How many more years of PLP ruin?
“They live their lives of false pretence every day, these are the big fish who always try to eat down the small fish, they would do anything to materialise their every wish. I say, woe to the downpressor, they will eat the bread of sorrow, tomorrow!”— Bob Marley
History will reveal an astonishing event took place in Bermuda nine short months ago. David Burt chose to risk our lives and our health to hastily call an election, although there were more than two years left on the historic landslide victory in 2017. While we were distracted by our personal and national challenges of grappling with a worldwide pandemic, the Premier decided not to waste a good crisis and called a snap election.
If Bermudians had not come to our senses before, that move should have finally alerted us to all that we needed to know about Progressive Labour Party leadership.
While Bermuda was collectively breathing a sigh of relief, a snap election was called before we could exhale. Once we revisit the full historical context of the situation, we will clearly see why our health and lives were risked for the Premier’s personal gain.
The economic disaster that we face today started during the PLP governance between 1998 and 2012. Bermuda went from being the envy of the world to having an economy with spiralling debt, unprecedented unemployment, devalued real estate, business closures, devastating decline in our foreign workforce and a host of other economic indicators showing drastic regression.
After its depressing term of leadership, the PLP voter stayed away from the polls in the 2012 election, which allowed the One Bermuda Alliance to win. The OBA put the economy of the island back on its feet until 2017 when the PLP returned to governance. Since July 2017, the PLP picked up where it left off.
Once again, our economic indicators continue to plummet. With the exception of OBA initiatives such as the America’s Cup, St Regis, the new airport and The Loren, nothing new has materialised.
Fintech, the Premier’s pet project, has been a disaster with nothing to show for the millions of tax dollars spent.
The PLP had no clue on how to grow our economy during the best of times, so it stands to reason it would have less of a clue during pandemic times. However, it has been excellent at dishing out taxpayer dollars to friends and family. In addition, it has been excellent at mowing down anyone that gets in its way — such as the former chief executive of the Bermuda Health Council (Tawanna Wedderburn) and the past chief executives of the Bermuda Tourism Authority (Bill Hanbury, Kevin Dallas).
Bermuda, I am pointing these things out at this time because the PLP is now four years into its original five-year term beginning with the landslide victory in July 2017. Arguably, calling a snap “Covid-19 election” during a pandemic was a brilliant political move for David Burt, but it has been an utter disaster for Bermuda and Bermudians.
It should be abundantly clear that the PLP saw the continuing disaster unfolding and knew it would only get worse by the end of its five-year term ending in July 2022. The urgency to call an election was not dictated by the term of office, as it still had more than two years left of its original term.
Responsible leadership that cared about your health and your family’s life would have waited until an election was necessary. However, Mr Burt, having followed the global script, called an election after the first lockdown when foreign travel was bought to a halt. Our Covid cases were low and we were sold the idea that the PLP had handled the pandemic well and that we could trust them to return the economy to normal.
Clearly, we were tricked, hoodwinked and deceived because nothing could be further from the truth. Do not take my word for it, though. Nine short months after the snap election, we have had more than 30 unnecessary deaths, a peak of almost 1,000 positive cases through community spread, discriminating policies, further lockdowns, heightened division between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, Bermudians being blocked from returning to the island, and many other policy failures of the PLP to responsibly deal with the pandemic.
Ironically, after having used the pandemic to get re-elected, the PLP is now using it as an excuse for why the island is doing so poorly economically. That might be easier to believe if its track record before the pandemic spoke differently. In fact, the pandemic is revealing and continuing to expose the incompetence of the PLP.
Imagine, the “brilliance of Burt” has gone as far to craft a law that says that the natural immunity of the body that we were created with to recover from Covid is not to be recognised by local authorities.
Bermuda has so many advantages to be able to contain Covid and attract foreign investment, but our greatest disadvantage is the disastrous leadership under Mr Burt. By calling that snap election, he has given himself the opportunity to continue mismanaging our pandemic response and our tax dollars for his personal gain.
Bermuda, July 17 marks the four-year anniversary into the PLP’s return to power. Without the “Covid-19 election”, the PLP would be facing an election in one year, July 2022. Instead, Mr Burt conned us to obtain four years and three months before the next election.
Bermuda and Bermudians will continue to suffer from his leadership and he will continue to get worse until he has completely ruined the fabric of our country. Therefore, we are now all faced with this inescapable and unavoidable question: how much longer can we afford to continue with the PLP under the leadership of David Burt?
• 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)