The more things change ...

  • Scrutinised too: Sir John Swan, who was the Premier of Bermuda between 1982 and 1995

    Scrutinised too: Sir John Swan, who was the Premier of Bermuda between 1982 and 1995


Dear Sir,

Consider these political “snapshots” in time:

“The finance minister was irked at the opposition to the pensions he planned to shower on parliamentarians and he fought back with a rather juvenile ‘tit for tat’, by announcing that his ministry would be poking about in private-sector pensions. ... in other words, if you criticise your government, your government will punish you ...”

“The Premier chides the private sector and their criticism of the Civil Service. The Premier has apparently declared war on business ... the very community from which its financial support stems ...”

“There seemed to be a suggestion by the Premier that those who criticised the Budget were against improved housing and healthcare, when quite the opposite was true. No one is opposed to necessary spending and we have advocated larger old-age pensions instead of parliamentary pensions.”

“The Premier, in response to private-sector critics of the Civil Service, said that if they let the CS go into their (private) businesses and investigate, then he will let the private sector go into the Civil Service and investigate ... It becomes clear that he is lacking in the basic knowledge of what a government is.”

“The private sector must be responsible and responsive to its owners and shareholders, and thus there is a powerful check on them, which must survive competition and profit or fail. Government has no such check. It operates on public money and should logically be responsive to the public which it serves.”

“There is absolutely no reason on earth why the private sector should not watch government, criticise waste and inefficiency, and call for audits and investigations.”

“Indeed, such scrutiny is the function of the press ...”

While you may think that this commentary is derived from recent political events, your readers may be interested to know that every one of the above statements — edited for space — were included in The Royal Gazette’s editorial, which was published on Tuesday, March 8, 1988.

The sitting government? The United Bermuda Party.

The Premier of the day? Sir John Swan.

The finance minister? Clarence James.

After a read of the full version of the editorial, you can plainly see that the “big, bad Royal Gazette” was around even then, casting a harsh spotlight on our political landscape.

While necessary, sometimes the truth hurts.

BEVERLEY CONNELL

Pembroke

To view the March 8, 1988 editorial, click on the PDF link under “Related Media”

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Published May 25, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated May 26, 2019 at 2:42 am)

The more things change ...

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