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PLP demands Scott apology in birther row

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The Progressive Labour Party has demanded an apology after it said that the Premier's loyalty to Bermudians was questioned by an Opposition politician.

A PLP spokeswoman said the comment was made in a video posted on the One Bermuda Alliance Facebook page, which featured Leah Scott, the OBA's deputy leader, and Ben Smith, the Shadow Minister of National Security, Youth, Sport and Social Development.

The spokeswoman said on Tuesday: “Deputy leader Scott, when talking about the PLP's Bermudians-first policies, said, ‘including the Premier, who comes from Jamaica. Where is his loyalty?'

“In the conversation, the Premier's Jamaican roots were brought up multiple times.”

She added: “We can disagree about politics and policy, but to question the Premier's love of Bermuda and commitment to the betterment of Bermudians because of his mother's heritage is beyond the pale.

“We call on the OBA deputy leader to apologise and retract her comments.”

In the video that was posted on Tuesday, Ms Scott and Mr Smith debated the merits of holding a General Election, which was called by Mr Burt for October 1.

They also discussed the country's economic problems and expatriate workers.

Ms Scott asked: “Wasn't the Premier born in Jamaica?”

Mr Smith replied that he was.

Ms Scott added: “So he's a first-generation Bermudian, I believe, right?”

Mr Smith said later: “The biggest issue that we have to really focus on as a country is our birthrate has been low for an extended period of time and what we are going to be looking at is that younger generation, which is much smaller than it should be.

“They're the ones that are gong to be left with this bill, it's not going to be us — so we keep ringing up the bill, but will half of these MPs be retiring in Bermuda or will they move elsewhere?”

Ms Scott replied: “Exactly. Including the Premier, who comes from Jamaica. Where is his loyalty?

But Jason Wade, the PLP candidate for Southampton East Central — where Ms Scott defeated the PLP's Quinton Butterfield by 516 votes to 463 in 2017 — highlighted that Mr Burt was born in Bermuda.

He said: “I can't believe I'm having to put this out to the Bermudian people.

“But I want to be crystal clear so that there is no confusion whatsoever. Premier David Burt is a born Bermudian. His father is Bermudian through and through and his mother also has Bermuda status.

“David Burt was born in Bermuda. He loves Bermuda and he is a Bermudian.”

Mr Wade added: “I've known the Premier for a number of years. When he was away at university and became the student body president at George Washington University, he was known for wearing Bermuda shorts and socks.

“He has had a camp at Cup Match for as long as I remember. He even has his own swizzle recipe. He comes to our social clubs. He goes to church. He attends parades and community events. He is Bermudian through and through.”

Mr Wade said: “To date, Leah Scott has not apologised for her Donald Trump-style birtherism and the OBA has not taken down or edited the video to remove this birtherism.

“Leadership counts and I hope the people of Constituency 30 are watching.”

He asked voters in the constituency if they wanted to be “represented by someone who peddles a ‘birther' conspiracy or if you want someone who is connected to the community for years”.

Mr Wade added: “It doesn't matter if you're rich or poor, black or white, OBA and PLP, we all must come together to focus on the economic recovery and we need to elect proven leaders of integrity to see us through these difficult times.”

Ms Scott and a spokesman for the OBA were contacted for comment.

Leah Scott, deputy leader of the One Bermuda Alliance (File photograph)
Jason Wade, a Progressive Labour Party General Election candidate (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published August 28, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated August 28, 2020 at 9:02 am)

PLP demands Scott apology in birther row

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