[Updated] The news that “yet another OBA MP has resigned“ is a “signal that the leadership of Michael Dunkley is directionless, ineffective and weak,” and it “should be jarring to all Bermudians that we now, for the first time ever, have a minority government at the helm,” the PLP said this afternoon.
Mark Pettingill Resigns
Mark Pettingill announced today that has resigned from the OBA, and intends to sit as an Independent in Parliament until the next General Election, when he said he “will likely resign from politics.”
Mr. Pettingill said, “I find myself in a position of ongoing professional legal conflict with the Government on various existing litigation and potential matters that my law firm has been approached about having conduct over.
“Furthermore, I have unfortunately found myself diametrically and philosophically opposed to the Government’s position or approach on numerous issues in endeavoring to move Bermuda forward.
“I respect that the Premier and the Cabinet take a different view. In the interest of the country, I sincerely wish the Government every success for the remainder of their tenure in office recognizing that they have in fact accomplished many positive things for the Island.
“I have no doubt the Government will have my support on any number of pending legislative matters,” he said.
Premier Calls It “A Disappointing Development”
Premier Michael Dunkley said, “Mr. Pettingill’s resignation is a disappointing development for a Government that has been making steady progress on big problems facing the people of Bermuda.
“While he explained that he found himself in ‘ongoing professional legal conflict with the Government’ on various matters involving his law firm, I also note his statement that the Government ‘will have my support on any number of pending legislative matters.’
“I therefore look forward to continuing to work with MP Pettingill on the important matters facing Bermuda – as well as the other independent MP, Mr. Shawn Crockwell – and thank Mr. Pettingill for his service to the OBA.”
OBA Now Hold 17 Seats Of 36
The OBA won the 2012 General Election with 19 seats to the PLP’s 17, and with Mr Pettingill’s resignation from the party following after Shawn Crockwell’s, it now means the OBA holds 17 seats, with both Mr Crockwell and Mr Pettingill sitting as Independents.
PLP: “We Now, For The First Time Ever, Have A Minority Government”
The PLP said, “The news that yet another OBA MP, Mark Pettingill, has found it necessary to resign from the Party he helped found to sit as an Independent, calls into question the direction of the country and is yet another signal that the leadership of Michael Dunkley is directionless, ineffective and weak.
“It should be jarring to all Bermudians that we now, for the first time ever, have a minority government at the helm, and that the OBA cannot secure the passage of any legislation without the assistance of the Independent or Opposition members.
“On the anniversary of the day MP Shawn Crockwell resigned from Cabinet over the government’s mishandling of immigration, this is yet another sign that it is time for the Premier to either resign or go to the country and seek a mandate from the people through a general election.”
Update 9.03pm: Premier’s Response
Premier Dunkley said, “Mr. Pettingill took care in his statement this morning to say the Government will “no doubt” have his support on pending legislative matters. So while the PLP see this as a political opportunity to exploit, Mr. Pettingill recognized the need for Bermuda to continue moving forward on the big issues the OBA Government has progressed.
“His decision to sit as an Independent MP allows him to address what he described as “ongoing conflicts with the Government” on matters involving his law firm while enabling him to support Government initiatives going forward. So we will continue to work with Mr. Pettingill and his colleague Mr. Shawn Crockwell, as we have always done, for the benefit of the Bermudian people – a goal we all share.
“That’s the agenda: Governing to benefit the people. The country’s priorities are what matter most right now, not the PLP’s political priorities, which is what their statement is all about.”