It is characteristic of the most stringent censorships that they give credibility to the opinions they attack. — Voltaire
Any reasonable individual would recognize that the easiest means to counter corruption allegations and abuse of parliamentary procedure would be to increase transparency in government. By doing the opposite, Premier Brown is ratifying the case pledged against him and his colleagues that they have much to hide. Sadly, most people who consider themselves honest continue to sit idly by while a mockery is made of our democracy.
Premier Brown recently announced that the Bermuda government would hire a foreign public relations firm in hopes of countering the poor image of governance Bermuda has developed. While Premier Brown’s suggestion that the opposition is abusing parliamentary privilege may be valid, any reasonable observer would note that the easiest way to counteract this would be to televise the parliamentary sessions and publish Hansard minutes. This would make it readily obvious whether or not the opposition indeed is abusing parliamentary privilege. However, it would also expose whether or not the incumbent is also abusing parliamentary privilege which may likely be the reason why this action has not been taken.
Another means of countering allegations of corruption is through publicizing the supporting documentation and evidence related to such cases. Publishing supporting documentation could easily prove that the conduct of our leaders have been becoming of those bestowed with the title of ‘honourable’. However, one would not wish to take such actions if it would also expose dealings of those whose conduct has been less than becoming. Again, this indicates a reasonable explanation why public access to information legislation has been and likely will continue to be perpetually delayed.
So, rather than increasing transparency and giving the public greater confidence in trustworthiness of our leadership, what we’re seeing is the opposite. Things have become so opaque that even government members of parliament don’t know what is really going on. Instead, much like the people of Bermuda, too many are simply happy to trot along with blinders on, oblivious to the deterioration afflicted upon our democracy. Too many are far too willing to buy into idle rhetoric rather than focus on what is in the best interests of Bermuda’s future.
Increasing transparency would absolutely be a reasonable course to countering allegations of corruption and abuse of parliamentary procedure. By decreasing transparency Premier Brown is doing more to raise questions about the trustworthiness of himself and his colleagues as it increases the credibility of the attacks made by the opposition. When considering Premier Brown’s suggestion that a PR firm is necessary to protect our image, remember the words of words of 17th century writer Baltasar Gracián y Morales who once wrote “Those who insist on the dignity of their office show they have not deserved it”