Christopher Famous

Adhesive old guard sending young progressives out on fool’s errands

  • Dwayne Robinson

Not surprisingly, there are those of the opinion that elected persons are mortal enemies who, at no time whatsoever, share any form of human compassion among themselves.

This is far from the truth, and in fact many are extremely friendly, if not friends. While it is true that there are often wide philosophical differences, there remains a large degree of respect and camaraderie.

Today, I wish to speak of one such person.

A few years ago, let us say 2017, a young man by the name Dwayne Robinson popped up on the social-media radar.

On a weekly basis, he and his partner, Trae Cannonier, were seemingly throwing grenades left, right and centre at the Progressive Labour Party, the People’s Campaign and all unions via a weekly online talk show named It’s That Type of Party.

Basically, they seemingly attacked black institutions with glee.

Within short order, many took them to task for their outrageous claims. However, they stood their ground in what they were doing. In my view, it was not satire.

Very often, almost weekly, they had to be fact-checked.

What I noticed about this young man, in particular, was that he actually did own up when his facts were proved to be wrong or when he was fed misinformation.

Fast-forward to 2018, he became a senator and by all accounts, he has become more vocal, even factual, in what he puts forth.

Over the past two to three weeks, I have seen him walking the hills and valleys of Pembroke and North Hamilton, in areas that others in his party have refused to go for years. This says a lot about his party in the negative, but a lot about him in the positive.

Recently, he had to admit that he was wrong to make crass jokes about those who were pepper-sprayed on December 2, 2016. There is no way for anyone to defend laughing at women and seniors being physically harmed by anyone.

When all was said and done, the results in the recent by-election in Pembroke Central are in; the people of Constituency 17 voted as follows: 65 per cent for the PLP and 35 per cent for the One Bermuda Alliance.

When broken down historically, the result shows the PLP improving from an average of a 57 per cent vote share in the previous General Elections of 2003, 2007, 2012 and 2017 to now a 65 per cent vote share.

Nevertheless, putting those results aside, I will say this young man deserves a shot at an OBA seat that he can actually win.

As a stark reminder, this is what OBA Senate leader Nick Kempe had to say in a Royal Gazette op-ed titled “The old guard must go” on September 24, 2018:

“Cannonier has his work cut out for him. For the party to survive, it must renew. The longest-serving members must step aside gracefully or be pushed out resolutely to allow the entry of new candidates. If the OBA is unable to make space for the future, it will perish. The OBA’s most seasoned politicians have the opportunity to be that catalyst for change. Resigning their seats now as opposed to at the next election would show selfless leadership. It is paramount that the OBA promote new voices that may be heard in Parliament now to change the narrative.”

So, anything short of actually letting new persons such as Dwayne Robinson and his fellow senator, Marcus Jones, run in winnable seats proves once again that the OBA reserves its “safe seats” for those who are of United Bermuda Party bloodlines.

As prime examples Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, Michael Dunkley, Jeanne Atherden and Trevor Moniz are all of UBP lineage and, interestingly, all have safe seats.

Any coincidence?

Persons such as Nalton Brangman, Anthony Francis, Robyn Swan, Andrew Simons and now Dwayne Robinson have always, somehow, been given the short end of the stick by their own party by being placed in unwinnable seats.

If the young senator, Mr Robinson, is to be given a fair shot, I think he should run again.

However, he should not let the OBA use him in seats that it cannot win.

Christopher Famous is the government MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). You can reach him at WhatsApp on 599-0901 or e-mail at cfamous@plp.bm