'Potentially Destructive’: Sylvan Richards says PLP Senators, from leftDiallo Robain, Walter Roban and Marc Daniels, have been running columns in Caribbean News Now. *File photo
'Potentially Destructive’: Sylvan Richards says PLP Senators, from leftDiallo Robain, Walter Roban and Marc Daniels, have been running columns in Caribbean News Now. *File photo

Here is something that I bet the majority of Bermudians had NO idea was happening.

PLP leaders for months now have been publishing articles in an online newspaper telling the people of the Caribbean that the Government of Bermuda is deceitful and anti-democratic, willing to crush democratic rules to get its way electorally. 

PLP Senators Marc Daniels and Diallo Rabain along with MP Walter Roban have been running columns in Caribbean News Now that raise questions about Bermuda’s integrity and its commitment to democracy.

Wow! This is politics gone wild — reckless, unpatriotic and potentially destructive.

All Bermudians know their island is going through desperate economic times, needing every possible penny of income to bring about the recovery that so many need. 

And most of them understand that recovery requires a unified effort, with everyone working together to create new jobs, grow paycheques, close our massive deficit and pay down the crushing debt.

Unfortunately, PLP leaders are undermining this effort by casting aspersions on our island’s reputation overseas.

Before an audience of 100,000 readers across 40 nations and territories, PLP leaders have been using Caribbean News Now to disparage the elected Government of Bermuda, characterizing it as childish (like “a five-year-old” - Dec 21), “dictatorial” (January 2) and making decisions “behind closed doors by who knows who, motivated by who knows what?” (January 20). 

Here is what Walter Roban wrote on February 3 about Government’s just-launched public dialogue on commercial immigration:

“The OBA Government is seeking to gerrymander the electoral process by possibly selling status to persons who will in turn vote for them in the next election. 

As the party who represents a majority of born Bermudians, we appeal to our Caribbean kin to support us in our challenge.”

Unbelievable. With Bermudians like these, who needs enemies?

I once heard a saying while studying in the USA that, ‘Politics stops at the water’s edge’. 

It means that political parties should always present a united front to other countries despite whatever disagreements may be occurring at home. 

The wisdom in this saying is that the national interest is more important than party interest.

These unpatriotic attacks show PLP leaders have not learned the most important lesson from their 2012 election defeat, which is the need to put people before politics, country before party.

Ask yourself this question: what good comes from a PLP Senator or MP telling an international audience that Bermuda is governed by a dictatorship?

Does it promote confidence in Bermuda as a place to do business? No.

Does it promote the island as a stable jurisdiction for international business? No. 

Does it encourage investments that grow jobs for Bermudians? No.

It is clear to me that these attacks do not serve Bermuda’s national interest. Rather, they reflect the PLP leadership’s desperate political game to win back political power at any cost, even if it means damaging Bermuda’s reputation abroad and shutting down opportunities for job growth.

The PLP leadership needs to step back and think about that. 

Bermuda’s economic recovery depends largely on rebuilding investor confidence in our island as a place to do business and live. 

Restoring that confidence will bring much-needed jobs, opportunity and security for thousands of Bermudian families. 

That’s what this Government is working so hard to achieve. 

Let us all, regardless of political affiliation, keep that vital goal in sight.

It is important for the Opposition to understand that the island’s economic recovery, after years of decline and debt, is very delicate, needing everyone rowing in the same direction. It is clear that the PLP columns in Caribbean News Now are not in any way helpful.

Perhaps a first step toward a more constructive path would be for PLP leaders to acknowledge that. Their answers would say a lot about their thinking. 

Sylvan Richards, JP, MP, is Junior Minister for Home Affairs.