Premier Defends Parliamentary Attendance Record

July 7, 2010

from wiki Ewart_BrownPremier Dr Ewart Brown today hit back at critics of his Parliamentary attendance record saying that “his primary focus is on addressing the needs and concerns of working Bermudians not with the misguided priorities of the Opposition.” The Premier also said he monitors Parliamentary proceedings by radio when not in the chamber.

Today’s issue of The Royal Gazette carried an article titled ‘Premier Brown in South Africa’, which stated that “he will miss one of the last House of Assembly sittings before MPs break for the summer.” The article went on to quote Opposition Leader Kim.Swan, as well as others discussing the Premier’s attendance record; expressing both displeasure and support.

The Premier and his wife traveled to South Africa at their own expense to the FIFA World Cup, and while there the Premier met dignitaries including former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and anti-aparthield leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Premier Brown said, “My administration has introduced a record number of bills in the House. That is what is important. The Bermudian people are more concerned with results than they are with personal attendance statistics. The fact that the Opposition leader has a near-perfect attendance is clear evidence that it takes more than just being there.”

Update: Leader of the Opposition Kim.Swan’s full statement is below:

We’re not surprised the Premier has flown off to South Africa to enjoy the World Cup final games. This is part of a travel habit that has seen him spend more time off the Island than any of his predecessors, by a country mile. The trips abroad have increased as he approaches the end of what he describes as his ‘term of office’, and it has become, in effect, his global farewell tour.

That the Premier will miss this week’s second last meeting of Parliament, which has a long list of business to get through, is completely beside the point. The country’s business is not his priority – he is.

Our main concern is that political leadership is an essential ingredient for any country that wants to positively and effectively manage its problems. When leadership is working, people feel their leaders understand their concerns and conditions, their fears and anxieties, and their need for progress on problems.

That’s been missing in Bermuda for some time. The Premier is a jet-setter, who leaves the island behind him more often than his colleagues would care to admit. It boils down to this simple truth: The Premier’s personal agenda is more important than the public agenda.

Bermuda needs leaders who are closer to the people, closer to their values and closer to the challenges they live with.

Personally, I don’t begrudge the Premier from taking the advantage of the chance to attend the historic World Cup finals, but given his chronic absenteeism and the state of the country his timing, and the signal he sends to the community, is terrible.

When Bermuda’s Government should be seen to be paying the most responsible attention to the many serious challenges facing the island – from joblessness to shootings – its leader takes a week off to watch football a world away. And as the Premier goes, so goes his government: In his absence, we understand the Cabinet did not meet today.

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Comments (7)

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  1. Todd says:

    So we can expect the Premier to be monitoring the radio while down in South Africa? LOL.

  2. UncleElvis says:

    I wonder if he’ll be able to hear the people in the House doing his job over the sound of the vuvuzelas!

  3. terry says:

    “My administration has introduced a record numer of bills in the house”


    Who pays the “bills”………………………………

    One day you will get it. Oh that day? Late.

    Imagine sitting on the porch with a coke and a piece of leftover turkey…………….

    Bang Bang…………….ok….black neighbourhood………………..irony is a beach…………………………..

    “Monitoring”……Todd you jest.

    Whether he paid for it out of our dollars, his savings, et al why is he not here.

    Everything that happens on this earth he is there.

    Time to ………..Nah….what a waste….Mars…………………….

  4. ROCKFISH says:

    Photo ops the man in the street would like to see:

    1.Brown in the high crime areas talking with the neighbours.
    2.Visiting homeless people living in caves and cars, with children, in Bermuda.
    3.Comforting the parents/relatives of a slain child.
    4.Taking a stroll along our beaches and meeting our people who live there.

    I can go on, but the point is made!