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Commentary: A public relations disaster in Bermuda
Published on April 10, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Christopher Famous

We are committed to transparency, open government and reform.” OBA campaign pledge

On April 5, Minister Fahy claimed that in an effort to avoid “potential reputational risks to Bermuda”, he used his ministerial discretion and denied temporary work permits to an overseas film crew who wanted to make a documentary on the Rebecca Middleton murder.

chris_famous.jpg
Christopher Famous is a Caribbean real estate developer and business owner. Raised in various Caribbean islands such as; Bermuda, Jamaica, St Eustatius and St Kitts and Tortola. He has a weekly social and political column in The Bermuda Sun. Feedback to: carib_pro@yahoo.com
As forewarned by many, this attempt to quash freedom of expression has escalated into a public relations disaster that is now damaging our reputation on a global scale. In less than 48 hours following Minister Fahy’s decision, the story of his censorship hit the international media circuit and is now being reported throughout Canada, the UK, the Caribbean and New Zealand.

Over the last 15 months, OBA’s pledge for transparency has been proven to be a farce with:

• Premier Cannonier refusing to answer questions in the House of Assembly regarding JetGate even after being directed by the Speaker to do so. Reason? On the grounds that it may prejudice him.

• Both MP Bob Richards and MP Jeff Sousa repeatedly refused to answer questions by the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on election reform regarding declaration of interests in government contracts for the 2012 election. Mr James Goudie, QC concluded that failure to disclose will result in automatic disqualification.

• MP Shawn Crockwell refusing to reveal the wage of the CEO of Bermuda Tourism Board

• Attempting to censor and silence PLP MPs and senators by labeling them as “reckless and unpatriotic” and by claiming that they chose party interest over country interests in response to them publishing opinion pieces in the Caribbean media.

• Blocking access to reporter Ayo Johnson at a press conference

• Holding press conferences but refusing to accept questions by the press

The OBA needs to be reminded once again that nothing is gained by hiding truths.

It is ironic that Senator Fahy is now concerned with our “reputational risks”, especially when the OBA engaged in a near year-long election campaign telling all and sundry, that Bermuda was a dangerous place to live, and that the "PLP has led Bermuda into a world of shootings." Royal Gazette - September 29, 2012.

So when the world could read this online, was the OBA worrying about how the world would perceive Bermuda then? Or were they just trying to score political points?

Also ironic, is the fact that the main defence lawyer for the Rebecca Middleton murder was none other than MP Mark Pettingill. MP Pettingill wrangled the then attorney general at the time, into a botched case against one of Middleton's accused. Yes, the OBA would not want the world to know that this same learned gentleman is now the chief legal advisor to the OBA government.

I am not sure who is giving these folks public relations advice but whoever it may be, they are certainly giving them a six for a nine. At this point, not even Olivia Pope and her Gladiators can save this international train wreck.
 
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