Column: Pearman On Flags, Parties, Canvassing

July 3, 2021

[Opinion column written by OBA Shadow Minister for Legal Affairs and Transport Scott Pearman]

As morning commutes go, my trip into town the other day gave me a reason to pause and think.

Heading along Front Street, towards the flagpole, the billowing flag was at half-mast, and flying upside down. I pulled over to snap a quick photo, but the Corporation employee was already tugging at the rope to flip the flag.

You may know that flying a flag at half-mast marks a prominent death in the community. The meaning of an upside down flag may be less familiar. In the maritime world, a flipped flag signifies ‘vessel in distress’ – a request for aid from nearby ships.

In the US, an upside down flag means “dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property”. An inverted ‘Stars and Stripes’ has also become a symbol of political protest: for some, it signifies discontent with the political system, for others, disrespect to the Nation.

As with so much in life, it often comes down to your perspective.

We are an Island struggling with Covid 19, curtailed liberties, political frustration, and, above all, increasing economic hardship. There are people in Bermuda who are experiencing “dire distress”. An upturned flag is a stark and immediate warning. We cannot allow it to become the symbol of our Island’s future.

Turning the Tables

The facts about last month’s Revolve Event are still unfurling in public. Early indicators suggested someone was not being straight. What started with people waving their hands in the air, descended into finger pointing.

The Premier’s initial response was full spin-mode: calling for a police investigation. His tweeted outrage on 9 June suggested he knew nothing of the Revolve event. The following week, the Premier gave the impression that the Revolve ‘raft up’ did not have the Government’s permission stating: “The suggestion that anyone in Government gave or issued approval for something to take place which is not lawful is not correct.”

Yet after the Blu lockdown party – and the recent unmasking of the Premier’s champagne cocktail party – his ‘it wasn’t me’ riff sounded hollow.

Last Friday in Parliament, the Premier was pressed by the Opposition to explain what he knew about the Revolve event and when he knew it. He accepted that – as Minister of Tourism – he was aware of it. Yet he twice refused to answer the question of when he became aware. Why admit what he knew, but refuse to answer when he knew it?

If the Premier actually knew what going on before his 9 June tweet, then his message to Bermudians that day is unmasked as misleading – a slippery attempt to put clear blue water between himself and the boat party. More answers are needed I suggest.

Canvassing Conflicts

When canvassing for the October 2020 election, I often received conflicting guidance from voters. At one house, my constituent implored that we politicians must set aside partisan differences and work together. Yet, at the next house, the voter was equally clear: “You got to give the PLP hell.”

Can both of these voters be right?

- Scott Pearman


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  1. LOL (original) says:

    Speaking of flags isn’t law that if you fly flags it must be the countries flag at the highest mast, then the British flag then what ever flag after that right? I might be wrong. Someone need to tell Somersfield that if they are gonna fly any flag by itself that it should be the Bermuda Flag. Just saying if it is in fact the law as stated to us by the regiment.

    LOL support what you want but do it in the legally accepted way.