Dame! PLP guilty of rewriting history
I refer to the article in today’s Royal Gazette “PLP celebrates Dame Jennifer Smith” (February 28, 2022). Contained in the article is a statement allegedly made by Dawn Simmons, chairwoman of the Progressive Labour Party. …. “Dame Jennifer was also the island’s first elected woman premier”.
Mr Editor, nothing could be further from the truth. Giving the benefit of the doubt to Ms Simmons as to being misquoted by The Royal Gazette, I feel it is important to offer your readers an historical reality once again, as opposed to the somewhat wishful aspirations of the party faithful.
As you know, there is only one “first”. As well you and your reporters are also aware, we do not elect our premier. The Premier of Bermuda is appointed by HE the Governor….“after being satisfied that the elected MP controls the majority of votes in the HoA.” Therefore, the moniker of “first elected premier”, male or female, does not exist.
The first female premier was and always will be Dame Pamela Gordon. Dame Pamela was duly appointed by HE the Governor in March 1997. The rules for appointment as outlined in our Orders in Council (Constitution) have not changed.
Should Ms Simmons have not been misquoted, it would be alarming to know that the chairwoman of the governing party is so bereft of knowledge of both her own party’s history as well as the island’s constitution as to fabricate history for political expediency. To press Ms Simmons’s illogical accolade a step further, if Dame Jennifer was the “island’s first elected woman premier” in 1998, then it must follow that Dame Jennifer was also the island’s first unelected woman premier as an outcome of the bloodless PLP party coup at Devonshire Recreation Club in 2003.
As a side note, I am pleased to see that Dame Jennifer is finally getting the recognition from an organisation she helped to restore, rebuild and achieve its intended mission. There is no need to embellish or fabricate her accomplishments with historical untruths.
DAVID J. SULLIVAN