Our children do indeed deserve better

  • Craig Cannonier, Leader of the Opposition (Photograph supplied)

    Craig Cannonier, Leader of the Opposition (Photograph supplied)

Michael Weeks, in a recent opinion, accused the One Bermuda Alliance of being revisionist. I thought it was a wonderful piece of deflection — the Progressive Labour Party’s usual modus operandi, which ordinarily is not worth the time it takes to read, let alone reply.

This one was different, however, because it made an issue about the protection and care of our children, who do not always have the platform from which to speak — or the services of people to speak for them.

In the opinion, Mr Weeks says “the mould issue is a legacy issue from the One Bermuda Alliance administration”. Mr Weeks, when we came into government, we were confronted by the most frightening balance book in Bermuda’s history.

We inherited out-of-control spending and a burgeoning debt that, if allowed to go unchecked, had Bermuda on a one-way track to financial meltdown. We would have loved to have had more money to fix everything, but your party’s monetary incompetence made that impossible.

In the last two national budgets, the PLP failed to balance its books and as a result, the debt continues to grow. Thanks to the PLP, it is our children and our children’s children who will have to deal with that debt. They will be in a financial straitjacket for generations.

I agree, our children do deserve better, but the PLP has let them down.

Mr Weeks’s opinion says the “PLP believes in investing the necessary resources to ensure our children are educated in safe schools”, but he has overlooked an inconvenient truth — the money allocated by this government in the education budget for minor works and school safety has been reduced by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Is this what our children deserve? What do you think, Mr and Mrs Bermuda?

In regards to TN Tatem, it is important to point out that the OBA took very decisive action and after performing things such as air-quality tests, we moved all the students to Clearwater while full remediation work was carried out. We felt that action, coupled with proper maintenance, would keep the school in good order.

So my question is: what was the maintenance programme under the PLP to prevent mould returning?

This summer, the PLP will have been in government for two years, yet Mr Weeks somehow wants everyone to believe that everything happening at TN Tatem is the OBA’s fault.

That is just deflection from his government’s inability to solve the issue, despite promises to the contrary. It looks as if mould will be a PLP legacy, doesn’t it?

Shadow finance minister Nick Kempe recently wrote an opinion that detailed, point by point, the rise in the Government’s propaganda machine and “a pattern of voices critical to the Government being silenced and of independent organisations being dismantled or subject to political interference”.

He pointed out in the opinion that the budget for “communications” had increased by $2.7 million.

So is PR and spin the priority over education? It seems it is because, despite all those budget increases, we are being told that the Department of Education is seeking to employ a media consultant — for how much, we don’t know. But wouldn’t it be better to spend the money on issues affecting education rather than a propaganda machine that will spin us the lie that everything in education is good?

Does PR now outweigh the needs of our children? Our children deserve better, don’t you think?

Finally, while we have seen the PR budget rocket, we have also seen the continuing underfunding for litigation guardians and almost total silence from the Attorney-General on the Department of Child and Family Services.

We agree, our children deserve so much better.

Craig Cannonier is the Leader of the Opposition, the Shadow Minister of Public Works and the MP for Devonshire South Central (Constituency 12)

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Published Apr 22, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Apr 22, 2019 at 7:45 am)

Our children do indeed deserve better

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