Rough Seas Ahead?

Well, this week has certainly been an interesting one in the realm of local politics. Readers of this blog will know that I opposed the tactics being used to replace the leadership of the PLP, declaring them unconstitutional and counter-productive. That remains my position.

I also criticised (at least on the BIAW forum) what were then allegations of an ‘oath of loyalty’ being peddled by the RG and the UBP. I did so under the understanding that there was no such ‘oath’ put out by the Leadership. I also said that if that was the case, it deserved to be ridiculed. More than that, it would prove the insecurity of the current Leader as regards his position, and would not have any real effect other than to serve as a form of intimidation towards Ministers. I say this because Ministers would feel compelled to affirm such loyalty or risk losing their Cabinet positions.

It now appears, following comments by Ms. Paula Cox, that there was indeed an ‘oath of loyalty’. Whether this was in fact an ‘oath’ or a letter of endorsement is not clear, but there is very little difference between the two in substance.

Those supporters of the Party who had ridiculed the notion of an ‘oath’ as a ridiculous figment of the Opposition’s imagination no doubt did so after confirming from within the Party that there was no such ‘oath’. While there may have not been a piece of paper explicitly called an ‘oath’ it seems that these Party supporters were misled through some disingenuous word play.

These members and supporters no doubt now feel a deep sense of betrayal having been misled and made to look the fool as a result. The long-term consequences of such a feeling of mistrust amongst supporters/members will be hard to judge, but it is likely they will be less likely to jump to the defence of the Party again with the same energy.

I too was misled on this issue, and feel a little manipulated as a result. I am certainly not impressed as a result.

My own personal feelings aside, I have wider concerns about this ‘oath’ or whatever one wants to call it.

Its not clear either if this ‘letter of support’ originated from the Leader or the Party Executive. I could understand the motivation of the Leader, but the Executive would have been grossly overstepping its remit, and its actions would be suspicious indeed.

As stated above, I can see no point to such an approach other than an attempt to intimidate Cabinet Ministers. This is something that should be condemned as it is.

What is worse to me is that apparently Cabinet Ministers agreed to this. Not one appears to have the sense of moral outrage (although Ms. Cox seems to have been slightly insulted) to refuse point blank to cave in to such intimidation. I no longer have any respect for them – none of them, Ms. Cox included.

It is possible that there is some explanation that could explain this incident in a way that is understandable, but as things stand I am having a hard time to think of one. What is more, I don’t have enough trust right now to believe any such explanation.

I also remain concerned that the short-sighted tactics employed by the ‘gang of three’ made their leadership challenge has given Dr. Brown a legitimate excuse to solidify his position. One would hope that he would seek to solidify his position by reaching out to his opponents and reconcile those within the Party that may have legitimate concerns with his Leadership. However there is also the possibility that he will instead use this as an excuse to take hard-line actions to punish those who opposed him.

The ‘gang of three’ were constitutionally wrong in their actions, and should be censured. But anything beyond this will only increase resentment and factionalism within the Party. Furthermore, any stronger action will play into the hands of his critics who already accuse him of authoritarian tendencies. This would be an easily avoidable mistake.

I remain a supporter of the Progressive Labour Party over the foundering United Bermuda Party, but I am increasingly disappointed with a continuing dependence on negative politics, from all sides. Before 1998 there were those who advocated voting UBP as they were seen as the lesser of two evils. Today I find myself advocating the PLP as a lesser of two evils. I am not comfortable with such a politics, and we should all be working for a politics of the greater good, not a lesser evil. Currently though, it looks like we have some rough seas up ahead as far as local politics is concerned.

I remain open to being corrected on these points. Based on the available information though, the above is my current position.


104 thoughts on “Rough Seas Ahead?

  1. Thanks for articulating this, Jonathan. Critical thought is just not that common anymore.

    I am fully in agreement with your stance on this, although I chose to believe in the “oath” initially. And it is entirely inexcusable. There’s nothing that could excuse this abuse of process.

    Methinks others may not be so accepting of your position, though.

    I’m curious how you think the UBP had anything to do with this, though. Or how the UBP is being negative. They couldn’t organise a damn thing these days, but I guess it serves a purpose to portray them as malevolent and conniving bogeymen because it’s the one rallying cry that’s left in the arsenal. Call them ineffectual and impotent yes, but not anything else. They haven’t done ANYTHING for years.

    ABC needs to get their act together. No-one else is cutting it.

  2. To the UBP I was referring more to some of their actions during the last election, which from my perspective were not that different from some of the negatives used by the PLP. I have no doubt that this may be an issue of perception. I totally agree they are ineffectual at the moment, although I do have a lot of respect for Grant Gibbons and John Barritt myself. Many of their other MPs are okay, but those two in particular are very good in my opinion.

    I do not think ABC is viable to be honest.

  3. Care to elaborate on those “negative” items by the UBP in the last election? They actually NEEDED to be stronger and on the attack to have put up a decent challenge, IMO. But I can’t recall them doing much of anything.

    With you on those two MPs. Trevor Moniz is also a very good man.

    I like ABC for their platform, such as it is. I was also a fan of the NLP in their day. I’m a libertarian by nature. The PLP was close to my ideals for some time, but has lost it’s way in the past seven or so years.

    Agreed that ABC has a lot of work to do to be viable. Really, the only way forward is to disband both political dinosaur parties (PLP & UBP) and create new ones out of the remains. The blind allegiance shown by many to both is not helping.

  4. Jonathan,

    On Wednesday, May 6, 2009, Matthew Taylor wrote “Premier Dr. Ewart Brown got his Cabinet members to sign an oath of loyalty on Monday night a “desperate move” according to opponents.” I, and many others who were at the meeting on Monday night, have stated that at no time on Monday night did the Premier ask cabinet members to sign an oath of allegiance. Further, Mr. Taylor has taken Ms. Cox’s words out of context. Unless you hear all of Mr. Ms. Cox stated on the Everest DaCosta show, you cannot make an assessment. I see that there is a follow-up article in today’s paper which I suggest you read.

    You really do not expect the Royal Gazette to print the truth when it comes to the PLP and Dr. Brown, do you? Do you not find it interesting that Matthew Taylor has never contacted anyone who has shown public support for the Premier, but only quotes “Dr. Brown’s opponents”?

  5. I look forward to reading it; as I said I am open to being corrected. I was operating less on information from the RG than other sources though. I will read today’s article once it is online.

    To Steve, there is nothing wrong in conceding that some members of the Opposition Party are ‘good’. Nothing is ‘black and white’ in the real world.

  6. Okay, I was able to find it at

    I stand by my above positions. It may not have been an ‘oath’ but more a ‘letter of endorsement’ which is virtually the same thing in substance. While dressed up as a press statement to show solidarity with the Leadership, the fact that it was composed and circulated prior to the Wednesday discussion undermines it. Had it been created following the Caucus meeting it could have been seen as a statement of solidarity on the basis of the discussion (which itself would have been unnecessary as it was a discussion, not a vote).

    Creating it before the Caucus meeting makes it look more like an attempt to intimidate Cabinet ministers than anything else.

  7. If the RG has taken Ms Cox’s words far enough out of context (if at all) that they’ve taken on an entirely new meaning she should let them know that she’ll see them in court… I believe she has some familiarity with the legal profession, even if that wouldn’t be her area of expertise – seems to me it’d be a pretty open and shut case

    So for the benefit of those of us who weren’t there at these meetings, what’s the real story?

  8. David Burt says now that “…there was no loyalty oath… only an aborted press statement” in today’s paper. Not sure how they intend on working that after what Ms. Cox said.

    “Do you not find it interesting that Matthew Taylor has never contacted anyone who has shown public support for the Premier, but only quotes “Dr. Brown’s opponents”? ” LF #4
    What good would this do, if nobody is allowed to talk to him?? Hmmmm?

  9. Jonathan,

    You have the right to your opinion, and I have the right to disagree.

    Slow Hand, I did not suggest that Matthew Taylor contact the Premier, I said it is interesting that he has never tried to contact any of us who support Dr. Brown’s leadership. That’s b.s. that nobody is allowed to talk to him. You can believe that if you like.

  10. So it appears that something was signed. Whether that was an “oath” or a “letter of support” is open to debate although I seriously doubt there is much difference in law. Whether that document is legally binding or not is a totally different question.

    As Jonny points out, the fact that it was circulated prior to the meeting says that signatories agreed to abide by that document before any issues had been discussed. Even Paula’s caveat re a discussion only means they’d talk about the question (not that they’d reach a concensus based on the content of that discussion).

    If the “letter” had been circulated after the meeting it would have had an entirely different meaning.

  11. Hey LaVerne, I am curious though what you think the point of this letter was though? I agree that it was not an issue at the CC meeting, I understood it occurred over the weekend before the Monday meeting; but seeing as neither the CC or the Caucus meeting were a leadership challenge, although a discussion was expected, what was the point in it?

  12. “You have the right to your opinion, and I have the right to disagree.” LF #9
    Isn’t that a good thing though? Having that right… No concerns whatsoever of repercussions? Too bad not all have that right like you Ms. Furbert.

  13. The point of it was, ‘you all saw what I have done to Perinchief, Dill and others’. And the band played on…..

    Ps. ‘HE’ gets my drift too…..

  14. johnny – i scoured ur site and can only find 2 bdan politicans who u have said you respect – they’re both white and they’re both ubp…hmmm

  15. Hey Steve, I’m sure you did.

    I did have respect for many in the Cabinet until this recent incident, as was implied by my comments. I also had a lot of respect for the late Pauulu Kamarakafego, Freddie Wade and Lois Browne-Evans. Also the retired Ira Philip and Ottiwell Simmons. Do we really want to go down this inane route though? Either way your approach speaks more to your mindset than anything else.

  16. Jonathan,
    I think this letter was a premature attempt by the Cabinet to stand by their leader. it wasn’t an oath, or anything like that. it was to follow in the statement of the executive to say that this body of people support their leader. After CC unanimously voted in support of Dr Brown, it was felt that this letter did not need to be released as it was then a moot point.

  17. I disagree – its not clear who initiated this, but it seems clear it was not a sudden and communal decision by the Cabinet, but an organised one coordinated it would seem by Lt. Col. Burch. I agree it wasn’t an oath, but the substance of the document implies a veiled threat to Cabinet Ministers to sign it or risk their position. As the CC meeting, nor the Caucus meeting was challenging the Leader – it was merely a discussion – it doesn’t make sense to go ahead with it at all.

  18. johnny – i scoured ur “plp” site and can only find 2 bdan politicans who u have said you respect – they’re both white and they’re both ubp…hmmm

    sez a lot about you actually

  19. Steve, are you here to discuss the issues or here for some other reason? From what you have said so far it is clear you subscribe to a form of politics that is to the mutual detriment to our people and common future. You can continue with your innuendo all you want – you serve as little more than an embarrassment to progressive labour if you are indeed aligned with it. Best wishes.

  20. Any oths or letters of support should be made out to all the people of bermuda not to a single individual.

    rough seas ahead indeed

    time for armed revolution they are not representing us any more!

    time to disband parliment and have the govenor run the island till a bottom up democratic society is formed

    these lot are clearly power tripping, bowing down and not representing constituants, so they can keep their paychecks, and positions

  21. Come on, Jonny! Didn’t you know that saying anything bad about the current administration makes you a racist?
    Nothing but blind allegiance is acceptable. Anything else with get you a racist attack.

    Says a lot about some of the supporters of the PLP that they don’t denounce this sort of sinister, baseless attack, don’t it?

    Makes one wonder how much more support the Party would have if they would speak out against this sort of thing…

  22. Black Press, just so you are aware, all oaths in Bermuda, as per Government, are made to a single individual, the Monarch.

    UE, I don’t find ‘steve’ as anything near representative of the PLP, despite appearances. Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if he is actually something else attempting to deliberately misrepresent the PLP. And as he is posting under a false name, its not really possible to confirm that he is a PLPer, and as such, the PLP has more important things to do than to denounce such fictitious persona.

  23. Jonny, I do not think, nor did I indicate that I think, that “Steve” is representative of the PLP. I don’t.
    His attitude, however, is indicative of the public face of the current administration, one that I think needs to be dealt with by the Party.
    We keep getting the occasional message of “If white people joined the PLP, all would be well”.
    How can that be expected when faced with this sort of disgusting and racist attack from someone too cowardly to sign his own name or let his identity be known?
    Let’s say that “Steve” IS, in fact, someone trying to misrepresent the PLP. If he is, the way he’s doing it is to parrot sentiments that have been used by those that ARE PLP supporters. These things HAVE been said by members of the PLP.

    THAT is what I am talking about. THIS is the sort of behaviour that is so incredibly unhealthy for both the Party AND our little island.

    Black Press,

    Are you serious with this “Armed revolution” thing?
    I can’t help but think that you’re not… but that’s more of a “hope he’s not serious” thing than anything else.
    If not, it frightens me that there are people out there that think like this.
    As bad as the PLP has been, it’s certainly not to the point where “armed revolution” is a viable option…

  24. “Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if he is actually something else attempting to deliberately misrepresent the PLP. And as he is posting under a false name, its not really possible to confirm that he is a PLPer, and as such, the PLP has more important things to do than to denounce such fictitious persona.”

    Very familiar posting style, mind…………

  25. Absolutely spot on there Johnny. Karma too you and a shot of what the hell you drink.

    Thats the best commentary you ever made . I don’t follow all your beliefs but your still an Onion.


  26. Jonathan,

    I am amazed that you’re all the way over there in Scotland and know more than me and I’m in Bermuda. “I understood it occurred over the weekend before the Monday meeting…” Who gave you that understanding? Was it a Cabinet Minister? Because I never got that understanding from anyone and I talk to at least three cabinet ministers on a daily basis. Have you talked to any cabinet ministers or is your “informant” the same person who is running to the Royal Gazette? If there are Cabinet Ministers that are sharing information with you and you’re posting that information on your web site, than we really do have a problem within the Party.

    How could you say it is not clear who “initiated the letter”? You are in Scotland for God’s sake!! You only are privy to information that your “friends” provide you with. Col. Burch has been very clear that he was the one who initiated the “document”. The fact of the matter is that there is obviously a cabinet minister who has shared the document with others and those others have also shared the information with you and the Royal Gazette.

    A copy of the document was sent to the press today and every cabinet minister signed it. Why then would a cabinet, having signed the document then share it with others? Something is wrong with that picture – big time!!

    You ask what was the purpose of the document. Aren’t you studying for a Masters Degree in something? If you have the one and only newspaper saying that there is no support for the Premier, and then you have others like yourself, who also feel and state they do not support the Premier, doesn’t it make sense for those people who do support him to voice their support publicly?

    How do you think political parties win elections? They win elections by organised efforts by a group of people. Do you think Barack Obama would be the President of America today if he did not have an organised effort to ensure his election. Why did John Swan’s independence vote fail? Because there was an organise effort to ensure that it failed. Why did the UBP win every election since 1963 – because there was an organised effort to ensure their success at the polls. Why did the PLP win the election in 1998? Because they were more organised that the UBP, and they have been at every election since.

    You try to appear that you are politically astute, but sometimes I wonder about you.

  27. these low life politicians admit that aremed revolution is the only way that various reforms others have posted here, and other changes that the people want will ever happen..even starling has conceeded to this viewpoint.

    So bring on the violence…the gans here need to go after politicians like ive seen another poster here suggest.

    only the people standing in the way of reform need to fear the violence…are you gonna stand in the way elvis?

    U would be suprised how many people have come to this realisation elvis…u would really be suprised!!!

    4 tha record I am quite serious……time will tell if violence will have to be used….the guns are already here, n ready 4 action.

  28. Hi LaVerne, you will recall that the talk of an ‘oath’ appeared in the media on I believe Monday? Therefore it is reasonable to assume that it was organised over the weekend?

    I have no problem with the Cabinet expressing their support for the Leadership – but the timing of the event is questionable. It would have made sense to have been done following the meeting of the Parliamentary Caucus – but even that would have been unnecessary as there was merely a discussion on the leadership and not a challenge? Or am I missing something?

    What was Col. Burch’s motivation in organising this letter? Why should he initiate it? And shouldn’t Party press releases be the job of the Party’s Press Officer?

    Also you should note that I have stated Dr. Brown is our best leader – he has the best qualities for it and everything. I disagree with him ideologically, thats all.

  29. LaVerne said:

    I am amazed that you’re all the way over there in Scotland and know more than me and I’m in Bermuda.

    Does the same thing apply to people in Toronto? Or does it only apply to people that disagree with you.

    You ask what was the purpose of the document.

    If that document had been signed after the meeting where EFB’s leadership was discussed it would have shown that “We have discussed the issues surrounding the Premier and we support him”. Having it signed before the meeting says that the signatories argeed that “we will have a discussion of the Premier’s leadership and, regardless of what issues are raised there, we will support him”. The two are very different.

  30. Jonathan,

    You amaze me. You say you are a supporter and member or expired member but every single opportunity you have to criticize and work against your party you embrace with open arms.

    COl Burch stated vehemently last night that it was not an oath. It was a statement that said that the undersigned support the premier, the undersigned being the members of the cabinet. Knowing bermuda and knowing the press, had the cabinet remained silent it would have been misinterpreted as their not supporting the premier. Col Burch said this statement followed in the footsteps of the Executive’s statement, and would have followed the CC statement.

    In my opinion it has become much ado about nothing, yet you will continue to fan the flames. I really wish you wouldnt renew your membership because your behavior really leaves a lot to be desired. You constantly act as if you are the only one that knows anything about every PLP situation and it is very likely that you know the least.

  31. Hi Ken,

    First off the Executive had no business making the statement that it did re the leadership. It should have limited itself into stating nothing more than that a leadership challenge should work through the existing constitutional means and thats all.

    As for your other statement, that I portray myself as ‘the only one that knows anything about every PLP situation’ I think you are confusing me with some other poster on this site? I comment on the basis of information that is available to all Bermudians, and I have expressed my frustration at certain Party members saying that ‘I know nothing’ but how can I know something if the information isn’t available?

    And how do I ‘continue to fan the flames’? I posted this several days ago, your posting today ‘fans the flames’ more than my current actions, especially with your ultra-defensive approach.

    All I am doing is putting forward my opinion based on what I know, and I assure you what several other PLPers are thinking having defended the Party against charges of an ‘oath’ and then have Ms. Cox come out and undermine our positions. What do you expect? How much double-think do you think we can accept?

  32. Jonathan,

    I have to agree with Ken. It was not a party press release. The party did put out a press release and of course the RG questioned that. In light of the 22 negative articles that were written in the RG last week about the Premier’s leadership, I can understand Col. Burch wanting to have a public statement about their support for the Premier. What’s wrong with that?

  33. LaVerne, do you not see how the timing of it comes across as a veiled threat to Cabinet Ministers? I would not have had a problem with it had it been organised after the Caucus meeting as a statement of support. But being organised in advance makes it appear as an attempt as intimidation. That’s whats wrong with it.

  34. Jonathan,

    Why shouldnt the executive have put out at statmenet? The Executive statement didnt speak on behalf of the MPs, the members or the CC, but on behalf of the Executive of the party. Once again you criticize for criticisms sake.

    Honestly you are entitled to your opinions, and I am not saying you are right or wrong. But your opinions and your alignment are obviously not with the PLP.

  35. Jonathan,

    The cabinet Minister’s statement has nothing to do with caucus. Cabinet is an entirely different entity than caucus. If cabinet wants to get together and put out a statement of support how does that appear to be a ‘veiled threat’. If they hadnt done that do you honestly believe Dr Brown would fire the entire cabinet? Let’s not be ridiculous here. Your dislike for Dr Brown personally is clouding your judgment.

  36. No Jonathan, I do not see it as vieled threat to cabinet ministers. Cabinet and caucus are two different entities. It is obvious that there are some members of caucus that do not support the premier and want him gone, hence the confusion that we have now. How could it be seen as intimidation. If there are cabinet members who do not support the premier, in my opinion they should resign as they sit at his pleasure.

    As I said before, you have your opinion and I have mine.

  37. Ken, there was no point to the Executive’s statement. As I have already stated it is not the place of the Executive to take sides (or appear to do so) as regards the Leadership question beyond stating that any Leadership change must be done constitutionally. I did not criticise that at the time because I did not think it was that big a deal – I only mentioned it in response to your comment. I fail to see how that is criticism for criticisms sake.

    As LaVerne points out the Cabinet Ministers ‘sit at the Premier’s pleasure’ and if they did not support the Premier they should resign their position. As such there was no need for a ‘letter of support’ or anything else. It then looks as if the Cabinet Ministers were being intimidated to ‘toe the line’ of support for the Premier or risk losing their Cabinet position. And where did I say he would fire the whole Cabinet? Please stop putting words in my mouth.

    Ken, despite what you, and possibly even the Premier think, I have absolutely nothing against him personally. Quite frankly I don’t know him well enough to like or dislike him. I DO think he has the personal qualities and talent to be our best leader. I DO think that he is currently our best possible leader. But I DO disagree with him on an ideological level. So please drop this nonsense that my issue with him or anyone else in the Party is a personal one. Perhaps YOU have a personal problem with ME though?

    Perhaps you are right that my alignment and opinions are not with the current form of the PLP. Again I feel the need to point out to you that I am loyal to what I understand as progressive labour, which is to me democratic socialism, and not to the Party organisation of Progressive Labour. I feel you may have failed to grasp that difference?

    Let me try and put it to you guys by questions:

    Do you see how the ‘letter or support’ organised in advance of the Caucus discussion could be seen as a veiled threat?

    Do you see how Party members who defended the Party against accusations of an ‘oath’ would feel misled as a result of Ms. Cox’s and subsequent relevations that there was something more or less along the lines of an ‘oath’?

  38. Ms Furbert.

    To me the main issue is when this was initiated. It flies in the face of good governance to draft (and get signed) an affirmation of the premier’s standing BEFORE the very “meeting” in which his said standing is be discussed openly. How fair is that discussion when the very people involved have already signed a document stating they agree with his position in totality. Afterwards, sure, but before? It effectively voids that discussion if the people involved go into the meeting with their hands tied.

  39. Unbelievable…. LaVerne is questioning the intelligence of others now???
    How is it that someone as learned and verbally astute as Ms Paula Cox can refer to the document in question as an oath… and this was out of her own mouth (not ‘hearsay’ or ‘plantation reporting’ from the RG) and then also add a caveat to it as well, to clarify her reasons for signing, yet we are all to believe that it was JUST an ‘aborted press release’… that appears by all evidence to have been drawn up several days in advance.
    Aside from the purported intent of the document…. if those signing it understood it to be an ‘oath’ as it seems Ms Cox did… then thats just what it was!!

  40. Slowhand,

    Just because Ms Cox called it oath does not mean the other cabinet ministers considered it an oath.

    This convo is pretty much a moot convo in my opinion.

    Jonathan, Alsys, Slowhand etc will continue their opinions that everything PLP is underhanded and suspicious and despite Jonathan and Alsys’s comments of the past that they are PLP members/supporters etc, it is obvious where their true allegiances lie. And it isnt that you cannot criticize the party and be a member, but when you consider everything that comes out of the party to be circumspect then you must look in the mirror and wonder if you are really in the right party for you.

    I, and Laverne can defend the party til we are blue in the face. You dont want to believe or digest what we are saying, so therefore there is a wall up. Which is fine. Just dont put up the facade of trying to have a fair and balanced discussion when you really have no intention of this.

    Jonathan, i have no idea what Dr Brown thinks of you. And I dont have anything against you personally. But I do think you need to distance yourself from the party because you seem to have nothing good to say about it and therefore why would you support it.

  41. Jonny, are Ms. Furbert and “Ken” representative of the party?
    I ask because it seems that they are asking for blind allegiance.

    Statements like “I really wish you wouldnt renew your membership because your behavior really leaves a lot to be desired.” and “You say you are a supporter and member or expired member but every single opportunity you have to criticize and work against your party you embrace with open arms.” seem to say “Don’t criticize the current administration or you aren’t welcome.”
    What kills me is that your criticism of the current administration is actually in an effort to make the party better, but it seems that some can’t separate the concept of the party itself and those that seem to have hijacked it!
    Isn’t it better to have someone out there demanding accountability, transparency and the whole “sunshine of public scrutiny” stuff, as opposed to toadying, bullying syncophants?
    Dunno. Might just be me, but it seems that the former helps make the Party better, no?

    And re: Black Press’ post.

    Is it just me, or did that seem a little bit like a threat?
    Hearing that talk is a little chilling to me, so I might be a little sensitive, but…
    I dunno… is he a crackpot, or should we, the people of Bermuda, be afraid of an armed insurrection of ignorants?

  42. Hi Ken, I don’t know about Alsys, but I am particularly interested to know what my ‘obvious true allegiance’ is? And why are you evading the discussion by trying to character assassin people?

  43. Ken, how can you question someone’s loyalty to the party (when they criticize the administration, NOT the party), then on the other say “Just dont put up the facade of trying to have a fair and balanced discussion when you really have no intention of this.”?

    Those two things don’t jibe.

    You know what? Never mind. I don’t think I’ll ever understand your blind loyalty to the party. And I don’t care to.

    I would ask that you give a thought to the idea that not everyone is as zealous about political parties as you and Ms. Furbert, so thinly veiled, nebulous accusations of it being “obvious where their true allegiances lie” (Where exactly are you implying their allegiances lie? Why not come out and say it?), don’t really apply.

  44. Ken, for the record, my obvious and true allegiance has always and will always be to Bermuda, my home. I believe in PLP, what it stands for and what I think it can accomplish. And I defend them when necessary. Unlike yourself, I don’t believe that simply rubberstamping every decision made is an effective or even TRUE method of supporting the Party. No one, and I mean no one, ever walks through life without making a misstep. I consider it my duty to praise the party when things go right and conversely to speak up when I don’t agree. And the onus is on the administration to prove their position, not mine. The premier, the executive and all of the government, serve at MY pleasure. Remember the government is of the people and FOR the people.

    And sure, you can defend the party as much as is your wont. But honestly, you’d gain a bit more respect if you made your arguments slightly balanced… Instead it seems like you don’t even consider the issues just that “the Party is always right”.

  45. I am not trying to assassinate your character Jonathan. I participated in the discussion, but everything I say is shot down because you alreayd have your minds made up. So what is the point

    Where did i say anything about blind allegiance? If anything you guys are the antithesis of blind allegiance. Where you criticize some people of being blind PLP supporters, some of you are blind PLP haters. No matter what happens, you refuse to give credit and are always lining up to make the situation negative.

  46. This is what I’m talking about. First off, where did I say “blind allegience”?
    I used the phrase “Blind loyalty”… and never said you DID bring it up. _I_ brought it up to describe you. I find your hyperbolic, personal attacks on ANY criticism of the current administration (as well as your careful cherry picking of points, ignoring questions asked) to be indicative of someone that demands blind loyalty to the party.
    Am I the antithesis of blind allegiance? I sure as heck hope so! I really, really do.

    As for your “blind PLP haters” tactic, it’s not only baseless, it’s completely untrue. I know that’s what you want people to believe, but it’s demonstrably untrue and, if I thought it would make a difference to your way of thinking, I would show the many examples. But it won’t so I won’t.

    Your whole response is just an evasion. Why can’t you face up to people who question you?

  47. starling, i don’t think that you are anti plp – i just think that like most bermudians you take what you read in the gazette as gospel. if i were to believe everything that fox news say is would think that women should not have the right to choose, obama is really a kenyan interloper, and that sarah palin is brilliant. you say that you understand what the gazette is doing but you have been indoctrinated fro so long that it actually takes work to “not” instantly believe what the gazette prints. i have personally been at events that the gazette has covered and seen how their selective reporting actually presents issues as opposite to what actually occurred. while martin luther king jr. was recieving the nobel prize, the world press hailed him as a hero, meanwhile his hometown paper continued to write that he was criminal and a lowlife. sadly, many blacks and white believed the atlanta paper because that’s how they were indoctrinated.

  48. Hi Steve, as regards the particular case of this thread, I defended the Party against accusations that an ‘oath’ had been signed. And then on Saturday I find that I had been wrong on this. It may not have been an ‘oath’ in form, but it was more or less the same in substance. The comments on the PLP site itself and as stated to the media, affirm that a ‘letter of support’ was indeed composed, circulated and signed by the Cabinet. I disagree with the RG’s use of the term ‘oath’ as it implies some sort of presidentialism or something, but I do see the letter of support as questionable due to the reasons I have already stated several times in this thread.

    As such I am not relying on the RG for this. I am relying on statements from the Party itself. I can only rely on information that is available to everyone – otherwise I could just make up anything and say that my ‘source’ told me such and such and try to argue from authority. I have expressed before my frustration at the Party totally blundering with PR and failing to counter properly using its available resources.

  49. And yet, no suggestions as to where else to get information.
    No comment on why there are no lawsuits against the Gazette for libel.
    Just “You don’t understand because the Gazette is racist.”
    No comment as to whether Ms. Cox (whom I heard on the radio using the word “oath”) was misinformed, incorrect or just plain lying.

    Anyone else getting sick of this deflection?

  50. “No comment on why there are no lawsuits against the Gazette for libel.”

    this is probably a pure money issue – why didn’t dunkley sue when that ex cop accused him of being a drug dealer, why didn’t the ag sue derrick burgess for calling him a criminal. bermuda would be in lawsuits all the time

  51. starling – qwik history lesson:
    1905 – blk newspaper man, rev. monk runs a piece exposing the horrendous working conditions of jamaican workers building the dockyard – powers that be arrest him and charge him w/ trying to start a riot w/ the piece – years later its discovered that the magistrate was the father of the contractor who was housing the jamaicans –

    1920s – a young teacher at the only govt. funded school for blks in bda becomes a garveyite (blk empowerment) – the white govt. at the time threaten to pull funding unless they fire him – they do

    1940s – ss toddings – white newspaper editor of the MON uses his paper to discredit dr. gordon, one of the fathers of the labour union

    1950s – the white stevedores split the unity of the (mostly blk) dockworkers by discrediting their de facto leader joe mills – calling him a crook, uneducated etc.

    1960s – the gazette sides w/ belco management when they refuse to pay decent wages to their (mostly black) workers
    – the gazette also sides w/ the white police officers who are attacking the blk picketers during the infamous belco riots

    1980s – the gazette attacks ottie simmons as troublemaker

    1990s – the gazette tries to scare people into voting ubp by playing up the myth that a blk govt. cannot run the country

    2000s – the gazette like most propaganda machines spends most of it’s resources trying to topple it’s enemy (the plp)

    do you know bermuda’s “real” history or what – do you see what’s “really” going on or what – why don’t you ever spend any time exposing what a racist paper the gazette is.

    it’s a disgrace that u even use bob’s phrase of revolution as your site’s name – when as a plp supporter – you proudly say in 2009 no less that the only mps you admire are 2 out of the 3 white UBP mps…w/ friends like you…

  52. It flies in the face of good governance to draft (and get signed) an affirmation of the premier’s standing BEFORE the very “meeting” in which his said standing is be discussed openly.

    I agree. Would the BIU expect an employer to present them with an union agreement to sign before discussions took place? Or would it seem more realistic that any documented decision/representations would be distilled into written form only after all concerned parties had a chance to speak their mind or make their case?

  53. Ken says: You dont want to believe or digest what we are saying, so therefore there is a wall up.

    Right back at you. The difference being the Government is supposed to be a servant of the people and consider the taxpayers’ interest’ before their own. PLP apologists fail to recognise this and effectively ignore the electorate in favour of self preservation at the helm.

  54. Why is anyone surprised at this discussion unfolding the way it is? You’ve only got 2 types of people posting:
    1. Those that think this whole ‘oath’ thing is pretty nasty business, because it happened the way it did and what that says about personal versus country allegiances
    2. Two posters who are the mouths of the current administration

    The whole thing reads to me like a question I once asked an orthodox Rabbi about why he doesn’t eat lobster. Ken and Laverne are quite simply at that stage now – criticism/questioning is now akin to blasphemy. Rocksolid over on Prog Minds is the same way.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the current PLP administrations way of dealing with the public is to tell it nothing but good news, not respond to questions of bad news and discredit anyone that actually has some bad news. And that will continue to work for only so long – because at some point the fact that there really is bad news has to come out, and this administration is simply not prepared to deal with that.

    I mean, the Moody’s rating thing still tickles me. Chronologically:
    1. PLP leadership are amazing for getting Bermuda through these troubling times without damaging our international ratings.
    2. Moodys decrease their rating.
    3. PLP leadership are amazing for only falling 1 place in the rating, and we should be greatful to their ability. In fact, its a great achievement that we even have this lowered rating. Great!

    It’s like being praised by your parents when your grades drop from straight As to Cs because you’re still passing. We should expect more, but clearly the public don’t.

  55. Hi Steve, perhaps you missed it where I said I was relying on statements by the PLP? While some of these are indeed being reported by the RG, the following is generally agreed upon – as I understand it – by all here:

    A ‘letter of support’ was drafted, apparently organised by Lt. Col. Burch, which was then distributed throughout Cabinet for signing by Cabinet Ministers.

    This was done prior to the Monday CC meeting.

    The RG reported an ‘oath’ of loyalty.

    Many PLPers defended the Party against claims by the RG about an ‘oath’.

    Ms. Cox confirmed on Friday on radio (later transcripted in the RG) that such a document existed.

    The PLP subsequently confirmed that such a document existed.

    The question that is being debated is then based on these mutually agreed points. I believe that it was unnecessary to produce a letter of support, especially doing so prior to the Wednesday Caucus meeting. I further believe that the document could be seen as a veiled attempt to intimidate Cabinet Ministers. Finally, I believe that those PLP members who defended the Party against accusations of an ‘oath’ have been misled, whether intentionally or not. Others disagree with me. But that is the discussion.

    As for the history of the media, fine, you can quote ad nauseum from Monk to Mazumbo if you want. I for one am not disputing that historically the RG has been an organ of the racist oligarchy. Nor do I dispute that it is biased, both politically and racially, and that there are various reasons for it. But what else am I supposed to depend on for news? I can, and do speak to Party members, and have a clearer insight into many things as a result, but I cannot write based on such sources. The Party, both as a political Party and as the Government (they are different, but I think most will understand what I’m saying here) has resources at its dispoal to ‘cut out the middleman’ and present its press releases and stats to the public (CITV and for the Government, for the Party proper). It has so far failed to utilise these resources in such a way as to counter what it constantly complains about, media bias.

    As for having respect for members of the Opposition Party, I stand by my position. Who else among the UBP can you honestly look at and say that they are genuinely worth the respect of all, irrespective of Party affiliation or race? Perhaps you are too immature to accept that fact, that is your problem. All I can say is that perhaps you should listen to Bob’s track ‘Zimbabwe:

    “Soon we’ll find out who is the real revolutionary,
    Cause I don’t want my people to be contrary.”

  56. starling – please explain what gibbons and barritt have said or done in the whole scheme of things to deserve your praise – or is it a case of lesser evils – gibbons is just dunkley with a slightly higher iq and barritt is a racial coward who despite his supposed progressive ways still decided to join the racist ubp upon returning to bda after college – where, in his own words, he had many black friends, a habit he got rid of back in bermuda, again his own words

  57. Hey Steve, thanks for getting all bizarro SS Todding on me there – or do I know you from the Regiment, LOL.

    I base my respect on the two on the basis of personal interaction with them, and on most of what they have said and done publicly. I do not agree with them on alot of issues, as should be obvious, but I do have a healthy respect for them. I personally feel that either one of them would be an excellent leader of the UBP, and that the ousting of Mr. Gibbons and his replacement with Mr. Furbert was a mistake by the UBP. I feel that together they are the most intelligent and astute of the existing UBP MPs.

    Everyone has faults, friend, and I’m sure you are well aware of Fanon’s writings and issues of socialisation. But not every member of the UBP is bad – just like not every PLP member is good.

  58. starling, my main point is that the gazette is doing what “management” has always done in bermuda – trying to discredit black leaders – if you are truly a student of the struggle you of all people should see what’s going on. people in bermuda are so desensitized that they think that its’ normal for a newspaper to demonize black leaders on a daily basis – they’ve done it for over a hundred years. hopefully with more people getting their info from the internet the gazette will be a thing of the past.

  59. Slowhand said
    May 12, 2009 at 5:04 pm
    Oh Crap…. he has done it again!!

    Steve = Vanz ???

    So who are you Slowhand? Are only some people allowed to post anonymously on this thread?

  60. For the record I do not know if Steve is Vanz, nor do I particularly care. Some individuals do however have a track record of abusing anonymous names, and unfortunately as a result people will no doubt jump to certain conclusions.

    I personally would think that Vanz would no longer use such means, after all, why should he? I believe he has learned how counterproductive the tactic is.

    Either way, this bit adds nothing to the discussion, and I would hope that it is not developed further.

  61. Steve, I hear what you are saying, but how long do you expect supporters to accept that defence? I have stated several times that the Government has the resources of CITV and to put forward its press releases without going through the filter of the media, and the Party has its own resources to similarly put out its positions.

    Fine, we all agree that the RG is biased (well, at least PLPers), but that shouldn’t be a problem for us in discussing things over and rebutting what is false while looking at what is true and doing better accordingly?

  62. I don’t think you can say that the RG is “trying to discredit black leaders” because they love Kim Swan, who is black in case anyone missed that. I think it has more to do with UBP and PLP, NOT black and white. The focus on biased media is silly as the media is ALWAYS biased in one way or another in all countries. In the states its FOX(republican/conservative) vs. CNN(liberal/democratic). Point is, its the media and you can not control it just like you can not control how people vote. I wish the PLP government would stop focusing on things that it CAN NOT control and focus on doing their jobs. I only mean to certain PLP MPs, not all of them have lost focus.

  63. Hi Sara, just to be clear, Mr. Swan is, yes, a Black Bermudian, however he is seen as the leader of a predominantly White membership and supported political party, and as such is not seen as a ‘black leader’ – rather he is a leader of a party who is black. There is a significant difference there. As Steve does point out there has been a historical tendency of institutions from with White Bermuda to attack any challenge to White hegemony in Bermuda.

    The RG is more or less universally regarded as an institution of White Bermuda, primarily due to its historical record, also due to its ownership, its dependence on funding (White’s still weild the bulk of economic power here), and the fact that most of its reporting staff are White. Most of their staff do not come from Bermuda however, and as far as I am aware they recieve virtually no formal introduction into Bermudian history and culture, which may lead to some insensitive (but unintentional) approaches. Furthermore, due to our racist history and presently divided racial cultures, it is often easier for White expats to participate in White Bermuda than in Black Bermuda, reinforcing the problem. I want to stress that the racial and political bias is not for the most part intentional, but stems from a mix of White privilege and economic-cultural differences.

    Having said that, I am firmly of the belief that while the RG does have its biases, this should not be used as a constant defence by the PLP. Criticism is neccessary in order to ensure good governance, and it is better to counter bias than shut ones ears to all criticism in reaction to it.

  64. Lets face it – the media will always be accused of being biased by those who don’t like what’s reported. No matter if it’s truth or not, it will be accused as such.

    If there’s so many untruths then why is isn’t legal action taken? Why not prove where they’re wrong and ask for a retraction?

    Sorry but the whole thing comes off to me as if they are trying desperately to keep information away from the tax paying public and are using the media as an excuse to do it.

  65. Jonathan,

    You’ve got it all wrong (again). On Wednesday, May 6,2009 the Royal Gazette reported “Premier Dr. Ewart Brown got his Cabinet members to sign an oath of loyalty on Monday night a “desperate move” according to opponents.” Those of us who were at the meeting on Monday night knew that this was not true. You want to call it semantics, but I think it was another attempt by the Royal Gazette to discreit the Premier as he did not “get his cabinet members to sign an oath of allegiance”.

    In light of the many articles that had been published in the Royal Gazette trying to imply that the Premier had no support amongst Party members, the Executive and the Central Committee made public their support for Dr. Brown. I see nothing wrong with that, but obviously you do. Col. Burch has stated on Everest DaCosta’s show that he personally canvassed cabinet members and asked them to sign a document showing their support for Dr. Brown. I see nothing wrong with that either as the Royal Gazette’s attack on Dr. Brown was unrelenting.

    Paula Cox’s remarks were not transcripted in the Royal Gazette. The Royal Gazette took Ms. Cox’s remarks out of context to make it appear that Cabinet members were asked to sign an “oath of allegiance” by the Premier. However, the Royal Gazette chose not to “transcribe” Col. Burch’s remarks.

    If you cannot and others cannot see that the Royal Gazette is doing everything in its power to discredit the Premier, than I have to question your judgement. For example, on Tuesday, Sam Strangeways sent Glenn Jones the following question via e-mail Good afternoon,

    “Just wanting to check that the order to reduce contact with ourselves and the MON remains in place, since we have received releases from you both today? Has it been retracted?


    Glen Jones’ response was “No retraction.”

    However, the last two paragraphs of the Royal Gazette story about the Human Rights commission in yesterday’s paper written by Sam Strangeways reads as follows”

    “Press releases from Mr. Jones and the DCI officer for Tourism were received by The Royal Gazette yesterday.

    We asked if there had been a change of heart regarding the gag and were told it remains in place.”

    Now tell me Jonathan, do you see something wrong with that picture? That’s just one example of the RG’s biased reporting, if not outright lies.

  66. @ Ms. Furbert – 2 things:

    1. I really don’t understand your point regarding the anecdote at the end. Seems to me the RG received some releases from the government, sent an email asking if this meant the order to send minimal information was no longer in affect, and was told it is not. That is completely consistent with the paragraph:

    “Press releases from Mr. Jones and the DCI officer for Tourism were received by The Royal Gazette yesterday.

    We asked if there had been a change of heart regarding the gag and were told it remains in place.”

    Can someone explain to me the problem?

    2. With regads to Sen. Burch canvassing and asking cabinet ministers to sign anything at all – it’s not about the format or the process. It’s about committing your position before a supposedly ‘open’ discussion. I don’t care what you call it, the point that people struggle with is the gesture. The problem with it is this: if a cabinet member stood up in the ‘open’ discussion and said they did not support Dr. Brown, they would be contradicting themselves, and Sen. Burch could stand up and discredit them by pointing out that they’d just signed up their support. Given this, they might just as well not have invited the cabinet members to the discussion, because their opinion was already decided, signed and delivered.

  67. Hi Laverne, I made no mention of the CC declaration for teh explicit purpose that I had no issue with the CC decalring its support for the Leadership. I still do not think that the Party Executive needed to state anything on the Leadership question other than to say that any Leadership challenge must be constitutional. As I said though, I don’t really regard the Executive’s statement as a big deal, I just don’t feel the Executive should have made any statement that could be construed as taking sides. Thats all.

    I apologise in that I believed the RG had reported the ‘oath’ thing on the Monday, you are correct about the date of its reporting. However this still does not factor into my argument that there was no need for such a document to be created and signed PRIOR to the Caucus meeting. I have already stated (a few times actually) why I think this was inappropriate.

    As for Ms. Cox’s statement, I have said tha tI believe she was using the word ‘oath’ simply because the RG had popularised that word for it and she was referring to that. As I have also stated that there is little difference in substance between a letter or support or whatever one wants to call it, I don’t see what the hang up is on that issue. I have stated above why I feel the document (whatever one wants to call it) was inappropriate.

    I do agree that the RG is no doubt trying to discredit the Premeir. I have not stated otherwise. My position is simply about the document being inappropriate.

    I am afraid I don’t really see the problem with the RG’s reporting as per Ms. Strangeway’s question and its write-up. She asked if the Government had reversed on its stated position on reduced contact, as this was not seemingly being implemented, and was told there was no retraction. Thats what I see reported as well. Please enlighten me on the discrepancy, perhaps I’m misreading something?

  68. starling, i was at the meeting at msa when the 3 uk mps came on their fact finding mission. 2 conservative and 1 labour. stuart hayward and a couple of his vra group “members” were there. the mps asked for for people to make statements. stuart annd the vra said nothing. most other people expressed their concerns about britain sending mps to chk upon them etc.. at the end of the meeting stuart and vra bum rushed the conservative mps and quietly chatted away while saying nothing to the labour mp (who was nicer). girl wonder sam strangeway was there and saw all of this. rather than report how people didn’t like the mps coming to chk up on them or how odd it was that a “community” org like vra would ignore the labour mp (labour is the govt. in the UK) and suck up to the 2 conservative mps – she instead wrote some nonsense about how vra were there in force and taking the plp to task – it was not true – there were only 3 of them and they sat there in silence and then chatted to the opposition mps!!!!

  69. Jonathan,

    I was already aware of everything you stated, but thank you anyway. I am not an expat, just for the record.
    The point of what I wrote; focus on what you can control, NOT what you can not. This goes for life in general. Sometimes people spend so much time focusing on what they can’t control that life and opportunity just pass right on by and nothing gets done. I often wonder why certain people don’t get together and start a new newspaper if the three here are so biased.

  70. Hi Steve, I don’t really see the relevance? What does this have to do with the particular topic we are discussing? I wasn’t at the meeting so I can neither confirm or deny your account, or Ms. Strangeway’s. Perhaps in the future, with our current technology that allows us to blog, a form of citizen journalism could provide an alternative report of such meetings than the mainstream media?

    Hi Sara, I felt it was necessary to expand on the issue for the benefit of non-Bermudians who might come across the thread – my apologies if it caused offence. There are certain historical reasons as to why previous rival papers failed while the RG survived. The changed economic and political situations since then though should allow, potentially, a new rival. I believe we will see that develop sooner rather than later at the moment, and I that is something I think we can all welcome, although there may be issues concerning how it comes about. In the meantime, and all due respect to Mr. Vesey’s ‘idiots with laptops’ comment, anyone can set up a blog and pioneer a form of citizen journalism in the meantime. Of course bloggers don’t face deadlines, and can impart their own biases, but even still they would contribute to getting a better understanding of whats reported.

  71. I totally understand why newspapers in the PAST may have had a hard time in Bermuda, but in this day and age it can happen. That is the beauty of the times we live in TODAY. Anyone can do what they want and nobody can stop them. It doesn’t have to be a daily paper either. It could be similar to Bda Sun or Mid-Ocean in the sense that it only comes out once or twice a week. I would love to see a young Bermudian entrepreneur expand on this idea and get the ball rolling.

  72. Hi Steve,

    I searched for the RG article to which you were referencing and claiming that Ms. Strangeways was biased in her reporting of the event. The only article I can find which referenced the MSA meeting can be found in the below link:

    As you can see there is no mention of what you claim was reported in your previous post. Are you sure that it was Ms. Strangeways or was it another reporter perhaps?

  73. Hey Sara, actually, I looked into setting up a newspaper a couple of years ago. My plan was to start as a quarterly, progress to a monthly and eventually build up to a weekly. My problem was securing enough capital, and with no formal training in journalism or business, well, it just didn’t work out to be practical for me. In a way, this blog kind of serves the purposes that I wanted the paper to do, kind of a leftist paper. Of course, I wasn’t intending to write the paper all by myself, but have different people and the like. Can’t be everywhere! I guess what I’m trying to say is that the start-up costs are prohibitive, and there is only so much advertising potential out there. Newspapers as a whole tend to be more or less loss-making enterprises as well, and you need plenty of capital for it. The internet does have the potential to avoid alot of the costs, but its reach isn’t as large as a physical newspaper. A quarterly though may still be viable, even a monthly at that, but they’re not really a newspaper at that rate.

  74. “Hi Steve, I don’t really see the relevance? What does this have to do with the particular topic we are discussing?”

    it has everything to do with it. this topic is based on faulty reporting of a racist newspaper. rocksolid at pm sums it up perfectly:

    “As per the combined Opposition, here’s an example of how it works. MON does shoddy reporting based on lies that they later have to retract. UBP MP releases a statement outraged by what they learned in the MON. The rest of Bermuda’s media, especially the RG, picks up on the UBP MP’s statement and runs a series of reports. Other UBP MPs jump in with similar statements prompting another round of stories. Then, the RG issues a series of questions and, when they go unanswered because the PLP does not feel like it needs to prove it’s innocence, the RG assumes guilt. Then, periodically, the UBP and the RG ping pong back statements and news articles that are akin to “no new news – manufactured scandal persists.” That’s how the combined Opposition works.”

  75. Yeah, I get that, but as I was basing my position on points that are all agreed between the RG and the PLP, I didn’t see the relevance.

  76. Steve,

    Were you able to find the article you mentioned to back up your claims? Or should I just assume because you said it that it must be truth?

  77. You keep on claiming faulty reporting on the part of Ms. Strangeways but yet you cannot provide any evidence to back up your claims?

    You have some very strange ways of trying to legitimize your analysis. No evidence = no truth, just opinion and a twisted hate filled one of that.

  78. I’m not sure why, but when I click on the link provided in #82 I’m just getting the main news page of the RG. Not sure if I’m the only one – could you give me the headline though, and I’ll search for it that way for now. Cheers!

  79. Jonathan,

    I think regarding the Executive statement that had a full challenge been offered with another candidate put forward that the Executive would not have chosen sides. I think the executive’s support is of the sitting Premier and that if a challenge is to be mounted it has to be through the appropriate channels.

  80. Fair enough – as noted above I really don’t have a big problem with the Executive’s action. I did think it was unusual in its content, but it really wasn’t a big deal to me, and I’m not fixating on it.


    Criticism by media goes with the job

    By Sam Strangeways


    British MP�s with the Foreign Affairs Committee (LtoR) Malcolm Moss, Andrew Mackinlay and John Horam at the public forum.
    Photo Chris Burville

    Politicians in Bermuda should learn to live with the cut and thrust of public life and accept that they will be criticised in the media, British MPs told a meeting last night.

    Three members of the UK Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, visiting the Island as part of an inquiry into the British Overseas Territories, were asked to comment on recent newspaper stories concerning accusations of “wrongdoing” against Premier Ewart Brown and the practice of publishing anonymous letters from writers criticising others.

    Labour politician Andrew Mackinlay told a public forum at Mount Saint Agnes Academy that in the UK politicians from all parties suffered “bruising” encounters with the press and often felt aggrieved by coverage they received.

    “I have been on the receiving end of that,” he said. “It can be injurious.” He added that was the price a person paid for putting themselves up for public life. “When you step up to the plate and seek public office there are some things you have to take account of.”

    The question about newspaper coverage of Dr. Brown and the Bermuda Housing Corporation (BHC) scandal came from former Progressive Labour Party Senator Calvin Smith.

    He asked the MPs what controls could be put on a “partisan press” which took against “people of whom they do not approve”. Mr. Mackinlay replied: “I have to take that as a rhetorical question.”

    Mr. Smith said he was concerned that a newspaper could “allow the Premier to be attacked through his offices” after the Chief Justice, Director of Public Prosecutions, Police Commissioner and Scotland Yard all determined that no charges should be brought against Dr. Brown after an inquiry into allegations of fraud at BHC.

    “What is the UK’s responsibility in this?” asked Mr. Smith, adding that such stories were likely to annoy a lot of young people and could lead to violence. “The British Government has been extremely silent on this”.

    Mr. Mackinlay replied: “In politics, things happen. I can point to parallel situations in the UK where the press continue on a particular line. If you have been on the receiving end of it you consider it unjust or unfair but that’s what happens in politics (and) public life.”

    He said he and many of his colleagues bore the scars of negative press coverage but concluded: “I volunteered to stand for Parliament, I put myself up to the plate and that’s what I have to accept.”

    Conservative MP John Horam said the British press continued to comment on the UK’s involvement in the war in Iraq following publication of official documents such as the Hutton and Butler reports. “Press comment is free,” he said.

    Mr. Horam pointed out that there were libel laws to deal with situations where a person was defamed.

    Fellow Conservative MP Malcolm Moss suggested it was up to the Government of Bermuda to introduce a press complaints commission if it felt one was needed. A promise was made in this year’s Throne Speech for consideration of just such a body.

    Mr. Moss told the meeting the setting up of a commission was “nothing to do with Government House”. He added that the commission could require a newspaper to account for why it had published an anonymous letter and challenge the writer.

    Other issues tackled at last night’s public forum, which was attended by about 30 people, included the franchise in the City of Hamilton, the conduct of Bermuda Monetary Authority, the inclusion of sexual orientation in the Human Rights Act and employers underpaying migrant workers.

    Mr. Mackinlay told the audience it was an enormous privilege to be in Bermuda and that he and his colleagues were in “listening mode”.

    Mr. Moss said the bi-partisan committee’s task was to scrutinise whether the Foreign and Commonwealth Office was carrying out its responsibilities correctly with regard to the Territories. “We are not here to investigate the Bermuda Government,” he said.

    Mr. Horam told the audience the committee would eventually make recommendations to the UK Government. “There will be an outcome,” he added. “We are not wasting your time.”

    The report of the Foreign Affairs Committee is expected to be completed by the summer and the UK Government will have to respond to it within two months.

    The committee will still accept submissions e-mailed within the next two weeks to Visit the website at

    This is what I discovered. So is this the one you were referring to?

  82. Jonathan,

    My point is that the Royal Gazette is saying that the Premier has put a gag order on the Royal Gazette. See below comments from the RG:

    1. The Premier’s decision to cut Government contact with this newspaper has attracted further coverage from abroad.

    2. The Human Rights Commission is to take the “unprecedented step” of writing to the United Nations about Premier Ewart Brown’s press gag against The Royal Gazette and Mid-Ocean News.

    3. Government’s press gag revealed by Premier Dr. Ewart Brown this week could be stretching to other Ministries including Works and Engineering judging from a clampdown on information about Government cars.

    The RG has gone as far as writing to international press organisations telling them the Premier has put a “press gag” on their newspaper.

    Go back and read my post and see how Ms. Strangeways changed the words from limited contact to “press gag”.

  83. “…The RG has gone as far as writing to international press organisations telling them the Premier has put a “press gag” on their newspaper….”

    One definition of ‘Gag’ – “any forced or arbitrary suppression of freedom of speech”

    Yup…. that sounds about right….

  84. Ms Furbert.

    That anecdote was about whether Sam Strangeways refers to this action as a “gag” or limited contact? Is there much difference? I think you’ll find not really. What you fail to realize (and Steve (?) judging by his earlier comments) is that the RG is read, whether electronic or print, by approximately 85% of the population of Bermuda and vast majority of the transplanted bermudians. It is the ONLY news source that can be depended upon to report on the events and goings on in Bermuda every day. What would you have people do, become completely ignorant??

    I get that the RG has bias. Hell, I’m a fan of Fox News so I get how a reporter feels or a organization feels can colour and in some cases change what is happened. But have a gander at Obama. You know what he does? He uses their biases against them. He practices transparency and good governance and tolerance and reduces them to making plain their idiocy at disliking him. He doesn’t rail at them for doing their job. He simply makes it harder for them to do the way they want by being damn good at his job. He lays out all the information so that the american public can see the truth and thusly see the bias. Beat them at their own game.

  85. What is funny is that the RG has an article about a press gag, and then on the same page there is an article with direct quotes from the Press Secretary. Since this “press gag” there have been numerous articles in the paper about government business with quotes from government officials. I bet you would find that the RG have still been invited to every government press conference, and been included on every government press release.
    I think what you will find is that press gag was the RG’s term, not the government;s term.

    Dr Brown’s handling of the RG and Obama’s handling of Fox news are two entirely differnet scenearios. In the US there are numerous different media sources that President Obama can rely on to counter the bias of Fox News. In Bermuda there is no other daily newspaper to counter the bias of the RG.

  86. What is funny is when you see people decry the RG for being biased and racist and printing only lies in one breath, then direct you to one of their stories in another!!

    “I see that there is a follow-up article in today’s paper which I suggest you read.” LF #5

  87. we need more analysis like this in bermuda re; thd media

    Tucker Carlson: Entrenched Racism is Obama’s Fault

    May 21, 2008 by MODI

    For months, political punditry has centered around race and gender politics. Yet virtually every show’s host is a white male, the pundit selections often fall short (yet far more diverse than hosts), and Pat Buchanan is somehow still receiving a paycheck. But perhaps the most disturbing aspect of punditry has been the last month of euphemism-laced questions about “Obama’s problem” getting “the white, working class vote” whether in Pennsylvania or West Virginia or Kentucky. A prime example took place this early morning on MSNBC’s “After Hours” with Dan Abrams. Pundit Tucker Carlson states:

    Tucker Carlson: “But the truth is this [big loss in Kentucky] says a lot about the state of his campaign. Here is a guy who says he’s going to unite America, it turns out he’s sort of a divisive figure.The 35 percent [gap] tonight in Kentucky, the 41 percent recently in West Virginia, those are not people who are affirmatively voting for Hillary Clinton, many of those people are actively voting against Barack Obama, that’s the headline.”

    Man that Obama is divisive! One second he is talking about unity, and the next second he decides to be black… perhaps he needs to revisit his campaign strategy! …Luckily, pundits Ron Reagan and Tanya Acker were on the scene…

    Ron Reagan: “With all due respect to Tucker, we keep talking about this as Barack Obama’s problem. Now granted he’s got an issue here with these voters here in Kentucky and West Virginia and Appalachia, but they’re the ones with the problems it seems to me…One in five democratic voters in Kentucky said ‘I’m not voting for Barack Obama because he’s black’, that’s a problem. But that’s a problem for them…”

    Tanya Acker: “I just have to strongly second Ron Reagan’s point on this, I cannot believe that we are describing the fact 21 percent of people who voted in Kentucky say they wouldn’t vote for a Black man, how does that become the Black man’s problem? I mean that’s just beyond offensive… and if at the end of the day somebody says voting for the white guy is more important than getting health care, and fixing the economy then they deserve what they get.”

    The punditry has been “beyond offensive” every time documented racism becomes an Obama character flaw. While the exit polls in Kentucky showed that 21% of voters admitted that race played a factor, there is no telling how high that percentage is when including those that didn’t admit as much. But soon a 38 year old white woman and Obama supporter from Tennessee called into the show and had this to say in her pronounced southern drawl:

    Stacy Jasper (caller): “I want to let the panel know that the reason that Senator Obama is not doing well in the South is because there is a tangible feeling here that no one feels comfortable voting for an African-American in the south. They just don’t. I don’t know if it’s based on they feel like there may be ramifications for their past actions or their ancestors past actions if they were to vote for an African-American, but the majority of the people that I work with or my husband works simply will not vote for an African-American whether he was running against Hillary Clinton or Bill Clinton or the worst person in the party. They will just not vote for an African-American. It’s a sad state. I certainly don’t feel that way.”

    After hearing this caller, after getting the exit poll data, after seeing all of these youtube interviews of West Virginia voters confirming these facts, when will the political pundits use their time to address the problem of entrenched racism that is being exposed once again on our national stage? While a couple of hosts have started this dialogue , it has been the exception more than the rule (MSNBC hosts have been most vocal). Now is a good a time as any for media pundits to confront racism, instead of those who expose it.

  88. This is just wonderful. For Ken/Ms. Furbert the debate is not about cutting off open access to information for the media, it is about what word they use when describing it.

    The government has come out and said they will reduce the amount of information they give to the media. The reason they do this is a perceived bias. No matter what words you want to play with, this means their response to criticism is to limit publically available information, and to reduce the power of the third estate.

    Dress it up however you want, but that’s what it is.

    And I do find it funny that anyone supporting this leadership would have a problem with ‘spinning’ language. The one thing the PLP leadership have shown boundless creativity in is creating terminology which attacks their opponents, and then repeating it ad nauseum, regardless of its accuracy.

  89. Also, as has been shown countless times in the past – there is no real reason to compare Obama’s approach to governance and Dr. Browns. They sit firmly on opposite sides of the spectrum. Given the contrast of the their approaches to criticism, its hardly surprising that they have such different philosophies on media handling.

  90. “Dr Brown’s handling of the RG and Obama’s handling of Fox news are two entirely differnet scenearios”.

    Wasn’t it the PLP who made this comparison? Didn’t the PLP specifically liken Obama’s treatment of Fox to Doc Brown’s treatment of the RG?

  91. Alsys,

    For your information, the Royal Gazette and the Mid Ocean News continue to get all press releases sent from all Government ministries. If there was a press gag, that would not be happening.

    So, are you saying that VSB, ZBM and the Bermuda Sun cannot be depended on “to report on the events and goings on in Bermuda every day”? Granted, the Bermuda Sun is published only twice a week, however they do update their web site on a daily basis.

    I never watch Fox News, so I can’t comment on their reporting.

    I would think that we all want to read the truth, not “bias” as you’ve said.

  92. Hey Steve,

    I see what you did you sneaky little bugger you. I provided then link to the article in which you claimed Ms. Strangeways provided only biased reporting on the overseas territory inquiry that ws held in March 2008. The link is:

    See what you did was to try and find the article to justify your claims but realized that you were spreading false information or in leymans terms, lies. Once you did you posted this link in post #83:

    You see the difference being that you deleted one 3 out of the address so when you hit the link it autmoatically reverts to the current RG front page. You are good man, but absolutely pathetic. Do you find it justifiable to lie to try and get your little twisted points across?

  93. “Didn’t the PLP specifically liken Obama’s treatment of Fox to Doc Brown’s treatment of the RG?”

    Why yes, yes they did. But it appears that the specific PLP blog post which did the comparison has now magicalkly disappeared. Funny that. Nothing like those convenient bouts of amnesia..

  94. Ms Furbert

    I’m glad the government is continuinfg to send out press releases to the RG. I’m guessing they’d have to because they can’t seem to update their own press releases sections of their website in a timely manner(and yes, that’s an outright criticism). I get really frustrated that the government refuses to use the many resources at their disposal to counter this “bias”, yet want to continuously complain about it. It’s that whole, well they started it. And it’s childish, unconstitutional ana frankly… judging the many times the PLP blog will quote the RG when good things are said about them or bad things are said about UBP, kinda hypocritical. Mind, that’s my opinion alone so you don’t have to care but I’m in a mite bit of an intolerant mood today.

    Yes, I am saying that the tv stations, the radio stations and the bi-weekly Sun does not offer the same continuous coverage. By the by, I read the websites often and the Sun very rarely updates any but maybe two breaking news stories between publishings. Does this mean I depend on the RG for my news, no. I have the resources to look elsewhere, to ask others that are more in the know than myself… and push comes to shove, I’ll send an email to a PLP rep. But that’s me. Most people don’t have access to a pc consistently. So for a lot of people, yeah, the RG is near gospel… and in most cases, not by choice. But information and knowledge is important to any human being so they do what they must. And instead of understanding that basic truth and figuring out the best way to use the tools at their disposal and to come to terms with the RG, the governemnt chose to go on the defensive from day 1. Sadly too becuase I know the governemnt is smarter than to have to use the methods they have to date. I know what Glenn is capable of doing, we all know how good Thaao is at his job, we knowthat the DCI has some extremely competant and intelligent people on staff and I know for a fact that Dr Brown is an extremely smart and innovative man. So that’s what pisses me off, that this “idea” came out as the best option. I’d have honestly thought they were better than this juvenile and honestly, given the unconstitutionalness of the move, downright stupid move.

    I’m sorry for the ranting.

    And by the by, there is nothing wrong with bias, as long as you see it and are open about it. At least that’s what Thaao said during the election.

  95. “I bet you would find that the RG have still been invited to every government press conference, and been included on every government press release.” – Ken

    “I think what you will find is that press gag was the RG’s term, not the government’s term.” – Ken

    “For your information, the Royal Gazette and the Mid Ocean News continue to get all press releases sent from all Government ministries. If there was a press gag, that would not be happening.” – Mrs. Furbert

    Ken & Mrs. Furbert appear to confuse the role of the media in society thinking the term “gag” is incorrect because the RG and MoN still receive invitations to press conferences or printed releases. This is simply wrong.

    When a government refuses to answer questions or engage in a two way exchange of information they are effectively barring the media from doing their job in its entirety and wilfully avoiding basic concepts of transparency & accountability (one need look at today’s headlines for confirmation of how lack of accountability has cost the Bermuda taxpayer $15,620,000.00 + $700,000.00).

    This is further evidenced by the following email exchange between Glen Jones and Dr. Brown:

    The press secretary sent the Premier a draft press release to check on April 25 and Dr. Brown replied: “Fine… remember do not send to RG or MON.

    Mr. Jones wrote back to ask: “Are you having DCI reps remove RG and MON as well?” Dr. Brown said in his response, copied to others: “Yes, of course… if it pertains to Cabinet Office or MOTT.

    Mr. Jones then questioned whether the ban applied to press conferences and other events. His boss told him: “Until further notice I want to leave them out of the loop. If they find out and cover… fine.

    Some PLP loyalists might dismiss the foregoing as made up poppycock, but when taking into consideration the Premier’s very own words:

    “I have instructed our media people in the Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Tourism and Transport (MOTT) to reduce their contact with The Royal Gazette and Mid-Ocean News.”

    … it’s quite clear the party leadership has chosen to engage in a campaign of deception, obfuscation & dishonesty. The Cabinet appear to need reminding that they work for the people of Bermuda, not the other way around.

  96. … Party supporters were misled through some disingenuous word play.

    … The long-term consequences of such a feeling of mistrust amongst supporters/members will be hard to judge, but it is likely they will be less likely to jump to the defence of the Party again with the same energy.

    You’re joking. Seriously. How many times has the PLP misled the public (“we had to deceive you”), only to have the public effectively shrug their shoulders?

    As long as politicians keep getting voted back into office, there is absolutely no reason for them to change their behaviour.
    Until they are voted out of office, they won’t.

  97. Most of their staff do not come from Bermuda however

    Actually, I have asked the RG editor in person about this myself, and his reply was that they can’t get Bermudians to come work for them – and when they do, once they have some experience, they are ‘poached’ by IB who wants to be able to hire Bermudians for PR posts, etc!

    Seriously, maybe PLP MPs/Senators could make the rounds at high schools, the Bermuda College, etc telling young Bermudians they should go work for the RG, so they don’t have to depend on foreign workers. How about (gasp) a government bonus to Bermudians who hire on there? Etc, etc…

  98. The comment about RG employees not being Bermudian, well it is a joke right?
    What the heck does that even matter when our own government outsources its own people!! You CAN NOT be an effective government and say, do as we say, not as we do. This is the example the government is setting. Outsource when you can if it saves money right? Wrong. Keep Bermudians employed SHOULD be the motto of our government, but its not.

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