Premier appoints Chief Jester

The Premier’s press secretary should not be allowed to voice his personal opinion on political matters if the rest of the civil servants are not allowed to do so

“Mr. Jones stressed he was not a civil servant but a political appointment.”

“It is thought Mr. Jones was appointed under a 1983 act allowing the Premier and Opposition leaders to appoint personal staff paid for out of the public purse but separate from the Civil Service.”

Absolutely ridiculous.  The public should not have to foot the bill for such if Mr. Jones is not to be bound to similar rules to which all other civil servants are bound.

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16 thoughts on “Premier appoints Chief Jester

  1. Bullshit Beats Brains!
    The PLP race baiting cadre are using taxpayers money to sponsor race hate speakers,from Rolf, to importing professional hate speakers,to PLP hate radio,Hott107 and Fresh tv(tonight airing a Louis Farrakhan hate speech),with even more Disinformation TV to come in September,when G’ment tv opens.

  2. Denis,
    The Press Secretary is a political appointment and is not a civil servant. The Constitution gives the Premier the powers to have personal staff – and it is under this that the Press Secretary resides. This constitution was not created in 1998 as you have noted, but rather in 1983. Dr Brown and Mr Jones should not be attacked for using the positions as they were intended to be used for.

  3. Ken,
    Nowhere in my piece do I state that the act was created in 1998. 1983 is the date mentioned.
    The point of the piece is that I disagree with the ability of the Premier’s personal publicly funded staff to speak on their own behalf on political issues if the civil service is not afforded the same luxury, regardless of when this act was put into place.
    Why should I not be allowed to voice my opinion with regards to disagreeing with this policy simply because the positions are being used as was intended?

  4. Denis,
    No one said you shouldnt voice your opinion. You do very well in that regard. I just notice that you are so anti PLP and anything PLP that i wonder if you are being completely objective in your opinions.
    Do you have an opinion on the Boo Ewart Brown facebook group and the anti Brown rhetoric on there being spouted by the members? I would’ve thought that would have been just as important a topic as this.
    And back to the main topic, why can’t the Press Secretary voice his opinion?

  5. The point is that the Press Secretary is not a civil servant. It is as simple as that. Civil Servants serve the Government of the day and thus are expected to remain neutral publicly. The Press Secretary is a political appointment by the Premier so therefore his/her allegiance is already known and expected. They are also expected to not be working there if the government was to change, which is not the case for the civil service. If you understand the dynamic of their position, then why cant they have and voice their opinion?

  6. Ken,
    I am critical of government but I do not deem myself anti-plp. There have also been times where I have been quite critical of the UBP, but as opposition, they simply get less focus.
    I try to be as objective as I can though no doubt there are times when I am not as objective as I could be. English was always my weakest subject in school and part of the reason why I blog is to improve my writing ability and “live up to my potential” as my teachers used to endlessly hound me about.
    What I want is the best future for Bermuda. I want a better life and to be able to enjoy the simply things. I have said many times in many different forums that I hold little confidence in either the UBP or the PLP’s ability at running this country effectively.
    Regarding the Boo Ewart Brown group, I hadn’t ever even heard about it until I read about it on the progressive minds blog. Seeing as I’ve opted to no longer post there, I’ve refrained from making my views known through it.
    I certainly do not support biggoted racist attacks and do not look kindly upon people showing a great lack of respect with regards to making comments of dancing on someone’s grave or something of the like. I do not condone such statements on this site but have no control over facebook and people are welcome to freedom of speech via their own mediums whether it is their own blog or public sites like facebook.
    If anyone was being paid to spout off similar, than I would agree with you that it would be just as important of a topic as this, but seeing as they are not, I disagree.
    How would you feel if the UBP decided to hire one of those youth from the boo Ewart Brown facebook group as their own press secretary paid for by the public dollar and encouraged them to continue spouting off such nasty words?
    Why is it different when the press secretary is being paid for out of the public purse and that he is able to leverage that public position to call special press conferences to voice his personal opinion. I simply don’t agree with that.
    On a side matter, here’s a question I have for you. Can the PLP handle criticism objectively?
    One thing that has bothered me for quite some time is that when the PLP originally launched their new website, my blog was excluded from and continues to be excluded from their blogroll.
    Premier Brown is perfectly happy to add me as a friend on facebook and Progressive Minds is perfectly happy to syndicate my posts when I’m saying positive things but when I ask the hard questions, I often get silence. If I’m good enough to syndicate when I write positive things, why am I not worthy of a mention on the PLP site?

  7. Denis,
    Where has Glenn Jones, the current Press Secretary said anything that would even be remotely classified as “spouting off such nasty words”? Your analogy lacks credibility. Mr. Jones’ comments were that the UBP obviously is challenging the registration details of voters in only key districts. He also went on to say that this is their right. And in my opinion he was correct as the UBP were not challenging these voters to ensure a fair election, but moreso because they know some elections come down to 10 votes or so and they dont want any hiccups in their campaign, which again is their right. Mr. Jones’ comments are in no way comparable to the despicable hatred in the vitriol spouted within that facebook group, and to suggest otherwise is disingenous on your behalf.
    If Michael Dunkley became Premier and hired someone as Press Secretary, which he would have every right to do, I would expect that person support his stance on things. As the position is not a civil servant position it would be irrelevant. Yes the government dollar is paying the position, but as we cleared up earlier, these positions, or moreso the provision for these positions was made a long time ago.
    I do think the PLP can handle criticism objectively, but can you be objective is more the question? Oftentimes the criticisms received are not objective. This has been blatantly exploited over the last 9 years. People have been hypercritical of this government in comparison to that previous one. It is what it is.

  8. Why should it matter that the provisions for the position were made a long time ago if I disagree with them today? I hadn’t known about the provisions until recently. Do you expect me to have objected in 1983 when I was a mere 2 years old and because I didn’t at that time I should keep my mouth shut even though I disagree?
    You didn’t answer my question of why I’ve been left off the blogroll.
    There have been a great many times when I have been objective and I’m offended that you would suggest that I should ask if I can be more objective when the PLP has yet to respond to any one of my criticisms, objective or not. This when both PLP.bm blog and progressiveminds.bm severely lack the objectivity that you expect me to adhere to.
    In the grand scheme of things, why is the onus on me to be more objective? I write my blog as a hobby and it is your choice whether or not you read it, noone forces you to do so and I give you full freedom to debate what I say which is more than most Bermudian bloggers do. I have not once censored anything on my site aside from the occasional unrelated spam and one anti-Brown edit I had to make.
    Freedom of speech says I can say anything I really please, objective or not. If you don’t like it, go somewhere else.
    Regarding the PLP, they’d better start getting used to criticism, objective or not. Being in politics is about being able to take criticism, hypercritical or not. I get incredibly tired of this “oh, well, people wern’t as critical of the UBP when they were in power so they shouldn’t be so critical of the PLP”. Guess what, it’s 2007, times have changed and the PLP needs to get with the times.
    A.J. Liebing once said “Freedom of the press belongs to those who one one”. In today’s society, bloging via the internet means anyone can enjoy freedom of the press.
    The PLP and it’s supporters should heed the words of Harry S. Truman. “If you can’t stand the heat, Get out of the kitchen”

  9. I never said the PLP shouldnt take criticism. I think being constructive criticism is vital.
    I dont know why you are asking me about the progressive minds blog or anything because I am not an administrator on any of those sites, so i cannot answer those questions.
    I also agree that freedom of speech is imperative, however, there is also something called respect. So yes, like it or not, you can say it, but when your credibility or others’ credibility begins to erode because it is obvious you only have intentions of seeing things from one side, then that will be another issue for you to deal with.
    And you have failed to support your earlier comment about Glenn Jones’ comments being similar to the facebook haters. Hopefully you have realized that comparison was not even remotely similar.
    I also ask you have you attended any of the Premier’s Open Mics, or even the Opposition’s Open Mic. As a political commentator, which you seem to thrive on, I would think you would take up the parties when they are having their public opportunities, instead of having to submit letters and emails and blog comments. I dont recall you being present at the PLP ones, I cannot speak for the UBP ones.

  10. I am asking for your opinion with regards to the plp blog.
    The comparison of Glenn Jones and facebook was originally yours, not mine. My point is that Glenn Jones is paid out of the public purse. Facebook writers are not and that is very specifically why I see writing about the facebook hate of less relevance.
    I hope you see how your comparison was not even remotely similar either and that was specifically my point.
    I have stated before, I am not pro-plp or pro-ubp. Thus, I will be heavily critical of both.
    As for the Open Mics, I have attended a number of forums including those put on by PLP, UBP and ABC though I don’t always write about them. Did I attend the most recent Open Mics? No.
    Where does this expectation that I need to be perfectly objective and cover every event come from? Unlike Glenn Jones or the newspapers I am not being paid for my opinion. This site costs me money each month to run and comes at a great loss both in time and money which is a considerable reason for why I’m on my present break, to decide whether it’s worth continuing and even bothering to contribute to Bermuda politics at all.
    I do this as a hobby outside of a very busy work life and extra curricular life. I cannot write about everything and I simply don’t have the time to intimiately critique every single piece I write to make sure it is objective as absolutely possible.
    Most, probably 90%, of the pieces I write are written on the spur of the moment in the span of a lunch hour or the spare few minutes I have when I get home. I am one of the most frequent and prolific bloggers for this reason and unfortunately the downside of alot of content is lower quality.
    Can you appreciate the fact that this isn’t my day job and I cannot please everyone? I do my best to be objective and I do my best to be constructive and call it as I see it.
    If I decide to resume blogging, I will continue to do so but I can make no guarantees that it will be perfect.

  11. Actually Denis,
    I did not compare Glenn Jones to facebook. I stated how Glenn Jones’ position was not a civil servant. You then went on to ask how would I feel if the UBP hired one of those people on facebook to be their press secretary, and made such nasty comments.
    Regardless, the two are not comparable and therefore I wont waste any additional time even discussing their lack of commonality.
    You are more than entitled to your opinion, but when you attempt to try and be a voice of reason and be an agent of change, but then you basically infer that you dont have to be objective, you lose all credibility. It is blatantly obvious to many that read your writings that you are an intelligent, ambitious young Bermudian. But it is also obvious that you have a strong anti-PLP sentiment and that you seem to prefer the UBP – which is fine. But if that is the mantra from which you write, accept it, embrace it, and write on! But it seems like you attempt to be neutral but your sarcasm and personal beliefs lead you astray in your writings and this takes away any neutrality and objectivity in your writings.
    But like you said, it is your blog, and you can do with it what you like. I just think you are selling yourself short though.

  12. Actually Ken, you did compare the two.
    “I would’ve thought that would have been just as important a topic as this.”
    Give me an example of where have I shown preference for the UBP?
    If anything, I have lacked objectivity with them as well as can be seen with these examples:
    http://www.dpitcher.com/2007/07/ubp-catering-to.html
    http://www.dpitcher.com/2007/08/milkman-short-o.html
    What I have suggested is that I am trying my best to be objective but as I also suggested, writing was my weakest subject.
    You remind me of my highschool teachers who always gave me terrible marks in english but when I’d ask why they’d say “because you arn’t living up to your potential”. Any time I asked for an explanation, that was what I got, nothing clearcut that helped me understand what in the world they meant by potential.
    What is with this expectation that I’m supposed to be a perfect writer with the magic objectivity of a supreme court judge. I’m a 26 year old with a degree in engineering, not a degree in english. I hammer into the UBP just as I do the PLP because frankly, I’m not supportive of either one of them.
    Ken, if anything, I would ask you to do me a great favor. If you find I’m not objective about something – call me on it. Point it out so I can recognize it and learn from the experience.
    The key reason why I write truly is because it is one of my core weaknesses. I write so I can get practice and turn a weakness into a strength.

  13. I actually think you have a great deal to offer if you channel it correctly. Yes you are still young-ish. I think there is a tendency to expect a government, any government to be perfect and to please everyone all the time, which cannot and will not happen, whether it is PLP, UBP, ABC or XYZ. There are pros and cons to most situations. Maybe you would have been just as critical of the UBP had you lived your adult life under their reign. And if the UBP were to get elected back into office at some point, I hope at that point that you act as a watchdog with the same intensity.
    As far as writing being your weakness, I don’t see that as being the case. Your arguments, while I dont agree with them in some cases, are generally put together coherently and structured well.

  14. “if you channel it correctly”
    Ahhhhh! That dreaded “if only you lived up to your potential”.
    Hopefully I can count on your criticism with regards to my future pieces so I can figure out what is actually meant by channeling it correctly, or “living up to my potential”

  15. What I meant by channel it correctly wasnt living up to your potential, but moreso not allowing certain things in politics to get you jaded, and for you to use your talents to get things accomplished.

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