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PLP the new UBP – discuss

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Vic Ball was a One Bermuda Alliance senator from November 2014 to July 2017, and more recently a candidate in the 2020 General Election in Smith's West (Constituency 9)

“This could be the first trumpet, might as well be the last, many more will have to suffer, many more will have to die, don’t ask me why”— Bob Marley

In the crosshairs: David Burt, the Premier, has come under fire for his handling of the second half of the pandemic (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

An interesting dynamic has taken place in Bermuda politics. The Progressive Labour Party has become the mirror image of the accusations that it threw at the former United Bermuda Party.

I am basing this on the policies, politics and attitude of the present leader of the PLP — David Burt.

The UBP is a relic of Bermuda’s past. It has ceased to exist as a political organisation for more than a decade now. However, the PLP never get tired of using it for political mileage by comparing the One Bermuda Alliance to the UBP.

It accuses the OBA of being on the side of the established elite business interest and championing policies against the masses. Of course, racial and emotional feelings are stirred up between Black labour and the White business class. This narrative is the PLP’s formula for winning elections by attracting the majority population’s Black vote while it acts totally contrary to Black interest.

The PLP sells itself to the electorate as Black people’s only choice; however, it has become the mirror image of the accusations it has hurled against the UBP. Under the leadership of Mr Burt, there is no doubt about the PLP behaving in the same way it has attributed to the UBP.

Older-generation Bermudians will remember the terms “The 40 thieves” or “The old boys’ club”. This is in reference to the nepotism the UBP was known for. Today, the PLP is shamelessly taking up the mantle of the New Boys Friends and Family Nepotism Club” at the expense of everyday Bermudians.

One of the first things Mr Burt did as Premier was to give Ewart Brown $1.2 million of our tax dollars. This is the same former premier who admits to being a financial donor to the party and is indicted with 13 counts of corruption. Soon after, Burt gave $800,000 of our money to a US promoter who left the island after promising to build a recording studio. It was reported to the police only after the story broke in the news.

Mr Burt has spent millions of our money on his pet fintech project with nothing to show for it. Social and mainstream media are asking about his conflicted interest with his fintech adviser and the number of untendered projects that are netting millions of dollars. This is during the mantra of “shared sacrifice” amid Bermuda’s fight against the pandemic.

Most people will not remember the PLP passing legislation allowing foreigners and foreign companies to purchase property in our economic empowerment zone for approved schemes for up to 131 years. This is after blocking the airport project that by comparison is for only 30 years.

The PLP has had ministers caught red-handed violating the very pandemic rules it put in place. It has betrayed the workers and the Bermuda Industrial Union with decertification rules. It has created a new divide with the vaccinated versus the unvaccinated. The two Bermudas that it promoted to be re-elected has grown even more significantly. One “clever” Cabinet minister created a board and then paid himself $5,000 a month to chair it.

There are fewer jobs available with college graduates unable to find work, home values have decreased as much as 50 per cent, groceries and electricity costs are rising, tourism is in steep decline, workers are using their pensions today while being encouraged to abandon their future. Unfortunately, the David Burt leadership joke is now the burden on all of us as the country suffers.

More recently, the Premier has thrown Cabinet ministers under the bus, enjoyed a party at St Regis which was breaking his own Covid rules, he is the minister responsible for the Resolve raft-up breaking Covid rules and has implemented a Covid policy that the Minister of Health confirmed will leave Bermudians stranded in a foreign country, only to change it after much outcry.

If that is not bad enough, the PLP government is criminalising people who are not criminals and is forcing unvaccinated people into house arrest and enforcing that they are to pay for it in advance of returning back to the island. Clearly, it is are “out-UBPing” the UBP.

I have given only a snapshot of what Mr Burt’s leadership has provided to everyday Bermudians. Ironically, the OBA was formed by a breakaway faction of the UBP that wanted to take Bermuda in a new direction under a pluralist multiracial party with economic prosperity for everyone and the betterment of Bermuda as a whole.

Remarkably, there is one aspect of the UBP’s governance that Bermudians desire the most, but where the PLP continuously falls short. This specific aspect is the prosperous running of our economy with significant opportunities for Bermudians in tourism and international business, which at the time was in its infancy.

Instead, the Bermuda we know today is a shadow of its former economic self, courtesy of Mr Burt’s leadership since 2017 when the island was finally starting to boom again.

Under this PLP government, we have cronyism, a crushing debt, education in crisis, high stress levels, fewer opportunities in a shrinking economy, rising cost, polarising division and a steadily decreasing standard of living. Mr and Mrs Bermuda are worse off today than at any time in recent memory.

Despite all of this catastrophic governance, the PLP will never get tired of the old hypocritical deflection tactic of accusing the OBA of being the UBP and presenting itself as the only choice and friend of working-class Bermudians.

However, the facts speak for themselves. You cannot fool all the people all the time. Shocking hypocrisy, deflection, tyranny and a significant reduction in opportunities will continue to erode supporters’ blind loyalty.

I do not expect to be popular for pointing these things out, especially from the PLP camp. However, for what it is worth, I take it upon myself to be ridiculed because I care about my country and the future opportunities of my children and yours. I want the future to show that I dared to stand up and sound the alarm while this catastrophe was unfolding, with the hope of giving the rest of us the opportunity to do something about it.

As Bob Marley encourages us, “now you see the light, get up, stand up, stand up for your rights”.

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)

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Published June 28, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated June 27, 2021 at 1:02 pm)

PLP the new UBP – discuss

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