Dispute Continues: Premier, Brown & Meeting

March 31, 2015

[Updated] The dispute centered around a meeting with Premier Michael Dunkley and Shadow Minister of Immigration Walton Brown continues, with the Premier saying “all of this underlines my concern that the Opposition is playing political games.”

This follows after last week’s protest at the Cabinet grounds, which saw people make their way into the Senate chamber to protest immigration policies.

Meeting Held

Prior to the protest, a meeting was held involving Premier Michael Dunkley, Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy and Shadow Minister of Immigration Walton Brown, with both sides providing accounts of what transpired in the meeting.

The Premier said that in that meeting “Mr. Brown said he had no problem with the proposed legislation and that he wanted to avoid an escalation in political rhetoric. Yet hours later, he raised the spectre of civil disobedience if the Opposition did not get its way.”

MP Walton Brown’s Comments

Mr Brown then called the Premier’s comments “deliberately misleading,” and said that “the meeting was primarily about the need for collaboration. ”

“As I indicated to the Premier, the proposed immigration legislation provided the lightning rod for the protest. It was clear to me that the Premier and Minister Fahy understood this.

“When speaking specifically about the legislation I said while I think there is great merit in allowing PRC holders to purchase a greater range of properties and avoid a class bias benefiting the wealthy so typical of OBA policies, there were other aspects of the legislation I had grave concerns about.

“When it was clear no commitment to a bi-partisan effort would be announced before the planned start of the protest I indicated the protest would go on as planned.

“The Premier and Minister Fahy did commit to engage in a process with the PLP over the ensuing weeks to see if we could come to an agreement over key principles that would shape a collaborative undertaking. The Premier asked that I begin to set out my views on some key guiding principles. I left the meeting with that clear understanding.

“It is regrettable that the Premier has sought to misrepresent the details of that meeting. I sought the meeting in a genuine effort to resolve an impasse and propose strategy that would calm, not stir the political waters,” continued Mr. Brown.

“For the Premier to engage in feigned, surprised indignation over an act of civil disobedience; for the Premier to falsely claim I supported the legislation; and for the Premier to try to present the meeting as a focus on the proposed legislation, is all very unfortunate,” said Mr. Brown.

Premier Michael Dunkley’s Comments

In response to Mr. Brown’s comments, the Premier said, “Suffice it to say, I have a few concerns with MP Walton Brown’s statement about a meeting he had with me and the Home Affairs Minister last Wednesday on the question of immigration reform and bipartisan collaboration.

“First: Mr. Brown threatened civil disobedience if he doesn’t get his way. The Bermuda Government does not bow to threats. Threats are no way to build the ‘consensus’ Mr. Brown says he wants, and it is this very approach of his that calls into question the credibility of his initiative.

“Second: Mr. Brown said he left the meeting with “no clear commitment to a bi-partisan effort” and yet, in the next sentence, he said the Premier and his minister “did commit to engage in a process with the PLP… to see if we could come to agreement over key principles that would shape a collaborative undertaking.” He added that I’d asked him “to set out [his] views on some key guiding principles.”

“That, to me, sounds like a commitment, and yet it is not enough for Mr. Brown,” added the Premier.

“Third, Mr. Brown said in the meeting that the proposed legislation was a lightning rod for the protest in the Senate that day. Yet he told us he did not have a problem with the legislation, nor did he outline any ‘grave concerns’ about it.

“A few hours later, his colleagues in the Senate did not vote against the Bill when asked by the Senate President, allowing it to pass unopposed.

“All of this underlines my concern that the Opposition is playing political games, and it goes to my central concern in this matter, which is this: Mr. Brown says he is speaking for a political party wanting collaboration on immigration, yet his party is led by a man who has said there will be “no collaboration” with the Government.

“The Opposition’s words and actions are do not fit together, and I would urge them to work out their internal differences before engaging others,” added Premier Dunkley. “Who is speaking for their party?”.

MP Walton Brown Responds

Update 3.33pm: “Since December 2012, we have seen many instances of mistrust between the OBA Administration and their dealings with the Opposition,”  Shadow Immigration Minister Walton Brown said.

“Our own Opposition Leader was subjected to being tape recorded in a private meeting with an OBA MP, and also having his conversation aired through speakerphone in front of an unannounced audience.

“This type of mistrust has shown itself in successive OBA Administrations. It seems systemic in how the OBA handles negotiations and how they interact with others.

“The current Premier Dunkley, Minister Fahy, and others in the OBA have shown a consistent lack of regard for the basic rights of communication between political colleagues, be they allies or adversaries. While the PLP is ready and willing to collaborate, it is unfortunate that due to these behaviors, there is an unprecedented level of mistrust between Government and Opposition.

“While my meeting was based on a genuine intent to establish immigration reform that satisfies all, it seems that meeting with people of this character will not result in anything productive. For a sitting Premier to not only try to undermine our meeting by leaking details to the public, and then misrepresenting these details to score political points is unheard of and a sad indictment on Premier Dunkley.

“Sometimes in our efforts to do good for the people of Bermuda, we forget that everyone is not cut from the same cloth.

“As the Shadow Minister of Immigration, I reiterate my call to the OBA Government for the establishment of a Joint Select Committee on Immigration Reform. This will provide stability, security and the confidence that the community is yearning for. It is time for the “he said, he said” politics to be out the door, and instead an era of collaboration to be established.”

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  1. Politricks says:

    “Second: Mr. Brown said he left the meeting with “no clear commitment to a bi-partisan effort” and yet, in the next sentence, he said the Premier and his minister “did commit to engage in a process with the PLP… to see if we could come to agreement over key principles that would shape a collaborative undertaking.” He added that I’d asked him “to set out [his] views on some key guiding principles.”

    Exactly.

    Talking out of both sides of their mouths once again.

    They don’t want collaboration on this or any other issue. They want domination.

    • TRANSPARENCY NOW says:

      Yettb • 19 minutes ago

      How foolish to believe Mr. Dunkley and Fahy. It just does not add up. Mr. Dunkley looks to be talking from both sides of his mouth.

      WHY?

      Why would Mr. Brown present a brilliant presentation in the House of Assembly on Immigration Reform, if he agreed with Mr. Dunkley? Why would Mr. Brown push for a “bi-partisan committee” to address “Comprehensive Review of Immigration” in Bermuda? Why would Mr. Brown push to “Educate folks on Immigration” historically in Bermuda? Why would organize a “protest” and go on the Sherri J Show to talk about the importance of Immigration reform? It does not add up for him to now agree with Dunkley/Fahy. He has done too much in his stand on Immigration Reform to now turn around and agree with Dunkley not too do it. Mr. Brown has been pushing for Immigration Reform for sometime in Bermuda now, but it has been rejected by the OBA over and over again.

      The truth no matter how some attempt to reject it is that Mr. Dunkley is not been honest. He far from Transparency as has been proven by this OBA government over the past 2 years. OBA’s actions has validated such, and is evident they are not serious about the People’s business of this country.

      Mr. Brown spoke on the Sherri J show in regards to the protest, so how could one now claim they did not know…..really…..

      • Sickofantz says:

        Transparency Now. Could you please clarify which bit of the immigration reform that you believe Brown particularly disagrees with and confirm that you think the PLP will introduce legislation to stop once they regain power?

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      Interesting thought… The PLP are constantly calling on the OBA to be transparent, but now Mr. Brown doesn’t want people to know the details of the meetings that he and his colleagues have with the government in their capacity as government. He has yet to clarify what points in the immigration act that he has issues with. It wasn’t that long ago that the PLP produced their own immigration reform, that effectively removed the rights of Bermudians to own property here, and when people tried to stand against it, experts warned the perils it would have to the real estate market, discourage young Bermudians from trying to buy into Bermuda… they said tough, we are the government and we are going to do what we want, get over it; where was Mr. brown’s calls for collaboration on immigration reform then. Even now, he admits he agrees with the legislation, he has yet to provide where he doesn’t agree… his senate colleagues did not vote against it, by all accounts, the OBA has gotten a immigration reform that they have no issue with, so why do we need to stall it for a collaboration when they already agree with it.

      Oh, wait, I hit on the right word… stall.

      And who is deciding the PLP’s government relation policy right now, Mr. Bean who vowed not to collaborate with the government demons, or Mr. Brown who wants collaboration… appears a little of the plaster has fallen off the PLP walls and the cracks in their foundation that have always been there are showing.

  2. lifetime says:

    And we wonder why our children act the a double s.
    Acting like 5 year old little boys!

    Oh and by the way Dunkley…Please broaden your vocabulary. You have used the word UNACCEPTABLE one too many times!

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Overuse of buzz words is a bad habit of many politicians. Some of them use the words to try to sound inteligent. Some use them to make a noise becaise they have nothing to say. Others use them because the word is in fashion. The longer the word or phrase, the better.

      • BETTYTRUMP says:

        “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
        Maya
        Angelou

        OBA has shown their true faces over the past year. Believe them, they will not change now…. Transparency and Honesty is not apart of who they really are….

        Mr. Brown you’re a man of good intentions, purpose and
        integrity, but there are those that do not operate under the same high levels of trustworthiness and honesty as you do.
        Dunkley and Fahy do not and their past behaviours are evident of that.

        Dunkley now is showing the public more and more he is not such that nice man in a good suit. The real Dunkley is now slowly revealed to the public. Some have been blindsighted for a time now.

        Unfortunately MP Brown, due to your kind and honest nature you went into the meeting trusting that they would do good for the people. But Mr. Brown, did you forget the actions of the OBAubp over the past several years. They have used tape recorders and all kinds of tricks during one-on-one meetings. The
        past history of the OBA speaks volumes in terms of their lack of Honesty and Transparency. Mr. Brown, lesson learnt……do not walk into the room alone with these MPs they have shown their true colours over and over again. Not sure a real Leopard can change his stripes

        Stand strong Brown…..Immigration Reform is a MUST.

    • stunned... says:

      who (over)used the phrase “…At the end of the day”…more than Paula Cox?

    • JUNK YARD DOG says:

      I am tired of hearing the word concern.

  3. A Lesson For Today

    “Never idealize others. They will never live up to your expectations.” -Leo Buscaglia, author, speaker and professor (31 Mar 1924-1998)

  4. Triangle Drifter says:

    Premier Dunkley, stop feeding the troll.

    • @ Triangle Drifter: I agree. The Government, which happen to be the One Bermuda Alliance need to cease falling for / into the Oppositions traps or condoning their, “off the wall crap”. I and countless others do acknowledge what’s going on with the Opposition, they are doing exactly what is expected of any Opposition Party, they’re opposing :-(

      • Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

        The problem is if they don’t respond to the PLP that will be used against them as well. In many situations, measured response is better than silence.

        • jt says:

          The OBA were elected to get our economy back on track. They have 3 more years to make that happen (more time is needed but that is their deadline). If they succeed they will be re-elected. If they fail the plp will get another chance. All of this extra curricular posturing means nothing once people mark their ballot. It will be all about the economy for the lion’s share of the electorate once they’re in the booth. I think the plp fully understand this and that is what guides their approach as opposition. Economic recovery under the oba equals political ruin for the plp. Therefore, they do what is necessary to impede economic recovery. Survival instincts…only natural.

          • Lois Frederick says:

            You are correct. That is why it is very important for the OBA to remain laser focused on the recovery. So it is okay to spend a little time rebuffing on these issues that keep cropping up, but leave it is best to leave it at that and then quickly refocus.

          • jt says:

            Well….the Bettys’ didn’t like that.

  5. Devonshire says:

    Walton is reversing because the Premier’s revelation put him at odds with the Opposition leadership.

  6. Jeremy Deacon says:

    I can understand that it has become a matter of principle for both men, but do we care?

    • SMH says:

      Why don’t you suggest doing an interview with them both?

    • mixitup says:

      I care.. that we have a premier, who in my opinion is a snake. And it’s scary how many don’t see this.

      • hmmm says:

        Why is he a snake in your opinion?

        • hmmm says:

          PLP cronies dislike someone asking why someone has an opinion?

          that’s messed up

      • jt says:

        Mix it up.
        Let’s say in 3 year’s time the budget is balanced and unemployment is halved.
        Will you vote oba or plp? Now the tester….why?

      • Yahoo says:

        Must mean he’s qualified since the four premiers before him were snakes as well. (Cannonier, Cox, Brown, Scott)

  7. Politricks says:

    “Now he has changed his tune, which tells me one thing: that he is under pressure and needs to clarify himself. Referring to the legislation that was due to be debated in the Senate on Wednesday night — the BIPA Amendment Act 2015 — Minister Fahy asked him, ‘With regards to the legislation that will be debated in the House tonight, do you have any concerns with that?’

    “He said, ‘This particular piece of legislation I do not have a problem with.’ You can’t misconstrue that in any way. I wrote it down and he saw me writing it down.”

    Is this true Mr. Brown? Did you say those words?

  8. ac says:

    They are all a bunch of babies. The whole political process is mired in egos and mistrust. The peoples business is constantly suffering. Get on with fixing our broken country.

    • Yahoo says:

      Agree 100%. Both sides are full of $@^% and most of us are tired of listening to their constant whining and blame games.

      I see Cayman has done something to improve their economy instead of sitting around on their collective a$$es and throwing around race cards…

  9. stunned... says:

    who died and left Walton Brown in charge…to broker deals/arrangements on behalf of the PLP with the Leader of the Bermuda Government?

    • Lois Frederick says:

      Remember Walton stood for the leadership at the end of last year and lost. He seems to be doing his own thing now, with no endorsement from the top. Hey, the are the Opposition, so it doesn’t really matter really.

      • hmmm says:

        Walton will be the leader before the next election.

    • Tery says:

      Brown and Co.

  10. Ian says:

    You know what? All of the folks here that feel completely fine looking like complete gullible idiots trying to digest and accept Dunkleys account of things would NEVER take it as far as betting their bottom dollar on the truth in his words. AND YOU KNOW IT.

    • Jus' Wonderin' says:

      “Now he has changed his tune, which tells me one thing: that he is under pressure and needs to clarify himself. Referring to the legislation that was due to be debated in the Senate on Wednesday night — the BIPA Amendment Act 2015 — Minister Fahy asked him, ‘With regards to the legislation that will be debated in the House tonight, do you have any concerns with that?’

      “He said, ‘This particular piece of legislation I do not have a problem with.’ You can’t misconstrue that in any way. I wrote it down and he saw me writing it down.”

    • jt says:

      You need to digest Mr. Brown’s own version. More damning than anything the Premier recounted.

  11. Ian says:

    You know what? All of the folks here that feel completely fine looking like gullible idiots trying to digest and accept Dunkleys account of things would NEVER take it as far as betting their bottom dollar on the truth in his words. AND YOU KNOW IT.

    • hmmm says:

      Dunkley has no reason to lie…nothing in it for him.

    • Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

      The same could be said for those who accept Brown’s account of things.

    • Noncents says:

      @ Ian

      I would. Particularly when my other choice is Walton Brown- a member of the “we had to deceive you” party

      • jt says:

        Actually…the majority of Bermuda has bet their last dollar on the oba. It’s where we’re at.

    • serengeti says:

      So what was the purpose of Brown going to see them? He says it was ‘primarily about collaboration’, but then his next action, the same day, was to storm the Senate. Does that make any sense?

      I also notice that Brown does not specifically deny that he said he did not have any particular problem with the specific legislation.

    • Sickofantz says:

      You know what Ian all I really want to see (and I am sure you too), is the Bermudian economy start recovering and Bermudians benefiting from this. I am sure that you like me don’t really care about all this squabbling we just want to see tourist numbers rising and IB expanding.

  12. aceboy says:

    I suspect Brown had a phone call after his meeting with Dunkley and changed his tune immediately.

  13. tom cooke says:

    I can’t remember the direct quote…

    But when your digging a whole.. remember when to put the shovel down and stop digging.

  14. Rhonda says:

    Never argue with a man that buys his ink by the barrel…… the OBA paid blogger will never run out of the proverbial ink….

    • hmmm says:

      What are you on about Rhonda…who on here is a paid OBA blogger?

      • inna says:

        Everyone but her and Ian, according to those two.

        • Onion says:

          Don’t forget “Bud” or “coffee”.

          • Coffee says:

            I’m still waiting for our esteemed Premier to comment on the resignation of his predecessor Can-Ottahere ! He owes the people who voted for the UBP/OBA an explanation . It will be a year of cover ups and sidestepping from this government who lacks the integrity to tell the inconvenient truth on the matter . So based on these facts , I must side with Mr.Brown .

      • Redman says:

        Well Rhonda should know, the amount of times she blogs or calls the talk shows whining for the PLP or against the OBA makes many think that she’s a paid PLP blogger herself. :-)

    • serengeti says:

      Ah, the unsubstantiated libelous allegation about ‘paid bloggers’ again.

      • Varied says:

        Mind you, the former OBA chairman did indicate that persons were paid to comment on these boards, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that at least one or two online OBA cheerleaders has gotten financial incentive.

        That said, it would be rich for PLP supporters to complain after the whole mess with the Progressive Minds blog.

    • bob13 says:

      Like the admin on Progressive Minds, right? Or Bud? Those pesky paid bloggers!

  15. Kettle or pot says:

    I HAD TO DECEIVE YOU!
    Set the ring up at baa and fight to a winner is still standing!

    • Family Man says:

      I’m not interested in having thugs in my government.

  16. Politricks says:

    Did Minister Fahy ask you, ‘With regards to the legislation that will be debated in the House tonight, do you have any concerns with that?’

    Did you respond by saying “This particular piece of legislation I do not have a problem with.’

    Is the following true, “You can’t misconstrue that in any way. I wrote it down and he saw me writing it down.” Did you see the Premier taking notes during your meeting?

    Is this true Mr. Brown? Did you say those words? Stop deflecting and answer the question. If so, then why would you carry on with your protest march despite the fact that you have no qualms over this piece of legislation? Why do you think it is ok to use your supporters’ emotions against a law that you stated you have no issue against? Why did no PLP Senator vote against the legislation?

    “Second: Mr. Brown said he left the meeting with “no clear commitment to a bi-partisan effort” and yet, in the next sentence, he said the Premier and his minister “did commit to engage in a process with the PLP… to see if we could come to agreement over key principles that would shape a collaborative undertaking.” He added that I’d asked him “to set out [his] views on some key guiding principles.”

    So why would you carry on with a march, citing no collaboration, despite the fact that the Premier stated the above (your words remember)?

    Your own leader has stated many times that he has no time for the OBA and that there would be no collaboration with the OBA. Who is actually in charge at Alaska Hall these days? Cause it seems to me you are overriding your leaders view.

    • Onion says:

      Pretty simple: the policies of the PLP stand 180 degrees from the principles Walton claims to have.

  17. Truth is killin' me... says:

    Brown…nuff said.

  18. FED UP says:

    PLP the party to oppose ANYTHING. I bet if govt said the suns surface was hot they would say exactly the opposite just to oppose.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      No, they would want to know how hot, who said so, how do they know, did the OBA put it out to tender to find out, & why wasn’t the PLP told sooner?

  19. Navin Johnson says:

    How tiring is all this stuff….

  20. Zoab Yob says:

    The real battle is that within the PLP. The party is slit and Brown is seizing upon opportunities to challenge Bean. The theatre is designed to show Brown as a action-man of the people in an effort to shake of the weak, aloof, intellectual image that appealed to few party supporters. The OBA would do well to sit this out and let the PLP sort out their own internal problems. I’m the mean time, David Burt will be loving this!

    • jt says:

      Walton Brown pines for independence. All of his actions need to be scrutinized with this in mind. It all leads to his dream.

    • @ Zoab Yob: Great observation, and advice…

  21. kangoocar says:

    So!!! Once again the plp are ” deceiving people??” When the day comes that they finally come to terms with the fact they lost the election ( by nine seats I will remind them!! ) because the majority of bermudians did not want to do things the plp way anymore, we might actually be able to move forward and put back to work all those the plp caused to become unemployed and hungry!!! the Cayman Islands has proven my point!!! They work together and don’t seem to be suffering from the plp injection of xenophobia??? Please plp do the honorable thing for once, either disband or stay silent and let the pros deal with your mess!!!!
    Who is running the plp these days???

  22. Time Shall Tell says:

    Day by day the political scene in Bermuda reinforces my view that Party politics is a bad thing & only serves to hold back the progress of Bermuda as a whole. No matter what party is in power the or who is the opposition of the day both seem to play their role more on safe guarding their position of the next general election vs working in the interest of pushing Bermuda forward.

    As it stands a good government requires good opposition but the issues that they conflict on shouldn’t be petty “He said, she said” & definitely shouldn’t reach the point of low dragging through the dirt politics. It seems both parties have been more engaged in childish antics (both sides) rather then working in the people’s favor. Both sides have “some” great people with great potential representing their respective parties but it means nothing since both parties are being dogged down in mutual pettiness. Work as hard for the people as you do bickering among yourself & just imagine how far we as a whole could be…

  23. Rasta says:

    I will never vote PLP again!

  24. Need Peace says:

    MP Walton Brown has remained consistent on the issue of Immigration Reform. If you have listened over the past year, it has been reflected. The Senate has the majority of votes. To state that the passing of the bill went unchallenged is misleading at best. The proof is in the pudding!

    • Lois Frederick says:

      When the time came to the vote there was silence. Proof is in the pudding. To debate against a bill and remain silent when asked to vote shows that they don’t want the record to show their objection to it.

  25. Clare says:

    OMG, politicians are so annoying. I can’t even bring myself to read this crap. Get some real work done and quit bickering, all of you! We have real problems that need to be solved, and we’re paying your salaries!

  26. chip says:

    Political parties don’t ever change there agenda ! Just the faces change like the oBA doing as we all see