Log In

Reset Password

Decisions could have waited until the dust settled on leadership race

First Prev 1 2 3 Next Last
Ernest Peets, the former Minister of Youth, Culture and Sport (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

If the attempt by David Burt was to conceal that there was a significant divide in the Progressive Labour Party, then his Cabinet reshuffle came at an inappropriate time.

Wayne Furbert has been a member of the Cabinet in some capacity almost since he crossed the floor. He holds perhaps more degrees in accounting than Curtis Dickinson; it is almost incredulous after so many years under Mr Burt’s leadership, why he is finally given a clear portfolio. This is not because he didn’t deserve one before, but because he had around for such a long period of time without being so minted.

Ernest Peets was a minister who seemed to be welcomed and even liked by the community, and was very visible in a portfolio that never before gained the amount of press he did. He comes from the background of being a pastor of a church, having worked for addiction services and hence established as a social advocate. The old saying “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” begs the question of what was it that was broken in his case.

Wayne Furbert, Cabinet veteran (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Perception in politics often equals reality and it is certainly being perceived that Lawrence Scott’s mere thought of challenging the deputy leader landed him on the back bench. The comments from his father, the former premier Alex Scott, calling on the Premier to be less autocratic did not help Alex Jr; nor did it cast in a favourable light Mr Burt, who is now seen as retaliating and unable to take criticism from his own party members.

Well, so much for the comment that this is an open, democratic party. It’s more the case of, “open, yes, but at your peril”.

Lawrence Scott is now out of the transport ministry (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

It might have been better to leave things as they were for at least a little while to let the proverbial dust to settle after the leadership race. But that’s not the David Burt we have come to know. Again, while it may still be the case that the PLP has a natural advantage over the One Bermuda Alliance in any future elections, it is not clear what the disposition of the voting base is. We may never know how the broader PLP felt about the outcome of the delegates conference.

Discontent does not easily melt away and the crispness of the Premier’s decision to reshuffle his Cabinet may have further alienated many of the voters who favoured Mr Dickinson. The Premier lives on the narcissistic perception that the room of delegates represents the mandate of the entire voting base of the PLP and even Bermuda, when in fact there is no scientific way of determining it. It may be easier to fantasise about having such support rather than test the reality.

The delegates conference, rather than bringing unity and healing the wounds, may have widened the chasm. Mr Dickinson’s acquiescence and quiet absorption of the results did not bring him any closer to the front bench, and the question of his participation going forward instead of appearing as a leader-in-waiting may look more like a protester waiting for the executioner’s sword while he lays prostrate.

For many reasons, it may be that there will be an election much sooner and certainly before the end of this allotted term finishes. It will be another opportunity for the Premier to consolidate his grip over the branches. MPs such as Jamahl Simmons have gone to constituents looking for consensus. His is just a brave step but that sentiment may exist among other constituencies as well. It soon becomes a matter of “if you are not for me, then you are against me” and all the paranoia that is associated with that axiom.

The Premier is a party manager, has maintained the majority support of the MPs and is not shy about saying how he courts the back bench with committee positions and initiatives. In other words, how he has bought their support in this post-Covid economy. It is not clear how effective they are at managing the committees, but we can see clearly that it has been effective in securing a loyal parliamentary base.

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published November 01, 2022 at 7:50 am (Updated November 01, 2022 at 7:50 am)

Decisions could have waited until the dust settled on leadership race

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon