Government at sea - on gangs, pot washers and good governance

By Craig Cannonier, Opposition Leader Craig Cannonier, January 17, 2012


On Perinchief’s reconsideration of anti-gang legislation

National Security Minister Perinchief’s statement that he is prepared to reconsider anti-gang legislation is a flip flop on a flip flop.

Mr. Perinchief was for anti-gang legislation a year ago. He said he was going to bring legislation to Parliament then did not because of concerns expressed by Police and civil liberties advocates. Now he is for it.

That’s two 180 degree turns on one idea.

It was the same for Operation Ceasefire – at first against it, now for it.

This says to us that the Government does not know what to do about gangs in Bermuda and the threat they pose to Bermudian life.

It also says to us that the Government is in full re-election mode willing to say anything to create the sense of government action, even if it contradicts their positions from a few months ago.

Most importantly, Mr. Perinchief’s thinking indicates the Government still has no real anti-gang plan in place. Remember, this is three years after gang violence exploded across Bermuda. Since that time, more than 50 people have been shot, nearly 20 murdered. Just this month a man was gunned down in a Pembroke home by two assailants.

The OBA approach has been simple and straight forward all along:

  • Provide the Police with the resources they need to quell the violence and contain gang activity; and
  • Proceed with Operation Ceasefire to stop the shootings, stop the killings and give gang members an out from gang life.


Economy Minister’s step back on pot washers

Again, it’s our view that the Government is so desperate to be seen to be taking action on behalf of the people that they are rushing around without thinking about what they are actually doing.

The Minister’s plan to revisit her directives to get rid of expat cleaners is just a reflection of PLP politics getting ahead of clear thinking. It’s just one more example of how politics is getting in the way of the people’s business.

As we said yesterday, we support any effort to get Bermudians working, but you really have to be smart about how you go about achieving that. We want the Government to succeed in getting jobs for the jobless, but for goodness sake they’ve got to take care to get their ducks in a row first.

Premier’s good governance announcement


Announcements on good governance plans would have more credibility if the Premier took decisive action to resolve outstanding questions and issues that sit on her desk today.

Why hasn’t she ordered her Environment Minister to come forward with his review of Planning approvals given to Ministers DeSilva and Furbert? Why has she not insisted the Audit Committee get on with its business so the Auditor General’s special reports – now stymied for months behind closed doors – can be seen by the people of Bermuda?

Simply making announcements about good governance does not mean better governance for Bermuda. You have to put systems into place to ensure people in elected office behave themselves.

This is about protecting the public interest. But it’s been nearly 14 years since the Government promised the ‘sunshine of public scrutiny’ for government business.

People are getting wise to being played for suckers on good governance, and we suggest the Government stop playing politics and just get on with the people’s business.

You’ve got to back your words with action and on this crucial point the Government has not.

We also question the timing and sincerity of the Premier’s good governance press conference yesterday, coming as it did after publication last week of our submission to the UK Government on Overseas Territories, which listed our serious concerns about good governance standards in Bermuda, among other things. Since then, the PLP and its agents have been in attack mode, complaining loudly about our views on reforms that would better serve the people. 

Michael Dunkley

"I want to assure the people of this country that their Government is unawavering in the commitment to improving this economy and restoring prosperity and success as part of the Bermuda story."

Michael Dunkley

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