City Councillor labelled Minister a dictator’
Corporation of Hamilton councillor George Scott branded Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy “a dictator and right-wing whatever” after Government introduced new rules governing the management of the municipality.
And he also warned that “there could be some serious civil strife coming in this Country” as a result of electoral changes that give businesses a vote in Corporation elections. At a Corporation board meeting held just days before the Municipalities Amendment Act was ratified in the Senate last month, Mr Scott told his fellow councillors that Government was taking “a dangerous step backwards” in introducing the business vote.
He also questioned new powers allowing Government to review contracts and leases that run for more than 21 years. Earlier this year, the Corporation granted a 262-year lease to a contractor to develop the city’s waterfront.
Claiming that there had been “no consultation” over the amendments, the former Progressive Labour Party MP said: “The current OBA Government is taking a dangerous step backwards, not only for the Country in terms of free enterprise, but now they want to retroactively cancel contracts that are over 21 years.
“That is a slap in the face of free enterprise. I am surprised that the business community has not made a human cry for that particular piece notwithstanding the reason that I am here is for the people that nominated me and seconded me to be here.
“It is a slap in the face of democracy. It takes us back prior to 1968 and for anybody [councillors] that approves of that — I’ve heard that one or two approve of it — I think that they should resign because they are doing dishonour to the people that nominated and seconded them and that they are here to serve.
“I am not here to serve no business people and people that own property. As of 1968, it was taken away from them. This is the last piece in the two corporations in this Country where it was taken from in 2010. “If we’re going back there, I could see some serious civil strife coming in this Country.
“I am going to stand firm in what I believe in and I am going to support any action against this current OBA Government that is now in place.
“In particular, I want to say this. I believe [Home Affairs] Minister [Michael] Fahy is a dictator and right-wing whatever and someone, whoever can take that to the press.”
The Royal Gazette has obtained a copy of the minutes of the meeting, which contain a record of Mr Scott’s remarks in full.
Informed of the comments, Mr Fahy insisted that the amendment did not restore a property vote.
He added that he had met with Corporation officials since Mr Scott made his remarks to discuss the amendments. “Let me reiterate for the sake of clarity — the Amendment Act is not restoring some form of historical property vote — far from it,” Mr Fahy said.
“The checks and balances in place are very clear — there will be a proportional rate-payer vote and residential vote.
“Since the date of the meeting as minuted, my technical officers have met with their counterparts at the Corporation of Hamilton and I have met with the Mayor of Hamilton and other elected officials of both Corporations to discuss the Act.
“I am certain that Councillor Scott is now better informed. As far as his comments relating to me there is nothing for me to say on this. I am more interested in getting on with what is in the best interests of the City of Hamilton, Bermuda and Bermudians.”
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