Picnic Protests

I understand that today is supposed to see a ‘picnic for change‘ organised by the group ‘Bermudians’ which emerged out of the June days of protests against Dr. Brown’s questionable constitutional actions concerning the Uighurs. As readers of this blog may recall, based on my reading of the Constitution as it is, I believe Dr. Brown did act unconstitutionally in this incident, and I believed a motion of censure (not a motion of no confidence) should have been called.

I am not sure what the focus of the group’s picnic is. I know that the RG article opens with the line ‘calling on voters to rally together to ensure Premier Ewart Brown is forced to resign his post’, but it doesn’t really mention to much beyond that, so I am not sure what the exact focus of the picnic will be.

Personally I am not comfortable with the picnic being simply a rally against Dr. Brown. I think it is far too narrow a call, and besides I don’t see how they envision seeing Dr. Brown leave the post. I feel the group would profit more from building community activism and critiquing some more widespread sentiment against Dr. Brown’s leadership (namely, more transparency, accountability and consensus decision making), as well as general social issues. A critique on these issues, combined with the implosion of the Opposition, may have some impact on the upcoming PLP Delegates Convention. However a picnic solely in opposition to Dr. Brown will be seen as an attempt to demonise him and will not have much impact on internal PLP politics.

I certainly encourage greater civic participation in our politics, especially with the collapse of parliamentary opposition. It will be interesting to see how the turnout and focus of the picnic develops and I wish them the best of luck.

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43 thoughts on “Picnic Protests

  1. Jonathan,

    If the weather stays as it is now, there will be no picnic, unless they picnic in the rain or take it inside to Dr. Maria Seaman’s “church” as she is one of the featured speakers.

    Personally I do not believe that the picnic, or the protesters will have any impact on the PLP Delegates conference. After all, why would members of the PLP be swayed by a group of people who are obviously anti-PLP, no matter how they spin it.

    By the way, can you cite which part of the constitution Dr. Brown breached by bringing in the Uighurs? I keep on hearing people saying that he breached the constitution buy they never cite anything.

    Larry Burchall was on the radio the other day saying that Dr. Brown has breached the constitution because he doesn’t meet with the Govenor and something to do with the Governor’s Council. He was loud and wrong. Unfortunately many listeners believed what he was saying because they thought he was some British constitutional expert. Thankfully Walton Brown called and cleared up the matter.

  2. Personally I have no problem with people getting involved in politics and standing up for what they believe in.

    Unfortunately I don’t believe that all of the protesters or proposed attendees at this picnic are conscious about even why they are doing what they are. The protest group clearly began proceedings not because they thought Dr Brown breached the constitution but because they thought he had let in ‘terrorists’. The group was called “bermudians against terrorists”. When they got slammed for this and realized they weren’t getting any traction they turned their hostilities and anger toward Dr. Brown.

    This group should realize that they have not the power that they may feel they have. They cannot force out any Premier. Additionally I wonder why many of these adults, especially the older ones, didn’t protest on Sir John Swan when under his administration the education system was totally overhauled against public will. I wonder why they didn’t march when the technical institutes were closed. There were many decisions made under the UBP that these protesters could have had cause to march against but because their kids weren’t affected they didn’t care. I guess that is the story of the two Bermudas.

    As far as the “PLP supporters” against Dr Brown – Mrs Battersbee, Rev Seaman, Larry Birchall, historically we have always seen people who set aside their political allegiances because special interest groups sit them on a pedestal and hold them up. To my knowledge, none of these 3 have come to alaska hall or visited with the Premier to make their concerns known about any issues. Personally I think they are being used to perpetuate an agenda.

    With all the problems facing the UBP and the NewBP, I think this group would be better served taking particular stances on issues and lobbying for the electorate, but focusing their efforts solely on the Premier seems like these people are totallyt obsessed with him and only him. This group calls for his resignation but has not identified a successor.

  3. Ken…

    “With all the problems facing the UBP and the NewBP, I think this group would be better served taking particular stances on issues and lobbying for the electorate, but focusing their efforts solely on the Premier seems like these people are totally obsessed with him and only him”.

    My view – for what it is worth – is that you are right. They are obsessed with him and, not with the PLP.

    You may not agree, but sadly it is of his own making. It started on that fateful day when he uttered the words “we had to deceive you”, and it has deteriorated since.

    His behaviour towards the Governor is crass and deliberately provocative. Ms Furbert calls it “not kowtowing”; I call it disrespect.

    We are a colony. There are rules. If you don’t like the rules of the club – change the club you belong to. Why is that so difficult?

    In some respects it’s not even worth regurgitating because it’s all been said time and time again ad nauseam, but the trick he tried to pull in the House on gambling was disgraceful. Any right minded individual can see that.

    Why don’t you and others come clean and say “he was wrong”?

    Why do people react this way and protest and have picnics whatever? Because when the Premier talks, when he takes decisions, he does so on behalf of all of us.

    And many are seriously unhappy with that. To use your words, they are standing up for what they believe in.

  4. LaVerne, I didn’t hear Larry Burchall so I can’t comment on whatever he said. However, I think what you’re looking for is Section 61 of the Constitution.

    Any and all opinions I’ve seen that support EFB’s actions have been restricted to the acceptance of the Uighurs into the island (and you can argue that specific action falls under the remit of Immigration). The actions leading up to that decision do not.

    But if you’d prefer:-

    CRIMINAL CODE ACT 1907

    section 97 Any person—

    (a) who advisedly does any act calculated to interfere with the free exercise by the Governor of the duties or authority of his office; or

    (b) who advisedly does any act calculated to interfere with the free exercise by a Minister of the duties or authority of his office as Minister,

    is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable on conviction by a court of summary jurisdiction to imprisonment for twelve months and on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for two years.

    and the duties and responsibilities of the Governor include foreign affairs (which according to Section 62 cannot be delegated or assumed by any Minister).

  5. @ Laveren Furbert

    The parts of the constitution that Dr. Brown violated has been cited numours time on many different blogs and new papers and talk shows please remeber it is not the PLP constitution you should be looking at it the Bermuda one. I do not have to much time right now but if you are really interested I will find and post the link. By the way the PLP blog deleted any post in relation to this topic so you will not find it there.

    @ Ken I can tell how old you are by the way you debait. You are just politics as usual and PLP all the wat PLP all the way. Just for a reference I went to progessive minds and alot of good things were hashed out as ideas to bring the country forward together but the old PLP members who use to sit in on the meeting to perhaps streir the conversation for lack of a better phrase did not.

    ONE BERMUDA

    CDF

  6. Oh LaVerne. Your so negative all the time. Weather has nothing to do with picnic’s. Have you not jaunted through the rain with your lover? Have you not garnished insight from being engulphed in downpours?

    You have marched in the rain before and held your head high. You have walked in 100 degree heat and never compalined but you decry others for wanting?.

    Get a life lady and please keep your reply to a minimum. Good thing the Communists let you do what you do. Even the people you hate like the RG and all other media let you speak free.

    Are you going to do a dance when the Queen comes? Or will you just raise your hand….the old fashion way……………………….

  7. Ex-Progressive Mind,

    You really don’t think that I am so stupid as to believe people were talking about the PLP Constitution do you? Please cite the relevant parts of the Bermuda Constitution. As I said before, I keep hearing people talking about how Dr. Brown “broke the constitution” but they never cite which part he “broke”.

  8. I’m the one on your hit list. Get up too date lady. Just remember what you ask, how, where and your cohorts is all documented.

    Ask Crimson, he’ll send you my email address and where I live. Viewers………………..remember this post when things happen to me.

    How much they paying you……………………………..

  9. Ignorance of the law is no defence. Based on reports from the Governor, the Premier broke the General Entrustment Agreement which allows certain actions to be given (but not abused) by the Government. How can smuggling, after misleading a foreign Government, 4 stateless people, an immigation matter? This then begs the question of 93 2 e of the Criminal Code Act 1907. However, the AG wasn’t, we are told, consulted. She is appointed by the Premier. If she wasn’t consulted then the Premier acted on his own but ignorance of the law is no defence. If he did and she said no, well. If he did and she said yes, then she is wrong but unlikely to proceed because of the potential damage. Yet more “we had to deceive you”. The big question must be who can bring an action? Must be the DPP with input from the AG, but she is a political appointee and unlikely to charge her master. The people of Bermuda, and the PLP as a party, deserve so much better.

  10. @ LaVerne – Personally I think it is a mistake to continue an overly antagonistic approach to this new group (re ‘obviously anti-PLP’). I do not see them as necessarily anti-PLP, although the reactions of the PLP to them may make them so. It may be better to engage with them to a degree. Anyway, my point was that they could help develop some issues that could be discussed in the Convention as regards accountability and constitutional reform for example.

    I quoted the relevant part of the Constitution both here and on Progressive Minds, perhaps you missed them? I will search through and look for them again, although I believe Blankman has pointed out the relevant section (#61). I have read through the legislation that I understand Dr. Brown and Lt. Col. Burch based their argument on (Immigration), but disagreed with that argument. Not being a lawyer, and legislation being almost deliberately and unnecessarily written manner, I would hope that the lawyers who may read this site could revisit this issue.

    @ Ken – I think we share in general the same sentiments on this issue.

  11. Jonathan,

    As much as I respect your opinon, you are not in Bermuda. I am not taking an “overly antagonistic approach to this new group”. As I see it, this new group is as anti-PLP as any other group, albeit their leader “Mrs. Janice Battersbee”. You were not at the Cabinet Buidling when they staged their protest, I was.

    The only thing I’m asking is for someone, who says that Dr. Brown “broke the constitution” is to cite where he “broke” the Constituttion. To date, I havent’ received any answer, not from you, or anyone else. I’ve been through the constitution, and I can’t see any evidence.

    I don’t believe that either you, Blankman or anyone else who post on these blogs is anymore a “constitutional” expert that I am. I was at Warwick Camp, while you were still in primary school.

  12. Ex-progressive Mind,

    I would be interested to know how old you think I am.

    Did anyone attend the picnic? Reports are that there were approx 150 people there, and that the organizers were disappointed with the turnout.

  13. turn out was low cause ppl realise gettin rid of brown is not the only thing needed to reform the plp back to an adgenda of dealing with the grass roots issues

  14. “I think if there was a huge turn-out, the Royal Gazette would have posted a picture by now”.

    Given that the RG posted a picture of the 13 who attended the UBP meeting recently, that doesn’t sit too well – does it?

    It must also be slightly disconcerting that the RG has been somewhat dismissive of the UBP of late. Not what you would expect from a racist rag that is so anti-PLP and a supporter of the UBP!

  15. “Section 62: Governor’s special responsibilities
    1. The Governor, acting in his discretion, shall be responsible for the conduct (subject to the provisions of this Constitution and of any other law) of any business of the Government, including the adminis­tration of any department of government, with respect to the following matters—
    a. external affairs;
    b. defence, including armed forces;
    c. internal security;
    d. the police. “

  16. @ Mike – Thank you for posting the relevant section of the Constitution, as I had not had the time to do so myself.

    I understand that Dr. Brown and Lt. Col. Burch claim that the legislation on immigration allowed them the leeway to bring in these individuals. However they have not, to my knowledge, provided any rationale or particular section to back up this claim. Having read through the relevant legislation I have not yet seen anything in that legislation that could back up their claim. Had the four individuals in question submitted an application themselves, then the argument could be argued, however their arrival was a result of Bermudian-US government negotiations, thus undermining that whole argument completely (as well as rendering the issue completely one of external affairs, as per Section 62 of the Constitution). Furthermore, even had the four in question applied as per the immigration legislation, as far as I can tell they would have failed to meet any of the criteria set out therein. While I have conceded I am not a lawyer, the legislation seems sufficiently clear in stating that the incident fell under Section 62 of the Constitution and not immigration legislation.

    Perhaps LaVerne would be able to argue the alternative perspective? I am not being facetious, but quite frankly while the relevant section of the Constitution was cited at the time and again here, I have yet to see the relevant legislation or legal argument to back up the claim that Dr. Brown or Lt. Col. Burch were correct in their application of the immigration legislation. And sure, I accept that you (LaVerne) are no more a legal expert than myself, so that’s cool.

  17. Jonathan

    You’re welcome.

    The argument that this is an internal matter as distinct from an external matter has been dealt with in your response, with the fact that these 4 would not have satisfied the current Immigration criteria in any event.

    I suspect responses in favour of Dr Brown’s actions must inevitably center around this point, although clearly it is a non-starter.

  18. Total conjecture….but I wonder what the response of the Premier or the Government would have been had the UK government agreed a deal with the US on these four, without consulting the Bermuda Government?

    A sort of…”house these 4 please will you….give them a job….accept them into the community”…because the UK Govt thinks it’s the right thing to do.

    Cries of…”we have no space for them…”we must look after Bermudians first in terms of housing, jobs etc….would surely have hit the airwaves.

    I can imagine the anti-UK lobby getting the angst over such a move, and perhaps conveniently forgetting the humanitarian aspect that is claimed here.

  19. LOL – Good point. I’m actually surprised that wasn’t raised earlier. I imagine that it would have completely changed the dynamics and bolstered the pro-independence argument.

    Once again I need to stress that I think taking these four was okay, and had Dr. Brown taken it to the people he would have had a win-win situation, skewering the UK should they have objected, bolstering popular support (although the argument that the US should take them stands) and benefiting the relationship with the US (which of course had absolutely no bearing on the decision… right…).

    The way it was done however was astoundingly stupid, provoking a negative reaction both publicly and internally to the PLP, giving the UBP an opportunity to pass a motion of censure (and not a no confidence motion which was a mistake) and actually strengthening both the anti-independence and anti-Brown groups.

  20. Do we really have to debate the constitutional terms about the Uighur decision? I mean this happened in June. Like it or not, agree or not, it has been done. The UK have reviewed the decision. There were protests, marches, accusations etc. Ok so for how long do we continue to debate this particular issue?

    There are other issues facing us both locally and globally and constant focus on something that is a done deal only seems to hold us back in my opinion.

  21. Hi Ken, I trust you are addressing that to LaVerne? LOL!

    There are certainly other issues that need to be discussed, however there is no harm in reviewing what happened. I would hardly call it a constant focus however.

  22. In addition, by the lack of turnout yesterday at the picnic, I do believe that while many Bermudians at the time were upset about the decision, or how it was made, they are a bit ‘over it’ by now.

    I think it would def be in “The Bermudians” best interest to start looking at the community as a whole and stop being so anti-Dr Brown. I mean are they going to have picnics and protests and marches every so many weeks with the goal of ousting Dr Brown? It is going to start looking pathetic. Instead perhaps they should take stances on issues and act as a pseudo-opposition, especially being that we are suffering from a severe lack of one right now.

  23. I wasn’t targeting anyone to be honest. And to be clear it wasn’t even totally directed at just this blog. But certain segments of society refuse to let that issue go.

  24. Ken…

    I didn’t go to the picnic yesterday. It’s not the sort of thing I would do. But, I do know someone who did, and spoke to her this morning.

    Do you know ‘one’ of the reasons why these people (and others) won’t let this go? Well, as strange as it may seem, the words…”this too shall pass” clearly appear to got up a few nasal passages.

    Clearly for some at least, “this too will not pass”.

    What on earth made Dr Brown use those words?

  25. Mike,

    Just because the Governor says he didn’t know, doesn’t mean that UK Government didn’t know. Just because Gregory Slayton didn’t know, it doesn’t mean the U.S. Government didn’t know.

    By the way, I’m still looking for the relevant act.

  26. Also,

    isn’t that what the UK Government did with the VIetnamese people. I remember, people complaining about that back then, but they stayed and now some have left the island.

  27. Jonathan,

    You started the blog about the picnic. THe picnic was about getting rid of Dr. Brown because he brought in the Uighurs. Maybe Ken was directing his comments to you.

  28. LaVerne, it’s Sunday. Shut down the damn TV set and walk away. So getting very tired. I can tell by your responses.

    Take the rest of the day off. Take a nice stroll along the railway and chill, have a picnic, enjoy the white meat. It won’t be around long……………………………………………

  29. Have you been Googling again Ms Furbert?

    From memory we took a number of Indochinese – 20,000 rings a bell. But then the USA took upwards of 8-900,000.

    Not sure of the relevance as the issue here is the right to do so.

    I am still amazed (truly) that the US couldn’t find a small corner for (what) 17 Uighurs? Having imprisoned them (il)legally for 7 years, then found them innocent of anything, and the US Congress didn’t want them.

    Amazing.

  30. As we speak no less, here’s the BBC headline on the problems of closing Guantanamo.

    “US Defence Secretary Robert Gates says meeting President Barack Obama’s 22 January deadline for closing the Guantanamo Bay camp will be “tough”.

    In interviews with US TV networks, Mr Gates said that closing the camp was proving more complicated than expected.

    Mr Gates played down the importance of possibly pushing the date back.

    More than 220 inmates are in the camp. Some are expected to be sent to other countries, others could face military tribunals or be tried in US courts”.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8277585.stm

    ——————————————————————

    I’m not sure what the birth/death rates of the US, but I suspect by the time you have read this, 200 more Americans a have been born.

    Question: Why can’t the US find room for 200?

    Answer: They don’t b….y well want them!

  31. You really don’t think that I am so stupid as to believe people were talking about the PLP Constitution do you? Please cite the relevant parts of the Bermuda Constitution. As I said before, I keep hearing people talking about how Dr. Brown “broke the constitution” but they never cite which part he “broke”.

    Laverne, you’ve been told above

    https://jonnystar.wordpress.com/2009/09/26/picnic-protests/#comment-9675

    but to repeat:

    I think what you’re looking for is Section 61 of the Constitution. Any and all opinions I’ve seen that support EFB’s actions have been restricted to the acceptance of the Uighurs into the island (and you can argue that specific action falls under the remit of Immigration). The actions leading up to that decision do not.

    But if you’d prefer:-

    CRIMINAL CODE ACT 1907

    section 97 Any person—

    (a) who advisedly does any act calculated to interfere with the free exercise by the Governor of the duties or authority of his office; or

    (b) who advisedly does any act calculated to interfere with the free exercise by a Minister of the duties or authority of his office as Minister,

    is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable on conviction by a court of summary jurisdiction to imprisonment for twelve months and on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for two years.

    and the duties and responsibilities of the Governor include foreign affairs (which according to Section 62 of the Constitution cannot be delegated or assumed by any Minister).

  32. “isn’t that what the UK Government did with the VIetnamese people. I remember, people complaining about that back then, but they stayed and now some have left the island.”

    I believe you’ll find the boat people were picked up by a Bermuda registered vessel. Different situation in that light. I stand to be corrected though as I don’t have any specific references at my fingertips.

    Trying to debate the constitutionality of the Uighur smuggling with Laverne is like trying to debate Glenn Beck and the Obama is not American people.

    No amount of evidence or rational arguments will carry sway.

    At it’s most basic, when a Premier secretly negotiates with the US State Department that is explicitly a violation of the Bermuda constitution order. The Governor handles external affairs, the State Department is by definition external affairs.

  33. @ Ms. Furbert – you asked for the consitutional reference and it has been provided three times on this very page. If you’d like to argue that the 4 were not an internal security issue, then why did the police have to do a report on them? If you’d like to argue that they do not fall into external affairs, what exactly do you call a secret arrangement between high ranking US officials and our premier?

    And finally, does it not rub you the wrong way that he outright lied, on record, in cabinet about the police assessment of the men? And then claimed it was God’s will so it’s all good?

    Because all of those things annoy me. But not that much. Stuff happens, people make mistakes.

    The thing that gets me, and the reason that I believe myself and others don’t attend such picnics, is because the majority of Bermudians (and indeed the PLP delegates) had no problem with his actions. They’d rather have a clearly a man who plays with our constitution, lies in the house and claims divine forgiveness as their leader, over anyone else.

    And so hope is lost. I’ve given up hoping for a better PLP because the Uighurs incident has clearly demonstrated that it will never happen until Brown removes himself.

    With the UBP gone, the public can do nothing about it. There is no opposition within his party, and there is no opposition outside his party. He has succeeded in becoming an un-opposed, un-restrained lying leader.

    And that doesn’t seem to bother some people.

  34. You see “Lost”, therein lies the rub. Most of LaVernes work is done in the freedom of speech area. We can get our voices heard in the Workers Voice. They close down blogs and forum sites. Where is out voice.

    The RG and Bill Zuill let them/her banter and carry on.

    Free speech…..hum……..

    The friends, family and relatives plan works very well. Just imagine if I put up bank accounts and investments up here by these people.

    I guess LaVerne and the good Premier are in the same boat now. Soon to be leaving but with Doctorates of Liars from Howard Academy.

    Confoosed negro….”I sat in your seat”…….

    There won’t be any seats to sit in after 2010 in Bermuda.

    Some people have family problems, some have others. Follow the money……………………

  35. The fact is with the middle class voting PLP. The party does not need them. The negative race debate strikes fear in the middle class to rejoin the UBP. And a third party is useless chronic or mug weed.
    The days of going skool getting a good job just makes one a target for robbers and gangsters. The middle class have no political voice. Party politics, just like in the last election is fighting over the poor vote. Free child care etc.
    The black middle class have lost their political power that why Dr. B. closed down the tourism office and brings in terrrorist and gives them jobs. The negative race debate swings the poor black vote and white liberal guilt vote. Of course the contract grabbing portuguese.

  36. @sharon

    I wouldn’t bother worrying about people wasting their time – pretty soon a lot of Bermuda is going to be busy looking for a job. Some already are, I gather… But Dr. Brown will be OK – he’s busy getting his pockets filled to overflowing by the Bermuda taxpayers. Three full-time salaries – what a great deal! (And he seems to be off-island so much…) Where do other Bermudians sign up for that?

    @LaVerne

    now some have left the island

    Ah, but the Uighurs won’t be – no travel documents, right? They aren’t eligible for UK passports, and the Chinese aren’t going to give them any. And who would take them (and piss off China)?

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