*iStock photo
*iStock photo

Part I of II

Have you ever seen a toddler do or say something bad, then see the toddler’s parents or relatives chuckle about how rude the child is? 

We’ve all seen it at least once before, and we’ve enabled it by describing “rude” behaviour as “cute”. 

It doesn’t take much time for that toddler to reach five years of age, and should that child have effectively been praised for doing the wrong thing, that five-year-old may become that rotten teenager who ends up deciding how the house gets run. 

Sadly, some politicians seem to be just like that toddler. If you fail to hold them accountable for their behaviour, they often tend to get much worse. When considering where we are now with JetGate/DeadGate, I think that we should reflect upon the past. But, I should make clear that I don’t believe that two wrongs make a right.  The purpose of looking back is so that readers can review what was alleged/done previously, and thus better appreciate the motives behind current events.

‘Government’s pension fund consultant, Tina Byles Poitevien of Philadelphia-based Fiduciary Investment Services (FIS), arranged the 2002 luncheon in Washington D.C. Guests, who were allegedly both current and potential Bermuda pension funds money managers and stockbrokers, were reportedly asked to make out cheques for $2,500 to “Dr. Ewart Brown (PLP)”.’

The Royal Gazette: April 5th, 2005

[Dr Brown did subsequently confirm that the money was used for his personal election campaign for the 2003 General Election, and was not directed to PLP coffers].

“It is not unusual for businesses or individuals to contribute to our election campaigns. In fact, under the leadership of Mr L.F. Wade, both local and international businesses were persuaded to support the party financially, and in some instances this was done through fundraising dinners. The PLP has also solicited funds from individuals whom we felt were in a position to give us large donations.”  

— Derrick Burgess, Royal Gazette, April 12th, 2005

‘The Premier attacked Dr. Gibbons after the Opposition MP raised questions on the floor of the House about the fundraising activities of the THE (Tourism Helps Everyone) Foundation, which was set up earlier this year by the Premier’s wife, Wanda, to raise money to support Government tourism projects.

Dr Gibbons said: “A week ago, I attempted to speak to the principle of foreign donors, who have no connection to Bermuda other than through Government contracts, contributing to the THE Foundation.

“THE Foundation contributions included a $25,000 donation from Mr. and Mrs. Don Coleman; he is chairman and CEO of GlobalHue, a US advertising agency that holds the Bermuda tourism contract.

“Kurron Shares of America — hired three years ago as a consultant to the hospital and recently referred to by Health Minister Bascome as a ‘partner’ of KEMH — donated at least $10,000. FIS Group, which advises the Ministry of Finance on pension fund managers, contributed a similar amount.”

— Royal Gazette, December 4th 2006

‘In late April early May 2009, media sources, both electronic and print, revealed that backbench MPs were not happy with the leadership of Dr Brown and had made moves to have him removed. Backbenchers and former Ministers Wayne Perinchief and Randy Horton, supported by former Party Leader and Premier W. Alexander Scott, tried to launch a motion to vote in Caucus on the leadership of the party…

‘…At the end of the meeting the motion was defeated but members did agree via a motion to have a discussion about leadership at the following week’s Caucus meeting.

‘…At the end of the meeting and many hours of passionate, open debate, Central Committee approved a motion that the Members of Central Committee supported Dr. Ewart Brown as Party Leader and wished for him to complete the duration of his term.’

— PLP.bm: Our Rich History

‘On 11 June 2009 Bermuda woke up to the revelation that four Chinese Muslim members of an ethnic group known as Uighurs from Northwest China, who had been held illegally as detainees at the US Guantanamo Bay detention facility, were resettled in Bermuda.

‘Premier Dr. Ewart Brown, having only revealed the matter to the Cabinet and PLP Parliamentarians earlier that day, officially made the announcement that morning at a press conference, giving some details as to how the situation arose…”

As a result of these actions, the Premier incurred severe criticism from wide cross-sections of the community and also from within the PLP parliamentary group and membership…”

Further pressure arose on 12 June 2009 with the Opposition UBP tabling a Motion of No Confidence in the Government led by Premier Ewart Brown. The Opposition Leader is quoted as saying it was necessary as the Island is “increasingly subject to the politics of one man rule”.

On 19 June, 2009, the Motion of No Confidence was taken up after the conclusion of the Government business on the Order Paper. The Motion was debated in a marathon 14 hours in the House of Assembly and was soundly defeated by 22 votes to 11.’ 

— PLP.bm: Our Rich History

Feedback: bryanttrew@mac.com
Part II of this column will appear in Friday’s Bermuda Sun.