Column: ‘Deflection, The PLP’s Modus Operandi’

April 22, 2019

[Opinion column written by OBA Leader Craig Cannonier + Updated]

Michael Weeks, in a recent article, accused the One Bermuda Alliance of being revisionist. I thought it was a wonderful piece of deflection – the PLP’s usual modus operandi – which ordinarily is not worth the time it takes to read, let alone reply.

This one was different however, as it made an issue about the protection and care of our children who do not always have the platform from which to speak [or the services of people to speak for them].

In the article, Mr Weeks says ‘the mold issue is a legacy issue from the OBA administration’. Mr Weeks – when we came into Government we were confronted by the most frightening balance book in Bermuda’s history.

We inherited out of control spending and a burgeoning debt that, if allowed to go unchecked, had Bermuda on a one-way track to financial meltdown. We would have loved to have had more money to fix everything – but your Party’s monetary incompetence made that impossible.

In last two Budgets, the PLP failed to balance its books and as a result, the debt continues to grow. Thanks to the PLP, it is our children and our children’s children who will have to deal with that debt. They will be in a financial straight jacket for generations. I agree, our children do deserve better, but the PLP has let them down.

Mr Weeks’ article says the ‘PLP believes in investing the necessary resources to ensure our children are educated in safe schools’, but he has overlooked an inconvenient truth – the money allocated by this Government in the education budget for minor works and school safety has been reduced by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Is this what our children deserve? What do you think, Mr and Mrs Bermuda?

Was a $1.2m ‘friends and family’ payment an investment in the ‘necessary resources to ensure our children are educated in safe schools’? I don’t think it was, do you?

In regards to TN Tatem, it is important to point out the OBA took very decisive action and after performing things like air quality tests, we moved all the students to Clearwater while full remediation work was carried out. We felt that action, coupled with proper maintenance, would keep the school in good order.

So my question is: what was the maintenance programme under the PLP to prevent mold coming back?

This summer the PLP will have been in Government for two years, yet Mr Weeks somehow wants everyone to believe that everything happening at TN Tatem is the OBA’s fault.

That is just deflection from the fact that in that time, despite promises to the contrary, his Government has not solved this issue. It looks as if mold will be a PLP legacy, doesn’t it?

Shadow Finance Minister Nick Kempe recently wrote an opinion piece which detailed, point by point, the rise in Government’s propaganda machine and ‘a pattern of voices critical to Government being silenced and of independent organisations being dismantled or subject to political interference’.

He pointed out in his article that the budget for ‘communications’ had increased.

So is PR and spin the priority over education? It seems it is as because despite all those budget increases, we are being told that the Department of Education is seeking to employ a media consultant – for how much we don’t know – but wouldn’t it be better to spend the money on issues affecting education rather than a propaganda machine that will spin us the lie that everything in education is good?

Does PR now outweigh the needs of our children? Our children deserve better, don’t you think?

Lastly, while we have seen the PR budget rocket, we have also seen the continuing under-funding for litigation guardians and a near total silence from the Attorney General on the Department of Child and Family Services.

We agree, our children deserve so much better.

- Craig Cannonier

Update: “When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers,” ~ African Proverb.

MP Michael Weeks said, “In a perfect world, Bermuda’s leaders could sit down, work together and focus on the best interests of our people. And sometimes that is what happens; we find common ground, and we can move forward together.

“As we are imperfect beings, this world is by its very nature imperfect. Also if we agreed on everything, we would not belong to separate political parties, possess separate values, separate ideologies and separate priorities. As we in the PLP or they in the OBA seek to make our separate and distinct visions a reality, we must never forget that it is the children who suffer, if our disagreements lead to inaction.

“What is clear is that back in 2016 issues were identified at TN Tatem that were not addressed. That did not come to light until January of this year. So while we did not create the problem and while we did not ignore the problem, the problem is ours to fix and we will do so.

“When we speak of differing priorities, we have found the money to address the problem, because under our values and our beliefs providing our children and teachers with a safe and healthy environment are essential.

“After all, it is our children that go to the public schools and our family and friends that teach there. We believe that it is essential that our children, know that they are a priority and that while we won’t always get it right and while we won’t always be perfect, our hearts and minds are with them

“When we speak of differing values, we believe in telling the truth. When the OBA says that the government communications budget increased by 2.7 million dollars, that is an easily disproven distortion of the truth.

“The communications budget has not been increased over the 2017/2018 levels. So why does the OBA keep repeating information that has been publicly refuted and that anyone with a simple understanding of the budget book can see is untrue? We believe that leaders should tell the truth so that our children do not come to believe that lying is the way to get ahead in life.

“Our ideologies and beliefs differ from the OBA. Everyone knows and can see that. Can we commit to a discussion that is solution based? Can we commit to a discussion that is honest? Can we agree not to use our children as human shields for our agendas?

“Our people and our country deserve to know that we can agree on these matters if we can’t agree on anything else.”


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Comments (4)

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  1. St.George's Passport and Immigration Control says:

    the plp are only interested in themselves and no one else,
    even their friends and family are now being pushed away.

  2. 2 Bermudas says:

    Funding for school maintenance down while Ewart Brown gets a cheque for $1.2m?!?!?!?! Rev Tweed? Chris Furbert? ANYBODY?!!?! Why aren’t you marching??!!!

    • Unbelievable says:

      They won’t. They probably do disagree with what is going on but won’t ever publicly say anything. As long as it keeps the PLP in power and not “those other guys”, they won’t say anything.

      Sadly, we will have to wait for history to judge them.

  3. wahoo says:

    Keep banging ‘em OBA they have made one hell of a mess but Bermuda is too special for us to give up on.