“We are committed to transparency, open government and reform.” — OBA campaign pledge

On April 5, Minister Fahy claimed that in an effort to avoid “potential reputational risks to Bermuda”,  he used his ministerial discretion and denied temporary work permits to an overseas film crew who wanted to make a documentary on the Rebecca Middleton murder.  

As forewarned by many, this attempt to quash freedom of expression has escalated into a public relations disaster that is now damaging our reputation on a global scale. 

In less than 48 hours following Minister Fahy’s decision, the story of his censorship hit the international media circuit and is now being reported throughout Canada, the UK, the Caribbean and New Zealand.

Over the last 15 months, the OBA’s pledge of transparency has been proven to be a farce with:

Premier Cannonier refusing to answer questions in the House of Assembly regarding JetGate even after being directed by the Speaker to do so. Reason? On the grounds that it may prejudice him;

• Both MP Bob Richards and MP Jeff Sousa repeatedly refusing to answer questions by the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on election reform regarding declaration of interests in government contracts for the 2012 election. Mr James Goudie, QC, concluded that failure to disclose will result in automatic disqualification;

• MP Shawn Crockwell refusing to reveal the salary of the CEO of Bermuda Tourism Board;

• Attempting to censor and silence PLP MPs and Senators by labelling them as “reckless and unpatriotic” and by claiming that they chose party interest over country interests in response to their publishing opinion pieces in the Caribbean media;   

• Blocking access to reporter Ayo Johnson at a press conference; 

• Holding press conferences but refusing to accept questions from the press.

The OBA needs to be reminded once again that nothing is gained by hiding truths.  

Reputation 

It is ironic that Senator Fahy is now concerned with our “reputational risks” especially when the OBA engaged in a near year-long election campaign telling all and sundry that Bermuda was a dangerous place to live and that “the PLP has led Bermuda into a world of shootings” — Royal Gazette, September 29, 2012.

So when the world read this online, was the OBA worrying about how the world would perceive Bermuda then? Or were they just trying to score political points?

I am not sure who is giving these folks public relations advice but whoever it may be, they are certainly giving them a six for a nine. 

At this point, not even Olivia Pope and her Gladiators can save this train wreck. n

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