Speaker must bowl out OBA if he is brought on
The following is an open letter to Randy Horton, the Speaker of the House:
Mr Speaker, in early June, for only the second time in many decades, the House of Assembly will be debating a motion of no confidence in the Government. The difference on this occasion is that it will be the first time in our island's history that the Government does not command a majority in the House.
As we know, the Government and Opposition both have 17 Members of Parliament, and there are two independent Members, former Attorney-General Marc Pettingill and former tourism minister Shawn Crockwell, who both resigned from the One Bermuda Alliance.
I trust that you will remember that, at the time of his resignation, Crockwell was heavily critical of Michael Dunkley's leadership, stating that he had lost faith in the Premier and that “the inability of government to listen and to appropriately gauge the temperature of the community” had rendered it “unworkable” for him to continue.
He stated that he had seen “time and time again, that old UBP philosophy would prevail”. He declared that he had been the victim of “economic intimidation” at the hands of the Government, specifically the Attorney-General, Trevor Moniz, as a result of his decision to resign.
MP Leah Scott echoed these concerns, stating that the Government had “clearly demonstrated why the OBA is so hated among blacks in the community”. She wrote to Dunkley and labelled previous statements by then Minister of Home Affairs Senator Michael Fahy as “dishonest” and impressed upon her colleagues that “what you are doing is cutting right to the heart of Bermudian people”.
Precisely a year after Crockwell's resignation, Pettingill, a founding member of the One Bermuda Alliance, felt compelled to resign from the party, stating that he found himself “diametrically and philosophically opposed to the Government's position or approach on numerous issues in endeavouring to move Bermuda forward”.
Mr Speaker, it will be the duty of every Member of the House who is tasked with voting on the no-confidence motion this Friday to honestly and sincerely ask the question whether they have confidence in this government.
Having regard to the Government no longer commanding a majority in the House of Assembly, compounded with the serious principle issues that premised the independents' resignations, it remains to be seen how Crockwell and Pettingill could honestly justify voting that they have confidence in the Government. After all, if they had confidence, they would still be in government, right? Well, we know that stranger things have occurred.
Mr Speaker, if there is a tie on the motion of no-confidence vote, and the duty lay with you to cast the deciding vote, what will you do?
Surely it hasn't escaped an esteemed statesman such as yourself, Mr Speaker, that you sit in the position that you do because you were elected by the voters of Constituency 32, right?
In fact, you implored upon those voters in 2012 that “the PLP needs to be returned to government” and you promised them that you were “committed towards the enhancement of the quality of life for the residents of Constituency 32, specifically and our island generally”.
Those voters sent a resounding message that they wanted to return the PLP to government and believed that you would remain committed to them and our island generally. They rewarded you with a “hat-trick”, your third consecutive term in Parliament. Now, if the ball is placed at your feet, will you score for them or against them?
I know that you're also a cricket man, Mr Speaker. So, I must ask, if called upon, will you honour the 12 years of trust placed in you by the voters of Constituency 32 and run down the pitch, right arm over the wicket, and ensure that the off stump of the OBA is sent spinning? Will it be your shining hour when you grasp the nettle and take a stand for the people who for so many years idolised and placed their trust in you?
Or will it be the day that you show a feigned solidarity to those that have long since made it their life's purpose to remain a thorn in the side of black Bermudians?
?We must not be sidetracked; this is about power and its abuse by the UBP — now called OBA — government, and its inability to lead. This is about the realities of the two Bermuda and the growing racial and economic disparities that divide them.
Mr Speaker, I am too young to remember your sports heyday, but my elders always made one thing clear: You were always a Trojan, never a Zebra.
We will be watching from the pavilion. Hope springs eternal.
• Eron Hill, who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, is studying for an LLB Law Hons degree at the University of Law (Manchester)