PLP accuses OBA of doubling down on election video
A war of words continued between the Progressive Labour Party and the One Bermuda Alliance last night over Ben Smith, the Opposition’s candidate for the upcoming by-election in Smith’s South.
The ruling party has accused the OBA senator of using xenophobic language in a 2020 video released by the party ahead of the General Election.
Mr Smith featured in a video discussion with Leah Scott, then the OBA’s deputy leader, in which the Jamaican roots of David Burt were raised.
Ms Scott’s remarks questioning the Premier’s loyalty drew a swift demand for an apology.
Controversy over the video resurfaced when the OBA announced Mr Smith’s candidacy for the October 5 by-election.
In an opinion piece yesterday in The Royal Gazette, Mr Smith said the video highlighted the two parties’ divergent views on foreigners and immigration reform.
He added that the video had been “edited and used as a political weapon”.
But a PLP statement last night continued the attack, insisting any claim the video had been edited was “totally false” and adding that “rather than apologise and admit their error in 2020, the OBA are choosing to double down”.
The party accused Mr Smith of “running from his responsibilities” and said the 20-minute video included remarks “attacking the Premier and by extension, every Bermudian with a non-Bermudian parent's loyalty”.
The statement said Mr Smith had failed to own up for “abandoning the seat he lost and the constituents he failed” at the polls in 2020 for Southampton West Central.
The party said it could still be viewed on the OBA’s Facebook page, adding: “It was clear then, and even clearer now, that majority of the public saw it for what it was — a xenophobic attack, hence rejecting both Mr Smith and Ms Scott at the polls.”
The statement continued: “Mr Smith is not only running from his failures in Constituency 31, he is also running from taking accountability for being complicit in this video conversation.”
In his opinion piece, Mr Smith wrote: “Context is important and the video did not give context or provide the clear message that was intended.”
He added: “We learn from our mistakes if we are willing to be better for the country.”