how the OBA say the plp make things up when Business are CLOSING not opening!

    Come on OBA, we all know you are getting ready for a snap election, but all these OpEds saying the exact same thing smack of desperation!

    • Lois Frederick says:

      “we all know you are getting ready for a snap election”, who says? They need the full term to turn things around. You seem to be impressed by their accomplishments to assume a snap election is looming. Don’t hold your breath, just observe carefully how a group can take grip of an economy in free fall and rescue it. Then vote for the best party to run Bermuda’s affairs for the next 5 years.

    • PBanks says:

      While the PLP would love the idea of a snap election, there’s not enough (if any) discord within the OBA to force their hand.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      If we had a mature voting population, a population that votes on performance & issues rather than emotion & the colour of skin, right now would be a great time to have a snap election. The OBA seems to have stopped the PLP train wreck just before it went over the edge & into the abyss.

      Anywhere that has a mature voter would see a real landslide victory for the OBA, based on performance so far & into the future.

      However, Bermuda is another world. The voters are not known for casting votes on performance or issues. It is all about catchy slogans, flags & free food.

      • Independent says:

        @ Triangle Drifter,

        You are a special person. If we had a mature voting population lmao.

        You just don’t like the fact people don’t see things your way.

        You sound like a spoiled brat in most of your post (you think people don’t know what you mean by free food?).

        Keep typing your comments behind that desk, because you will never be man or woman enough to say it publicly!

        Fact!!

        • Hmmm says:

          When did you publicly stand up and say your thoughts?

      • Truth Teller says:

        You know I agree with Triangle Drifter when he says that if we had a white population that did not vote always for the “white dominated” party, we would then have a more mature electorate.

        I am sure that Drifter would agree that if only the white community emulated the black community and were more diverse in their political choices Bermuda would really be an example to the world.

        If only…

        Thanks for reminding us Triangle Drifter…

        • Lois Frederick says:

          It is the PLP that needs to at least make an attempt not to alienate the white voting population. It is in their own interests to do that. With support from the white population they stand a better chance of winning. As it is they continue to turn white voters away. Just look at the stats. It could only have been a calculated move thinking that they didn’t need the white support, which backfired last time round. My hope is that as the voting patterns change with the new PRC status holders, the PLP will realise they must change in order to ever win again. In doing so they will have to moderate their tone and appeal to others and that will be a a step in the maturation of Bermuda’s political landscape.

  3. Local Music Lover says:

    I read this Op Ed – - and I am saddened by the lack of insight by Minister Pamplin. This piece is fraught with the same level of dissent and negativity displayed by the Opposition. Her counterclaims against the Opposition are all baseless and subjective. Namely, her claim against the Opposition Senate Leader is a prime example of this – she states that he withdrew his comment and then “proposes” the why? She is so busy trying to paint a negative slant on the situation that the truth is unimportant.

    This Government (this includes both parties) is full of negative, self-centered, and destructive people – - and I believe they all need to go.

    • SMH says:

      Sorry but I completely and utterly disagree. The opposition is constantly making false statements and lying to voters and need to be called out on it over and over until people actually get it. Why was there no uproar over the $20Million (500%) overspend on Port Royal? The misogynistic rants by Marc Bean? Are those OK with you because they sure aren’t to me!

  4. stunned... says:

    i’m stunned there are so many people who refuse to read, educate themselves, analyze and critique matters with their own reasoning but would prefer be to spoonfed misinformation…yep it’s the same people with those poorly spelled placards, those shouting over a presentation that was meant to inform them…same ones.

  5. Vote for Me says:

    These OpEds are clearly not always written by those who they are attributed to.

    In this instance, Minister Pamplin Gordon does herself a disservice by allowing her name to be ‘assigned’ to the OpEd since her normal particiapation in HOA debates shows that she is more substantive and insightful than this OpEd infers.

  6. SMH2 says:

    I think it’s time for the OBA to start playing the PLP at their own game. Stop trying to defend yourselves (there clearly is no point, and you are only breathing additional life into the misinformation by repeating it) and lob some succinct comments and criticisms back!! As you well know, mud sticks.

  7. Kangoocar says:

    So, in a nut shell, the plp lied prefusley over their last 8 yr reign of terror, and they continue to lie up until today!!!! A liar is always a liar!!!!!

    • Independent says:

      @Kangoocar,

      If a liar is always a liar, the OBA must be liars too right?

      I quote ” A liar is always a liar!!!”

      • Kangoocar says:

        @independent, I see the lights are on at Alaska Hall tonight?? One can only assume the special tea and brownies are being served?? You lot are pathetic, all one has to see is the mass dislikes to those that actually tell the truth and the many likes to those that post nonsense!!! Do I really have to bring to your attention the MANY lies your plp did??? Ok, I will give you a few!!!
        1: we are knocking down the Club Med Hotel because development is imminent???
        2: we are building the Grand Atlantic Condos because WE have 100′s of interested buyers?? One sold??
        3: we are renovating Port Royal at a cost $4 million??? $20 million later???
        4 we are building Heritage Warf at a cost of $36 million??? $35 million later and??? The OBA had to put it right???
        5: we are putting policies in place to ensure Bermudians have first choice in any job they want??? 5000+ foriengers flee and we end up with over 3000 unemployed Bermudians???
        6: we are going to ensure Bermudians have first choice in any house they want to buy, so we will require all those Bermudians that are married to a foreigner to purchase a liscense to OWN a home in their own country!!! Net result real estate prices plummet and Many more Bermudians are seriously hurt financially and can no longer make their morgage payments!!!
        7: quote from the cog leading up to the last election when asked how our economy/financial situation is??? ” I think we are doing just fine ”
        Do I really need to go on about the lies of the plp??? These were all lies that hurt EVERY Bermudian big time!!! Care to list any of your perceived lies the OBA have said that has HURT Bermudians anywhere near the amount you plp did?????

      • RockWatcher says:

        OBA is SAVING his country from them HATERS

  8. Axlerod says:

    Nothing has changed since the election. Bermuda still borrowing $260 mil a year, debt pile growing higher. country will run out of money in 18 months. Snap election will be called – OBA needs mandate to borrow another $800 mil that we need to run the bloated government, and pay back the debt coming due by 2018. Bermudians are screwed!

    OBA, PLP, does not matter who is in power…..bottom line is BDA government controlled by civil servants and vested interest business class who simply can’t bare the thought of cutting spending and getting to a smaller sustainable government. Hurts their pockets….so we keep borrowing.

    No growth no time soon. Many re-insurance companies will go out of business next year or soon their after as too much capital at too low rates is a disaster for the industry. unemployment still too high for the economy to grow. Birth rate has collapsed pushing population growth rate to near zero. Disaster for economic growth potential.

    OBA too afraid to ask HSBC to move on and let the the economy refloat….and ….too afraid of independence to move the country forward. Final nail in coffin is CUBA. Americans will floc there in droves….killing whats left of Bermuda and Bahamas tourism. BTA is a scam…resurecting same strategies that were in place for the last 25 years is not genius. I want my money back Bill…you sir are over paid!!