Government accused of deliberately picking fights with UK
The One Bermuda Alliance has accused the Government of deliberately picking fights with the UK in order to push through an independence agenda.
Scott Pearman, the OBA’s spokesman on Legal and Home Affairs, spoke out after a Government senator blamed Whitehall for dictating Government policy on environmental issues.
In a column in The Royal Gazette last week, Lindsay Simmons, a Government senator and Junior Minister of Social Development and Seniors, claimed that Bermuda’s “colonial status” had forced the Government to sign up to international treaties ratified by the UK.
Responding to outcry by island fishermen that 20 per cent of island waters are to be designated protected zones free from fishing, Ms Simmons said that the Government had no choice to bring in the policy – because it was under orders to do so by London.
That claim appeared to contradict the views of other ministers, who have long touted and taken credit for Bermuda’s green credentials.
Walter Roban, the Deputy Premier and Minister for Home Affairs, has attended a slew of conferences on environmental issues in the last year, claiming that Bermuda can lead the way in conservation policy.
Mr Roban has also stated that he is “passionate“ about environmental issues.
But Mr Pearman accused the Government of “wanting to have it both ways” – applauding itself for environmental initiatives when addressing the green lobby, but denying responsibility for those initiatives when challenged by anti-protectionists.
Mr Pearman said: “On the one hand, Deputy Premier Walter Roban shows up at the Youth Climate Summit to tout his environmental credentials.
“Yet when Bermudian fishermen challenge the PLP’s marine plan, PLP senator Lindsay Simmons blames the policy on the ‘whims of the British Government’.
“Bermudians will not be fooled. The PLP wants to pick needless fights with the UK to cobble together a better argument for independence. This PLP ploy is all too obvious.”
Mr Pearman said that the current spat was just one of a series of planned confrontations by the Government to undermine the island’s relationship with the UK.
He pointed out that Whitehall had provided the island with vaccines when the coronavirus reached the island’s shores in 2020 – only for David Burt to describe the life-saving drugs as “trinkets”.
“The UK thankfully did not respond to his rudeness,” Mr Pearman said.
“Then the Premier presses on with his doomed cannabis bill, when his own Attorney General warned Parliament from the outset that the UK was forced by international convention to reject it.
“Now the PLP wants our fishermen to believe the marine plan is the fault of the UK?
“The Deputy Premier should explain to senator Simmons whose decision this actually is. Given the difficulties our island faces, we need to nurture our international relationships.
“If things get worse, we may well need them. The PLP’s British bashing needs to stop.”