Discrimination at top of retiring Scott’s agenda
Michael Scott, the veteran MP and former senator, said he will use his role as chairman of the Law Reform Commission to help stamp out discrimination as he announced his retirement from frontline politics.
Mr Scott in 2016 voted against the Matrimonial Causes Act, drawn up to restrict the legal definition of marriage to between a man and a woman.
Mr Scott said: “You can't tell people who to love.
“We stand very firmly on human rights in our country and recognition of same-sex marriage and same-sex values is coming.
“As Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General, indicates, I am chairing the Law Reform Commission and that is an opportunity for me to help advance change in this area and across all areas where the system is disadvantaging or discriminating against gays or any part of our community.”
He was speaking after David Burt, the leader of the Progressive Labour Party, announced that Mr Scott was to retire and would be replaced by Ms Simmons as the candidate for Sandys North.
Mr Scott gave way for Ms Simmons to contest the Sandys North seat at the October 1 General Election.
He said his decision to quit was influenced by the length of his tenure and “political strategy”.
Mr Scott, 70, added: “I met with the Premier and we talked about evolving this position.
“I was ready to retire anyway. What really made it easy was the talent of Ms Simmons; that nixed it.
“She brings her youth, her poise, her commitment and the synergy of her being a colleague attorney-general who has demonstrated during her three-year tenure a really strong community agenda for protecting children from the many and varied kinds of abuses.
“I have watched Kathy in how she manages the legislative agenda and how she speaks from the heart on what she knows has to happen in terms of systemic changes in our country,
“It is an area and view that I share — maybe lawyers all have this approach. Those things will keep the country in good stead.”
Mr Scott added he would be “walking the campaign trail with Kathy” in Sandys North “to support and endorse her”.
He said: “It has a large port, it has a rich residential community and it has those two communities, Somerset Village and Dockyard, that have commercial and residential needs and opportunities.
“I believe that she will plug into that.”
Mr Scott served in the Senate from 1998 and became Government Leader in the Upper House.
He was elected as Sandys North MP in 2004. Mr Scott also served in the Cabinet and held several portfolios, including Attorney-General, Minister of Health, Minister of Legislative Affairs, Minister of Telecommunications and E-commerce and Minister of Government Estates and Information Services.
He was educated at Southampton Glebe and the Berkeley Institute and earned a BA degree from Mount Allison University.
He was called to the English Bar in 1981 and said he planned to return to practice.
Mr Burt said Mr Scott had made a massive contribution to Sandys North.
He added: “During his tenure, his constituency was transformed. Dockyard was expanded to accommodate the massive cruise ships. “This expansion assisted entrepreneurs to expand as a result of increased visitors and tourists.”
Mr Burt said Mr Scott was “never afraid to stand up for working people and for justice, fairness and equality for all Bermudians”.