Call the election now
August 14, 2013
Moving forward politically, it may not be the cost of a gaming referendum that is a big deterrent to economic progress on the waterfront, it is the very slim political margin between the One Bermuda Alliance (19) and Progressive Labour Party (17) with one independent who can jump back into the PLP camp at any time.
Why be concerned? For two vital reasons:
1) The legal difficulties being experienced by the OBA's St Georges West MP may have the ramifications of triggering a by-election that could lead to neither a PLP MP in St Georges West or, a deal with Kim Swan. Hard to swallow? The prospects get worse; and
2) To reduce the Cabinet, or to even hint that the Cabinet will be reduced (an election promise or not) could (and I believe will) lead to an MP crossing over to the PLP. The PLP can, and indeed will, have to offer that MP a cabinet position (the Wayne Furbert syndrome). And, an MP crossover will call a vote of no confidence which will be successful — if — Terry Lister is back in tow, thereby triggering an election. Short, direct and simple. The question, Mr Cannonier, who in your cabinet processes very little scruples and perceives him/herself a political giant to take their constituents with him/her when crossing the floor? You know the answer only too well, Mr Cannonier.
So what is the possible, but I think probable, solution? Call a general election. It makes perfect sense for the following reasons:-
1) The gaming referendum is concluded to cost the price of a general election, so both can take place simultaneously thereby giving Bermuda a new mandate from the people and results of the referendum all at once. But why a general election? Because over the past seven months the OBA has made considerable strides in moving Bermuda in the right direction. The OBA must now build on the goodwill that is anchored in concrete confidence, not quicksand, as the political climate is ripe. Do not allow yourselves to be dragged under by Machiavellian power plays or events beyond the control of the party. OBA, you need a very clear new mandate from the country in order to lead confidentially, Not watching your back from the House of Parliament.
2) Why the public will not vote the PLP back into power now? Because of our unwavering fear that $750 million will disappear into the night. The public has no confidence in the PLP's abilities to deliver honestly, on cost and on time.
Mr Cannonier, you need a new mandate and the promised referendum can be that vital blood transfusion that makes a new general election not only possible, (per cost), but also necessary, (flexibility) to move into the future on capital projects clearly knowing that the people of Bermuda genuinely support, welcome and trust your leadership.
And, as the ultimate act of sound and ethical leadership, come back to the House in September with the anti-corruption legislation in tow, and passed before the general election — gaming referendum is called.
VALIRIE MARCIA AKTISTALL