The Paranoia of the OBA? Or Cynical Desperation?

There’s an important post on Bermuda Blue which I think all readers should check out.

It’s basically an email from Guilden Gilbert, a Bermudian who resides overseas, who appears to have been the catalyst, at least according to Minister Crockwell, for the OBA’s sudden breaking of their election promise to hold a referendum on gambling.

Mr Gilbert was a guest on the Sherri J Simmons show last week, and on it he voiced his criticism of the loaded referendum question on gambling, and suggested that people vote no to send a message to the Government about not acting childish with the framing of the referendum question – unless, of course, the OBA came to its senses and replaced it with a neutral question (which was the gist of what Mr Gilbert was calling for).

Minister Crockwell cited Mr Gilbert’s radio comments, in the House of Assembly, as evidence of some sort of PLP conspiracy to undermine the referendum.

Which strikes me as somewhat paranoid that Government policies, especially major reversals like the referendum on gambling, are done on the basis of a non-aligned guest speaker on the radio (unless I’m mistaken, Mr Gilbert is not a member of the PLP, certainly didn’t say in the radio show that he was speaking for them, and he definitely doesn’t hold any PLP officer posts).

He may not be pro-OBA, but that doesn’t mean he speaks as a member or even a supporter of the PLP.

Either the OBA are gripped by some sort of paranoia which is affecting their collective governing judgement, or they are grasping at straws out of desperation to justify their actions.

The latter seems more likely to me.

As Mr Gilbert suggests in the Bermuda Blue post, it seems more and more likely that the OBA never really intended to move ahead with the gambling referendum, hence their absurd question and then using the negative reaction to that question as justification for abandoning their election promise altogether.

Which also makes them look particularly stubborn and idiotic in that if they had just adopted the PLP and others solution of a neutral gambling referendum question there wouldn’t have been much of a controversy, regardless of how the referendum vote went.

Which brings us back to the need for PATI and campaign finance reform.

PATI to found out what deals or discussions the OBA have already engaged in with gambling interests and how these may have influenced their actions regarding the gambling non-referendum.

Campaign finance reform to ensure the Government isn’t sacrificing democracy for the sake of political financial interests who fill their party war-chest.

One thing that does seem certain, the OBA is acting divisively and manufacturing some sort of bogeyman as regards the PLP, as well as creating new oppositions rather needlessly.

If they thought Mr Gilbert was anti-OBA before, well, I’m pretty sure they haven’t seen nothing yet!

Furthermore, the populace may be giving the appearance of inaction on this latest OBA fiasco, but the OBA should note that it’s being logged and will likely manifest itself in such a way to give them a comeuppance with time.

A lot of people were willing to give the OBA a year before they got really critical – well, it’s been a year.  The OBA should expect a rockier ride after the holiday season…

OBA U-Turn

OBA U-Turn

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8 thoughts on “The Paranoia of the OBA? Or Cynical Desperation?

  1. “Campaign finance reform to ensure the Government isn’t sacrificing democracy for the sake of political financial interests who fill their party war-chest.”

    I think that’s definitely what has come about from the whole fracas. It would be easy to infer that there’s some entity(ies) behind the scenes that are propelling the about-face in how the OBA are treating the issue of legalizing certain forms of gambling.

    Bring on PATI.

  2. Not sure if PATI would assist in the scenario you are envisaging, Jonathan. If, for example, an investor has indicated – verbally and otherwise – that legalising gaming will be financially beneficial for one or two cabinet ministers, how does submitting a PATI request uncover that information? No signed contracts, just a wink and a nod and a handshake…?

  3. I haven’t seen the legislation (and lord knows it could be watered down), but true PATI is a basic right– and I have little doubt legalizing gaming will be financially beneficial for more than one or two ministers, as well as a whole raft of formers! And perhaps Bermuda? The gaming issue doesn’t concern me, personally, but PATI does, and it is appalling that it is not in place. There is no excuse. I’m sure much would change.

  4. On another note, Mr Starling, what is your viewpoint on the issues surrounding The COH at the moment?

    Seems to me like you enjoy criticizing the OBA for making decisions, but can’t you look at the positives and think to yourself, ‘isn’t it nice that we aren’t reading about a new corruption scandal everyday in the paper’? I think you like complaining just to complain. The OBA is demonstrating that they are far more competent than the PLP ever was. You should be taking notes on how to govern instead of wasting your time grumbling. Maybe you could learn a thing or two and you may just score a few more votes in the next election.

  5. Justin why are you attacking the messenger instead of discussing the points? Surely everybody should have the right to express their opinion on issues without being labelled as someone who “likes complaining just to complain”?

  6. @ Tryangle: Because practically everything Jonathan writes about isn’t worth writing about, IMO. I’ve been following his ramblings for many years, and remember when he was staunch PLP. Now he claims he is ‘independent’, but I believe he can better be described as an ‘PLP leaning independent’ and that is why he always complains about the OBA but he hardly ever says anything ‘PLP’. It gets boring.

  7. I suppose you could challenge him to come up with say 5 things he likes about the OBA’s performance and 5 things he hates about the PLP’s, but that may be seen as hijacking the blog.

  8. Hi Justin, thank you for your comments; I’ll try and address your various points below.

    Concerning the City of Hamilton, I was awaiting the Ombudsman’s report before really making any comment on them. Had I not been aware of the Ombudsman preparing a report I likely would have commented on them by now, but thought I may as well wait for that. I am still in the middle of reading it, but will say that I find it very hard to defend them, and find the current administration reminiscent of the disappointment I have with the PLP’s various terms in power. I was excited at the potential that ‘Team Hamilton’ represented, but have been increasingly disappointed at their actions in office. As much as I support the ideals of local and devolved government (and would like to see empowered Parish Councils), I think the CoH is doing a very poor job at communicating their actions and have committed incidents of maladministration. Having said that, I am grateful for the work they have been undertaking in Princess Street of late, repaving the sidewalks and street, as well as beautifying the area in general. I remain sceptical about their handling of the waterfront development, amongst other aspects.

    Furthermore, regarding the CoH, I wish (and said as much earlier in the year) that the Government had waited until the Ombudsman had completed her report on the municipality before rushing ahead with the wholesale amendments to the Municipality Act. I also wish that the OBA had released the report prepared by external consultants under the PLP regarding municipal reform, and engaged in wider public consultation regarding improving municipal governance in Bermuda.

    I criticised the PLP when they were in power and didn’t waste time patting them on the back for what they were doing right. To me it was more important to offer criticism of where they were going wrong. As far as I’m concerned the same applies to the OBA – they have their supporters to pat them on the back.

    I do, and did, commend them for amending the Human Rights Act (although I think they should have also added age discrimination). When, or if, they move ahead with getting PATI in action, and moving forward with abolishing conscription, decriminalising marijuana, introducing absentee ballots, fixed-term elections, a mechanism for triggering referendums and a right-of-recall system, I will commend them for that too. I will also commend them if they move ahead with improvements as regards alcohol (they have discussed some positions that I introduced in my 2012 platform), or introducing a bottle bill (something they have also mooted and that was in my 2012 platform). And if they move ahead with anything else that I had in my platform I’ll commend them – and same if they introduce other things that I support but didn’t necessarily have in my platform. But none of that will prevent me from criticising them when I think it’s necessary.

    Regarding not hearing about new scandals in the media, well, I think that’s partly selective reading on your part and partly a failure by the media. What has been christened ‘Jetgate’ was quite scandalous to be honest, and there have been other incidents which I think the media have touched on, or ignored, which, had they been done by PLPers would have been lambasted as corruption or ‘friends and family’.

    The OBA have demonstrated quite a few rookie mistakes in their first year, as well as some really quite questionable judgement calls and serious reversals on really quite major pre-election promises, of which the cancellation of the gambling referendum is only the most recent, albeit perhaps the most shocking.

    If you don’t think I write anything worth writing about, well, you don’t have to read it to be honest, although I welcome engaging with critical voices on my positions, provided they are constructive and respectful. I’m not quite sure if your comments fall under those terms though…

    I’m not sure how you categorise a ‘staunch PLP’. I was highly critical of the PLP while a member. I criticised them, as I still do, and as I also criticise the OBA, from a socialist perspective. To me the PLP failed to live up to their promise and their legacy.

    I tried to work within the system for close to a decade because I believed that was the right thing to do at the time. After ten years of trying to make the PLP better, well, I burned out and got tired of party politics and thought I’d be more effective working ‘outside’ of the system. I’m not opposed to political parties per se, but I am opposed to the traditional format of party politics, and I think the two-party system here has distorted our development and we need to move beyond it. I will do my best to encourage greater ideological diversity in Bermuda, be it in the form of third parties and/or Independents.

    I am left of the PLP (which isn’t hard…). While the PLP is marginally ‘to the left’ of the OBA, of course from an OBA perspective it looks like I’m closer to the PLP, but that doesn’t make me a ‘PLP leaning Independent’. It just means that I share some ideological positions with them, and I also retain friendships with PLPers from my past association with them.

    I am also not a full-time blogger. I do other things and do not, quite frankly, have the time to post on everything. I would like to post more on what I see as the ideological repositioning of the PLP under the new leader, but I haven’t had the time of yet. In as much as the OBA are in power and the PLP are in Opposition, the OBA appear to me to take the priority for attention at the moment. Hopefully I’ll have the time to write a bit more about the PLP as Opposition going forward.

    I hope the above addresses your comments.

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