The Warwick North East MP announced on Thursday that he is resigning from the OBA, saying that he intends to sit as an Independent until the next General Election, at which time he “will likely resign from politics.”
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 of the 36 [47.22%], with both Mr Crockwell and Mr Pettingill sitting as Independents.
Following Mr Pettingill’s resignation, the PLP said, “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.”
When asked about the impact of himself and Shawn Crockwell being Independents and the balance of power, Mr. Pettingill told Bernews, “The way that I see it going is that maybe Shawn or I bring some legislation, that would be interesting. Maybe the Opposition brings some legislation that we could support. They table one or two things.
“The other thing is the Government has a legislative agenda. I’ve certainly said that, we have both said, that it is not our intention in any way to get in the way of that, to undermine the budget. It’s not about destabilizing and switching it up.”
Saying that the democratic process has to run, he said “in taking this move, one has to be extremely responsible with it. I made that statement.”
“I’ve spoken with members of the Opposition. I’ve spoken with the Premier and said ‘Listen, I am not about, at this stage, overnight that I would support a motion of no confidence or anything like that.’
“I’m just not going to do that. That’s not what the move is about. If I was going to be in that position, I would have crossed the floor, as people do, and said like ‘here you go.’
When announcing his resignation from the OBA, Mr Pettingill said, “I have no doubt that Government will have my support on any number of pending legislative matters,” and when asked if that leaves the door wide open, Mr Pettingill said, “Sure it does.”
“I haven’t said that I support the Government. Why would I leave if I’d support the Government. Because I’ve had issues, because I am diametrically opposed on things, that I won’t.
Mr Pettingill said that if Government decided to bring an amendment for the Human Rights Act which carved out same sex marriage, they would not get his support on that.
“There’s no way that, by any statement I’m saying I’ll support, without question, the entire Government’s agenda,” he said.
“I don’t necessarily know what they are going to do. I know a number of matters that are coming through the pipeline that I think are important and will probably get my support.”
Video excerpt from the live interview showing Mr. Pettingill discussing legislation:
The video above was extracted from the full interview, in which Mr. Pettingill discussed a wide range of topics including the reasons behind his decision to resign from the OBA, same sex marriage, casino gaming, the lawsuit against Lahey Clinic and more.
We will post additional excerpts from the interview, and to watch the full live video interview replay please click here, and if you want to listen ‘on the go’, you can also access an audio-only version of the full interview in the podcast section of the Bernews app.