When Premier Craig Cannonier raised the issue of self-determination in the House of Assembly recently, he said it was a phrase that was new to him.
But a quick look on websites would have given him an idea of what it means. Here are some samples:
* Determination by oneself or itself, without outside influence.
* Freedom to live as one chooses, or to act or decide without consulting another or others.
* The determining by the people of the form their government shall have, without reference to the wishes of any other nation, especially by people of a territory or former colony.
* The act or power of making up one’s own mind about what to think or do, without outside influence or compulsion
* The right of a people to decide upon its own political status or form of government, without outside influence
* Self-determination is defined as the personal decision to do something or think a certain way.
The Royal Gazette reported the Premier as saying in the House of Assembly: “It is believed that with the constitutions among the Overseas Territories, self-determination is to have more say in the running of the country. An example of that would be in the choosing of the Governor. It was felt that we do not have enough determination over who that person was.
“As the Premier of this country, I believe we need more say. We need more say in determining who our Governor is, who runs Regiment and the police. We need more say in that and that’s what we’re discussing.”
The paper also reported this: Mr Cannonier is calling for the changes as part of a move towards “self-determination”, despite admitting in the House of Assembly that the very phrase was new to him.
There are several issues I do not understand that I think are critically important.
According to the Premier, the issue was raised at a meeting of the Overseas Territories. Was there an agenda that was approved beforehand by Cabinet that included the issue of self-determination? I hardly think this will have been raised on a whim.
If there was no agenda approved by Cabinet, why not? Was there Cabinet consensus on the issue? I am sure Cabinet would have been briefed after the OT meeting – what was the result? Was this raised?
After the near crippling days of the PLP when businesses were dusting off their ‘Plan B’, all businesses craved was stability and a level playing field upon which to do business.
They are certainly aware of what self-determination is and where it ultimately leads. When the OBA came into power there was a palpable sense of relief among the business community because they believed the party would help to bring political and economic stability.
Two words have now helped to rock the boat again, ushering in more uncertainty over Bermuda’s long-term stability.
Was it in the OBA’s election manifesto? I don’t think so. In other words, without reaching out to the people and letting the people have a say, suddenly the Premier has put ‘self-determination’ on the political agenda.
I’m not sure the PLP managed that.
It makes absolutely no sense to raise this issue now – especially as Government House responded by saying that Bermudians have a key role in the appointment of people like the Police Commissioner.
It looks unrehearsed, off the cuff, not thought out and politically immature.
On another note – why was Parliament not fully briefed on the OT meeting and the PLP allowed to question the Premier – they were but only after the intervention of the Speaker.
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