Attempted coup almost killed me, says Bean
Marc Bean, the Leader of the Opposition, has stated that attempts to depose him were a significant factor behind his recent serious illness.
In his first interview with this newspaper since he went on medical leave in March, Mr Bean said of the attempted coup: “It almost killed me.”
Mr Bean suffered a stroke at the height of anti-immigration demonstrations, with David Burt subsequently stepping in as acting leader.
It comes amid fresh anger over Mr Bean from his Progressive Labour Party colleagues about an interview with journalist Ayo Johnson on August 5, in which he decried a “politics of plunder” within both the island's political parties.
Following up with an interview with this newspaper yesterday, Mr Bean said: “It's a special diet that politicians have been feeding off for decades.” Clarifying further, he singled out “over-government, bureaucracy and special interests”.
Asked if he was levelling an accusation of corruption, Mr Bean said: “No, it's an attitude of looking to enrich yourself off the Government, I didn't accuse anyone in that interview of corruption. It's an overriding quest to get into power. Some things might be illegal or unethical, but I was speaking of an attitude of people living high off the hog, and we should not accept it.”
Repeating his remarks on Mr Johnson's site Politica, in which Mr Bean declared himself a “classical liberal” in his political sensibilities, the PLP leader affirmed his support for “smaller government, less taxation and shifting the burden of power from government — giving the people more freedom”.
Mr Bean spoke of Bermuda as a “monopolistic, oligarchical society” in which competition was key for those at the bottom to advance.
He also criticised the “mindset of dependency” that undermined blacks, in particular, with the expectation of welfare from the Government.
While Mr Bean said some may accuse him of right-wing leanings, he was committed to economic diversification and black entrepreneurship as a means of self-empowerment.
Mr Bean also stood by his criticism delivered in Politica against some of the MPs in his own party.
In those remarks, Mr Bean alleged that while the One Bermuda Alliance had been “bumbling” as a government, some of his colleagues had been unable to respond to a request for “three things that we will do to uplift our people”.
He said that “stumbling blocks to Bermuda's progress” were not exclusive to the OBA, with the “attitude of plunder” also present in the Opposition.
Yesterday, he restated his contention that some within the Opposition were “working on behalf of someone who wants to control the leadership, but can't”.
Mr Bean declined to specifically name the rebels within PLP ranks, but told this newspaper there was no split over leadership and characterised it as machinations from outside.
Divisions became highly public last December when seven MPs left Mr Bean's Shadow Cabinet: Walton Brown, Derrick Burgess, Zane DeSilva, Rolfe Commissiong, Wayne Furbert, Kim Wilson and Glenn Blakeney, who retired from politics altogether.
Mr Bean's interview with Politica was poorly received by three of the rebel MPs, as evidenced by the chain of e-mails sent to this newspaper.
However, Mr Bean confirmed earlier remarks to Mr Johnson that he expected to return soon to his role as leader, describing his health levels as up to “95 per cent”.
Asked if returning to the political fray may endanger his recovery, Mr Bean said: “Time will tell. It has been very stressful.
“My health was negatively affected. But the fact is that there are people who have to be held to account.”