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OBA claims cannabis legislation row could be used as backdoor route to independence

Cole Simons, the Opposition leader (File photograph)

The One Bermuda Alliance claimed tonight that the legislation of cannabis was a “smokescreen” for a push towards independence.

Cole Simons, the Leader of the Opposition, said the legislation could fall foul of Britain’s international obligations and fail to receive Royal Assent from Rena Lalgie, the Governor, and set up a confrontation.

Mr Simons asked: “Are the Premier and the Progressive Labour Party Government intentionally orchestrating a real case for their own political endgame for independence, knowing that the Royal Assent may not forthcoming?”

He said: “The truth is, should the Governor make the decision not to provide Royal Assent, which would be a first in Bermuda’s constitutional history, the Premier will likely declare that the PLP tried to remove cannabis as a controlled drug under Bermuda’s Misuse of Drugs Act 1972, but the legislation was not signed off by the UK Government.

“He would then dramatically proclaim that Bermuda has a constitutional crisis at hand, a crisis that exists only in the mind of the Premier.”

PLP statement

“It is an appalling degree of insensitivity and naked politics that on a day when this country is reeling from the tragic death of a young man in what appear to be terrible circumstances, the Leader of the Opposition would issue a statement of pure fantasy. He need not be concerned. When the time for sovereignty at hand it will not be a secret and it will not be by some back door maneuver. It will be an open process, reflective of the will of the people.

“This statement is just disrespectful to the true issues that are of concern to the people of Bermuda. The PLP echoes the statement from Minister Weeks yesterday with regards to the unfortunate murder and extend heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.”

Mr Simons said: “The Premier would then go down in history as recusing himself of taking responsibility for not removing cannabis as a controlled drug, and the establishment of local and international cannabis industry managed from Bermuda, even though there is no national push or demand for the cannabis industry from the people of Bermuda.”

He asked: “So why is the Premier campaigning to deliver this agenda?

“Once again, this is another example of one of the Premier’s sleight-of-hand tactics. Bermuda, we must all pay attention to what is going on in our country and why. Bermuda deserves better.“

Mr Cole questioned the impact the cannabis legislation would have on the island’s reputation as an international business jurisdiction if Bermuda was ruled to be not compliant with international anti-money-laundering legislation and drug enforcement legislation.

He also queried if the Government had “even considered the health, safety and social implications on our local population?”

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Published April 07, 2022 at 7:53 am (Updated April 07, 2022 at 8:45 am)

OBA claims cannabis legislation row could be used as backdoor route to independence

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