OBA: Burt ‘must not get ahead of the people' on independence
A push for independence will bring Bermuda a financial burden it can ill afford, the Opposition has insisted.
Cole Simons, the One Bermuda Alliance leader, claimed that David Burt is getting ahead of the people for the sake of his own personal political agenda.
He said it was the wrong time to champion the emotive issue, and questioned if Mr Burt was doing so in order to appease factions in the Progressive Labour Party.
The comments came after the Premier said that a study on self-governance had been commissioned and sent to the Attorney-General and would be considered by the Cabinet and made public in order to “educate” voters on the matter.
Mr Simons said it was not the moment to drive an independence agenda as he said Bermudians “are trying to figure out how they are going to eat and pay bills”.
He also insisted young people were moving to Britain “in droves”, are entitled to British fees while attending university there and that more Bermudians are seeking British passports.
“The country begs the question — why now, Mr Premier? Why now when the road to independence will bring with it a financial burden which Bermudians can ill afford.
“Independence will not help our people, who are truly in need, economically and socially.
“In fact, it will only add to the stresses of Bermuda’s cost-of-living crisis and our current financial woes.
“If the Premier is to gain the full trust of Bermuda, he ought to be very clear and transparent on this matter. He must not get ahead of the people of Bermuda.”
Mr Simons also claimed a thrust for independence “may provide market anxiety within the local and international business sectors”.
He added: “Instead of conducting an open and transparent referendum on independence to hear from the people of Bermuda about this critical topic — bang — he drops this assessment of self-governance sufficiency report on Bermuda when it is completed.
“Is he trying to contain a certain wing of his party? Is there no bipartisanship?
“The Premier admitted that he has not fully read the document himself, yet he is promoting its content.
“Furthermore, since when does Mr Burt listen to and adopt the UK Government’s recommendations?
“In fact, in the past he has been defiant when it comes to the UK Government. Look at the showdowns regarding the recent cannabis legislation and marriage equality legislation.”