Published On: Mon, May 22nd, 2017

Bermuda opposition to put government to the test in no-confidence motion

Opposition leader David Burt (left) is ready to square off against the ruling one Bermuda alliance led by Premier Michael Dunkley (right).

david-burt-and-michael-dunkleyHAMILTON – A no-confidence motion against Premier Michael Dunkley will be the first order of business for the Opposition Progressive Labour Party (PLP) when Parliament reopens in just over two weeks.

Opposition Leader David Burt has disclosed that the party is moving full steam with its plan to debate its motion of no-confidence on June 9.

Fending off criticism that the debate is scheduled during the country’s hosting of the prestigious America’s Cup, Burt says his only intention is to highlight the Government’s incompetence and the plight facing Bermudians.

“The timing of this motion of no confidence has nothing to do with the America’s Cup. The timing is a direct result of the fact that the Government no longer controls Parliament, which became quite clear on Friday night when the Progressive Labour Party passed two pieces of legislation over the objections of the One Bermuda Alliance,” he said.

The OBA won 19 seats to the PLP’s 17 in the 2012 general elections, but the two parties now have the same number of seats since two OBA MPs left the party and sit in Parliament as Independent MPs. However, one of the PLP’s sitting members, David Horton, is the Speaker of the House who cannot cast a vote unless there is a tie.

“This motion, enshrined in Bermuda’s constitution, will test whether or not the OBA minority Government retains the confidence of the MPs.”

Burt blasted the Government’s handling of the economy, particularly declining employment levels, and rising debt, even as Bermudians struggled to cope with the high cost of living.

“The PLP will make the case that Bermuda can do better, that we can take care of not only the economy, but the Bermudians who desperately need hope for a brighter future and want a Government that puts Bermudians first,” he said.

The Opposition leader said if the motion of confidence is successful, Bermuda should expect an election before the Cup Match.

In response, Premier Dunkley signaled that the One Bermuda Alliance would meet the motion of no confidence head on,  but he harshly criticized Burt’s timing.

“It has always been politics first, country second with him,” he said. “It shows a remarkable tone-deaf approach to what’s important to the thousands of Bermudians who have worked hard to make sure we put our best foot forward for the biggest sporting event in the island’s history, before a global audience.

“If ever there was a time for Bermuda to demonstrate collaboration and teamwork, to set aside our squabbles and move forward together as one Bermuda, it is now,”’ he told the Royal Gazette.

Dunkley however made it clear that the Government was not intimidated by the Opposition’s move.

“It’s just one more hurdle to jump as we work to support the wellbeing of all Bermudians, moving the island forward,” he said.

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