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Reiss made series of errors in opinion piece

Political opinion: contributor Nicolette Reiss praised Opposition Leader Marc Bean as “authentic” (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Dear Sir,

I deem it prudent to respond to the opinion piece of Nicolette Reiss, which was published in The Royal Gazette on August 29, 2016, and which was riddled with inaccuracies, misrepresentations, and, in my opinion, libellous statements.

It was my initial intent to send Ms Reiss an official letter from my attorney but after an exhaustive search we were unable to ascertain any local address or other contact details in order to reach her. It appears that Ms Reiss does not reside in Bermuda and this is evident by the glaring inaccuracies contained in her piece.

What concerns me is when individuals like Ms Reiss can proffer an opinion on the political climate and conditions in Bermuda without actually experiencing these conditions and without an understanding of the factors which are contributing to the current political climate.

I found it most interesting that Ms Reiss can state that she has never met the Opposition Leader, Marc Bean, but go on to describe him as being “authentic, transparent and maybe too real”. How can Ms Reiss form this opinion if she has never met Mr Bean? Surely she is smart enough to know that you cannot know someone’s character from the sporadic statements and images contained in the media.

I was disturbed by Ms Reiss’s recollection of how Mr Bean became involved in active politics, which was incorrect. Mr Bean never won a seat held by Randy Horton and then was forced to give it back. Even more disturbing was when she went on to libel, in my view, Minister Craig Cannonier by stating that he resigned as Premier because he “personally profited from a large government contract”. This is utterly wrong and injurious to Mr Cannonier. I am surprised and disappointed that The Royal Gazette even published this piece by Ms Reiss.

Finally, and the primary reason for my interest in Ms Reiss’s writing is that she erroneously suggested that I and my PLP parliamentary colleagues, MP Derrick Burgess and MP Wayne Furbert, leaked party e-mails to The Royal Gazette. I believe this was intended to undermine our integrity within the public and more particularly within the Progressive Labour Party and is totally unacceptable. I am grateful that The Royal Gazette apologised for this misrepresentation but to date Ms Reiss has not offered any form of retraction and/or apology, which I believe she has an obligation to do.

I am therefore asking Ms Reiss to either retract her libellous statements and apologise, or stand by her statements and send her off-island address so that I am afforded the opportunity to take appropriate legal action.

I also wish to put Ms Reiss on notice that if in the future she misrepresents me in any publication or statement I will take the necessary steps to locate her and take appropriate legal action.