Why this PLP war against the hotel deal?
You can tell how the Progressive Labour Party feels about St George's by its totally unnecessary destruction of the St George's hotel's golf club, and the abandonment of the course to a gigantic crop of weeds.
That and, during all those years in power, its efforts to replace the hotel amounting to nothing more than a thick file of broken promises.
Oh, and we must not forget the running down of the St George's cruise ship business and making sure the Corporation of St George barely had the money to buy a new pair of shoelaces.
I could go on, but I'm sure you get the picture.
So, galling though it is, it can't be a surprise that the Opposition seems to be waging a campaign to encourage St Georgians to oppose the proposed new hotel.
It has quibbled with almost everything, turning perfectly reasonable, responsible provisions by the Government and the developer into evidence of an anti-Bermuda, anti-Bermudian plot.
It has wrongly accused the developer and some of its employees of taking part in a massive fraud, and would not stop doing it until it was threatened with a lawsuit. The Government has been accused alternately of “doing anything by any means necessary to get this hotel built” and “spinning our wheels”. That was by the same person, almost in the same breath.
We have demonstrated, apparently, both a stunning lack of commitment to Bermudians in this project and a lack of transparency. The Government is guilty, according to the PLP, of a blatant and serious dereliction of duty to the people of Bermuda. Bermudians who are out of work deserve a fair chance to compete for jobs and opportunity in their own country, but they will not get it, the PLP says, because their OBA Government has sold them out.
That's right, folks — all this effort was just so the OBA could sell out the unemployed!
The latest little twist concerns the beach at St Catherine's Fort. It has been connected to the hotel on the hill for as long as I can remember. Nevertheless, we made good and certain that in the St George's Resort Act, we included language that guarantees the right of the public to use the beach (and the golf course, for that matter).
But that still does not seem to be good enough. Renee Ming told the Senate “if the Government wants a fight on their hands, they will have it when it comes to Fort St Catherine beach”.
We all know the Opposition organises people to make comments that follow the party line when they are allowed on stories that appear in the media. In a comment on a related story, a prominent Opposition sympathiser said that if the beach did not remain public “I know my entire neighbourhood will arrive at Shawn Crockwell's house for a picnic and possible riot, not to mention Mr Richards's house the following weekend”.
Is the Opposition crazy? Fighting? Riots? I am just flabbergasted.
Right there, plain as day, the St George's Resort Act says: “The public shall have, free of charge, reasonable access to any beach or foreshore on the property.”
What part of that does Ms Ming and her followers not understand that would cause them to talk about fighting and riots? I know they have to follow the script they are given, but surely the script has to follow some kind of logic, doesn't it?
What does the Opposition hope to gain from this all-out war on the St George's hotel deal? This goes way beyond what an opposition should be doing in order to discharge its parliamentary duty.
What is it? A desperate attempt to get its hands on power again? A guilty conscience? Or perhaps something more personal, between the Opposition and our Old Towne? What else could explain the insane stance taken by Ms Ming in Senate in objecting to the Bill? Her Opposition colleagues noticeably did not object. This Bill will provide the framework for the revitalisation of St George's and everyone knows it — apart, it seems, from the senator who objected to the Bill's passing.
I hope that the Opposition changes its way and gives full, unequivocal support for a Bill that will spur the renaissance of St George's. I look forward to sending an invitation to Ms Ming for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new hotel.
•Michael Fahy is a senator and Minister of Home Affairs