Politics

Brown has total control over PLP, says Bean

  • Party politics: Marc Bean, left, has accused Ewart Brown, centre, of exercising complete power over the PLP

Marc Bean believes former premier Ewart Brown has “complete power and control” over the Progressive Labour Party.

Mr Bean, Leader of the Opposition from 2012 until last November, spoke out after declaring his support for former premier Paula Cox’s bid as an independent candidate in Devonshire North West at Tuesday’s General Election.

The former Warwick MP also claimed that the party did not appear to accept his principle of governing with “clean hands” and “pure hearts”.

Ms Cox, whose maverick run in Constituency 14 is widely believed to damage Wayne Caines’s hopes of reclaiming the seat for the PLP, told the media that she shared Mr Bean’s vision for honesty amid a wider political backdrop of “lies and deception”.

Mr Bean stepped down eight months after going on medical leave; he said that attempts to depose him were a significant factor behind his illness.

Asked yesterday whether the PLP has faced a philosophical split over the legacy of Dr Brown, Mr Bean, who remains a member of the party, told The Royal Gazette: “There’s no longer a tussle within the PLP. You must know that Dr Brown exercises complete power and control over the PLP.

“But I have to give him full credit; you can hate the game, but don’t hate the player. I can’t hate the player in this sense.

“But he has managed to exercise a power that exceeds that of the PLP. I have seen that power extend across many segments of society. I have to give him credit. While everyone else was sleeping, he was not. Is that for the benefit of the people of this country? Only time will tell.”

During his spell as leader, Mr Bean had decried a “politics of plunder” within both the PLP and the One Bermuda Alliance, claiming that a group within his own party had used the political process to enhance their personal positions.

At the time he was heavily criticised by PLP MPs, and he was eventually replaced as leader by David Burt.

In recent weeks, Mr Burt’s role has come under scrutiny from both Ms Cox and former PLP Cabinet minister Phil Perinchief.

After her attempt to stand in Constituency 14 was rejected by the PLP last month — despite her being endorsed by the branch — Ms Cox sent a scathing e-mail to Mr Burt, saying senior party members had acted as if they had a “back room agenda” to tarnish her reputation.

Last week, Mr Perinchief said he had heard suggestions that Mr Burt had faced pressures from outside his Parliamentary group into pushing for a General Election before the PLP was ready for one.

Yesterday, Mr Bean said of his call for clean politics: “I took the position as leader that clean hands and pure hearts means standing on principle. That didn’t seem accepted within the PLP, or accepted within the OBA either. I’m not sure how the desire to govern on principle is something that could be ridiculed so easily.

“I was interested in seeing more policy discussions, policy initiatives, from both parties. It’s disappointing, to say the least.”

He described the OBA’s plan for a “jump-start savings account”, in which every newborn Bermudian child would receive an investment account seeded with $2,500, as “horrendous”.

“A political party seeking to pander to the lowest common denominator. You would attack the PLP if they put out such a frivolous policy,” he said.

“What I would like to see is the recognition of the truth of this country. Not just the glitter of the America’s Cup and the manufactured confidence, but the reality that the people of this country face.

“The way to do it is to have the strategic policy of lowering the Government’s spending and, as a result, lowering tax rates and reducing the amount of regulation. The real challenge we face in this country is the economy. The culture and social make-up is merely a reflection of the economic conditions we face. I have yet to hear a growth policy expressed by either party. The approach that removes this idea that there are two Bermudas.

“We need more growth. Reducing regulation is to remove the oligarchic environment in this country that allows those with access to power first rights to everything — as opposed to those with the knowledge to do for themselves.”

A PLP party spokesman said last night: “As Election Day comes near, there will be no shortage of innuendo, absurdity and just plain crazy talk. The PLP will remain focused on taking our message to the voters. We believe the voters are smart enough to cut through the nonsense and cast their ballot based on reality.

“That reality is that the PLP is the only party focused on building a better Bermuda for working families, the only party that will stop Michael Fahy’s Pathways to Status, and the only party that will put Bermudians first.”

When asked for his response to Mr Bean’s remarks, Dr Brown declined to comment.

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