Bean calls for general election

  • Protesting: Opposition Leader Marc Bean and Shadow Immigration Minister Walton Brown with some of the 2,000 people who marched on Government House on Tuesday. Mr Bean yesterday called for Parliament to be dissolved and a general election held

    Protesting: Opposition Leader Marc Bean and Shadow Immigration Minister Walton Brown with some of the 2,000 people who marched on Government House on Tuesday. Mr Bean yesterday called for Parliament to be dissolved and a general election held
    ((Photo by Nicola Muirhead))

PLP leader Marc Bean has called for the UK to dissolve Bermuda’s Parliament and call an election.

Mr Bean said Britain should act following a refusal by Governor George Fergusson to back a House of Assembly bid for an inquiry into historic allegations of land grabs.

“The issue is clear — we’re looking for a recall for the Governor and for the Foreign&Commonwealth Office to dissolve a Parliament, and arguably a Speaker, which have been in collusion with Government House,” he said.

Mr Bean was speaking yesterday, a day after a massive march on Government House in protest at Mr Fergusson’s decision not to approve the bid for a commission of inquiry, which passed the House of Assembly with support from rebel OBA St David’s MP Suzann Roberts-Holshouser.

Mr Bean said a dissolution of Parliament was needed “so the will of the people can be expressed freely and democratically in a general election”.

Mr Bean on Tuesday told a cheering crowd estimated at around 2,000 outside Government House that the relationship between the UK and Bermuda should “evolve” and that Bermudians should be “masters of our own destiny” — but stopped short of calling for independence.

And yesterday he refused to be drawn further on how he saw the future relationship developing and said he did not want to “deflect from a movement for change.”

“It’s self-explanatory — my message hasn’t changed and I haven’t changed,” Mr Bean said.

“I’ll leave the minds of the people to speculate and inquire and let them figure out what they feel the evolution should look like.

“If you’re in an unhealthy relationship, you have to seek to evolve that relationship so it’s no longer one-sided and it’s mutually beneficial. How that’s defined, what it looks like, has to be defined by the people.

“The people are starting to wake up of their own accord in the face of psychological warfare and skulduggery that’s taking place against their interests.”

Mr Bean praised the peaceful conduct of the demonstration and said that Bermuda was “peaceful 95 percent of the time”.

“The greatest risk is when that other five percent come to the fore,” he said. “People should be grateful the Progressive Labour Party is dedicated to a peaceful resolution.

“What happens now if the anger can’t be harnessed to peaceful means? Who pays the price? Our history indicates we will all pay the price.”

The proposal, piloted through the House by the PLP’s Walton Brown, passed a vote with support from Mrs Roberts-Holshouser.

Attorney General Trevor Moniz told the House of Assembly that there was little point in now looking at major compulsory purchases of land like the Tucker’s Town buy-up in the 1920s and the Baselands deal of the 1940s, as well as smaller, later, property transactions between the 1950s-70s.

And he said that individuals who felt they had been cheated were better taking their cases to court rather than a Commission of Inquiry.

Premier Michael Dunkley, who is in the Cayman Islands for a meeting of the leaders of the UK Overseas Territories, said last night: “I’ve been following the news in Bermuda during my time off the Island and I have been kept fully abreast of the situation. I note the sizeable turnout last evening.

“We live in a healthy democracy and the people have a democratic right to express their views.”

But he added: “Our stance on this matter is already on the record as indicated in the House of Assembly when this motion was debated two weeks ago.

“We are focused on getting the people’s business done. Friday is the last sitting of the House before we rise for the Summer and we have some important legislation to deal with.

“That said, I am pleased to finally be bringing the PATI legislation to the House. It’s been a promise of this Government since coming to office, and I look forward to discussing it in Parliament.

“Public Access to Information will provide a statutory right for people to request and obtain information. So we have listened and we have answered the people’s call by finally bringing this Bill to Parliament.

“It will signal a new level of good governance, with more openness, more transparency and more accountability.”

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the OBA said: “We have no clue what Mr Bean is talking about other than his politics needs people fighting each other to work.

“He is essentially a divider, not a unifier. His language is often abrasive and demeaning to others. These are the not the building blocks Bermuda needs for healthy growth and an inclusive, bright future.”

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