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Selection of Marcus Jones by OBA in ‘extreme distaste’ – PLP

Under fire: the PLP has questioned the selection of Marcus Jones as an official candidate.

The selection as an election candidate of a former One Bermuda Alliance senator forced to resign over remarks suggesting that teenagers were inviting abuse is in “extreme distaste”, according to the Progressive Labour Party.

The OBA this week rolled out Marcus Jones, who stood in the last General Election, as its official candidate for Constituency 19, Pembroke West.

He resigned from the Senate in February last year after comments he made about social media and inappropriate images of young people leading to abuse.

In a statement, the PLP’s deputy chair, Lauren Hayward-Bell, said her party found the selection “in extreme distaste”.

She said: “In February 2022, the then senator resigned from the Senate after making comments implying that young girls were inviting sexual assault through irresponsible use of social media and their mode of dress.”

She quoted him as saying, ‘I am not saying they deserve the bad abuse, they shouldn’t, we all agree with that, but I do believe that our young people are inviting this type of behaviour because they are ignorantly getting on social media and putting themselves up, and putting themselves in harm’s way’.

“It is unfathomable that a mere 18 months later, Mr Jones is announced as an OBA candidate once again,” Ms Hayward-Bell added.

She questioned whether OBA leader Jarion Richardson felt that Mr Jones had served his time out of the political fold.

“How does Mr Richardson truly feel about Mr Jones’s comments? Would Mr Richardson feel comfortable with Mr Jones a member of his parliamentary team or Cabinet?

“Most importantly, do the women of the OBA condone this sexist, victim-blaming mindset?” she added.

She said the PLP government was committed to strengthening protection against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse and in 2021 added protection against workplace bullying and sexual harassment under the Employment Act 2000.

“In addition, legislation was amended to protect persons from the non-consensual sharing of intimate images otherwise known as ‘revenge porn’, and enhanced penalties for sexual predators and public notification of sex offenders were adopted.

“Most recently, the PLP government established a Domestic Abuse Strategy for Bermuda,” she said.

Statement from Aguinaldo Medeiros, the OBA chairman

At what point will the Progressive Labour Party stop looking backwards as a way to create the narrative that the One Bermuda Alliance does not care about the people of Bermuda?

It never misses an opportunity to show it is a better Opposition than government.

After trying to unsuccessfully paint Senate Leader Ben Smith as xenophobic despite him being clear that this was untrue, now the PLP has decided to make our candidate for Constituency 19, Marcus Jones, its newest target.

During a time when the people of Bermuda are desperate for the cost of living to go down, desperate for affordable healthcare and want to ensure that their children are receiving a quality education, the PLP instead chooses to be trite. How will personal attacks help the people of Bermuda?

It’s time for the OBA to stop being weaponised at the PLP’s convenience. Let’s focus on making Bermuda better for everyone.

While some may take issue with Mr Jones being unveiled as a candidate, he is a hard worker who genuinely cares about the betterment of Bermuda and her people.

Mr Jones has made comments in the past that some may not have agreed with, but it does not make him untenable. He has been unwavering in his commitment to Bermuda and the constituents in Pembroke West for a number of years.

The PLP and its candidates have not been flawless in character, so why does it act like it is the exception to the rule?

There’s hardly an ethical standard which has not been shattered or stood on by members of its caucus.

The PLP keeps “telling” the public that certain decisions are taken by our leader, Jarion Richardson, when in fact this is incorrect. This is a clear attempt to undermine Mr Richardson's leadership. When will it stop?

It’s imperative that the PLP focus on the people of Bermuda. Our survival lies in its hands.

Ms Hayward-Bell added: “In the meantime, it seems that the Jarion Richardson-led OBA is hoping that the Bermuda public have short memories.

“The Opposition thought the Bermuda electorate would not remember the Leah Scott and Ben Smith xenophobia tirade.

“If that was not enough, the OBA leadership now hopes that women in Bermuda and their families would forget about Marcus Jones’s extremely distasteful comments.”

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Published September 14, 2023 at 7:58 am (Updated September 14, 2023 at 8:20 am)

Selection of Marcus Jones by OBA in ‘extreme distaste’ – PLP

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