The late Martin Luther King Jr. once declared, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Premier Dr. Ewart Brown’s decision to shut down debate on further concessions for the Coco Reef Resort rather than stand his ground and request evidence supporting the allegations does much to demonstrate his measure. Sadly, his actions with the recent venture to the Playboy Mansion do little to support his character when there are not only questions of conflict of interest but also questions of the event’s efficacy for the image Bermuda hopes to promote and once again he hides behind the veil of his press secretary’s words. It should not be too obvious to any cognizant observer that Premier Brown seems intent to test the limits of his bounds leaving some to wonder how far he shall be willing to go and for how long he shall be allowed to cull absolute power.
Where Premier Brown stands when challenged with controversy should suggest a great deal about the measure of his character. Marking the 40th anniversary of a hallmark of democratic achievement such as universal suffrage with the stifling of democratic debate is a sad turn of events for the reputation of political stability our island holds dear as well as the ideals upon which the Progressive Labour Party was founded. Increasingly by his actions, Premier Brown is proving that the oligarchic abuse of power suggested to have plagued the likes of the previously incumbent party is not limited by the colour of ones skin but instead is only bound by the colour of power, greed, hypocrisy and that of envy.
Premier Brown’s actions with regards to his venture to the Playboy Mansion do little to better his pursuits with regards to improving tourism and do more to line the vision that recent tourism endeavors are more firmly founded in the boosting of his own ego. Indeed, a charity gambling event at the Playboy Mansion goes beyond even the question of conflicts of interest to one of how it is even remotely fitting for Bermuda’s tourism image. Sex, drugs and gambling are not typically the types of things we hope to promote when people think of Bermuda tourism unless our future is destined to be far more dire. Further, the careful public relations veil constructed by the Premier’s press secretary Glenn Jones raises questions as to the efficacy of the event’s planning as simply how does three trips to Bermuda equate to $1500-$1800 in flight costs? Indeed, how exactly does one heighten the awareness of Bermuda among the type of affluent travelers who attend charity poker events at the Playboy Mansion when we must be offering the equivalent of coach class seats as part of the prize.
Sadly, when questioning the words of the Late Martin Luther King Jr. we can certainly wonder how Premier Brown measures up in his fitness as the leader representing our island. More and more Premier Brown tests the limits and boundaries of what he can get away with as we jump from one extreme scandal and abjection of democracy to the next. One could wonder how long things shall remain unchecked and un-stifled as the pattern of the past suggests that once again the UBP devil will be resurrected as a means to get the people of Bermuda to herd like sheep behind him. Simply stepping in line to battle that common foe who is now little more than a shadow of a past that once was. Sadly once again we should heed the words of Lord Acton when he said “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” as we question how much longer we shall place in the hands of Premier Brown, absolute power.