Column: What Do You Look For In Leadership?

May 13, 2022

[Opinion column written by OBA Shadow Minister for Home Affairs & Legal Affairs Scott Pearman]

What do you look for in political leadership?

The May 6 sitting of the House of Assembly saw a marked contrast of political styles from two MPs sitting on the Government benches.

One MP was very much the slick politician of the modern age: smooth talking; spinning; mischaracterizing the positions of those who disagree; deploying deflection and, from time to time, a touch of deceit.

The other MP embraced the role of ‘anti-politician’. Calm and to the point. Focused on the facts and figures. Setting out his case, carefully and clearly. Quite compelling, really.

The first tells you what you want to hear; the second tells it like it is. Which do you prefer?

And as I see it this contrast is about far more than political style. It reveals something about their leadership qualities too.

Today’s PLP does not tolerate dissent. As one PLP MP once famously admitted during a Parliamentary debate on 11 December 2020: the PLP “go behind closed doors and sort our business out”; not a free and fair discussion of competing ideas.

For former Finance Minister Curtis Dickinson to take such a bold stand against Premier David Burt took real courage. Truly.

Whether MP Dickinson proves to be right or wrong on the issue itself, his behaviour demonstrates principled leadership. Sadly, that is something that is far too rare in today’s politics.

Barrier To Entry

Speaking of courage, isn’t it about time the PLP Cabinet finally scrapped the costly Travel Authorisation Form?

Recently, OBA Shadow Health Minister Michael Dunkley reiterated [yet again] the Opposition’s call for the removal of the Travel Form. The response from the current Government’s spokeswoman revealed – if there were ever any doubt – that’s it’s all about the money, stating: “The [Travel Form] fee is an important revenue source for the Government to help fund the island’s Covid-19 response which has been extensive…”.

No doubt the costs have been extensive. Yet that misses the point.

The pressing issue is that the Travel Form makes it more difficult for people to travel to Bermuda. At a time when Bermuda desperately needs more visitors here – spending their foreign capital – the Travel Form is a barrier to entry. Stories abound of stranded air travelers, and cruise passengers who simply remain aboard – spending dollars on their ship instead of on our Island.

The OBA has learned of travellers who have been denied onto a flight despite filling out the form. This is not the fault of the people processing the Travel Form – it is the requirement to have one before you fly that is the problem. The system is so confusing that even if you follow it correctly you still might not get home.

Simply put, we should not be making it harder for travellers to enter the island. If, like the One Bermuda Alliance, you believe the Travel Form needs to go – that we must lift the barrier to entry now – then please contact your MP.

Sail GP

This weekend will see the return of Sail GP to our shores.

And the fleet of eight racing vessels has now expanded to 10, this time including foiling catamarans from Canadian and Swiss teams.

At a time when our economy [and our community] desperately needs some good news, it is fantastic that we have this opportunity once again to showcase Bermuda to the world.

Like that old radio spot used to say: “Let’s make our visitors feel welcome”.

- Scott Pearman is the MP for Paget East [Constituency 22] and the OBA Shadow Minister for Home Affairs & Legal Affairs. He can be reached at This article was written on Wednesday, 11 May 2022.


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Comments (3)

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  1. John Rudolph says:

    Cruise set in July has us arriving into Bermuda. Since we now have to pay an additional $40 each for this so called tax “travel authorization” we have decided as a group of travelers to not spend any money while in Bermuda. Some of us aren’t bothering to leave the ship.
    Total count now of our group 212.
    Sorry that your government is so greedy.

    • trufth says:

      I couldn’t agree more with you!! Just the other day I asked why on earth would cruisers even leave the ship! So good for you. You should make a banner that says “boycott Bermuda” and hang it from your balconies while in port here. If tourists keep rewarding Burt’s stupid greed $40 at a time, this will never go away. BTW – he says it will stay in place until this time next year.

      Locals appreciate your boycott. We travel too and are forced to pay that ridiculous ransom to come home.

      • iyiyi says:

        The cruise ship themselves should boycott Bermuda !
        That’s about the only thing that will get the attention of this brainless government !