OBA accuses AG of dodging public scrutiny on self-governance report
The Attorney-General has been accused of dodging scrutiny after failing to hold a press conference on her ministry’s plans for the coming year.
The Governor delivered this year’s Throne Speech – outlining the Government’s agenda for the next 12 months – on November 4.
Since then, all ministers have held press conferences on their respective briefs – apart from Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Minister of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Reform. Ms Simmons also refused to be questioned by reporters following last year’s Throne Speech.
Yesterday, the opposition One Bermuda Alliance described Ms Simmons’ refusal to meet the press as “curious“.
Scott Pearman, the OBA’s Shadow Minister for Legal Affairs, pointed out that one of the key planks of the Government’s agenda this year will be discussions on self-governance, which falls under Ms Simmons’ remit.
Ms Simmons was the minister responsible for commissioning a report on the full range of self-government options for Bermuda called Assessment of Self-Governance Sufficiency by Dr Carlyle G Corbin, an international adviser on governance.
Mr Pearman said: “David Burt and his PLP Government offered a hollow Throne Speech, with few solutions.
“Instead, the Premier resurrected the misguided notion that all our problems would magically disappear if Bermuda were independent. They won’t.
“He can try to disguise his wish for independence with words like “sovereignty” and “self-governance”, but Bermudians won’t be fooled.
“It is curious that other members of cabinet have been willing to face media scrutiny on departmental plans, yet the Attorney-General has not, despite announcing such a major potential constitutional change.
“The first thing this Government needs to confirm is that Bermuda will not seek independence without Bermudians having a decisive referendum on this fundamental issue.”
Speaking in the House of Assembly last week, Ms Simmons defended the Government’s secret commissioning of a $50,000 report assessing Bermuda’s self-governance options.
She told MPs that the report would probably be made public on December 2 after being reviewed by the Cabinet.
She also assured MPs that there was no “clandestine political plan to take Bermuda to sovereignty at any cost”.
When contacted by The Royal Gazette yesterday, a ministry spokeswoman confirmed that Ms Simmons will not be holding a press conference to discuss her ministry’s plans for the coming year.
She added: “On Friday, November 18, the Attorney-General indicated in her ministerial Statement “the Government’s intent to take a wider scope to constitutional reform encompassing a “mature approach” to discussions with the UK Government about self-determination for Bermuda, alongside public engagement at home through wide-ranging community discussion and education”.