In my June 13 column, I proposed that the PLP would deny Permanent Resident Certificate holders the right to vote owing to the belief that PRCs are not likely to support them in an election. 

I also asserted that during the PLP’s 14-year term they did not govern Bermuda in an inclusive fashion. A natural consequence of this is fewer votes from those to whom the PLP has been hostile, acrimonious and racially divisive. Nevertheless, I agreed with the PLP’s Walton Brown, that the PRC issue should be decided by the Legislature, and not by a judge who was not required to consider the social impact of his decision.

As long as the PLP continues to reject diversity, its only strategic option is to try to convince a certain segment of black voters that those who don’t support the PLP are a threat and must therefore be neutralized/marginalized by any means necessary. 

In the case of PRCs, that means never giving them the right to vote.  In the case of myself, that means being subjected to baseless, malicious accusations and having my racial identity being questioned. 

PLP Senate Leader Diallo Rabain posted the following on Facebook (Click HERE to view, 3rd comment):

“My how a person can change their opinions based on who they chose to support or what they can get out of that support....rewind a few years ago and you will find Mr. Trew arguing a polar opposite stance. in fact, he used to be staunchly against spouses of Bermudians having status let alone PRCs. Very interesting times these days. One only wonders what makes a person make 180 degree turns with the only difference being who happens to be the government.”

To provide additional context, let me first disclose that I have known Rabain for nearly 20 years. And, if I had made such a sensitive statement, he would’ve been amongst fewer than five who would have heard me say this. 

Nevertheless, I have no such recollection of holding such views. Over the last 12 years I have sponsored at least four applications for status by a spouse of a Bermudian, and I don’t recall ever commenting on PRCs. Additionally, I can state without reservation that I have never written a column at the request of any organization.  Thus, the inference that I’ve been compensated for, or was trying to obtain something by, supporting a political party is completely false.

In the following week, Rabain failed to publicly substantiate his statements online. But, as luck would have it, I bumped into him earlier this week. Frustrated, and angry, I asked him to explain the basis of his accusations. His illogical reply was that he wasn’t inferring that I was being compensated, but that I was writing columns to satisfy my ego. When asked why he didn’t publicly clarify that point with a follow-up post, he expressed that he felt no need to do so. And when asked where he saw me take a position against spouses of Bermudians or PRCs, Rabain seemed  to suffer from amnesia of sorts and explained that he couldn’t tell me where or exactly when I made such statements. As temperatures rose, Rabain opted to depart.

Rabain wasn’t the only one who inferred that I was being paid by the OBA. Staunch PLP supporter Alvin Williams claimed on the Bermuda Sun website that I’m playing “...the role of a political mercenary with attacks aimed at institutions within the black community.  From the Bermuda Industrial Union; to the Progressive Labour Party to the People’s Movement led by leaders like Rev. Tweed and in that respect I expect a full attack on the black church once the People’s Movement gains influence from this same writer.”

Williams implied, as so many fist-pumping black “social activists” do, that I’d be less of a confused negro if only I read books by intellectual revolutionaries like Frantz Fanon. This condescending, manipulative rhetoric is born from the false assumption that certain blacks don’t support the PLP, BIU or People’s Coalition, because they are conservative or because they are suffering from some kind of racial identity crisis.

To challenge that assumption, I once again put forward a basic litmus test to Williams. In my view, pro-black leaders and organizations would seek to enlighten, educate and economically empower, the disadvantaged. They would actually discourage the disadvantaged from throwing their money away at betting shops. Now, should someone like Michael Dunkley have set up a betting shop in an economic empowerment zone, “real blacks” like Williams would justifiably be condemning him for exploiting the disadvantaged.  And what was Williams’ response about Marc Bean’s betting shop?  He declared, “Betting shops are legal.”

Williams’s hollow defence is unfortunately typical. What he refuses to appreciate is that some blacks and whites won’t support the PLP not because they are sell-outs or racists, but because instead of defending its track record on inclusion, or justifying its stance on denying PRCs the right to vote, the PLP prefers to fabricate baseless, malicious accusations against those who would dare speak out against them. n

Feedback: Bryanttrew@mac.com