Public opinion: Jonathan Starling holds a petition on gambling. *File photo
Public opinion: Jonathan Starling holds a petition on gambling. *File photo

The Premier has released a statement which largely deflects and ignores the facts admitted by himself — that one of his MPs secretly recorded the Opposition Leader and shared that recording with him, and that his business manager for his Esso Tigermarts was part of the Jet Gate party.

The Premier may be right that we’re seeing the ‘politics of division and personal destruction’, however, he’s wrong to blame the PLP completely.

One thing we’re really seeing here is traditional political divisions being reinforced while the swing voters increasingly look on with a mix of disgust and exasperation.

The allegations and facts being pointed out by the PLP are largely being accepted as legitimate by PLPers while OBAers are doing their best to both duck the facts and say the PLP are liars as regards the allegations.

The confirmed facts alone are serious enough that they should concern us all, and they alone have serious ramifications for Bermuda, particularly for our politics.

To me, the secret recording of a conversation, is, outside of certain situations (molestation, bullying, harassment, law enforcement exceptions under certain criteria), unconscionable.  That is, it is conduct that does not ‘conform to the dictates of conscience’ — it is unethical and unscrupulous.

That the tape recording was subsequently handed over to OBA party officials and shared with the Premier, just compounds this.

It seems clear that the very act of secretly recording the Opposition Leader and sharing it with the OBA party officials was an act of calculated ‘politics of personal destruction’ — for use to attack the Opposition Leader.

She was explicitly given the opportunity in the House of Assembly to rebut or clarify the situation. Instead she sat there mute.

I can understand that perhaps she was caught out momentarily.  It happens.

However, she had ample opportunity to regain her senses, and she could also have spoken during the Motion to Adjourn, or to the attending media.

Set the record straight

Instead, after three days, she suddenly finds her voice and sets out to ‘set the record straight’.

I’m sorry, but having forfeited your right to clarify the issue at the time, her response now looks like spin doctor script — written as some sort of damage control.

I side with the Opposition Leader in calling for the tape to be released, something that the OBA seems all of a sudden desperate to avoid.

The Premier has engaged in the politics of division and personal destruction, most recently his December 13 ‘explanation’ for the about-face regarding the OBA election promise to hold a referendum on casino gambling, and his threats to the PLP that he has access to information so they should be quiet lest he use it.

On that last note, one wonders if the threat was a reference to this secret recording by Nandi Outerbridge.

Indeed, the PLP expressed concern then that the Premier was engaging in ‘the politics of personal destruction’!

It is hard to think the PLP are the sole, or even worst offenders, of ‘political division and personal destruction’.

We have a Government that is engaging in unconscionable acts of secret recordings, political intimidation and blatant disregard for the Ministerial Code of Conduct.

Trust Deficit

Will the OBA seek to deal with the liabilities in their parliamentary ranks?  

Or will they close ranks and just seek to lash out instead?

The saddest thing is that the OBA, based solely on the confirmed facts and not even
touching the allegations, have acted in a way that greatly erodes trust.

It seems increasingly difficult to have any trust in the OBA anymore, especially as regards having confidence in the Premier — the trust deficit is just too great.