OBA’s pledge to co-operate falls short in practice
“See the hypocrites, dem a galang deh” – Bob Marley
It is always amusing to hear persons or organisations expose a degree of hypocrisy between what they say versus what they actually do.
After the October 2020 General Election, and with a change of leadership, Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, the One Bermuda Alliance, stated it would look to co-operate with the Government in order to do what is best for the country.
Yet, a few months later, it has been proved that it has little or no intention of working with the Government on any of the substantive issues facing our island.
As a prime example, until one week ago, the OBA refused even to meet with the Minister of Education to discuss public education reform.
Yet, without even meeting to hear what the plans were, it penned numerous negative opinion pieces in the local media, devoid of all the facts.
In the Reply to the Budget, on page 20 the OBA: “It [immigration] has been a political football, and with the aid of successive PLP governments, this issue has also stoked civil unrest.”
Again, let's look at recent history.
In July 2017, the people of Bermuda voted out the OBA. One of the major issues was that the government of the day refused to listen to the people regarding their views on immigration.
As importantly, it refused to form bipartisan committees called for by the Progressive Labour Party.
In December 2017, the late Walton Brown followed through with an election pledge and formed a bipartisan committee on comprehensive immigration reform, which included two OBA MPs and two PLP MPs.
Renée Ming, Leah Scott, Ben Smith and I worked together for two years to put in place immigration legislation and policies that had input from all sectors of society.
In February 2020, Wayne Caines, who was then the minister responsible for immigration, was able to table and pass the “Repatriation and Mixed Status Family Bill”.
I don't recall any protest or any form of “civil unrest”.
What I do remember is that many persons, from all sectors of life, contacted us to express gratitude for the work done.
In October 2020, the people of Bermuda once again put their faith in the plans and policies of the PLP.
Subsequently the invitation was once again sent out to the OBA to sit on the Bipartisan Comprehensive Immigration Reform Committee.
It worked well before. So, there should be no problem doing it again, correct?
Well, according to OBA logic, it decided — just as was the case with education reform — that it didn’t want any part in actually working with the Government to address the immigration issue.
Yet it will sit on the sidelines and claim that it wishes to assist the island.
The people of Bermuda need to ask themselves two questions:
• If the OBA does not wish to act in a bipartisan manner on any issues, how can it claim to be co-operating?
• If the OBA is coming up with zero by way of alternative ideas on key issues, is it really serving the people of Bermuda as a decent opposition?
• Christopher Famous is the government MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). You can reach him on WhatsApp at 599-0901 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org