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Bermuda: “No Confidence” Motion Thwarted

Part of the backlash against Bermudian Premier Ewart Brown‘s decision to accept four former Guantanamo detainees into the island has been the opposition party‘s tabling of a “No Confidence” vote against him in Parliament – a motion that bloggers are reporting has been defeated.

Vexed Bermoothes was following the parliamentary proceedings closely:

They have started debating the motion of no confidence in Dr. Brown.

The Speaker tried to change the motion to: “That this house has no confidence in the Government and deplores the actions of the Premier in relation to the Uighurs matter” or something like that.

It finally ended up as “That this honourable house has no confidence in the Government led by the Premier” after the UBP resisted.

Dr. Brown has corrected his earlier statements regarding the Uighur risk assessment, saying that he erred rather than knowingly mislead in his statement to the House and subsequent radio broadcasts. Sayeth he “To err is human, to forgive divine.”

Please give me some novocaine!

As he awaited the results of the debate, the blogger noted:

If Dr. Brown survives this upheaval and there is no change to the political status quo, let me promise you that it will not be business as usual on Monday. It will have been proven that there is no consequence to violating the Bermuda Constitution. From a political risk perspective, that makes us an unstable country.

It is important for countries to have a reliable Rule of Law. But there are weaknesses in laws even, because laws are made by politicians. And that’s why the Constitution is so important. It must be passed by public referendum. All politicians and laws must toe to the Constitution.

Ergo, a politician who flaunts the Constitution is effectively saying ‘I am beholden to no law’.

As news broke that the motion had been defeated following a 14-hour debate, Breezeblog commented:

I’m disappointed and depressed but not surprised at the spinelessness of those who blindly follow Dr. Brown. Maybe there’ll be a leadershp challenge at the PLP conference in the Fall but I doubt it. I suspect Dr. Brown will emerge stronger than ever from this.

The UBP, though, are finished as a credible Opposition.

Vexed Bermoothes, meanwhile, called the result “a catastrophe for Bermuda”:

The motion in the House of Assembly failed by 22-11 (two UBP MPs failing to vote).

I have lost all faith in our political system. I think we are governed by crooks and fools for their own benefit.

We have retained a leader who during the debates yesterday free admitted that he violated the law and the Constitution, and kept his own Government in the dark as to his actions and motives. Half the debate was about race and independence, rather than the simple task of reprimanding a leader who apparently will not comply with the law, nor represent the people.

I am ashamed for Bermuda. The consequences for this will be terrible for our community.

21 Square has not been able to get over the Premier's defense of his actions by calling them “an act of God”:

An act of God? This is the same kind of thing terrorists say before blowing up buildings full of innocent people.

…while Breezeblog seemed more interested in Dr. Brown's next move:

So what will an emboldened and empowered Dr. Brown do next?

Independence is the big fear for many people but maybe there’s another option up his sleeve. I’m not normally in the business of publishing rumours but I have now heard this one from credible non-UBP sources so I’ll put it up here and see who salutes. I’m genuinely interested to hear what people think, not stir up anything.

I understand that the PLP has been exploring the option of Bermuda becoming a US territory like Puerto Rico as an alternative to independence from Britain.

But if – and I stress ‘if’ – it is true, it might explain many of the unashamedly pro-American Dr. Brown’s recent actions…

According to Breezeblog, the U.K. is still very much a part of this political debacle:

A petition has been posted on the UK Prime Minister’s web site calling for the resignation of Dr. Ewart Brown.

UPDATE: Organisers of the recent local protests are urging people not to sign this petition. In an e-mail circulated June 20, they state:

RE: Advise that you do NOT sign the UK petition calling for Ewart Brown’s resignation

Advise that you do NOT sign the UK petition calling for Ewart Brown’s resignation

Avoid ‘knee jerk’ reactions. We should not throw a petition out to the public in haste. As we know, wording is critical. We have to get it right and take the time to get it right.

Finally, Catch a fire weighed in after “a long night”:

After reading over the transcripts of the debate and looking at the end vote, I think one thing is definitely clear. Dr. Brown won the battle, but he has lost the war.

While on the surface it may appear that Dr. Brown’s hand has been strengthened, from my reading any such strength now is more illussionary that real. The Party, at least in the form of its MPs, have clearly expressed that business as usual a la Dr. Brown cannot continue. He must now either build bridges or accept it is time to go gracefully as per internal Party procedures.

The demonstrators will feel disillussioned after these events. That is unfortunate, and I advise them to carry on their energy of political and community activism in other areas. There are a lot of issues of concern in our society, and if people can mobilise as they did last week, there is no reason why this momentum cannot be carried forward for the betterment of our people on other issues.

While those in power may cry that control is being lost, in fact it is our democracy and political consciousness that is being strengthened.

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