Hearing is believing
Lawrence Scott is fond of reminding of the teachings of his father, a former Premier of Bermuda and senior statesman who is respected in all corners of the political sphere. But, clearly, what Junior has not learnt is that it is unwise to protest too much when such foot-stomping remonstrances are built upon a foundation of quicksand.
In the new-found spirit of “camaraderie” that is meant to be seeping through the legislature, Mr Scott and Jason Hayward were intentionally given a prime opportunity to do the right thing and apologise to Patricia Gordon-Pamplin for an ill-informed and unprovoked attack on her integrity — or at least to very belatedly withdraw their statements.
And they could have saved a little face in the process because now is the age of virtual House of Assembly sittings, rather than being forced to come face to face with those whom you have unjustly maligned.
But, no, instead of munching on even a small offering of humble pie, the Government Whip, in particular, chose to come out on the offensive and dig an even deeper hole for himself.
In almost 15 minutes of blustering and self-congratulatory obfuscation during the motion to adjourn on Friday, Mr Scott not only all but accused Ms Gordon-Pamplin of manipulating the Hansard to rewrite history, but also demanded an apology and retraction from this newspaper for speaking the truth.
Oh, the temerity of this individual, notwithstanding parliamentary privilege, to look straight into his Zoom lens and be as liberal with the truth as one could be without coming across as a barefaced liar.
It has been said that Alex Scott actually did teach his son that “language is the fingerprint of our emotions”. What emotions are we to glean from this display but that they are those of a whip that is as out of control as a faulty sprinkler system.
And then to invite his parliamentary colleagues and the public to review the same recording so that he could be further exposed.
Self-harm truly does come in many forms.
Because what any resourceful member of the public will discover when they trawl through the audio — as Messrs Scott and Hayward could have done the morning after in mid-March, and then changed their position — was that Gordon-Pamplin did not misspeak in any shape or form.
Members of Parliament make gaffes all the time that are difficult to live down, Ms Gordon-Pamplin's epic “you will die” quip in the same-sex marriage debate ranking right up there with the great howlers.
But here she was faultless, coming nowhere near to the “bottom of the earth” accusation made against her by Mr Hayward and his cheerleader-in-chief.
She referred quite audibly to the “lower end of the earning spectrum” — not once but twice!
It was just that on the second occasion she fumbled her words — not for the first time on this particular night.
She started by saying “on the lower spectrum of the ear- ... (pronounced er)” before halting herself and restating “lower end of the earning spectrum” to get the word “spectrum” in the right order and to reinsert “end”.
This was done in an instant.
If the MPs with all the ceasefire tendencies of Isis on steroids were attentively listening to the debate, they might have appreciated this was the second time the shadow finance minister had used the phrase in a largely uncontentious response to the Minister of Finance's second reading of the Payroll Tax Amendment Act 2020 — so as to establish tone — known her intent and given her the benefit of the doubt when she stumbled for that split second.
You cannot be said to have buy-in for the Premier's stated attempts at bipartisan conciliation during the coronavirus pandemic — albeit after the fact — if you nonetheless retain a default pitbull mode, looking for any tenuous opportunity to attack and shake the life out of a member of an already undermanned and, arguably, weak Opposition.
Where we agree is that there are bigger things going on in this country — at an immediate glance, the alarming news of five more Covid-19 infections over the weekend, truly horrifying developments in the Chavelle Dillon-Burgess case and Court Street again resembling a shooting gallery.
Further, there have been no fewer than 20 editorials written since Covid-19 in Bermuda got real, many of them giving favourable reviews of the Government's handling of the crisis.
But right is right and wrong is wrong. No matter the place, no matter the time.
Both Mr Scott and Mr Hayward were bang out of order, and may be very well ordered to withdraw their statements come June 5, if the Speaker of the House follows through with his promised auditing of Hansard processes and inevitably comes to the same conclusion we have.
It will be a very quick vindication of Ms Gordon-Pamplin and of the clerk in charge of transcribing recordings into the written word — an unwitting victim who has been thrown under the bus by Mr Scott's miseducation of parliamentary process.
As far as the public are concerned, we have decided to help them out by republishing the “offending” comments online in an audio clip so they can judge for themselves.
Surely, the conspiracy theorist in Mr Scott cannot believe the audio recording could have been gotten to and “amended” as well!
So, apology? Retraction? In the Monday paper, at that, because the Saturday edition does not carry the same bandwidth?
Be careful what you ask for.
What Lawrence “Sob the Builder” Scott should be experiencing at this moment, actually, is that slow, sinking feeling; let's hope he apologises before he goes under.