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PLP is using ‘Trump-esque’ tactics – Simons

Andrew Simons

An Opposition senator said a bid to have a Commission of Inquiry into a Government lawsuit against US medical group the Lahey Clinic was a “Trump-esque” attack on political opponents.

Andrew Simons said: “I found that a bit unsettling in that it seemed to be a Trump-esque attack on political opponents through the use of inquiries and courts.

“We’ve seen that in the US where you have a report by some investigator-general, inspector general, which is then used to advance a political agenda.”

Mr Simons was speaking in the Senate yesterday after Zane DeSilva, a Progressive Labour Party backbencher and former minister, asked in the House of Assembly on Friday for a Commission of Inquiry into former Attorney-General Trevor Moniz and the handling of the Lahey case.

Several PLP MPs, including former Attorney-General Michael Scott and David Burt, the Premier, backed the bid.

Mr Simons said: “I do note that in another place the Member of Parliament advancing this idea of a Commission of Inquiry was really looking out for his own business partner, or was rather business partners, by someone who had been subject to that Lahey lawsuit. “I’m not sure if that point was highlighted clearly enough.”

Mr Simons also called for better communication over problems with the bus system after transport workers voted to work-to-rule, which saw the services grind to a halt on Monday.

He said: “It would be useful to have some more proactive communication before they stopped running and immediately after as to what happened and how that can be avoided.”

Mr Simons also backed comments by Senator Anthony Richardson, who commended the organisers of the Bermuda Heroes Weekend festivities.

But he added that there had been some concern that there was a “missed opportunity to connect with the National Heroes Day”.

Mr Simons said: “If you are going to have the day then we should really respect that day.”

He suggested that the work in the run-up to Bermuda Day continue into June “so there is at least a connection to what that day is supposed to mean”.

PLP senator Anthony Richardson emphasised the importance of people being accurate about what they say.

He told the Upper House: “Words do matter.”

Mr Richardson said a comment he had made about black Bermudians not being able to own property in certain areas in the past had not been accurately reported in The Royal Gazette.

He said the words “in certain areas” had been left out. Mr Richardson added: “And as normally takes place from the blogs, there was a litany of comments that came in talking about Senator Richardson is ‘trying to rewrite history’ and the whole nine yards.

“We have to be very mindful of what we read, what we use as our source of information and also to apply a degree of common sense before we make comments.”

Vance Campbell, a PLP senator, encouraged people to get to know their neighbours to help strengthen communities and build a better Bermuda.

He said: “Yes there are going to be differences, ethnic differences, cultural differences.

“But the more we know our neighbours, the more likely we are able to look out for them, build better relationships and also understand that despite those differences, we hold many things in common.

“I also believe that the more we know our neighbours then we can start to build strong neighbourhoods and if we build strong neighbourhoods then we are also going to have a stronger community.”