The Senator’s About Turn?

I was slightly amused to see in the RG today that Senator Marc Bean has felt it necessary to apologise for his comments last week where he criticised the continuing failures to reform our public education system.

I actually was quite impressed by Senator Bean’s initial comments where he acknowledged that while the PLP inherited a largely dysfunctional system in 1998 a lot more should have – and could have – been done to correct the problem since. Instead we’ve largely seen more of the same failed policies, a merry-go-round of Education Ministers and various consultants and a lot of haphazard action.

I am not an educator. I do not even know where to begin to start addressing the many problems that face our educational system, many of which extend beyond simply school buildings and curriculum problems. Any solution to our public education failings needs to be multi-faceted and tackle such various issues as drugs, gangs, overcrowding, mass consumerism and the structural racism that still blights our island home. These issues will not be solved overnight (not by a longshot) or even all at the same time. Some initial work has already begun in addressing many of these issues, although more could have and should have been done by now as well.

What I do know though is that I agree with Senator Bean’s original statements that the PLP’s educational policies since 1998 are failing, just as the previous governments policies were failing. Indeed, one of the big issues (along with percieved cronyism and general abuse of political power) that helped bring the PLP to power in 1998 was a desire to see our education system fixed. Senator Bean should not have been admonished by his Party colleauges. In saying that the PLP should have done more since 1998 and that it deserves a triple F grade for its work so far he was only saying what is plain to most Bermudians, and has been plain for some years now.

I don’t doubt that a lot of hard work by some good people has been done to reform our public education system. That’s fine. I commend them. Much more work needs to be done though before we can safely give our efforts on education a passing grade. Less energy should have been devoted by the PLP in bringing Senator Bean to a partial about turn and apologies for stating the truth and more energy should have been devoted to addressing the points that his original comments raised.

I admit I am slightly disappointed in Senator Bean’s apparent about turn in the face of PLP criticism. While Mr. Bean can be controversial in some of his politics I generally have an impression of him being an confident and independent thinker, a rarity in our current political crop. With a frontbench composed largely of individuals who give the impression at times of being more interested in their ministerial positions (and attendant perks) and beholden to whomever seems most likely to ensure their Cabinet positions (increasingly Ms. Cox it would appear), and a backbench who are happy to rebel but cowardly in their actions, largely resorting to anomynous interviews with the media rather than building a grassroots internal opposition, I welcome Mr. Bean’s independent inputs.

In doing so he brought that increasingly elusive quality of credibility to politics. I may not agree with him on everything (although I actually agree with him on quite a few issues), but he certainly comes across as genuine in his statements. His about turn is, in truth, not a complete about face, but it does reflect badly on him (and opens him up to criticism of capitulating under pressure) and it does not reflect well on his colleauges who, it would seem, reacted particularly negatively to his comments.

Senator Bean would have done better to elabourate on the failings of current policy, and in so doing spur on the increasingly stagnant reforms; and the PLP would have been better publicly defending their record and recognising that more needs to be done than has been done so far.


33 thoughts on “The Senator’s About Turn?

  1. It was if he had been scolded like a child and had to apologize with words that his mother told him to say verbatim, almost like a robot.
    However, it is a good sign that someone from the PLP is again standing up for what they believe in. And the fact remains that with all the money that the PLP has blew through in the last 12 years, education could have been dramatically improved by now. It could have been their great legacy, but it isn’t and won’t be as long as money keeps being blown on the wrong things.

  2. “With a frontbench composed largely of individuals who give the impression at times of being more interested in their ministerial positions (and attendant perks) and beholden to whomever seems most likely to ensure their Cabinet positions (increasingly Ms. Cox it would appear), and a backbench who are happy to rebel but cowardly in their actions, largely resorting to anomynous interviews with the media rather than building a grassroots internal opposition, I welcome Mr. Bean’s independent inputs. ”

    How likely is it that Mr. Bean put this seanate seat and $153k of consultant work before his independent views? Sounds like Mr. Bean has become another to put perks before his position. Doing otherwise would risk his chance at challenging a consitutency and likely put him out on the street.

    Sadly Mr. Bean is just another to be groomed by the system to conform to the way things are. It’s what our present political system is inadvertently designed to do: stifle real change and independent thinkers.

  3. He had a mental lapse and forgot that it was about staying “Solid as the Rock” first, speaking to Bermuda’s needs and ailments second.

    Hence the about face (after whatever behind-closed-doors scolding he got).

  4. Marc Bean’s rant , as well as CedarBridge board of governors -George Scott’s battle with PSU,shows the growing rift between the PLP backbench and rank & file

    vs. the fat cats enjoying the perks, raises and privileges of power

    “deodorant” dale butler’s sidekick ,rodney, was on talk shows today creating mischief,trying to provoke rolf and EB loyalists,he claims butler will fire teachers, cut spending,and travel.

    some of the dummies are finally getting it ie: the phrase EB always uses to stir it up ” unearned privilege”

  5. I truly hope some are starting to stand up because at this point they all look like a bunch of ding dongs. They have managed to plunge the country into never before seen debt and have NOTHING to show for it except a well traveled group of politicians.

  6. VSB this morning says Brown under backlash to get out, instead he fills last months wasting yet more of our money on trips, image building, photo ops.

    Bringing the OTCC Leaders here, cost $200,000+ their gala Tucker’s Point Club Dinner was poorly attended by his own MP’s, Wanda had fill seats with office clerks!

  7. And this to shall pass.

    The people will be afforded the task of picking up the pieces.

    Define pieces…..

  8. You were impressed by his comments? So you too believe that black women should not be educated and hired, and should be kicked out of “Front Street” jobs? Did you actually listen to his rant, or are you basing your statement on the snippets that the RG printed?

  9. senator bean should start a new party that represents the aspirations of the youth and disconnect from the politics of old people and old world thinking.

    let the plp n the ubp die their natural deaths along with the westminister system of governance.

    power to the people by all means nessicary

  10. Well black press it looks like your hopes and dreams are comming to pass.

    Hope you enjoy the tech age with non compliance and your ipod.

    ” by all means nessicary” is just another front door to the past.

  11. rummy y cant u ever just talk straight instead of ….oh never mind….lets have a rum

    death to all old corrupt people and death to party politics

    all power to the people by all means nessicary

  12. Published: June 17. 2010 08:37AM
    Burch directs ‘potential criminal’ comment towards MPs

    This whole thing about needing a license is TOTALLY different than not allowing Bermudians with foreign spouses to have more than one property. The license is nothing more than a way for government to desperately raise funds through unfair taxation. I understand only having one property, but the license for the first home is totally unfair! Mr. Burch needs to stop being so emotional as it appears he is losing it if you know what I mean.

    I know this is off subject, but it is worth revisiting.

  13. Stop the personal attacks Black Press. I drink no more than the average man. In fact less.

    As for talking in code, thats far better than your comments about death. As for party politics, deal with it.

    I imagine you want a totalary government. If so, go live in Europe, Asia, Cuba, South America to name a few.

    Then again, death is a natrual thing and don’t worry about the old folks and parties. The youth seem to be doing a pretty good job of attaining wealth and taking their peers lives.

  14. Burch talks trash all day everyday. But the elders in the PLP dont have the brains to deal with it. BDA hit the target.

  15. Bean,Burch ,Derrick Burgess ,are merely hand puppets of Brown’s

    Happy father’s Day Ewart

    With one son in jail and the other on bail,what a role model for young black men

  16. Seriously, I don’t think that story is all that big a deal. I think all official correspondence should be handled the same as any of the honorary consuls and US diplomat. As for personal letters/packages, I think they should be handled equally for everyone (including diplomats). So if Dr. Brown gets to be present when they open his mail, I think all Bermudians should have that right too.

  17. What isn’t at all clear is what having someone present when EFB’s mail is opened will accomplish. Unless the idea is to intimidate the individual inspecting the mail it accomplishes absolutely nothing.

    As far as official correspondence is concerned, it’s my understanding that letters aren’t opened by customs, only packages.

  18. I noticed in the article that he also mentioned his wife Wanda. She is not a political figure or a diplomat. Surely HER mail should be subject to all customs procedures that our mail is.

  19. @ Blankman – I would say that the requirement of having the Premier or a representative present serves largeyl as a deterrent, yes. I also was of the understanding that only packages were opened by Customs, not letters (which are hardly the best for smuggling in drugs…).

    @ Sara – You are correct.

    I should say that I am not at all surprised that packages addressed to Dr. Brown or his wife are going to draw the attention of people. There may be people of various political affiliations that have an interest in finding something to embarass Dr. Brown with.

    Alternatively there may be people who are just generally nosey about packages addressed to people of a certain level of celebrity. I’m sure packages to, say, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Micheal Douglas also attract a good degree of interest, for example (I suspect they attract much more interest than Dr. Brown and his wife).

    I would have expected that Customs had a policy for dealing with high-profile packages which have a high risk of being ‘searched’ simply due to their relative celebrity status. You know, some way to reduce the risk of harrassment or borderline stalking that these packages could attract.

  20. Just because something attracts the customs officers due to the “status” of an individual does not mean they should escape proper protocol. That comes with the territory and if that is a problem for them, then perhaps he should have thought of this BEFORE he wanted to be the premier. It comes with the territory and I don’t feel sorry.

    A side note:

    Published: July 2. 2010 06:14AM
    Burch making us look like a banana republic, says Gordon- Pamplin

    Tearing the letter to shreds: yes he is officially losing it.

  21. “Auditor General: Govt. is blocking access”

    Certainly this is an issue worth a column in your blog.
    This is unacceptable no matter what party you vote for.

  22. “PLP must take action on inequality – –Dr. Eva Hodgson ”

    I am so glad Eva finally gets what we have been saying for so long know. Talking about the same things without DOING ANYTHING to change the economic disparity is a WASTE of time. Also, the only people that can really DO anything is the government of the day and that is the PLP.

  23. The Question many shares do cabinet ministers have in the new cement company? How many black bermudians work or Corrieria construction? Only miseducated negroes african iliterates and people with low self esteem believe all the race trash from Farakaniin wallis muhamaddah black panther smokescreen while i fill my pockets bs.

  24. equality in bda seems to come when u have a gun in ya hand pointing it @ the people who r mo equal than others

  25. Black press….you need some serious councelling. Why do you keep stoking a fire that is well lit and consuming us all…..

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