The good doctor is at it again
Bermuda is arguably going through the toughest social and economic time in recent memory. We are dealing with a pandemic that has varying polarising views on masks, vaccines, curfews and the stripping away of our constitutional rights. Businesses are operating at minimal capacity during what is traditionally the busy season. Added to this is the reality that many are carrying the stress of deciding whether to pay for electricity, food or medication.
During this period of heightened stress and tension, when we are all being asked to come together, we have the former premier, Ewart Brown, unleashing his own personal and patented strategy of attack. He launched a pre-emptive attack on yet another high-level civil servant. This attack was apparently done in an effort to sway public opinion in his favour or to appear prophetic if he is indeed charged in court for corruption.
The number of attacks on civil servants has been many; however, a few of them stand out because they are attacks on black Bermudian women. There were attacks on Heather Jacobs-Matthews and Tawanna Wedderburn. In the case of Mrs Wedderburn, the wrongful termination case was settled out of court last month with another non-disclosure agreement. Before the ink has barely dried on that agreement, Dr Brown has launched another strike on the newly appointed Director of Public Prosecutions, Cindy Clarke.
I have not heard of any Progressive Labour Party female politicians coming out to defend Ms Clarke. If you will not defend her, who will you defend?
We often hear the PLP’s female politicians talking about women’s issues, but they stay mute when women are under this sort of attack. Exactly how do these attacks help Bermudians other than for the select few who employ the attacks? Keep in mind that it was the PLP that was highly critical when Ms Clarke was not appointed to the role several years ago.
Unfounded attacks on successful, capable black women will serve only to deter many others from considering leadership roles in public service. It is up to all of us to call out these unwarranted assaults.
According to Dr Brown, Ms Clarke is involved in a conspiratorial colonial plot with the Governor to charge him with corruption without any evidence. He went even deeper and suggested that she was appointed to the role of DPP in exchange for agreeing to lay charges against him. He says he has “anonymous letters” that he will shortly release to back up his claims. He capped it off by saying this is punishment merely because he is a “hard-headed, defiant black man”. By implication, any black man not being similarly persecuted is a soft-headed weakling.
By personalising his attack, Dr Brown has skilfully tried to rob her of professional objectivity as the head public prosecutor. It also paints her as a rookie eager to impress, which is not the case. This cowardly attack took aim at her because he knows she cannot and will not fight back in the same manner.
He is fully aware that as a public prosecutor, she is supposed to bring criminal evidence to court without fear or favour. To her credit, she politely reminded him that she does not commence a trial in the court of public opinion but in the court of law.
In fairness, we should all be concerned if Dr Brown’s allegations are true. As a former premier, he deserves to be respected and even protected from such. We should all be alarmed and concerned if any former or standing public servant is conspired against or prosecuted because of their race. However, Dr Brown does not get to avoid being charged by intimidating public officials with scandalous allegations while pumping the fist of black power.
Bermuda, if we all sit idly by and do nothing when Ms Clarke is being attacked in this manner, we are participating in the undoing of our justice system. Civil servants in their official capacity are there to carry out a mandate to serve all of us. To taint them with unfounded allegations is not only wrong and possibly criminal, but also dangerous.
If we allow these attacks to continue without restraint, this becomes a blatant example of the kind of corruption that seals the fate of failed nations. If ever he is formally charged and the evidence presented against Dr Brown proves frivolous, he will be vindicated and Bermudians should demand answers and full accountability.
Bermuda, these types of attacks should cause us all to be concerned. It is quite disturbing that Dr Brown, as a former premier, is using intimidation, deflection, disinformation, scapegoating and extremely serious uncorroborated allegations to make his case in public.
This should cause us all to ask this pertinent question: did he use these same tools when he was in power and is he now relying upon them to prevent being brought to justice?
• Vic Ball was a One Bermuda Alliance senator from November 2014 to July 2017, and more recently a candidate in the General Election in Smith's West (Constituency 9)