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Crockwell has ‘no intention’ of joining PLP

Not true: Shawn Crockwell denies reports he is set to cross the floor (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Former tourism minister Shawn Crockwell has hit back at reports that he intends to join the Progressive Labour Party, telling The Royal Gazette: “There is absolutely no intention for me to cross the floor.”

Mr Crockwell, who resigned from Cabinet in March owing to his lack of confidence in the One Bermuda Alliance leadership, pointed to his friendships with some in the PLP but said the Opposition party has difficulties of its own.

“I am a member of the OBA and if and when that changes I will control the message and explain why,” he said.

“I have friends on the other side and in the current political climate we talk and everyone is concerned about the future of Bermuda on both sides — but the other side has its problems as well.

“The Premier indicated there will be a reshuffle before the Parliament resumes on May 20 and I expect that to happen and I look forward to supporting who that may be.”

On Tuesday, ZBM news reported that Mr Crockwell could be considering crossing the aisle due to his disappointment in the Bermuda Government’s approach to immigration reform as well as his lack of support for the new airport deal.

However, Mr Crockwell said: “There is no truth in that story. I don’t know what the origins of that story were.”

Regarding the deal brokered between the OBA and the Canadian Commercial Corporation for the redevelopment of LF Wade International Airport, the former Minister of Tourism Development and Transport added: “I was a member of the Cabinet when the airport agreement and negotiations were taking place, so to say that I was against the airport project was also incorrect.”

Mr Crockwell said that he welcomed positive news coming from the Government including the rise in arrivals announced by the Bermuda Tourism Authority and credit rating stability.

“I think the BTA deserves a lot of credit,” he said. “With all of the criticism and ridicule that the BTA has had to endure over the last couple of years, people need to give them their due. I have said for some time, a new marketing strategy, a new organisational structure, a new managerial approach will take time to see results. It is going to take a couple of years and I think now we are seeing it and I think that they deserve to be applauded, particularly because they stuck to it despite the naysayers and criticism.”

Mr Crockwell resigned in part due his belief that Michael Dunkley, the Premier, was out of touch with the black community following days of protests against immigration reform.

But he insisted he would remain a party member, telling this newspaper at that time: “If the OBA starts to lose numbers, then you have an unstable government.

“You may not have a government at all.

“So, it’s important that we have continuity and move forward, but I cannot support the direction and leadership of this government.”

Asked yesterday whether he would consider rejoining Cabinet in the future, he added: “I am a political animal, which is something I can’t help because I am concerned about the future of Bermuda and I believe we are at a very delicate juncture in Bermuda’s history.

“I think the next election will be very important because there is a recovery taking place and we have to ensure we build on that. I do believe the OBA needs to address some of the social issues. I am certainly looking for the Gvernment to bring forward some progressive policies and legislation that could help improve the current conditions of average Bermudians.

“I think the Government can do it if it has the will and so as a member of the Government I am looking to see the executive do that and if they do that, that will restore my confidence.”