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Statement by PLP Leader Marc Bean: New Shadow Cabinet Ready to Govern and Stand up for Bermudians

Bermuda is changing....Times change and so must we.

To that end, I am determined to field a Shadow Cabinet that reflects Bermuda as it is and with the vision to carry the issues of the people forward.

Since assuming the leadership of The Bermuda Progressive Labour Party, I have committed to standing up for the people and offering new ideas and new solutions to the problems facing Bermudians.

I have been fortunate to serve alongside men and women of strength, intellect and talent, and with a shared commitment to the protection of Bermuda's people, Bermudian interests, and the island that we love.

While we may hold less seats than the OBA, the level of willingness and ability is higher, the command of the issues is stronger, and the connection to the Bermudian people is unbreakable.

There is a renewed spirit in our community...a spirit that says that Bermudians will not be content to be second class citizens in their own country...a spirit that says the old ideas that have failed us, must be cast aside and replaced with new ideas and new approaches to the problems of today.

Bermuda is changing....Times change and so must we.

To that end, I am determined to field a Shadow Cabinet that reflects Bermuda as it is and with the vision to carry the issues of the people forward.

Derrick Burgess has faithfully served the workers of this island and has championed fairness, equality and improved conditions of workers for decades.  It is Derrick Burgess's passion for Bermuda's workers and  society's most vulnerable that makes him the ideal person to fill the post of Shadow Minister with Responsibility for Labour Relations and Seniors. Zane Desilva possesses the work ethic, energy and commitment to Bermudians that is needed to rebuild this critical pillar of our economy.  Zane Desilva is committed to Bermuda and committed to Bermudians. He will hold the Tourism Authority accountable and fight for Bermudian jobs and opportunities in this critical industry as Shadow Tourism Minister

The tenure of the OBA's AG has been fraught with expensive blunders, bad legal advice and offensive statements directed against Bermudians. Michael Scott will stand up for Bermudians, hold the AG accountable and force him to raise his performance for the good of Bermudians as Shadow AG

Kim Wilson provides valiant service, commitment and reliability on matters that impact our community. She will fight for affordable healthcare for ALL Bermudians and hold this OBA government accountable as Shadow Health Minister

The safety of our people and the maintenance of law and good order are essential as we build a Bermuda that puts Bermudians first. Walter Roban brings toughness, integrity and tenacity to the shadow cabinet as Shadow Public Safety Minister

The fact that Lovitta Foggo is joining a PLP Shadow Cabinet for the first time, in addition to her excellent service as parliamentary whip, is a testament to the wealth of talent within our Party. In education there is a need, not just for accountability but for leadership and a vision that sees our young people as a priority, not a problem.  Lovitta Foggo has shown that she will fight for the people of St. David's and now she brings that same fighting spirit to stand up for Bermuda's students and their parents as Shadow Education Minister

The Economic Development of our island must be a priority and must include ALL Bermudians.  With job losses mounting, new ideas, a new vision and a new direction are needed. Wayne Furbert has the experience and the desire to see Bermudians placed first in jobs and opportunities. He will bring forth the ideas and vision to transform our economy, attract new businesses to our shores, diversify our economy, and put Bermudians first as Shadow Economic Development Minister

The environment is not just about the trees, the air and the sea. It is about the quality of life of Bermudians. The fight to protect our natural resources must grow beyond protecting open spaces and animal life, to protecting the quality of life of the people that call this island home. Glenn Blakeney has the experience and drive to move the environmental debate into the 21st century and provide a new approach to the issues that face us all today, and in generations yet to come.

Bermuda today has control of our immigration, yet external affairs remains held firmly in the hands of the Governor.  While this is the status quo today, one day it will change and we must be prepared for that day by beginning to grapple with how we protect our borders and Bermudian interests on the world stage.  This is a necessary step in our political maturation as we begin to prepare ourselves for self-determination.  Walton Brown understands the history, the laws and the issues facing Bermuda and the need to fight against efforts to use immigration to marginalize Bermudians.  As Shadow Minister for Immigration and External Affairs, Walton Brown will play a pivotal role in our political and social maturation process.

Rolfe Commissiong is no stranger to the fight for freedom, justice and equality.  Bermudians, ALL Bermudians deserve the right to enjoy the full bounty of their citizenship; equal pay for equal work, equal treatment in jobs, housing and opportunity and equal treatment under the law.  As Shadow Minister for Human Affairs, Rolfe Commissiong is equipped to provide solutions and move Bermuda forward

Dennis Lister has been a source of wise counsel, sage advice and a source of calm at the center of any storm.  He is the bedrock of our Parliamentary caucus and a continued inspiration to all of us who believe in a Bermuda that works for Bermudians. I am pleased that he has accepted the Shadow Ministry of Public Works and look forward to him taking a more prominent role in holding the OBA accountable to Bermudians

Finally David Burt, Lawrence Scott and Michael Weeks retain their portfolios of Shadow Finance Minister, Shadow Transport Minister and Shadow Community and Cultural Affairs.  As with my other colleagues, they have performed their roles with honor and distinction, and we look forward to working with them in the year ahead.

The team I have unveiled today, represents the first of a series of announcements that will provide the public with a clearer picture of the alternative solution we offer to the OBA.  We stand united, we stand committed, and we are READY to govern.

Thank You

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Statement by Senator Marc Daniels

For Immediate Release

April 28, 2014

Statement by Senator Marc Daniels

I am a proud Bermudian. Both European and African blood
runs through my veins.

Notwithstanding my ‘mixed-racial’ lineage, I will not
profess to share the purported expertise that former OBA Senator, Toni Daniels,
has recently expressed. To suggest that being ‘mixed-race’ would offer me
greater insight into our “racial situation” is wholly disrespectful.

The OBA would present themselves as a party that is not
predicated on race, and suggest that the PLP is consumed by it. Miss Daniels’

opinion piece was intended to further advance this
myth.  The OBA would say that the PLP
engage in the politics of race while failing to acknowledge their own part in
the narrative.

It is not necessary for me to offer a line-by-line
rebuttal to my cousin. It is not necessary for me to explain the reason as to
why the PLP was born and how the UBP was created in response. It is not even
necessary for me to acknowledge that both the OBA and PLP are comprised of
blue-collar workers, as well as white-collar workers. We both have tradesmen
and entrepreneurs, civil servants and IB executives within our ranks and
support base. We both can express sentiments of critical thought and we both
can show massive shortcomings.

But what does appear necessary is to clear up the
rhetoric and the script being written about the PLP. Where some parties have
sought to advance the elite’s interests only, the PLP has always sought to
champion the rights of all people, to promote our interests, irrespective of
race, notwithstanding our shameful legacy of having been separated by it.

Real Bermudians are those that want Bermuda and her
people to succeed.

We want to be able to provide for our families and to
feel a sense of pride and belonging within our island home. We want to know
that we have a seat at the political, economic and social table. We celebrate
the achievements of our public and private school students. We support our
athletes who participate in the Carifta Games and the Island Games; Cup Match
and the Rugby Classic. We do not seek to limit ourselves into boxes of white or
black, male or female, gay or straight, religious or secular, or PLP versus
OBA, within which to constitute our identity.

Real Bermudians understand our economy and the role that
our foreign partners, including tourists, play in our society. We welcome
economic opportunity but we shall defend a society that ensures our people are
able to receive more than the water that drips off of our roofs, but that which
flows into our tanks.

Real Bermudians can lay claim to family roots that expand
for centuries as well as those that may only span a couple of decades.

Real Bermudians are not just born here but can be made
here, such as many spouses who hail from far, but call Bermuda their home.

Real Bermudians are those who believe in our own talent,
potential, and greatness; and who would seek to promote us in all aspects of
society, both economically and culturally. Real Bermudians acknowledge our
history as it pertains to race instead of sweeping it under the rug when it
serves our purpose. We recognize the struggles that have divided us while
remaining true to leveling a playing field that resembles nothing of our
shameful past.

Those who profess to love this country but seek to
maintain the divide that holds us back are ‘pretend’ Bermudians. They are not
worthy of our respect regardless if they can trace their ancestry far back in
time. They are not ‘white contradictions’ as Miss Daniels posited, but those
who would seek to promote one class above another, or one race, or foreign
interests above our own and they should hold no honor within our society.

Should real Bermudians be entitled to judge who is and
who is not entitled to call Bermuda home, especially when we factor in our size
and available land for future generations’ benefit? Of course we should! After
all, this is our home. Do other nations not exemplify these beliefs?

Real Bermudians do not need to listen to talk shows to
know how the people feel because we are the people. We will vent and express
our frustration when our leaders disappoint us, regardless of which party we
primarily support.

So in response to my cousin, the only tragedy for us
‘mixed people’ is when we continue to promulgate the myth that we have any more
insight than our kin. We should stop trying to seek acceptance from ‘one side
of us’ while maligning the other and recognize that it’s time for all of us to
be ‘real’.

When we say that the OBA’s polices are not looking out
for the real Bermudians, we are saying that their policies seemingly put
foreign interests first; while selling the notion that trickle down economics
is in our interests while failing to provide avenues to further empower
ourselves. So ask yourself, are you real or do you pretend?

 

 

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Statement by Walton Brown MP

If the OBA believes that OBA candidates pocketing government contracts don't have to be open and transparent about it, they should just say so.


The OBA continues to deflect and distract from the growing evidence that they believe in two Bermudas: One where they can break the rules, bend the truth and break promises without remorse and another Bermuda for the rest of us.

Parliamentary Joint Select Committees are drawn from members of both parties. In this instance it included OBA MPs Jeanne Atherden, Glen Smith and Susan Jackson.

The purpose of Parliamentary Joint Select Committees is to have members work across party lines without fear or favor for the good of the country.  Unfortunately the OBA doesn't believe the rules apply to them.

If the OBA believes that OBA candidates pocketing government contracts don't have to be open and transparent about it, they should just say so. Divisive attempts to deflect from the good work of this committee are a distraction from them getting on with the business of getting Bermudians employed.

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PLP Alarmed at Reduction in Seniors' Health Benefits

Seniors from age 65-74 will be cut by 10 percent to 70 percent and those over 75 by 10 percent to 80 percent.

"We at the Progressive Labour Party are very concerned by the remarks in the House of Assembly yesterday from Health Minister Trevor Moniz that the Standard Health Benefit will be reduced causing even further cuts  to Seniors.  Seniors from age 65-74 will be cut by 10 percent to 70 percent and those over 75 by 10 percent to 80 percent. 
These type of cuts are affecting a segment of society that is often the most vulnerable financially.  These are the people who have spent most of their life paying into government systems and working to build the infrastructure of our island. Prior to the Budget, we appealed to the OBA government to not make the Seniors the scapegoats.  It appears that they have done just that. 
To make matters worse, seniors were given no increase in pension payments, which makes it now four consecutive years that they have had no increase. Fortunately, the Progressive Labour Party government had made it our mission to vastly increase their pension payouts in the early part of this century in order to make pensions somewhat respectable and to provide some financial security for our seniors.
We ask that Minister Moniz, Minister Richards and the OBA Cabinet have a meeting of the minds on this and a rethink of the reduction of this benefit.  Surely, cost savings could be obtained in a variety of other ways.  We have heard of the excessive travel costs of Premier Cannonier.  We know about the heavily salaried political advisors working for Premier Cannonier.  
We find it very hard to rationalize cutting the benefits to Bermuda's seniors while others are showing little to no sacrifice in this economic climate."
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Statement by PLP Leader Marc Bean: The Premier Can't Hide From Questions Forever.

It is clear by his actions that Premier Cannonier has no regard for the rules of the House of Assembly, the rulings of the Speaker, and by extension the people of Bermuda.

This morning, in the House of Assembly, Premier Cannonier was asked the following questions:

  1. Will the Honourable Premier please inform this Honourable House if he and any of the Principals of Landow & CO. Builders (Bethesda, MD) have met, spoken via telephone, or corresponded via email, since his Personal Explanation given to this Honourable House on May 31, 2013. 
  2. Will the Honourable Premier please confirm to this Honourable House if the “Exchange of Information” trip to Washington DC, detailed in his Personal Explanation of May 31, 2013, was the first time the Honourable Premier had met any of the Principals of Landow & CO. Builders (Bethesda, MD). 


After being directed by the Speaker of the House to answer these questions Yes or No, Premier Cannonier refused to do so, under the grounds of refusing to prejudice himself.

This is not accountability, transparency, or openness. It is cowardice, arrogance, and contempt for the people of Bermuda at the highest level. 

The Premier may fear incriminating himself, but no matter how much he attempts to hide the truth it will inevitably be revealed.

 

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PLP Reply to the 2014 Budget

Shadow Minister of Finance David Burt, delivered the PLP's reply to the 2014/15 Budget in Parliament on Friday, February 28. Read the full response here.

Shadow Minister of Finance David Burt, delivered the PLP's reply to the 2014/15 Budget in Parliament on Friday, February 28. In that response he outlined the PLP's alternate budget proposal that would make signifigant investments in education, training, and alternative energy. He also laid of the PLP's ideas for diversifying the economy, creating addtional jobs in Bermuda, and reforming immigration.

The full document is available for download here. If you have feedback, MP David Burt can be contacted on dburt@plp.bm

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Statement by Shadow Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert

The contradiction between Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell' s account of the events surrounding JetGate and the claims made by the Premier have created more questions than answers about the Premier's relationship with the investor Nathan Landow, 

Statement by Shadow Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert 

The contradiction between Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell' s account of the events surrounding JetGate and the claims made by the Premier have created more questions than answers about the Premier's relationship with the investor Nathan Landow, and the reason for the divergent accounts.

The Premier was not upfront with the people of Bermuda about the junket taken by he and his colleagues in violation of the Ministerial Code of Conduct.  Were it not for this story being leaked by an OBA insider, the public might never have known that this dubious action was taken by key members of the OBA government.

The Premier was not upfront with the people of Bermuda when, once the JetGate 3 were caught violating the Ministerial Code yet  he failed to reveal that the business manager of his private enterprise was also on that private jet.

The Premier's claims that his business manager was simply, "bumming a lift," have now been contradicted by the Premier's own Tourism Minister who claimed last week on Magic 102.7's The Sherri Simmons Show that the Premier's business manager not only attended the secret meetings with the developer but also made presentations at the meetings.  

This chain of events paints a very disturbing picture of a Premier, who prior to the December 2012 election, preached transparency, openness and accountability, yet now seems more focused on cover-ups and potentially making backroom deals than in being honest with the people of Bermuda.  

In the interest of transparency, openness and accountability, we call on Premier Cannonier to come clean with the details surrounding this entire trip and to be accountable to the people for he and his Minister's actions.

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PLP Stands Strong Behind Leader Marc Bean and MP David Burt

The Premier has gone on record stating that his business manager, Mr. Stephen Dacosta, was only “bumming a ride” with him when he, along with Ministers Crockwell and Pettingill traveled to Washington DC last year.

We in the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party are standing strong for our Leader , the Hon. Marc Bean and the Shadow Minister of Finance, David Burt and we are here today to show our collective support for them.


We were extremely disturbed that during the Motion to Adjourn in the House of Parliament, on Friday, December 13, 2013, Premier Craig Cannonier and Minister Shawn Crockwell and Attorney General Mark Pettingill leveled serious allegations on our leader regarding a telephone conversation that was held between the Opposition Leader and the Premier.


Needless to say, we found it unacceptable that such allegations would be leveled at a time when the Opposition leader was not in the chamber as he was attending to family matters.


It is our opinion that Parliamentary protocol requires that accusations such as those made by the Premier should have waited until our Leader was present in Parliament, to look his accusers in the face and provide his own response.


We therefore believe that our Leader had no choice but to respond to those allegations in a parliamentary “Personal Explanation” as his reputation was sullied when those three Honorable Members alleged that the Opposition leader threatened to undermine the referendum on gaming.


Moreover, our faith in the integrity of our Parliament was severely tested when Minister Crockwell and AG Pettingill taunted that they overhead the telephone conversation between the Premier and the Opposition Leader, as the Premier admitted to sharing this conversation with his Ministers via speakerphone, without the decency of informing the Opposition Leader of this circumstance.


These actions were conducted in bad faith and reflect the character of the individuals involved.


We consider the actions of the Premier and his colleagues to be a willful intent to solidify their political position through deceit.


We further consider the assertion offered by the Shadow Finance Minister, David Burt, that the Premier offered IT consulting work on the absentee balloting system to his private IT company with the money saved from abandoning the referendum equally disturbing. The Premier admitted on February 14 to having discussed absentee balloting in the meeting that he had with MP Burt on December 10, 2013.


Why would the Premier need to discuss this matter with MP Burt when he has the entire Government IT Department at his disposal.


The Premier’s deflections do not add up! I have always found MP Burt to be a man of integrity and I am confident that my Parliamentary colleagues agree.


As I stated in Parliament on Friday, February 14, 2014, Premier Cannonier also asked to meet with me on December 11, and during that meeting he suggested to me that I use my influence to convince the PLP Caucus to support the OBA effort to bypass the referendum process.


Needless to say, I informed the Premier that he should be having that conversation with the Leader of the Opposition, not the Deputy Leader.


The Premier also denied the meeting ever took place and said that “I had no need to call any of the opposition members for anything”.


The Premier has gone on record stating that his business manager, Mr. Stephen Dacosta, was only “bumming a ride” with him when he, along with Ministers Crockwell and Pettingill traveled to Washington DC last year.


However, yesterday on the Sherri Simmons talk show, Minister Crockwell told the public that Mr. Dacosta was there because of his “expertise” on golf, and he also revealed that Mr. DaCosta was an active participant in the official exchange of information meetings.


There are now two conflicting versions of what happened in Washington DC, one by the Premier and one in contradiction by Minister Crockwell.


We would like to make it very clear; our members will not be silenced by legal threats or any legal action in order to suppress the truth.


And the Premier cannot hide behind legal threats as his own version of events has been challenged by his own Cabinet Minister.


Ultimately, Bermudians must decide who spoke the truth, as the integrity of our whole system of governance is being tested in a manner that this country has never witnessed before.


The truth must prevail and the Premier must stop ducking the questions and reveal to the country the nature of his relationship with Mr. Nathan Landow.


Any potential development is far too important to the future of this country.


We need jobs for our people and the Premier is putting this at risk by his refusal to speak to a relationship with a potential developer.


There is an RFP process underway, and improper contact can derail this process and delay any development.


Our country cannot afford that outcome and that is why it is important for the Premier to explain the nature of his relationship with Mr. Nathan Landow.

 

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PLP Calls on Premier to Come Clean on Ties to Developer

Premier Craig Cannonier’s deafening silence in response to the serious allegations made against him is very troubling. If the Premier has nothing to hide, he should then immediately come clean with the full and complete nature of his relationship, and the relationship of his private business partner, with Mr. Nathan Landow.

Premier Craig Cannonier’s deafening silence in response to the serious allegations made against him is very troubling. If the Premier has nothing to hide, he should then immediately come clean with the full and complete nature of his relationship, and the relationship of his private business partner, with Mr. Nathan Landow.

The Premier's continued refusal to reveal the nature of his relationship to this potential casino developer is eroding investor confidence in Bermuda. This issue is important, because for investors to have confidence in Bermuda they must have confidence that the Government is ethical and forthright in their dealings. The government must be an honest broker if not Bermudians will lose as investors, not just in hotels – but in other industries, will stay away.

Bermuda’s economic situation is too delicate for our future to be put at risk by members of the government seeking to profit from any new Integrated Resort Development.

 If the process is tainted, then any potential development can be derailed by lengthy legal challenges – and that mean that ALL Bermudians, PLP and OBA will be the losers.

The PLP will continue to press for answers to legitimate questions to ensure that the people's business in being conducted in an ethical manner that will benefit all Bermudians and will not put our future at risk. The Premier, Attorney General, and Minister of Tourism must come clean to ensure that Bermuda’s reputation remains intact.

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Statement by Shadow Finance Minister David Burt

This behaviour is a manifestation of the anti-Bermudian and anti-labour attitudes that continue to divide us into two Bermudas.  

During the labour march yesterday, the behavior of Ms. Joanne McPhee, Executive Director of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, was highly unacceptable.  It has no place in a diverse and civil society where we must have respect for the right of workers to organize and participate in peaceful protest.  

This behaviour is a manifestation of the anti-Bermudian and anti-labour attitudes that continue to divide us into two Bermudas.  Healing this divide requires concrete action not apologies after being caught. As a former director of the Chamber of Commerce I am appalled that the Executive Director of an organisation that claims to be politically neutral would incite Bermudians engaged in a peaceful march in support of worker's rights. 

The leadership of the Chamber of Commerce has an opportunity to send a strong message to Bermudians that there is zero tolerance for this behavior from within their ranks.  We call on the members of the Chamber of Commerce to make their feelings known about this reprehensible behavior to their President Mr. Ronnie Viera.  We expect that the majority of members of the Chamber will require that she resign or their President take the appropriate and required action to deal with this unfortunate situation.

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