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A Progressive Labour Party candidate today accused the leader of the One Bermuda Alliance of spreading misinformation after he claimed the Premier asked for his support on independence for Bermuda.

Lindsay Simmons said that Craig Cannonier, her opponent for the Devonshire South Central seat in the General Election on Thursday, made “wild accusations” that misled Bermudians.

She said: “The Premier, and all of Bermuda, know that independence cannot happen legally without a referendum — a vote of the people in favour of it.

“Mr Cannonier is misleading again by insinuating that he could even, if he and the Premier wanted to, take us to independence.”

Ms Simmons added: “We all remember why he had to resign as Premier of this country — he admitted that he was, and I quote, ‘less than honest' with Bermudians.

“But, last week Friday, he gave an unannounced address to the country in which he detailed wild accusations and offered no proof and no evidence of those accusations.

“If I — or any regular Bermudian — was going to accuse someone of doing or saying something, I would at least need to offer some kind of proof.

“But Mr Cannonier doesn't offer any — instead, he simply asks us to take him at his word.”

Mr Cannonier said last Friday that David Burt, the Premier, asked him for his support on independence in exchange for Mr Burt backing down on his stance against giving Bermudian status to long-term residents.

Ms Simmons, who spoke during a press conference at the PLP's Alaska Hall headquarters, said that the act was a “typical play” that the OBA adopted from the former United Bermuda Party.

She also accused the OBA of using “their friends in the media to launch attacks during the week of the election”.

Walter Roban, the Deputy Premier, said yesterday that the newly released OBA platform was full of attacks against the PLP and repeated initiatives that had already been put in place.

He said: “Throughout the OBA platform — which, incidentally, is half the length of the PLP's — you find plenty of attacks against the PLP, you find policies that the PLP has already implemented and you find plenty of vague statements — but, no real concrete ideas to see us through the economic recovery.

“To propose things that already exist is an insult to the intelligence of voters and it is unconscionable that the OBA supports a $200 million tax increase on Bermudians during tough economic times.”

The OBA platform, which was released last night, outlined its “social contract” with the island that represented its “solemn promise to you to be better for Bermuda”.

Policies included following recommendations laid out by the Fiscal Responsibility Panel.

Mr Roban said that the panel recommended tax increases that, when combined with income taxes, would total $20 million and increase taxes on everyone by 20 per cent.

He added: “The PLP's Minister of Finance — and our platform — does not agree with all Fiscal Responsibility Panel recommendations — and has said that we will not increase the tax burden on existing persons and focus on growth.”

Mr Roban said that other plans listed in the OBA platform had already been put in place by the PLP, such as the promotion of Wi-Fi coverage, particularly in schools, and tax breaks for business owners who hire Bermudians for trainee positions.

He added: “Imitation is the finest form of flattery.

“If they're imitating us perhaps they just like our ideas and they decided to duplicate them in a way that they feel would be acceptable to the voters.”

Mr Cannonier argued similarities between the OBA and PLP election platforms did not mean that ideas had been copied, adding that the accusation was a “farce”.

He added: “Our platform is true to who we are as a One Bermuda Alliance since 2012.”

Mr Cannonier said that the PLP had repeated ideas that the OBA had “from the very beginning”, such as making sure that those who sought a permanent residency certificate in Bermuda would invest in the island.

He added: “What I do see with the PLP is a lot of candy being handed out with no way of being able to support that.

“What I do see is policies that we have put in place ever since we started in 2012 and they are just now picking them up.”

To read the remarks from the candidates, click on the PDFs under “Related Media”

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Published September 28, 2020 at 10:36 am (Updated September 28, 2020 at 11:40 pm)

PLP rejects independence claim

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