More Ombudsman

Unfortunately I'm going to be unable to listen to the debate between 2 PM - 3PM when the House resumes, but I did want to post a few more quick thoughts on the Ombudsman Bill beforehand:

This is a critically important piece of legislation in entrenching accountability and good governance in Bermuda. It's long overdue, from either party, but the bill as proposed today is seriously flawed.

That one line exclusion of Cabinet, Ministers and Junior Ministers from investigation by the Ombudsman, as mentioned in my last post, cannot be allowed to stand.

As Mr. Barritt pointed out, Government is hyping this legislation heavily, placed a print ad in the Royal Gazette yesterday touting the bill, posted the legislation online (and crowed about the public being allowed to follow along), and Premier Scott introduced it with his usual over-the-top insincerity as proof of the PLP's commitment to openness, accountability etc..

But that accountability stops at the door of the Cabinet Office, and that is appalling, and every Bermudian should be outraged (but we don't seem to get outraged, we just get steam-rolled and played for fools).

In the New Bermuda everyone is accountable but those who preach it the most, the Government. To them it is just a slogan and a positioning statement. They play around the fringes but go to great, but discreet lengths, to ensure that a different set of rules apply.

The exclusion of Cabinet in this legislation stands alongside the Premier's empty promise back in July/August to bring forth new legislation - in this year's Throne Speech - to update the laws regarding corruption, in the wake of the failed BHC investigation.

When push comes to shove, this Government won't act on principle and limit themselves, the true test of good governance.

John Barritt appealed to the PLP's backbench to work with him on the amendments which he will introduce. As we cannot expect Cabinet to act in this instance, it's up to the backbench to step up to the plate and join the Opposition in this.

Will they accept that responsibility?

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