PLP On Debt, Senator, Public Service & More

January 26, 2022 | 20 Comments

“As a country, do we think it is good for our democracy if only those who do not hold debts are eligible for public service?” the PLP has asked.

PLP Deputy Chairperson Lauren Bell said, “The public discourse regarding a private matter involving a PLP Senator has shifted. It has shifted from allegations regarding the use of political affiliation to escape the accountability of outstanding debt; to the assertion that an individual with debt should not be eligible to be a public servant.

“To be clear, it is the firm position of the PLP and its leadership that anyone with outstanding debt should ensure every effort is made to rectify the arrears. However, what is observed is that persons are leveraging this Senator’s challenge in an attempt to score political points, which calls into question their motives.

“The PLP Senator, in an effort to ensure this private matter did not distract from the work of the Government, made a decision to resign.

“The PLP stands firm on their Senate appointment criteria. The members of the Party who come from all walks of life should be eligible to run for public office as a servant of the people.

“As a country, do we think it is good for our democracy if only those who do not hold debts are eligible for public service? We believe unequivocally that holding debt should not automatically disqualify someone from such service.

“If debt is a litmus test for political service, then, it would disqualify otherwise smart, hardworking Bermudians. And, it would rob our representative democracy of the perspective of the working class, including those with debts.

“This goes against the principles for which the Progressive Labour Party was founded. The model advanced by some would – as so many things in our society do – privilege the wealthy.

“We reiterate our position that outstanding debts should not be ignored. However, we believe that everyone can serve and lead, and we encourage others to do the same.”

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Comments (20)

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  1. Truthhertz says:

    What about the former Senator telling his landlady to not bother going to court as he will because of his political ‘affiliation?’ Does the PLP stand by that comment?

  2. Seriously says:

    This isn’t about someone with a debt. This is about intimidation. This press release PLP is spin!!! Shame on you!

  3. Astounded says:

    Give me a break! You can twist this as much as you like, but the wood has been seen despite the trees.

  4. Phil says:

    What a weaselly defence. This is about his character, not his debt.

  5. Rig says:

    I think the issue here is the Premier knew all about this and did nothing. It is absolutely a PLP and a Government issue.

    And cheap to throw it all at the disgraced Senstor, but I expect nothing else from them.

    They deserve one another.

  6. Jason says:

    What utter rubbish is this? The PLP is conflating owing a debt and paying a debt — two very different things. I don’t believe anyone is criticizing Senator Richardson for falling on hard times (even if those hard times were caused by economy-destroying restrictions that his government created) and accumulating debt as a result. The criticism is that he appears not to have acted responsibly and honourably by diligently repaying the debt which he acknowledges he owes. I don’t know his personal circumstances and what he can legitimately afford. However, what is known is that he had some income (i.e. Senate salary), and has the ability to pay something ($100/mth being the amount HE suggested he can afford, according to news reports) against his debt yet he paid nothing for months. There may well be differences of opinion regarding how much he can actually afford — that’s a matter for the court to sort out. However, there was nothing stopping the Senator from showing good intent by proceeding to pay his former landlady something — at least the amount he admits he can pay each month, instead of making excuses, dodging responsibility, and waiting for the court to issue new orders before he meets his obligations. The problem is not the debt, but rather how he chose to respond to it. If the PLP cannot see that, then their lack of sight is a serious problem for our country.

    The notion that Senator Richardson’s debt & associated legal troubles is a “private matter” is preposterous. No other politician (from a different political party) would get a free pass from the PLP for personal bad behaviour. — and they shouldn’t! It is completely fair to look at how one conducts himself in his personal life as a proxy for how trustworthy and honourable one is and suited to hold high office. How reliably one meets the commitments he has made is completely relevant.

    Rather than deflecting, the PLP spokesman would be better off decrying the economic carnage that has been caused to Bermuda over the past 2 years and the burden that has been placed on Senator Richardson, Ms. Harvey, and thousands of other residents as a result. Announcing an end to neverending Covid restrictions that have caused an economic catastrophe for many Bermudians, and giving people back the opportunity to earn a living and meet their financial obligations would be a much more productive use of the government’s time than issuing lame press releases which attempt to defend the indefensible.

    • Conscious Warrior says:

      Well said…Even when the PLP is wrong Mrs. Bell still defends it. Bet you if someone owed Skyline 19k she would be all over them… especially if that person was to threaten her with a political strong arm….. Oh if that was an OBA’er she would be in the public eye bashing the party and person.

  7. IslandChild says:

    The debt itself isn’t the problem. Life happens.

    The problem is how one deals with the debt,and it seems Mr Richardson did not deal with it or his debtor well, and that makes one question his suitability.

  8. Truth is killin’ me… says:

    Debt may lead to corruption if the person is put in a corner. I would rather have a debt free politician doing the people’s bidding than one full of debt.

  9. In Deep says:

    Yes Lauren – It is also my desire that those who cannot keep themselves out of debt should play a larger role in helping get the country out of debt. Ten out of ten for you on this one.

  10. Everyone has debts says:

    I get it, the debt that the senator has is a significant one and of course people will play it up more because of his position and who is owed money. However debt financing is a legitimate way of handling personal expenses. I know that this is very common among wealthy people. Moreover I have seen an infomercial advertising that debt doesn’t get taxed and therefore it is useful to gain wealth in assets. Personally I think that the lender has an advantage in that scenario (given that loans are not taxed, I don’t know). So this is clearly an attack on the senator’s character for whatever reason. We are in difficult times and yes I do encourage people to make an effort to get out of debt but we have to work together regardless of who owes who. Lest we fall into arguments that lead to strife that lead to bigger issues. Let’s use our words to make things better and not worse.

    • Double S says:

      WTH are you on? How can you even think to compare debt financing with a deadbeat who failed to pay his rent and then seeks to get a restraining order against his elderly landlord and then tells the, he will win in court because of his political affiliation. You supporters are sick and desperate to spin this as to him being the victim.

  11. Bill says:

    There is one thing to be in debt, as alot of people in Bermuda are ie home mortages, personal loans etc. The other is being in debt and taking advantage of people and businesses. Stop trying to spin it around and protecting your guilty politicians.

  12. Question says:

    Totally missing the point.

  13. Ringmaster says:

    Rev Tweed has said quite the opposite. This release proves what he said. The PLP has no morals. They are clearly unfit to be the Government.

    • sandgrownan says:

      On old Genevieve…bless him…if churches involve themselves in the political discourse, they should lose their tax exempt status. It’s quite simple. They have no right to force their “morality du jour” on the rest of us.

  14. Unbelievable says:

    Lol why would anyone send out this “press release”? You’re doing more damage than fixing the problem.

  15. had all my jabs and booster says:

    This guy needs to be dealt with severely

  16. Curtis P Richardson says:

    None of you know what you’re talking about. Public Perception is all…. This to shall pass as the truths spoken yet never printed will reveal just how illogical your words are.

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