Creating false controversies
March 21, 2014
There is something I've noticed about the way Progressive Labour Party leaders play politics and it is their determination in matters big and small to create false controversies. Here are two examples of what I mean:
The first began to unfold late last Friday when Opposition MP Lawrence Scott got up in the House of Assembly to say there was something fishy going on with the “coincidence” of the Tourism Authority's chairman expressing enthusiasm for the idea of tourists being allowed to rent cars, and electric cars being imported by the car dealership operated by Glen Smith, who is also an One Bermuda Alliance MP.
Mr Smith rose on a Point of Order to say that the cars had been brought in to sell to residents. PLP agents nevertheless picked up Mr Scott's floater, raising it on talk radio stations over a period of days. At one point, a radio host fretted: “What are these cars going to do to our insurance rates?” With the controversy born aloft, the PLP issued a statement expressing concern about conversations regarding rental cars for tourists, condemning the Government for ignoring the needs of struggling taxi drivers, ignoring the damage it would cause to bus and ferry revenues and ignoring our already congested roads.
The second example of false controversy is from a column by PLP agent Christopher Famous in which he said the OBA attracts the most damaging overseas publicity for Bermuda. Mr Famous was speaking to statements in the local press by OBA MP Sylvan Richards that were critical of PLP spokesmen for printing columns in a Caribbean news outlet describing the OBA Government as anti-democratic, deceitful, childish and willing to crush the rights of Bermudians to get its way electorally. Mr Richards described these columns — running for months now — as unpatriotic, reckless and damaging Bermuda's economic recovery, which depends in part on restoring investor confidence in the Island as a place to do business.
So, according to Mr Famous, Mr Richard's statements in the local press were attracting damaging overseas publicity, but not PLP columns published overseas that said Bermuda was becoming a police state. The Government has been saying a lot lately about the PLP leadership losing its way, willing to derail anything to win back power, willing to sow division, doubt and confusion wherever possible; in short, putting party before country. I'm siding with the Government on this one.