By Pat Gordon-Pamplin, Shadow Minister for Transportation, October 16, 2012
The PLP Government has ordered the removal of all OBA advertising posters in bus shelters around the Island.
The ads, the first of which were installed in bus shelters on Monday, carried the OBA message on the need for change.
This situation came to our attention on Tuesday when we were informed by the agency contracted to post the ads that a senior official at the Department of Transport told them to take down the posters, and that the order to do so came from “higher up”.
The posters, the official reportedly said, did not meet Transport’s “criteria”.
The agency reported that its contract with the Transport Department permits bus shelter advertising as long as it does not display profanity, pornography or alcohol and/or drugs. When the agency protested that the contract contained no restriction on political advertising, they were told to “just take them down.”
We understand the posters are to be removed this afternoon.
We call on the Minister of Transport to justify this act of political censorship.
Our concern is this: When a Government feels it can prohibit public expression, it starts down a slippery bad path. Today no Opposition posters, tomorrow who knows what?
Bermuda needs to steer clear of such heavy handed behaviour, and so we call on the Minister to provide Bermuda with the clearest explanation of why his Government ordered the posters taken down.