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When silence is not golden

Derrick Burgess has opened a hornet’s nest with his wide-ranging comments in the House of Assembly

Derrick Burgess brought to the public’s attention during the motion to adjourn in the House of Assembly that two premiers were suspended as clients of Butterfield Bank. This, he said, was done on the back of what the Bermuda Government did in lending the $200 million.

The bank has not denied the allegation but simply put it as an issue of noncompliance with rules that regulate banks locally and internationally. That said, the issue raised for the four was private and subject to confidentiality. These were all individuals acting in their private capacity; that two were premiers is coincidental.

It is probable that these things are regular occurrences with the banks, but it was Mr Burgess who made it public by discussing it under parliamentary privilege. I am sure the public took note that the publication in The Royal Gazette came with no comment section. Certainly, this was not a case where the bank owes any individual personal favours for what the Government did.

This has raised another concern in the public’s minds — who were they, and why were their accounts removed?

The Progressive Labour Party has had five premiers in the past 25 years. Are we to go on suspecting that it could be any one of them? Will someone have the decency or integrity to stand accountable? This, indeed, could be a very simple matter, but for two persons from the same political party and government, it would be an extreme coincidence.

If it happens that one of the two premiers is a sitting premier, then they at least should feel a sense of accountability to the public. There seems to be no shame or care that if one does not present the proper narrative for what is put out in the public domain, false and malicious ones will be created instead. For the sitting premier, how many malicious rumours can the community withstand? How much can be swept under the carpet before the floor resembles the turbulent seas of the Pacific Ocean?

It becomes an unchained factory of rumour on top of rumour. Was there a deal with Gencom or not? Or was it a re-election ploy? If not, where is the state of this deal today, and when are we going to see boots on the ground? Where is Chris Furbert, who was front and centre in providing Bermuda Industrial Union support? Why is there so much silence? Are the people fearful to the point they are afraid even to ask?

I always believe there is a logical answer to everything, even if seemingly untenable. However, no answer or no rationale does not cut it in an age of information where there is the internet, social media, and easy and accessible communication.