Column: ‘Reckless Abandon’ With Legislation

May 31, 2019

Dwayne Robinson Bermuda Feb 14 2019[Opinion column written by OBA Senator Dwayne Robinson]

‘Reckless abandon’ was the accurate description my colleague Senator Marcus Jones used regarding the way the PLP passed the recent Health Insurance Amendment Act.

However, I would go a step further and use this description for the PLP’s entire tenure as Government since their victory in 2017. They have consistently made a mockery of our democratic system – ramming legislation through without allowing proper scrutiny or debate.

The general populace is still uncertain about the Health Insurance Amendment Act and many simply do not understand it.

Only after questioning in the Senate did the Government speak about a larger plan behind this amendment, however it was distilled down to a five minute explanation, so not much use to anyone given the complexity of the subject.

One would have assumed that if there was going to be any transparency, as this Government keeps talking about, that this plan would have been laid out in detail before its passage through the House and Senate.

This not the first time we have seen legislation passed like this. The Sugar Tax was rushed through without proper consultation and, subsequently, it was rolled back and then, later, re-implemented.

This legislation directly impacted the lives of Bermudians and was done with little regard for the possible effects on Bermudians – we have seen businesses close citing the Sugar Tax as the reason.

Our democratic system was once again abused with the Municipalities Reform Act 2019, which was strongly opposed by the communities it affected and in the brief consultation given by the PLP the disdain of the people was clear.

Yet despite the protest, they decided to table it with haste and use their majority to ram it through the House of Assembly.

It was turned down at the Senate by the Independent Senators and my fellow Opposition Senators because the Act removed Bermudian’s right to vote for their Municipal representation.

This is not the first time we have called out Government on this legislative rush, the Opposition Leader Craig Cannonier wrote an article calling this out, which was published last December.

At that time, it was referencing the amendment to the Children’s Act, which had to be delayed due to lack of consultation, and the Sex Offenders Bill which failed to implement suggestions made by the Parliamentary Joint Select committee formed to investigate the issue.

The Bill was presented to the House before the Joint select committee had even submitted its report, so what was the point of the committee?

A re-occurring theme we are seeing is that this Government is averse to proper consultation and scrutiny.

Consultation does not necessarily mean agreement – as the elected Government they are given the authority to make decisions on the people’s behalf. Sometimes decisions are not popular, but must be made for the greater good, that is understandable.

However, Bermudians need to be given time to properly scrutinize proposed legislation – public scrutiny and real transparency are important in a democracy. It can prevent poorly thought out decisions and stop unintended consequences, as we saw with the Health Bill.

Remember the ATV situation, where Minister David Burch decided to reject the results of consultation and take his own counsel? This resulted in him being overruled by Chief Justice Hargun after a case was brought against him by environmental charity, Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce.

The PLP ran on transparency, however their real plans for the country tend to surface only after legislation is passed. They appear not to want to listen to the people and power forward with their half-baked plans. That is not transparency

- Dwayne Robinson


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Comments (11)

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  1. 2 Bermudas says:

    The Pee El Pee are doing what they ought to do with with a 25-11 majority. Your OBA was a weak gov’t and allowed the tail to wag the dog. Don’t cry now!!

    • Swing voter#91 says:

      The obaUBPeee experiment was a disaster from the start. They shouldn’t have change the name to trick voters for a vote. Lets all be honest for once when the UBP was in charge they did a better job than the oba and plp combined.

      The issue is the color wheel and when you see the UBP mistreat former members why would anyone of color want to rejoin this party again.

      • Swinger #69 says:

        I look for ability now when I vote not color of skin.

  2. Sister Nancy says:

    We will see who will be laughing when you see how much your health insurance is going to increase. Laughing now crying later.This party has accomplished absolutely nothing nor has it done anything for the average Bermudian. However… all keep on supporting them.

    • Yes Eye says:

      Yes, 2 Bermudas – Take a look at your grocery bill versus whats in the bag and let us know how the sugar tax has helped you save money. Then take a look at your paycheck next month and tell me if you are earning more. Take a look at your insurance premium and services offered and let me know if you are getting 2X more benefits for the 200% that government has added to your premium. Then look at your bank account and let me know if you are saving more money then you were. Finally, take look at your friends and family members and let us know that aside from those that are employed thru the civil service, how many that were previously unemployed two years ago , are now employed? How many are now unemployed.

      The truth will likely open your eyes.

      • Come on man!! says:

        The blind leading the blind.

      • Paul says:

        The truth will not open their eyes, they are blinded by their loyalty to the party.

    • Paul says:

      And to think now we have to pay for a few consultants,who are not qualified !!!talk about friends and family… we should all refuse to oay our land tax if this madness continues.. where else in the world does a biased DJ qualify as a consultant to the AG…I have heard so many people who are disgusted with us having to pay for these unqulified so called consultants,and we all know why they are on the payroll.

  3. Captain Hook says:

    To Yes I, your entire statement is base on logic and common sense. Do you really believe the diehard supporters of that party are capable of such independent thinking? Most of them just do what their told without questioning. The fact that there has not been one public protest or pepper spraying this year alone tells you something.
    Civil unrest in HMS Prison Service
    Civil unrest in HMS Customs & Immigration
    Civil unrest in PTB
    Civil unrest now in Education
    Next month it will be easier to list the Departments that haven’t publicly shown that they no longer care about party politics and more about their own families well being.

    • Come on man!! says:

      The blind leading the blind. SMH!

  4. Me says:

    The downward spiral of life in bermuda rammed through by by an inept government