Moniz and Burgess clash over reference to alleged BLDC payout

  • Public Works Minister Trevor Moniz

    Public Works Minister Trevor Moniz

  • PLP MP Derrick Burgess

    PLP MP Derrick Burgess

Crockwell brands Bean ‘self-righteous’

Opposition Leader Marc Bean’s admonition for Government to raise the tone of the House of Assembly was branded “self-righteous” by Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell.
Following the heated exchange between sides of the House, Mr Bean told the House: “People are saying this is a lunatic asylum up here.”
He called on the One Bermuda Alliance to “raise up the tone” of discourse for the sake of the public.
Mr Crockwell responded: “The Opposition Leader started his remarks this evening by offering an olive branch to the Government.
“He ended his presentation by offering poison ivy.”
Calling it “another self-righteous speech”, Mr Crockwell accused the PLP leader of calling the Government “demonic” on national television.
Mr Bean replied that he had made his remarks during the PLP Founders dinner.
Mr Crockwell further accused the Opposition Leader of arrogance for disparaging the OBA Government by saying they would only be in power for 14 months.
“For him to get up and pontificate today is out of order.”

Sparks flew in the House of Assembly yesterday as Opposition MPs became enraged by a reference to last year’s controversy over the Bermuda Land Development Company.

Public Works Minister Trevor Moniz kicked off the acrimony as he began his reply to questions from the Opposition benches on his Ministry’s budget estimates.

“Under the previous administration, the PLP administration, they had demanded a dividend from BLDC of $1 million. Of course, BLDC had no money. Whether that was because that Minister paid out Pastor Leroy Bean at that time and they were short of money, I don’t know,” began Mr Moniz.

Shadow Works Minister Derrick Burgess jumped to his feet on a point of order to demand an apology.

“That is the nastiness of that person there. When you come up here and try to demean a private member of this Country — he needs to apologise. I see why our young folks act like they do — people like him,” Mr Burgess said.

“That honourable member has the attitude of a redneck.”

Chairing the meeting was Walton Brown who asked Mr Burgess whether he agreed his language was “unparliamentary”.

But Mr Burgess said that he did not call Mr Moniz a redneck and would not withdraw his remarks.

Attorney General Mark Pettingill, then rose to quote from the rule book to argue that the remarks were in fact out of order and should be withdrawn.

Mr Burgess said he would only withdraw his remarks when Mr Moniz withdrew his.

But Mr Pettingill said that the rules of the House only forbade disrespectful language about a member of the House and not a private citizen.

Opposition Leader Marc Bean then joined the fray saying that the Minister had “impugned the integrity of my deputy leader”, before being interrupted by Mr Moniz who attempted to intervene with his own point of order.

“No. I’m on the floor. Sit down,” shouted Mr Bean. “Sit down, Trevor.”

Time ran out on the debate and Mr Brown announced that House Speaker Randolph Horton will be ruling on the matter.

Health Minister Pat Gordon Pamplin was then asked to brief the House on her Ministry’s budget estimates, but a clearly irate Mr Bean continued to express his annoyance at Mr Moniz.

“When the Leader of the Opposition reaches the point when he realises that leadership requires more than standing and screaming at people across the floor, I would be happy to start,” she said.

Mr Burgess later told The Royal Gazette that he would not bear negative comments about any of his constituents without responding.

The BLDC was the subject of a scathing report by the Auditor General last year who said that public funds were misused when the quango hired its own board heads — chairman Edward Saunders and deputy Leroy Bean as consultants.

As the Works Minister, Mr Burgess was in charge of the BLDC.

At the motion to adjourn, Opposition Leader Marc Bean agreed that the House of Assembly had “descended into pandemonium”.

“At some point the massive egos need to be deflated,” he said.

Mr Bean said that an accusation had been made of corruption — which Mr Moniz denied.

“The people are appealing for us to raise the level of discourse in this Honourable House,” he said. He said he will do his bit to ensure a higher level of discourse on the Opposition side and appealed to the Premier to do the same.

“In all our doings we have never been the aggressor.”

But he said he was sending an “olive branch” to the Government and called on parliamentarians to “stop speaking words that inflame emotions”.

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Published Mar 9, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated Mar 9, 2013 at 12:04 am)

Moniz and Burgess clash over reference to alleged BLDC payout

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