So, the Government – the OBA – has walked out of the House of Assembly Chamber in protest of the alleged incident regarding Mr Bean and an OBA party officer at the advanced polling for the #33 by-election last week.
“Government members left the Chamber as the opposition leader commenced reading the Reply to the Throne Speech to demonstrate that such behaviour cannot go unchallenged.”
I find this behaviour rather odd on the part of the OBA, especially due to their criticism of the PLP’s decision to walk-out of parliament earlier this year.
Until the investigation is completed, and a decision is made on whether to move forward with it, I’m not sure there’s justification for the OBA’s actions here.
Mr Bean’s comments are hardly being unchallenged – it’s being investigated by the police. Criticise his actions by all means, recognise that it demonstrates a continuing trait for reckless and counter-productive behaviour on the part of the Opposition Leader, but until the police have concluded their investigations, walking out of the Chamber strikes me as being non-sensical.
And more than that, despite the police being under the control of the Governor, in a way this move by the Government may be seen as a form of applying pressure on the police – of intervening in an active police investigation. I’m pretty sure that’s how many people are going to see it at least.
The Poverty of Politics
Beyond that, this will just add to the growing dissatisfaction with party politics in Bermuda.
Yes, there’s certainly core party fanatics still behind both parties, however I think there’s a growing chasm between them and swing voters and non-party members. People are increasingly seeing Parliament as being hijacked by childish antics and mudslinging.
It would be far better for the OBA to allow the police investigation concerning the incident in question to be completed before making reference to it or taking such actions as they have done.
We Need to Discuss Sexism
It would better to turn the conversation to one of the endemic and ongoing sexism that pervades both public life and politics in Bermuda, rather than engaging in these theatrics.
Now, sure, if the police conclude a crime has been committed, then parliament has options available to it to censure Mr Bean, or even appoint a joint select committee to improve the ethical standards and behaviour of MPs – are live up to their promises of political reforms and introduce the Right of Recall legislation that featured in their 2012 election campaign.