PLP On ‘Ghost Writer,’ OBA, BUT & Education

December 12, 2018 | 61 Comments

Saying it is “ironic” the OBA and Bermuda Union of Teachers use the same PR consultant, the PLP said the “OBA, Cole Simons and their ghost writer” seem “more interested in playing divide and conquer,” while Cole Simons said “our education system is in serious trouble” and people “are looking for answers, not excuses, finger pointing, or blaming.”

In a statement earlier this week, Mr Simons had said that “education should get the same level of attention as the Government’s drive to bring the Fintech industry to Bermuda,” adding that “the issue was teetering on the brink of a national crisis.”

His comments followed after repeated issues with education, including all public schools being closed on Monday after teachers did not come in to work. That followed after para educators called in sick on December 6th, the week before almost all the teachers at West Pembroke School called in sick after agreeing to go on work-to-rule last month, while School Principals are also engaging in work-to-rule.

PLP Statement

In a statement issued today, PLP Public Relations Officer Alexa Lightbourne said, “The OBA, Cole Simons and their ghost writer Jeremy Deacon continue to seem more interested in playing divide and conquer than in the protection of our children and their access to quality education.”

Saying she found it “ironic” that the current OBA PR consultant “has also allegedly been hired by the Bermuda Union of Teachers,” Ms Lightbourne said “politics indeed makes strange bedfellows.”

“While the fact that the OBA and BUT share a PR consultant is important it is less important that protecting and improving our children’s education.

“The PLP inherited from the OBA an education system last led by a part time education minister named Cole Simons. A man so committed to our children that he refused to give up his day job and treated the education ministry like a part time hustle.

“The same Cole Simons who saw the teachers begin work to rule under his part-time leadership. The same Cole Simons who saw Dellwood Middle School closed under his part time leadership. The same Cole Simons spotted alongside his OBA colleagues gallivanting at the America’s Cup while contracts to remediate the conditions at Dellwood hadn’t even been issued.

“The result of the OBA and Cole Simons’ part time leadership? Moldy schools, slashed budgets, our teachers under resourced and called mischievous, our students’ futures jeopardized and the infrastructure crumbling. And now via a statement likely written by the PR consultant the OBA shares with the BUT Cole Simons seeks to ignore his and his Party’s record.

“The facts are these. The reform of our school system required the attention of a Minister willing to devote their full attention to the task at hand and not a Minister who treated Education like a hustle to make some extra cash after he got off work.

“While the OBA’s focus may be on playing politics with our children’s education, the PLP will not be distracted by a party of hypocrites whose abysmal and abusive leadership on education saw them driven from office in resounding fashion.

“The PLP are focused on improving teaching and learning, and will work with the new Commissioner of Education, Board of Education, teachers and parents to improve the outcomes of our public education system to ensure that our students are able to participate in the economy of the future.”

OBA Comment

In response, Shadow Minister of Education Cole Simons said, “The easiest way to deflect from a clear inability to resolve a situation is deflect and pivot.

“This is what the PLP does, and what they are masters at. Whether it is education, job creation (or lack thereof), health care or the economy – the PLP have no real answers or solutions.

“Mr & Mrs Bermuda are looking for answers, not excuses, finger pointing, or blaming.

“Our education system is in serious trouble, which means that our children are in serious trouble, and it is clearly apparent that the current Minister is incapable of managing the issues to the satisfaction of our educators or Mr & Mrs Bermuda.

“The PLP is the government, and they need to start acting like it and stop blaming others for the challenges they face. PLP – face the facts and the figures and get on with it,” Mr Simons said.

OBA Senator Dwayne Robinson added, “This is another juvenile statement from the PLP that shows, once again, that the party is still acting as if it is in Opposition and which prefers to try and deflect attention from the huge problems it is facing: no new jobs, no economic stimulus, new taxes which hurt Mr and Mrs Bermuda and rising health care costs.

“At a time when the PLP Government is facing a crisis in education it is extremely bad timing, and tactics, to attack the Bermuda Union of Teachers – showing that this is a Party that lacks any empathy to its own core supporters: one of the largest unions in Bermuda.”

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Comments (61)

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  1. Mike says:

    Stop playing politics. Educate our children. Get on with it. Don’t care who screwed it up – just fix it.

    • Concern says:

      Who has written the most articles on Education? OBA I think they need to grow up and stop playing politics with our Education

      • Ringmaster says:

        In 1998 a major part of the PLP platform was to reform Education. Between 1998 and 2012 nothing of substance happened. The OBA were elected in 2012 ad spent most of their time saving Bermuda from financial ruin caused by the PLP. Caused by spending the revenue excesses over Budget and borrowing more. Now the PLP are blaming the OBA for not fixing Education.
        Don’t the PLP understand that just like the bus cancellations it is their voters and support base that are suffering?

        • Jevon says:

          Don’t forget it was the UBP that introduced the failed middle school system in the first place. The OBA showed through their actions how they felt about the public system… Cole Simons is a waste of space, and his words fall on deaf ears as it is clear that he didn’t care for his people.

          • Grow UP says:

            Seriously Jevon? you need to grow up if you want to be taken seriously and not as just another blind and deaf, green kool aid drinker

          • sandgrownan says:

            LOL, Dame Jennifer, the great educator no less, was part of the bi-partisan board that thought it was a good idea.

            Nice try Jevon, but no cigar. Go back to school. If you can find one open. Prick.

          • LaV says:

            Jevon, you’re a waste of space…close your illiterate mouth, you make people look worse than they already are.

  2. INNA says:

    The PLP is an absolute disgrace to this country.

    GET ON WITH RUNNING THE PEOPLES BUSINESS !!!!

  3. Double S says:

    So does Ms. Lightbourne and the PLP actually have anything of substance to state regarding the issues at hand? Or are they limited to character attacks and ignoring the message?

    But at least it is a slight step up from some of the PLP zealots calling people ‘cockroaches’ as they are today elsewhere

    Nasty bunch.

  4. Truthertz says:

    “The same Cole Simons who saw the teachers begin work to rule under his part-time leadership. The same Cole Simons who saw Dellwood Middle School closed under his part time leadership.”

    Is Ms. Lightbourne referring to the same Dellwood school which had to be closed just last month under Mr. Rabain’s leadership? That same Dellwood Ms. Lightbourne?

    Strange given the PLP photo op press release in which the Minister of W&E and Education bragged about how all school issues have been rectified and what not. Especially strange given the teachers’ comments this week which noted that mold still exists, fire alarms are non-operational and that even windows remain broken. Were we ‘misled’ yet again?

    But I do understand ensuring that your former leader is compensated a $1mn+ is much more important that living up to your campaign promises. I would try to deflect and attack as well based on the above.

  5. red rose says:

    wow, who is alexa Lightbourne? Is she out of school – judging by the immaturity of the PLP statement, she must still be in nappies?

  6. DeOnion says:

    So the PLP puts out a statement that criticizes the BUT while the Government is negotiating with the BUT? What a fantastic move!

  7. Deep Throat says:

    Why can’t the PLP start acting like it is in Government instead of the opposition? And surely, surely, Ms Lightbourne realizes that a PR consultant only does what his or her client wants them to? Did the PLP want her to put out this extraordinarily – excrutiatingly – juvenile statement?

  8. OMG says:

    This press release is joke right? What an embarrassment for the PLP. Juvenile is right. So now Government is attacking small business owners over their choice of clients instead of focusing on our current education crisis?

  9. de onion says:

    So, let me get this straight, the PLP criticizes a conflict of interest – yet the BPSU, president one Jason Hayward, is representing Principals, and Mr Hayward happens to be a Government senator and there is no conflict there?

  10. question says:

    It would be nice if the PLP got an adult to respond to these things, rather than a juvenile teenager.

    Oh, I just read it’s Alexa Lightbourne who made the childish statement. I was right then.

  11. Politricks says:

    “Cole Simons seeks to ignore his and his Party’s record.”

    So you mean he acts just like all PLP representatives then?

  12. dondererd says:

    The PLP has pushed back balancing the budget – all the time increasing our debt – it has taxed people to the hilt, it has failed to reduce health care costs, it meddles with the BTA, it has failed to bring gaming here, it created a massive backlog in work permit applications … and this is the best the PLP can do?
    Oh boy, we really are in trouble

  13. dick francis says:

    The hypocrisy of the PLP is unbelievable! What about Jason hayward – president of the BPSU which is representing the school Principals!!!!????
    Just get on with your job, PLP, and stop this nonsense – all it says it that you are scared of the message and that you have no alternative plans other than trying to rubbish the messenger.
    Pathetic!

  14. Not exactly says:

    Wow! PLP is really grasping a straws here. I’ve heard them blame teachers, PTA president, OBA and anyone else they can think of.

    New grading system was implemented this September and somehow nobody is responsible. Either it’s the Ministers fault or someone in Ministry is. How is going to be held accountable? And where is the Premier? He jumped in front of a camera in no time flat with BELCO issue. Clearly Education is not as mucha priority as PLP election campaign made it out to be.

  15. Small things says:

    Bermuda’s economy is in a downward spiral, our deficit has gone up, our debt has grown, people don’t have jobs, taxes and the cost of living have gone up, buses don’t run (23 cancelled just for tonight), we can’t even get our garbage picked up worst of all this, our Education system is a mess and in crisis and THIS, a ghost writer is what the PLP release a press statement about? Wow, just wow.

  16. somuchless says:

    The plp has no reason to talk. Alexa are you aware that your own party is in bed with the biu, bpsu (jason hayward) and the people’s campaign (to name a few).

    Quit it and tell your memebers to stop traveling all over the world on the peoples dime and get back to business.

  17. Concern says:

    STOP PLAYING POLITICAL GAMES WITH EDUCATION OBA/UBP

    EVERY WEEK COLE SIMONS WRITES SILLY NEGATIVE OPINION ARTICLES ON EDUCATION, IF THIS IS NOT CONSIDERED PLAYING POLITICAL FOOTBALL ON EDUCATION, WELL THE OBA ARE NOT HONEST

    YET THE OBA SAYS THEY WANT POLITICS OUT OF EDUCATION, BUT EACH WEEK TGEY KICK THE BALL FURTHER

    STOP IT AND WORK TO RESOLVE OUR EDUCATIPN SYSTEM THAT OBA/UBP MESSED UP IN THE BEGINNING.

    GET ON BOARD WORKING GO MAKE CHANGE HAPPEN FOR OUR CHILDREN

    • question says:

      Shouldn’t you just be yelling ’24-12′? That’s the usual juvenile answer isn’t it?

    • I know you are but what am I? says:

      Who is in opposition anyway? The plp are government now (again) and they are so busy attacking OBA for doing what they are supposed to be doing (opposing). This is deflection at it’s finest if you cannot do the job stop blaming the people that tell you you are not doing the job. PLP are at an all time low with their playground retorts I am so embarrassed that we have this government.

    • aceboy says:

      The OBA is not the government. They cant play games with education. It is YOUR buddies who are doing that.

      Accusations of “Ghost Writers” is all so late 2016.

      Quite pathetic.

  18. Trump Style Politics says:

    TRump style politics is alive and well and living in Bermuda. 1) Ignore facts 2) Deflect from the current disaster at hand and 3) personally attack the messenger. Repeat often as needed. Party before Bermuda and our young people since 1998.

  19. Conflict of Interest says:

    Given that the person who wrote this PLP Press release works for a local firm that bids on government contracts, how it that not a conflict of interest. People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

  20. sandgrownan says:

    PLP Public Relations Officer Alexa Lightbourne ..lol…the Sarah Hukabee-Sanders on the PLP!

  21. ChurchMan says:

    Looks to me that mr deacon must be doing a very good job in order for the plp to be so concerned about him. They have a 14 seat majority and this worries them?

  22. Oh Please... says:

    PLP Administration–PLEASE GIVE IT A REST–stop pervaricating and get on with governing this country!!! You won–25-11–now step up to the plate–Govern–these are now your challenges not the OBA’s. They are doing their job as Opposition (a bad one, but they are fulfilling their role).

    The more you spin the more you make the Bermudian public fear that you are void of ideas and ability to govern this country.

    This piece is a disgrace.

    Shame on you all.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      Dondererd said above …
      “The PLP has pushed back balancing the budget – all the time increasing our debt – it has taxed people to the hilt, it has failed to reduce health care costs, it meddles with the BTA, it has failed to bring gaming here, it created a massive backlog in work permit applications … and this is the best the PLP can do?
      Oh boy, we really are in trouble”

      And you want them to get on with ‘governing’ this place ? Are you (and everyone else who says ‘stop acting like you’re still the opposition and get on with running the place’) asleep ?
      They ARE ‘governing’ and this is their way of doing it . You want more licks and ignorance ? More waste of money we don’t have ? More division ?
      You and the others must be suckers for punishment .

  23. Justforlaughs says:

    So the plp believes the but and oba are bedfellows? Hahahahaha!

  24. WSP says:

    I think the pressure is getting to the PLP.

  25. Triangle Drifter says:

    In other important news, the PLP is organizing a party to be held near Witchita, Kansas. One of the prime games to be held will be out in the fields looking for straws. Best party attire encouraged.

  26. puzzled says:

    Think about it.
    Their screwing their own.

    I give up.

  27. somuchless says:

    In other news 37 buses canceled today. Plp how bout dat smh

  28. Unbelievable says:

    This is a VERY weak argument from Alexa Lightbourne. If we want to discuss a conflict of interest, here’s a name for you to discuss: Jason. Hayward.

    Go home, PLP.

  29. What? says:

    PLP must think we’re stupid.

  30. Me says:

    Why do folks wanna bother the premier he is traveling around de world busy busy busy

  31. Unbelievable says:

    This is a move to not discredit the BUT. The BUT and the PLP will always be intertwined. This is a move to remove Jeremy Deacon from the process simply because of his association with the OBA. It could be anyone, it could Ghandi for all we know but just as long as they have any association with the OBA, the PLP feels the need to drag their name through the mud.

    PLP = deplorable.

  32. Vote no more says:

    Education in shambles.
    Trash piling up.
    Limited bus schedule.
    Country debt, climbing but yet to know accurate figure.
    Retail sales down.
    Taxes skyrocketing.
    All the above mentioned the current govt is running, or suppose to be.
    BTA get ready for the downward spiral.. we’re doomed.

  33. simple says:

    25-11 ya still cant govern the country
    those comercials on the radio from foggo and desilva is a good indication election mode is still in full swing.

  34. Depressionbda says:

    Some time ago, mr deacon wrote a column on his struggle with depression, which helped me enormously. Since then I have had the utmost respect for him – which has been strengthened by this appalling attack on someone who is successful despite his mental health struggles.

  35. Rocky5 says:

    PLP always deflects, ignores the message and attacks the MESSENGER. In the meantime public schools are still very unsafe for our children and teachers with mold, broken: fire alarms, windows, doors , aircon; dirty water – when they have it, an uncaring, arrogant PLP Minister, bloated, disconnected, unsympathetic, selfish MOE & DOE..did I miss ANYTHING…

    • dunn juice says:

      I thought burch and robain said ALL THE REPAIRS WHERE COMPLETE, prior to the school year starting.

  36. This place is a joke says:

    Speaking of conflict of interest, I wonder why the Premier doesn’t want to hear anytime about Uber coming to Bermuda even though everyone knows our current taxi system isn’t up to par?

  37. Avg Bda Male says:

    Out of curiosity, how many paid PLP and OBA bloggers are on here commenting??????

  38. Do Right says:

    This is a shameful response in the name of the PLP PRO! Since all PR from the PLP must be approved by the Party Leader, it goes without saying that David Burt’s position is that our teachers(majority 2017 PLP voters) are a part of a newly-imagined combined opposition of some sorts! WOW! PS, is this the the ghost writing of a certain Govt Minister of Propaganda? It certainly reads that way. PPS, you are now the sitting Government, try and act like one.

  39. Charlly X says:

    My my my ! All this Bickering on a Hot Stove ! All the pots pans n tea kettles not trying to take the Heat!!!
    All of you are drinking Koolaid! That’s why none of you can agree on anything! If you all weren’t so prejudice with out the real factual truths about whatever the subject, maybe we could think collectiveness.
    Meanwhile back at the ranch the farm is being given away to others. So as a Native we are not preparing our future or preserving our history ! Constantly grumbling red or green , blàck or white !
    Time To Man Up Bermuda !

  40. Amateur Night at the Apollo says:

    Team Burt a gentle reminder, you actually won the election on July 2017
    Please muzzle Miss Alexa Lightbourne since she is undermining the good work that the government is doing with this immature finger pointing press release on an issue that is being negotiated privately.

  41. PBanks says:

    #Politricks

    Once again, trumping what actually needs to be done to better the country.

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