The Premier is making it up as he goes along
David Burt is displaying concerning behaviours by manipulating how and when the Houses of Parliament conduct the people’s business. It is anti-democratic and is designed to avoid his responsibilities to Bermuda’s citizens and parliamentary colleagues.
The Premier clearly makes up his own rules as he goes. He relies on traditional parliamentary standing orders, when the rules meet his needs, and appears to discard the rules when they don’t.
Imagine a football game and the captain starts changing the rules midgame? Well, this is what’s happening.
We’ve seen the Premier arguing with the Speaker about introducing legislation without warning and when the Speaker said ‘no’, Mr Burt held a vote to overrule him — and we still haven’t seen the planned legislation.
Conveniently, that session wasn’t broadcast live or recorded by Hansard.
Parliamentarians were called back early, for a special parliamentary session in September, to discuss legislation of national importance: immigration and Caroline Bay.
But here we are, in mid-October, and the legislation still hasn’t been passed or tabled.
Parliamentarians are committed to do the work, but the latest manipulation of the Houses of Parliament by the Premier, leaves the entire country wondering what’s next.
Having neither a rulebook nor knowledge of what the Government plans next sends a message that democracy is threatened and the Premier can do whatever he wants.
Why should people care? Because this is an abuse of power.
It drastically reduces everybody’s ability to know what’s happening in our own country and understanding how new laws and changes to existing laws affect our daily lives.
This is waking up every morning not sure what to expect.
This is much more serious than no Throne Speech ceremony or unexpected parliamentary sessions. The One Bermuda Alliance is not concerned with historical ceremonies.
We’re all of a new generation, but it’s a democratic right to be informed of all the new rules, not just one at a time at the whim of the Premier — what we care about is fair play for every single person on this island.
Unfortunately, the Premier is conducting his business and depending on unconditional loyalty, to support changes that may hurt the very people he was voted in to protect.
Now, we have a five-year plan, without any understanding of what’s happening now. Although, according to the Minister without Portfolio, the Government plans for 2020 will be revealed at the Progressive Labour Party’s delegates conference next week.
He invites members of the public, but that’s just not the same as broadcasting the plan to the entire country.
This is a snub to the entire country and again shows extremely poor leadership — the PLP is the Government of Bermuda and should be talking to all Bermudians, not only a select few party members.
That’s what good leaders with nothing to hide do.
The Premier needs to address this country with a plan we can all follow, and if he wants to change the rules of the game, he needs to tell the country and Parliament the complete game plan.
We have got to get this island out of a deep economic mess.
• Susan Jackson is the Opposition Whip for the One Bermuda Alliance
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