Burt to ditch traditional Throne Speech
Parliament will continue to meet until December without the traditional Convening of Legislature, David Burt announced yesterday.
The Premier said the House of Assembly would meet every other week until December 13 and the Senate would do the same until December 16.
Mr Burt said: “The Government’s legislative agenda can and should continue without the interruption of the traditional Convening of the Legislature.
“I believe there is an interest on both sides in continuing to work on those things that will continue to promote economic growth and activity for Bermuda and advance the social, educational and business support the community needs.”
Mr Burt added: “Already in this session, we have passed legislation to benefit economic empowerment zones and we will soon pass much needed pension reforms.
“Economic opportunity for Bermudians and Bermudian businesses will be front and centre during this ongoing session as will the legislation to support the development of the St George’s Marina, the consolidation of our labour laws and the development of a medical cannabis regime for Bermuda.”
The move means that the usual ceremony on the lawn of Cabinet Office and the reading of the Speech from the Throne — used to outline the Government’s plans and delivered by the Governor — will not be held.
Mr Burt said Dennis Lister, the Speaker of the House, and Joan Dillas-Wright the President of the Senate, had both agreed to the new schedule.
But Craig Cannonier, the One Bermuda Alliance Opposition leader, said the traditional Throne Speech delivered by the Governor was how the Government told the public and businesses what its agenda was for the next year.
Mr Cannonier added: “Not doing so shows a lack of good leadership and the ability to provide the necessary direction to solve the social and business issues affecting this Island.”
He added: “A leader clearly lays out their plans and communicates them effectively. Not doing so risks losing the trust of the people and can cause unnecessary confusion.”
Mr Cannonier challenged Mr Burt to “face the people of Bermuda”.
He said: “He has to explain why he is not laying out a clear plan to help Bermudians and businesses.”
Mr Cannonier added: “Right now people are struggling under new and increased taxes, they are losing jobs or being forced to leave the island. They need help and they need to see a plan. By not delivering a Throne Speech, David Burt is not providing that help. He is not reassuring the people and that is very poor leadership.
“The Premier has failed for more than two years to come up with an economic stimulus plan to stop his people hurting.
“If there was ever a time to deliver a Throne Speech, it is now and the people of Bermuda need to ask why David Burt has failed to deliver.”
Jamahl Simmons, the Minister without Portfolio, responded in a statement today: “The claims emanating from Mr Cannonier regarding the Government’s decision to eliminate this year’s Throne Speech are rooted in hysteria and based entirely on falsehoods.
“The implication that no Throne Speech correlates with no plan is a false correlation.
“The PLP government has a five-year plan that was laid out in our election platform in 2017. We are steadily working through our platform ensuring that our promises are kept and that we are delivering a better and fairer Bermuda.”
Mr Simmons said that the plans for 2020 would be laid out at the opening night of the PLP’s Annual Delegates Conference on Monday.
He said: “As always, the public is invited to attend, and there will be coverage from all media.
“While it has been a tradition, the Throne Speech is not the only manner in which to inform or communicate to the people our plans, and in 2019 we have chosen to save the thousands of dollars spent on the pomp and circumstance and go directly to the people.
“Mr Cannonier is welcome to attend our opening night and listen in on the plans that we have for 2020.
“For those unable to attend Monday night, we will be coming out into the community, and meeting directly with persons to elaborate more on our vision.”
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