Column: “Where Is The PLP Back Bench?”

October 4, 2021 | 16 Comments

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

Bermuda is currently in an economic and health crisis. In the battle to stay afloat financially and protect themselves from Covid-19, Bermudians need competent elected officials to craft legislation that improves the state of the island.

The One Bermuda Alliance frequently hears, “Where is the Opposition?” or “They are just THE SIX!”

This makes our team work harder. The opposition MPs show up and conduct the country’s business under continual scrutiny.

Despite our reduced numbers in the Lower House, the OBA will never stop working on behalf of the people.

October 1 marks a year since the Progressive Labour Party trounced to victory at the polls. A bitter pill to swallow.

However, besides the pandemic, there have been a plethora of issues affecting our Island which MPs could have been advocating and pushing legislation for.

The “30” should be vocal every chance they get, especially since they only have “the six” to worry about, right?

Yet recently, two PLP MPs have only just given their maiden speeches. They have been quiet in the House for an entire year. And not an ounce of scrutiny from the public, not loudly anyway. The electorate voted for 36 MPs to represent them in the House, not a select few.

In a lop-sided House of Assembly where the Opposition’s voting power is severely impeded, the integrity of the back benchers becomes more important than ever. They must step up and hold their Cabinet to account just like the Opposition.

Yet many are comfortable sitting there weekly, tight lipped over crucial pieces of legislation and topics such as: vaccine policies, hotel quarantine, the Union/PLP dispute, tourism, healthcare, education, or just about any critical issue plaguing the average Bermudian.

How many of us really know how the backbench feels about any of these issues, besides one or two brave enough to speak up? How can there be an actual consensus in the House with majority of the Government MPs refusing to vocalise their support or concerns for the Government policy in debate.

Being an MP is more than supporting your constituents with community initiatives, photo ops, and landscaping projects. These actions are appreciated but the main purpose of an elected official is to advocate for the people they represent publicly and to scrutinise the laws and policies that Government implements.

Anyone can speak up behind closed doors, what sets an elected official apart is articulating your position in the House of Assembly on behalf of your constituents. In these critical times, Bermudians need strong advocates in the House of Assembly and currently that is not happening from the PLP backbench.

When people ask, “Where is the Opposition?”, we are showing up with Covid safe canvassing, articles, interviews, pop up tents when safe, and putting forward solutions in the House of Assembly. Where is the PLP back bench? Bermuda does not need seat warmers; all hands are needed on deck to repair our island.

- Dwayne Robinson is a former OBA Senator and the OBA’s approved candidate for Constituency 30.

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Comments (16)

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  1. watching says:

    Seriously Dwayne?
    This drivel is why you got hammered in C28.
    The OBA has 6 MPs and 3 Senators plus they ran 24 other candidates in the election who could still speak on behalf of the issues.

    Where are the St George’s candidates? St. David’s candidates, Hamilton parish candidates, Devonshire Candidates, Pembroke Candidates, Warwick Candidates, Southampton Candidates and Sandys Candidates.

    Additionally where are the FDM candidates of which much excitement was made? Where are Marc Bean, Patrice Minors, Cheryl Packwood, among others?

    If you are going to call out people you perceive to be missing from the conversation, you should probably cast your net a little wider.

    • Question says:

      Noticably, you can’t address the actual point he made.

      • wahoo says:

        You are talking to a sheep who is happy with a one party system that promises the moon but every few years says that “there is still work to be done” and votes with the flock.

        • Answer says:

          What other party you want people to vote for? Not the UBP that switched it’s name to run away from it’s racist past! How about the OBA with it’s 6 seats that was so bad it’s own supporters didn’t come out and vote for it the last election.

          Wahoo why don’t you create your own party to see if the voters would join!

        • Double S says:

          It is their go to response for issues that they can’t effectively rebut..

          Attack, attack, attack and ignore the message. Sign of mental shortcomings really.

          With blind supporters such as the commentators on this thread it is no wonder Bermuda finds herself in the position it is in. Bermuda has declined significantly from a political, social, economic and financial perspective since the PLP’s reign. They won’t rebut that statement either as the stats are what they are. So instead they will attack and attack. All they have really.

      • OBA supporter no more says:

        Here’s the point!

        Before he comes on here trying to practice politics with the voters he should inspire to up lift his skill set and be the Manager. Jet Gate is the one who probably got him into the oba club. We all saw how good he was at being the Premier, until the Old Boys Alliance removed him.

    • Hey says:

      We have reduced testing on COVID, so would expect positive numbers to go down. Where are the updates? Clearly the PLP fail by opening up the island to Cupmatch backfired and now they are brushing their arrogant decision under the carpet by first blaming the public, being quiet, and also testing less. All the fanfare of doing a good job with the virus in 2020, patting their own backs, saying nonsense that they were making decisions based on the statistics was silly, Since August we have experienced rampant numbers of cases, yet they did nothing by the statistics and people died. Some of those lives could have been saved. Where is the uproar from the backbench. They sit in silence playing politics and keeping their party dirty laundry away from us, us who put them there. Time to speak up or get the hell out! If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.

      Haven’t heard anything from my PLP constituency winner.

    • Great response says:

      I agree with the response to his drivel.

  2. PBanks says:

    Don’t know if I can agree. They may have had a pop-up tent but where’s the communications beforehand? Where’s the emails, the news columns.

    Yes it’s unfair but as a gov-in-waiting and one with far less goodwill than the incumbent, OBA has to work four times as hard to get their message across and get a feel for the public.

    • iyiyi says:

      Unfortunately nothing will change other than it will get worse until a viable opposition forms .

  3. Ringmaster says:

    The PLP backbench have never, and will never, challenge Cabinet. Nice fat salary and benefits they could never obtain in the real world. Their first and only priority is to keep their MP seat as otherwise they are unemployable. That allegiance was cemented by Ewart Brown when he increased salaries and made the position full time. At least the UBP and OBA had backbenchers who did challenge the Cabinet if they needed to for the betterment of Bermuda.

    • hey says:

      Oh yes they have to tow the party line. You speak out against, and you’r gone, they know that. They do what they have to, attend the meetings, make some comments now and again, and collect the check.

    • Really? When? says:

      I do not recall any Oba backbenchers or the former senator questioning anything. Give us examples. Ha. None.

      • Double S says:

        Suzanne Holssouser, Shawn Crockwell, Mark Pettengill.

        There is three for you.

  4. Vote for Me says:

    Good morning
    This is another in the series of articles attributed to OBA candidates that demonstrate a surprising lack of understanding of the role of MPs. Their roles are not defined by what they say publicly in the HOA. Rather, their effectiveness is measured by the ability to understand issues faced by voters and provide solutions.

    Two current examples can be demonstrated by the comments made by MPs. Caesar and Richardson relating to Immigration Reform and the Covid virus. His colleagues can ably advise other comments made by all PLP MPs and Senators as they ably represent their constituents. Monthly clinics have always been a trademark for the PLP. The OBA have only recently started to copy clinics.

    Former Senator Robinson, who served with MPs Caesar and Richardson in the Senate might be of some actual value if he takes the time to critique what each of them said on September 24 rather than making empty comments in the press.

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