Wilful misunderstanding

marching Bermuda Governor

Photo from Bernews.com

There’s good insight, as usual, from John Barritt today.
As a strong proponent of parliamentary democracy, he expresses restrained regret that the Governor did not see fit to take up the House of Assembly’s recommendation for a Commission of Inquiry, and greater regret that the two parties failed to sit down and take the offer of providing “more and better particulars” for a Commission, as the Governor had suggested. When someone leaves a door open for you, you should probably go through it.
Indy still thinks that the House should have cleaned up its own mess on this through a Joint Select Committee, but it seems to be too late for that.
The debate also seems to have changed – Tucker’s Town and the base purchases are suddenly less interesting than the alleged land grabs of the 50s, 60s and 70s, which also have the advantage of live witnesses.
But they are also less manageable for a commission – the courts or an arbitration would be a much better avenue if there are legitimate grievances. A commission would end up taking years, and supplanting the courts’ role if they found wrongdoing, so that seems a dangerous avenue. The courts have established processes for testing the law and weighing evidence that Commmissions of Inquiry simply don’t have. CoIs are much more effective at examining processes and recommending changes than as quasi-courts.
Perhaps anticipating the torrent of abuse and the march of the trolls that would have ensued, the Gazette did not allow comments on its story about Marc Bean wanting Parliament dissolved and fresh elections called.
This call, along with the continued boycott of the House of Assembly, demonstrates a wilful lack of understanding of the Constitution and the separation of powers in Bermuda.
The OBA may have been reluctant to pursue a Commission of Inquiry, but it did not refuse it, the Governor did. If you’re that upset with the Governor, call for his recall, not for elections. Lawyers Kim Wilson and Michael Scott must know this, even if Marc Bean and Walton Brown don’t.
All that the move really suggests is that the PLP does not really give a hoot about compulsory purchases of land and simply sees an opportunity to beat a weakened OBA.
The same applies to the decision to boycott Parliament. The irony here is that the parliamentary system worked. The Government lost a vote, free or not, and the PLP-plus-Suzann won.
When the Governor then turned down the request, it is nonsensical to then refuse to attend the very institution which was overruled. The argument goes “this place has been shown to have no power, so what’s the point in attending”. But that’s not the case. It would have been far more effective to stay in the House and keep up the pressure from there.
It’s the institution of Parliament that needs defending, and you can’t do that if you walk away from it.

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