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November 19, 2017

BERMUDA POLITICS

Constitutional Change

Independence Issues

Police and Crime

Government Accountability and Elections

General Commentary

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Constitutional Change

Cuban Connection

4th April 2003

I write in relation to an article that appeared in the Bermuda Sun on 1st April. In fact I genuinely believed the article was an April Fool’s Day joke, until a similar article then appeared in the Royal Gazette two days later (both on-line). The article in question mentioned that the Minister of Transportation travelled to Havana recently where he and his permanent secretary Marc Telemaque met with Government officials to discuss a number of “initiatives”. Apparently among the proposals was a joint venture for Bermuda’s outdated, but still working buses to be taken to Cuba, along with the sale of the Island’s old ferries and cars.

It was also revealed that the outdated buses would likely be given to the Cuban government and that the old ferries would probably be sold. Is the Bermuda Government unaware that Cuba is part of the Bush “Axis of Evil” and that it has publicly been labelled in the United States as a sponsor of terrorism? Whether the US policy is right or wrong is not the point. Bermuda should not be seen to support the Cuban regime in any way, shape or form. We are already under the scrutiny of US lawmakers for allegedly dodgy tax practices and it was Bermuda that helped spark the “Patriot Bill”. As we all know, the US is at war with Iraq, a so-called rogue state, a country that is ranked at the top of the “evilness scale”, and the same scale of which Cuba is a part.

What is the Bermuda Government thinking? Clearly in this instance it is not. Bermuda imports the vast majority of goods from the United States and as we all know most tourists come from the United States. The Bermuda Government must wake up and realise the error of its ways before the US Congress adds this Cuban debacle to its grievances with Bermuda. Do we want to be labelled a “Banana Republic” or worse yet a supporter of a “rogue” and “terrorist” state? Be warned!

Constitutional Change

Date: 24 October 2000

I have watched with great interest and in many instances with immense dismay at the Government’s handling of the proposed changes to the Bermuda Constitution in particular the changing of the current voting system.

The PLP Government promised the people of Bermuda a “New Bermuda” which in effect would (we assumed) mean an open and reflective government, one that represented the nation without the self-indulgences and narcissistic attitudes that were inherent in previous administrations. This assumption has unfortunately proven to be false. Time and time again we have seen the Government act without accountability to the public by spending large sums on lavish travel (Davos is one example) and fail to account for its actions in Parliament (though the recent Green Paper debates must be commended). The proposals tabled in the House of Assembly at the end of the last session to effectively amend Bermuda’s Constitution is the height of arrogance and is indicative of a leadership out of touch with the wishes of the people.

Bermudians should be demanding a Constitutional Conference so that debate may be open and all views can be fairly and adequately represented with sufficient opportunity for all to put forth their position. Changes to the Constitution affect us all and rushing such matters can create a quagmire of indecision (take the reform of the House of Lords in the UK). I urge Bermudians to insist that the Government consult the general populous on any changes and if necessary, call a referendum on this all-important issue once proposals are presented for consideration.