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PLP Leads Debate on Key Issues

PLP Leader Marc Bean discusses the PLP's success in making progress on matters even while the party sits in opposition. 

On Sunday, December 7th, PLP Leader Marc Bean relased the following statement. This statement was issued after 4 PLP bills were debated in Parliament on Friday, December 5th. 

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At the most recent sitting of the House of Assembly sitting on Friday, the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party demonstrated our commitment to putting forward new ideas and solutions to challenges facing Bermudians. The PLP led debate on four pieces of legislation designed to change the laws in Bermuda so that Bermuda works better for all.

The OBA supported a PLP measure advanced by Shadow Minister for Immigration and External Affairs and Immigration Walton Brown called the Commission of Inquiry Amendment Act, which granted the Premier of Bermuda greater powers to protect Bermudian interests. The House passed a bill that changed the existing law so that the power to call Commissions of Inquiry will no longer be held solely by the Governor.  The Premier and future Premiers will now also have that power and be able to use it in the interest of Bermudians. Hopefully this change or law will prevent the farce that occurred in July from being repeated, where Parliament voted for a Commission of Inquiry, and that action was rejected the United Kingdom’s Governor.

 

In introducing the Public Holidays Amendment Act, Shadow Youth, Community and Cultural Affairs Minister Michael Weeks, proposed that Bermuda Day should be tied to the US Memorial Day Weekend and be held on the Friday before Memorial Day in the USA, allowing greater economic and tourism marketing benefits as well as benefiting Bermudians directly. Though the OBA indicated they could support the measure, they asked that the PLP take up the bill again next week once they receive the result of a poll that the OBA are currently running on the issue. The PLP look to pass this bill on December 12 and hopefully the OBA will support the PLP Again.

 

Although the One Bermuda Alliance refused to support Shadow Minister of Finance David Burt’s Statutory Interest Rate Reduction Act, which would have reduced the statutory interest rate from 7% to 3%; the OBA were forced to acknowledge the wisdom of the PLP's vision in reducing this rate. During the debate the Minister of Finance pledged to have the Bermuda Monetary Authority use its power to reduce the statutory interest rate. The PLP will monitor this issue and hold the OBA government to the pledge made to the people in Parliament.

 

On the day I became Leader of the PLP, I pledged that we would not merely criticize the OBA, but that we would also bring forward real ideas and real solutions for Bermudians. These three changes to law along with our legislation relating to ending the practice of sending Bermudians to jail for civil debts, ending conscription, and decriminalising simple cannabis possession are tangible proof of our commitment to that pledge. The PLP will continue to lead, and will introduce additional changes to our laws so that Bermuda works better for all.

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Statement from Shadow Sports Minister, Michael Weeks

The dedication Nikki has shown to the sport is impressive and he is a positive role model to other young Bermudians

"The Progressive Labour Party congratulates Nikki Bascome on his victory over Joe Marchand-Tipping in his professional welterweight bout on Friday night. The dedication Nikki has shown to the sport is impressive and he is a positive role model to other young Bermudians. We will be watching closely as he continues to develop in his career. 

We also acknowledge our female middleweight boxer Teresa Perozzi who despite being defeated has had a remarkable career and has shown herself to be a great champion.  We wish her well! 

We ask or extend our best wishes to Chioke Tucker. Despite his defeat we are encouraged by his performance and expect to hear good things in the future."
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Statement by PLP MP for Constituency 33 Jamahl Simmons

I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to serve the people of Constituency 33. Thank you for your support.

The first item on the agenda is to canvass all of the people we missed during the campaign. With over 1,300 voters and the limited election period, we were unable to see everyone, hear their concerns and get their feedback on taking the community forward. This canvass will commence on Saturday. 

During the campaign I pledged to be accessible and available to constituents and encouraged them to contact me with their ideas, concerns and suggestions. To that end I am available via:

Cell: 533-7007
Email: jamahls@plp.bm
Facebook: www.facebook.com/jamahl.simmons
PLP Constituency 33 on Facebook: www.facebook.com/PLP33

I will also commence Constituency Clinics on a monthly basis, starting in December.

I encourage all constituents of Sandys South to continue expressing their views, pushing their concerns and holding me accountable.

Thanks again to the people of Sandys South and to the wonderful team of PLP volunteers that helped us to achieve victory at the polls. Now the work begins!

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Statement from PLP Leader, Mr. Marc Bean JP MP.

Dr. Munroe was certainly a friend to Bermuda, and he will certainly be missed. 

"I give my personal heartfelt and most sincere condolences to our relatives and friends in the Bahamas, friends and family of Rev. Dr. Myles Munroe, and to the nation of Bahamas, who mourn this tragic loss."

 
In 2004, as a member of the Bermuda Independence Commission, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Dr. Munroe in Bahamas when I visited along with Dame Lois Browne-Evans, my PLP colleague, Derrick Burgess JP MP, and Bishop Vernon Lambe, a close friend and spiritual brother of Dr. Munroe.
 
Dr. Munroe was certainly a friend to Bermuda, and he will certainly be missed.   He was a loyal son of Bahamas, but a friend to many outside of Bahamas. He was a cousin to my wife, Simone, and her family is devastated by this tragedy.
 
Our prayers are with the families of all nine who perished in this tragedy, and with the nation of Bahamas at this time. 
 
I also extend condolences on behalf of the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party.  Our relationship with Bahamas extends back many decades. During this terrible time, we want the people of Bahamas to know they are in our thoughts and prayers."
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Call for Fair Treatment of Local Musicians

“If the proposed new policy stands it will only further marginalise our very talented local entertainers at a time when such work is more and more difficult to find."

Call for Fair Treatment of Local Musicians
Shadow Minister for Immigration Walton Brown is today calling on the Minister for Immigration, 
Senator Michael Fahy, to reinstitute the 2013 work permit policy as it related to musicians and 
entertainers to ensure local talent is given a fair opportunity in their country. Mr. Brown noted 
the following: “The policy for many years was that foreign entertainment would be allowed when 
accompanied by local performers at the same venue. The new policy set to come into force December 1eliminates this completely and will allow businesses to bring in overseas entertainers without any local component whatsoever. According to the Draft Work Permit Policy document (Section 7.14: “Work permits for foreign entertainers to perform at commercial locations open to the public (clubs, pubs and hotels) may be granted, provided that they are advertised in the normal way.”
This is in sharp contrast to the 2013 policy which held, inter alia, that (Section 6.8): “For each non­-Bermudian group or individual employed, there will also be the requirement that a Bermudian group or individual...is employed by the establishment concerned.”
 
Mr.Brown further commented that “If the proposed new policy stands it will only further marginalise our very talented local entertainers at a time when such work is more and more difficult to find.
It will reinforce the belief that the OBA government is intent on adopting policies and laws that 
only serve to advance narrow business interests and further diminish the hopes and aspirations of 
Bermudians. We call on Minister Fahy to revert back to the 2013 policy, for the sake of our local musicians and entertainers.”
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PLP Statement on Public Education Results - Ms. Lovitta Foggo, JP, MP, Shadow Minister of Education

We continue to encourage both staff and students to do their best and to strive for excellence in all facets of their educational careers.  We applaud all for their efforts.

"We, in the PLP, note the grades published by the Ministry of Education in last week's press statement. We, especially, commend those students achieving at the highest standards and say congratulations to all students on their accomplishments.

On a whole, the PLP is happy to highlight that the level of achievement is reminiscent of years gone by and it continues to demonstrate that, on average, our students are performing.  However, at the middle school level, there remains a concern regarding outcomes which are reflective of a disconnect in how the three levels of the system interact. This adolescent period is difficult for students, but we must find a way to ensure increased results.  We cannot lose our students at this crucial, intermediate phase!

In March, 2013 the PLP announced that, should it be returned to government, it will dismantle the failed middle school system and return to primary and secondary schools only. This is a recommendation advanced by Dr. Hopkins and a measure we believe will promote better alignment of the primary and senior curricula and will increase confidence in our public school system.  This can also enhance positive peer pressure, as exposure to more senior student role models will exemplify the behaviours beneficial to school success for new students. We believe this will lead to improved performances for the age category of students currently in the middle schools.

We continue to encourage both staff and students to do their best and to strive for excellence in all facets of their educational careers.  We applaud all for their efforts.

Let's continue to build roads to success for our students and for Bermuda; and let's also have the courage to advance tough reforms to improve the school system so as to ensure that it is working as well as it needs to."

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Condolences to the Family of Mr. Eugene Vickers, MBE

Statement by PLP Leader, Hon. Marc Bean

On behalf of the Progressive Labour Party, I extend our heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Eugene Vickers, MBE, on his passing.  Mr. Vickers, a 40 year member of the Bermuda Reserve Police and a former Commandant, is a shining example of one who dedicated much of his life to his community.  He was a dedicated community servant and will be truly missed.

Mr. Bean commented, "I am truly in shock at this news as I was supposed to meet with Mr. Vickers last week.  This news has certainly saddened me.  I give my deepest condolences to his family and friends."

 

 

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Statement from PLP Leader Marc Bean

"We are thankful that there appears to be no loss of life from the experience with Tropical Storm Fay. 

"We are thankful that there appears to be no loss of life from the experience with Tropical Storm Fay. We commend the response of the first responders, the Bermuda Police Service, Bermuda Fire Service, and utilities such as BELCO and BTC.

 

We encourage our fellow Bermudians to continue listening to government advisories, and in a sense of community spirit, to look out for neighbors and friends to ensure everyone is safe and sound.

 

We must note that despite forecasts by the weather services, we must always be prepared, as storm tracks and intensities can change with little notice."

 

Statement from Shadow Minister of Public Safety, Walter Roban -

 

"We do note that there appear to have been a number of problems with the experience the island has had over the past weekend.  The information that was given out  prior to the arrival of the system may not have accurately reflected the projected impact on the island, which has resulted in significant damage and disruption island wide.  The question remains were we properly informed as to the character of the system named Fay?  Was government slow to mobilise the necessary resources?   Was there a change that the public may have missed or were not informed about?  Should the Bermuda Regiment have been embodied in light of the potential strength of the Storm/hurricane? Was there a pre-meeting of the Emergency Measures Organisation (EMO)? In light of the impact overnight why did it take until late afternoon for there to be a meeting of the EMO?

 

There is the impression that the government and EMO were caught off guard and this should not have been the experience since it is not the first time we have had to deal with a storm system changing right on top of us.

 

Full disclosure on these issues will assist us all with preparedness in the future.

 

We also ask the Government and the public to take note of the possible end of week arrival of likely Hurricane Gonzalo, and to monitor its development closely.  We cannot afford to take these storms lightly."

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Statement from Shadow National Security Minister Walter Roban: Proper Preparation Needed to Face Tropical Storms and Hurricanes

Premier Dunkley commented that storm information was harder to disseminate and receive because the storm hit in then middle of the night.  He also called scores of Bermudians "armchair quarterbacks" because they have legitimate concerns about how information regarding Tropical Storm Fay may or may not have been delivered to the general public.

The Progressive Labour Party is duly concerned and amazed at the comments made in the media by the Premier and Minister of National Security, Michael Dunkley who also sits as the Chair of the Emergency Measures Organization.
 
Premier Dunkley commented that storm information was harder to disseminate and receive because the storm hit in then middle of the night.  He also called scores of Bermudians "armchair quarterbacks" because they have legitimate concerns about how information regarding Tropical Storm Fay may or may not have been delivered to the general public.  
 
Premier Dunkley, however, did not comment on the following facts -
 
1. The Emergency Broadcast Channel 100.1FM did not go live until the morning after the storm hit
2. The Emergency Measures Organisation (EMO) had no pre-meeting in anticipation of the storm
3. The Bermuda Regiment was not embodied until after the storm had passed, delaying the ability for them to be up and running and assisting in the recovery and clean up more quickly
4. No move was made by the Government to close the Causeway despite knowledge that the winds would get over 50 knots, contravening a policy established after Hurricane Fabian to help keep people safe
5. There were no text message capabilities shown by the Government to update the community, despite the OBA last year launching their new text message alert system to much fanfare
 
Premier Dunkley stated that the EMO has met several times since the start of the hurricane season, however that explanation is insufficient.  With a storm approaching Bermuda, it is the responsibility of the EMO, chaired by the Premier, to ensure that all agencies are ready for all scenarios, and that the safety of Bermuda's residents is paramount.  The EMO must meet to identify and analyze the characteristics of the impending storm and therefore make the relevant decisions.  The EMO cannot solely rely on meetings that have happened months ago as a guide. 
 
We are all aware of the projected arrival of Hurricane Gonzalo this coming Friday.   We ask Premier Dunkley to engage any firms that have the ability to assist with cleanup prior to Gonzalo's arrival.  All debris must be cleared to minimize injury and damage.
 
It is a matter of critical importance that Premier Dunkley ensures that his EMO is operating properly and that Bermuda is sufficiently prepared for Gonzalo's arrival and for whatever the aftermath may be..  It could be a matter of life and death.

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Statement from Shadow National Security Minister Walter Roban: Proper Preparation Needed to Face Tropical Storms and Hurricanes

Premier Dunkley commented that storm information was harder to disseminate and receive because the storm hit in then middle of the night.  He also called scores of Bermudians "armchair quarterbacks" because they have legitimate concerns about how information regarding Tropical Storm Fay may or may not have been delivered to the general public.

The Progressive Labour Party is duly concerned and amazed at the comments made in the media by the Premier and Minister of National Security, Michael Dunkley who also sits as the Chair of the Emergency Measures Organization.
 
Premier Dunkley commented that storm information was harder to disseminate and receive because the storm hit in then middle of the night.  He also called scores of Bermudians "armchair quarterbacks" because they have legitimate concerns about how information regarding Tropical Storm Fay may or may not have been delivered to the general public.  
 
Premier Dunkley, however, did not comment on the following facts -
 
1. The Emergency Broadcast Channel 100.1FM did not go live until the morning after the storm hit
2. The Emergency Measures Organisation (EMO) had no pre-meeting in anticipation of the storm
3. The Bermuda Regiment was not embodied until after the storm had passed, delaying the ability for them to be up and running and assisting in the recovery and clean up more quickly
4. No move was made by the Government to close the Causeway despite knowledge that the winds would get over 50 knots, contravening a policy established after Hurricane Fabian to help keep people safe
5. There were no text message capabilities shown by the Government to update the community, despite the OBA last year launching their new text message alert system to much fanfare
 
Premier Dunkley stated that the EMO has met several times since the start of the hurricane season, however that explanation is insufficient.  With a storm approaching Bermuda, it is the responsibility of the EMO, chaired by the Premier, to ensure that all agencies are ready for all scenarios, and that the safety of Bermuda's residents is paramount.  The EMO must meet to identify and analyze the characteristics of the impending storm and therefore make the relevant decisions.  The EMO cannot solely rely on meetings that have happened months ago as a guide. 
 
We are all aware of the projected arrival of Hurricane Gonzalo this coming Friday.   We ask Premier Dunkley to engage any firms that have the ability to assist with cleanup prior to Gonzalo's arrival.  All debris must be cleared to minimize injury and damage.
 
It is a matter of critical importance that Premier Dunkley ensures that his EMO is operating properly and that Bermuda is sufficiently prepared for Gonzalo's arrival and for whatever the aftermath may be..  It could be a matter of life and death.

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