The news that the OBA had moved to scrap term limits altogether came as quite a surprise to me.
Like the PLP, and no doubt many voters, I perhaps naively accepted the OBA’s word during the election that if they were elected they would suspend the term limits policy for two years while engaging in a thorough review of the policy.
While it was never clear to me how that review would be done – and I expected the review would be more of a cover for ultimately ending term limits rather than an objective review – it did leave the space open for public consultation and discussion on the issue, whether the OBA were to lead that discussion or not.
Instead, and despite comments just a few weeks ago seemingly confirming the two-year suspension plan, the OBA has dropped the bombshell of not just abolishing term limits altogether but also abolishing much of their credibility in terms of pre-election pledges.
Many in the civil service are no doubt now wondering if the OBA’s pre-election pledge to not cutback the civil service through lay-offs is also little more than an empty promise? And what other promises and policies will the OBA backtrack on?
And with the OBA already stumbling on issues of consultants and extravagant travel (which they also criticised the PLP for, and thus leading to expectations from the electorate that the OBA would not be so stupid as to repeat), this just further erodes their credibility and (now limited) political capital.
While it may increase their favour with IB and the Chamber of Commerce, as well as much of their core support, this action provides the PLP with significant ammunition to attack them with, as well as alienates many swing voters who are now left wondering if the OBA can be trusted on any of their pre-election promises.
The Policy Itself
On term limits itself, I ran on a platform which called for tweaking the term limits to a nine-year system (as opposed to the six-year system it was), while engaging in a review and consultation on the issue. This policy was effectively the same as calling for a three year suspension of the policy while engaging in a review – not much different from the two-year suspension and review called for by the OBA.
While I did not have it in my platform, and instead relayed it to constituents while canvassing, I also saw the need to combine a review of the term-limits system with a reform of our immigration policies to make a more fair naturalisation process, including the Bermudianisation of existing PRCers.
I understood that these policies would be controversial, but I felt that it was the right thing to do.
Allowing for wide-spread consultation and discussion on the term-limits issue would be the only way to get ‘buy-in’ for any changes (including their retention or ending), as well as removing a lot of the myths (both for and against) that are involved.
And resolving the situation of second-class status for PRCers seems to me to be not only right, but also in line with international law, as I understand it.
No Faith – No Respect
While I did not support the OBA (or the PLP) in the election – hence my running as an Independent – I at least had the expectation that whoever became government would honour their promises and election platform.
I no longer have that expectation. The OBA have shown that the term limits of their promises last about a month after being elected. Which isn’t very long at all…
I don’t even have the expectation that they will explain their actions in a reasoned manner, nor do I know any longer who speaks for them on what (why did the Deputy Chair retort and not the Minister or Leader, for example?).
I have no faith in the OBA to honour their word.
I cannot respect a person or a Party that cannot honour their word.